Standing in the smoky bit outside of the Fiddlers, I was surrounded by lots of denim jacket wearing men, some hooded men, and a few girls with silky head bands tied in a knot. I was in a really confusing place right then, in that alley place. And as the cigarette smoke fogged my vision, my reality sailed off to an island and left me completely, what time zone was this exactly? After walking back in and having an unpleasant chat with a bar manager who wouldn’t accept that I asked his barman for a single whisky, not a double (customer aint lying), I was in a bit of eyebrow raising mood. Whilst still up for a good time, the atmosphere had distinctly altered since I walked back in, and not just because of my whisky agro.
As I stood in the middle of the room and waited for next act, The Polecats, a band started in the 70s, and proper Bristol boys like, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this crowd. The swinging ladies were now relaxing on the sidelines, and all I could see was denim, skinheads, denim, and (for those still with it), excessively gelled hair. And then drum roll... The Polecats(!!), started their punk, rockabilly set. Immediately I felt a hand sweep me aside as three denims stomped to the front, which instantly became the original pit. They threw each other around, slammed about and crashed me into the world of pole. I wasn’t sure whether these men had ever changed their hair since the 70s, perhaps as a sign of their devotion, they were true fans of these guys, and the band knew it. This was old school love, home love and a whizz back to the beginnings of punk and rockabilly. The Polecats gave an energised performance and delivered to their fans. However, I didn’t see the passion, yearning and the slight element of modesty that I like to see in an act, just a teeny bit. But then these guys know they rock, they’ve been told it for decades. Perhaps I just haven’t seen enough old school punk, it is the arrogance, the ‘screw you’ that makes them punk. I did want to see a bit more of a twinkle in their eyes, and maybe a bit more pizzazz, some spice, and something warm and nice, but again, that aint punk. Overall though, from the set I saw, they are a grand band, with roots in time and place, and for this they have some serious respect. They perform for their fans and exude the qualities of musical past. They didn’t get under my skin, but I know those clad in denim had a sparkling night.