Punk Online Review photo by Gary Trueman

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VICE SQUAD – 10.03.17: Live at Voodoo Lounge, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

A couple of firsts for me last night, 1) first time I’ve been to the Voodoo Lounge in Stamford and 2) unbelievably the first time I’d seen Vice Squad live in their almost 40 year history. The result? The Voodoo Lounge is the basement of a pub, small but pretty much perfect given the size of the audience (numbers not girths) and secondly, Vice Squad did not disappoint, putting their heart and soul into an hour long set which got more and more raucous culminating in their greatest hit.

The current line-up (consisting of the evergreen Beki Bondage on guitar and vocals, Paul Rooney on lead guitar, Wayne Firefly on bass and Django on drums) took to the small stage in front of a reasonable size crowd, I’m guessing around 150, and without a word of introduction they fired into their opening number Citizen. They were tight, fast and loud and the unmistakable vocals from Beki give Vice squad that unique edge which has stood the test of time for almost four decades.

Straight into Defiant, this was going to be a break neck gig as they seemed intent on delivering classic punk rock numbers with minute interludes between each song. Bassist Wayne even commented after a few tunes that he was knackered and asked if “they could stop and go and get pissed instead?” Talking of Wayne, his bass gave an outstanding sound throughout the set, almost like a ‘slapping’ of the strings that reverberated through the speakers. Great stuff.

Latex Love was introduced by Beki asking if there were any perverts in the crowd (nobody put their hand up but I had my doubts) and at this stage the gig seemed to take off. The audience had been rather subdued but Latex Love was soon followed by Punk Police and the crowd reciprocated by finding their dancing feet, well, throwing themselves around, and becoming more involved as a result. It was heating up which was good news.

A stand out song for me on the night was Stuck in Reverse with some great interplay between the band and guitarist Paul joined Beki and Wayne giving everything they had. Vice Squad and the audience were by now more as one and Sniffing Glue was soon followed by Stand Strong before the final song of the evening was announced.

By far their best known number, Last Rockers, got the full treatment from the crowd which the band responded to and some audience participation was required with the full ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’ chant as Beki held out the microphone for all to join in. As Vice Squad left the stage an encore was demanded which Django introduced. “This one’s for Lemmy and if you don’t know who he is, what the fuck are you doing here?” before launching into Ace of Spades which did the Motorhead man proud.

For me, it was shame that it took as long as it did for the crowd to really get involved because by the time they had it was pretty much all over. After almost forty years Vice Squad proved why they have lasted the test of time.

If they’re in town again I wouldn’t hesitate to go and see them.