A rainy Monday night in Glasgow, deserted streets but inside King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, the perfect venue for S.N.A.F.U. An acronym used for The Professional’s new album and a perfect description for the evenings proceedings, Situation Normal: All Fucked Up!.
With the relaxing of restrictions across the country, venues are awakening and bands return to “normal”. The last 18 months may have restricted live music but it was a time for the songwriters to make the most of the downtime.
Situation normal for local (ish) band Reaction as they returned to a live venue known to them but with a new addition, a new bass player and after a few nervy looks across to his band members, he acquitted himself well. Judging by the number of phones filming the bands songs, it looks like they’d drawn a good crowd. Doors were late (20:30) so by the time Reaction were on stage, they had a good few in attendance to see the bands raw rock’n’roll repertoire. The band were a late addition to the tour but slotted in perfectly.
Desperate Measures have been busy during lockdown and recorded some new material. With a captive audience on The Professionals tour, it has given them a great platform to air the new songs. Originally formed in New Zealand, Eugene Butcher, better known for the magazine “Vive Le Rock”, where he is the founder and editor, he has resurrected the band from those early 80’s beginnings. With such a solid band behind him consisting of Michael Gaffney (ex Glitterati) on guitar, Ricky McGuire (ex UK Subs) on bass and super solid drumming from James Sherry (ex Done Lying Down), Eugene had to bring his ‘A’ game to match the intensity.
He is the archetypal front man, old school and engaging. After a great start, Eugene came alive during the bands third song of the night, “Rich-Tual” from their new EP/Album “Rinsed” as he launched himself into the faces of the crowd with arms extended as he screamed “fuck the system”. You can’t get much newer songs than “Pocket” which had only been played 4 times previous to their gig in Glasgow. You could hear the influence of Gaff’s song writing as there were echoes of The Glitterati.
Another new track from their latest offering was a song tribute to Eugene’s brother who had passed away four years ago, “Lost Angels”. Another blinder of a song which gave the band an opportunity to show the crowd their strength in depth with the new material. Eugene thanked the crowd for their exuberant appreciation after they had travelled from London and made the journey was worth it. The latest single “Flowers at Your Door” went down well as it got the loudest cheer of the night before the aptly named “1984” showed a different side to the band.
The post-punk dark tune certainly detracted from the bands normal script but they showed their roots with the last tune as they belted out “I wanna be your dog”. A faithful version of the classic Iggy Pop song, but non the less, it had the crowd begging for more, the best way to leave an audience. It won’t be long before the band return north going by the reception.
The Professionals may have lived by reputation for many years but they certainly deserve more than just being an ex-Pistols side project. Yes, Paul Cook remains the back bone of the band but his partner in crime Tom Spencer is more than a match for founding member and fellow ‘pistol, Steve Jones both on guitar and vocals.
With Toshi back on bass and new boy Rich Jones, who had just flown in from Canada for the tour, the band ripped through the set which included a few new numbers from their tour titling album “SNAFU”.
The set favourites were the main stay of the set as “Payola” kicked off the night as it has done on previous tours. It was quickly followed by “Going Going Gone” before one of the highlights of the night, new song “Easily Lead”. The new material blended right in with those songs written from the ashes of the ‘pistols. Tom was only 10yrs old when he bought the single “Just Another Dream” which he dedicated to Desperate Measures or the Desperate “Drunken” Measures as he fondly referred to them.
The band hammered out the hits with “Silly Thing” bringing out a huge cheer and their playful poses throughout the night demonstrated they are loving being back out on the road. Almost every song saw the three front men turn their backs to the crowd and pay homage to the hard hitting hero as Paul Cook showed no sign of slowing down. He smashed the skins of his drums all night and at a furious pace, back to back songs as well. He exudes youth and looks like he could still “Kick Down the Doors” with the best of them.
A poignant story from Tom showed the bands empathic side as he recounted the story of Paul flying to LA with Steve Jones mum’s ashes right before they played new song “M’Ashes” off the new album. With the last few numbers played with the same vigour as the opening few numbers, you wonder where the band draw their strength from. “1,2,3” ended the main set before a swift return with the classic “Stepping Stone” The crowd looked like they were happy to go on all night but alas, time for the band to depart but not before the dualling guitars saw Rich and Tom trade guitar licks like modern day knights jousting to win the heart of a fair maiden. With another ten days touring ahead of them, the band head south taking their sledgehammer songs with them like the true professionals they are.
The Professionals continue their SNAFU tour for the rest of October