Appearing in the UK for the first time in 26 years for a short club tour, promoting the new album High Water, are Hollywood rockers Junkyard.
We have The Fiascos from London up first. The bass and drums herald the bouncing “Destroy the Radio” from their 2017 2-track EP. This is a romptastic hook-laden modern punk track and a great crowd-warming opener. Another stomper, “Built for Speed” follows, swiftly succeeded by “Olivia” from the same EP. The tracks have hints of the pop punk side of The Buzzcocks, The Clash even Foo Fighters at their comic best.
The band have you bouncing about with their brand of catchy punk pop, with the likes of “Seen your Face Before” “I Don’t Think So”. The catchy “Until I Sleep” from this year’s new EP kicks in a bit like Lit meets Sum 41. The vocals are ably swapped about with the band with Ritchie, Keef and Ben all taking turns with Robin on fine form at the rear on the drums. The band finish up this short but very enjoyable set with “Inspiration” and they really are.
This is a band destined to be up there with the American pop punk brigade. They are a joy to watch and listen to – check out the EP’s and the official videos. The forthcoming album will launch them in no uncertain terms, if tonight is anything to go by.
The main event now. Formed back in 1986, it’s taken over 26 years for the boys to get back to the UK – even longer to get to Scotland! But they are here now, those Hollywood rockers Junkyard, and we have a hot packed-out Bannermans venue to greet them.
The original members (David Roach on vocals and Pat Muzingo on drums) are in top form, backed up with long timers Tim Mosher on guitar, Todd Muscat on bass and new boy Jimmy James on guitar. The band are touring on the back of long time coming new album High Water which they describe as being “a rock ‘n’ roll record with a nod to punk rock and outlaw country rock.” It’s been well worth the wait with even Blackberry Smoke main man Charlie Starr penning “Till The Wheels Fall Off” specifically for the boys on the new opus – a track sadly not played tonight.
There is a big cheer as the band appear and start us off with the crunching rolling swagger that is “Life Sentence” from the ’89 self titled debut, and man it just keeps motoring all night. The band are on fire with David looking mean and well up for it and the raw vocals have not diminished. We are all Sixes, Sevens and Nines from ’91 now as we go “Back on the Streets”, a track still as strong as it ever was with its catchy chorus line. The swagger of Tim on guitar backed up by Jimmy is a joy to watch.
We get the first off the excellent High Water next. “Cut From the Same Cloth” still has that 80’s rock n’ roll vibe but brought fully up to date. Next up the guitar kicks in as we go “Hellbound”, a rocking, guitar laden, singalong, hook-ridden monster of a track. The crowd go a little nuts as “Misery Loves Company” kicks in, a track that never gets old and brings back memories of those Sunset strip videos you used to catch on MTV.
Back to the new album with my favourite off the record, “Faded”. Crunching guitars, pounding drums and bass lines… for me this sums up why these boys are still around – because of class true rock tracks like this. It made my night hearing this live. We meet a slow “Simple Man” next but this is by no means a simple track, as the lean raw vocals drip off David’s tongue and the crowd sings along. Another test of time track with stunning guitar work.
What do you follow that with but the all out rockin track that is “Blooze”? It’s getting bouncing and sweaty down at the front and the crowd sings and rocks out as we get sucked back to the Strip days. We go all ZZ Top swagger as we head to “Texas”. This is a band out to entertain the crowd and enjoy themselves, a pure joy to watch. The perfect slow coffee stained “Styrofoam Cup” carries us along with its guitar and smooth vocals.
The Rose Tattoo infused “W.F.L.W.F.” (We Fuck like We Fight) carries us rocking along nicely before we open up the fast paced “Wallet” and then head to the one place the crowd is looking for: “Hollywood”. This track was all over MTV back in the day, and it just rocks – simple as that. The crowd bounces, rocks, sings along; the band are going for it on stage… what a way to end the main part of the set.
We get a two-song encore consisting of the excellent, slow-paced “Hands Off” (another singalong classic) followed by the gig closer, an excellent cover of Girlschool’s “Emergency”.
This is a band not living on former glories but who have come out with a bang up to date rocking new album (High Water) with its nod to the past but firmly set in the now. The band are on fire and obviously enjoying every moment on tour as are the crowd tonight, including yours truly. I even pre-ordered one of the limited “Highway to Hull” tour shirts the boys had made for the UK leg.
If you want all out Rock ‘n’ Roll go see the band live and get the new album, I guarantee there will be smiles all round. The band promise not to be away so long next time. I hope not! See you all down the front again next time.
Photos by Gary Cooper Photography