It would be impossible not to start without mentioning the fact that I heard the news of Sham 69’ canceling all US shows (only Austin and Las Vegas) literally 2 hours after I had been offered an amazing job of covering one of their show’s and a possible interview with arguably the most influential band in the forming of the 70’s UK street punk sound. Luckily within hours I had gotten word the Cockney Rejects were to be replacing them and any fears I may have had replacement wise were immediately eased.
One thing I knew for certain was that the new headliner, would be far more approachable and probably much nicer guys to deal with in general. Not that I had planned on Pursey and company being rude or that it presented a huge problem either way as I’ve been fans of both bands my entire adult and young adult life and wasn’t planning on taking any shit off of any out of touch security and or anything like that. But one thing I’ve observed from the Rejects over the years is they seem like pretty straight shooters and would put on the kind of show that would bring the audience in closer with the band and not use the stage to simply celebrate their success. This was proven right of course and by the end of their set and encore the audience had a feeling of kinship with the band that one would gather over neighboring seating at the end of a long season at Boleyn Grounds.
I arrived for my first time at the old Back Room/new Emo’s and was really impressed. Most of y’all should already know this by now but that place is fuckin’ nice, plenty of bar space, the outdoor “smoking” patio is comfortable and makes commie outdoor smoking bullshit tolerable. The bands had already begun and to play I wasn’t that impressed with the first band on stage to tell the truth. The singer, running around under all the lights, a few hours from June in Texas, in a full length Crombie just seemed too much for me so I grabbed a Lonestar and headed outside. I wasn’t planning on listening to the opening bands anyway, as I came to see the Rejects and would rather spend my time drinking, smoking and enjoying good company before hand.
The crowd was a good mix of all types of ages and genre, etc.. I did honestly except to see a few more codgers like myself, but I guess the Sunday set and 9-5 life don’t mix for everyone. My good friend Flip showed up though and had a great time drinking and reminiscing. I was also impressed that there was no violence. Not a big thing these days and should be a non-issue. Just couldn’t help imagining the difference if the Cockney Rejects would have played Austin 10 or 20 yrs ago.
When the time came and The Cockney Rejects took the stage I was feeling the Lonestar pretty well and ready for a good show. I was not let down, at all. For a band that’s has been doing this for more than 30 yrs they didn’t miss a beat. I usually try to grab set list or at least try to make a vague mental note of the song order but I was there far more as a fan and found myself singing along to hit after hit. All the tunes you would expect and wanted to hear were played, “Oi!,Oi!Oi!”, “Flares & Slippers“, “Forever Blowing Bubbles“, “Police Car”, “Join the Rejects“,…etc. All done without too much banter between songs or stuff from the bands “rock” years represented. If you’re that interested in if they played “…” or not, then you probably should have been there and the answer is most probably yes, they did.
After the show I got a hold of the bassist, Andrew Van Langer, who got me with the band for about ten minutes of brown nosing and personal photo taking. All of the guys were fun, genuine, and didn’t act at all bothered to be talking to fans closing in on 3am. I avoided the usual “history of” or “roots” type questions as it’s fairly well documented and without being an expert on East End boxing didn’t feel their was a whole lot I didn’t know or needed to ask. I honestly had the most fun with singer Jeff “Stinky” Turner & guitarist Mick Geggus cracking on a popular band they had recently played with and the band’s nearly 50 y/o fresh cut singer, who I wont name here. As I said it was approaching 3am and the gracious staff at Emo’s wanted to get home, so I paid my respect to the band…again, and said goodbye.
Stinky Turner did mention, as I was leaving, that they were impressed with the Austin show/crowd and that they would take note for any upcoming tours etc.. So hopefully we may get to see the guys again in years to come as they seemed to be in fine form and didn’t seem to be in farewell tour mode yet at all.
– Jordan Sewell