On an evening when the nation’s collective social lives looked under threat from the ongoing Covid-19 matter, I’m glad to say that the punk spirit was alive and kicking at Punk N Roll Rendezvous at The Gunners Pub in Finsbury Park (a last-minute relocation as a result of the said virus), led by The Healthy Junkies, Pollypikpocketz and Yur Mum.
Guitarist Phil and vocalist Nina of Healthy Junkies eased the (understandably small) crowd into the evening with an acoustic duet, offering a charming taste of things to come. A cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots Were Made For Walking” and an upbeat strum along to “La Vie En Rose” made for a glowing introduction and a perfect warm-up for the rest of the evening.
This was, nonetheless, a punk gig – one expects energy and Pollypikpocketz delivered in bucketloads, instantly flicking the switch and bringing their savage, grungy, hits in quick succession. While the green fishnet-clad bassist Frog and guitarist Mat Kiki took turns trying to remember which song came next, it didn’t really matter as they smashed through each one with incrementing levels of ferocity and acidity. By now the crowd had doubled out of nowhere and brought the first moshpit to what little space was available in front of the stage – vocalist Myura Amar even jumped down to join the fun at one point.
Fan favourites Yur Mum were up next; a thunderous, no-holds-barred bass and drums duo that took the torch and ran with it. Annie Kunz’s savage riffing and powerful scream were matched by drummer Fabio Couto’s energy and precision. For all the fury the pair brought on stage, Annie’s casual banter and cheeky smile brought a sense of familiarity and ease to the crowd, making the gig more intimate – I felt like I’d known these guys for years, even though I had only discovered them a week ago. For anyone who loves Royal Blood but wishes they were just a smidge angrier, Yur Mum’s top tracks “Igor the Gypsy”, “Sweat Shop” and setlist closer “What Do You Want” are definitely up your alley, bringing swagger and groove to match Pollypickpocketz frenetic energy.
To finish off the night, Phil and Nina were back with the fully-formed Healthy Junkies along with bassist Dave Whitmore (who had been by far the most enthusiastic mosher throughout the night) and drummer Pumpy. The headliners truly put the punk in Punk N Roll, exploding with a raging set that took the gig to a whole new level. The Junkies took no time getting into full swing – the rhythm section were impressively tight, allowing Phil’s roaring riffs and Nina’s howls fill the room. covered most of the material from their 2018 album Delirious Dream, as well as their 2018 single “No Control”. By that point, I was simply having too much fun taking photos. The sheer energy levels this band brought were something else, and they are an absolute delight for anyone looking for something new, fresh and fun.
Each band did a fantastic job of bringing a much-needed tonic in a time of worry and dread. Together they fully embodying the punk ethos of camaraderie, good times and not-give-a-fuck-ness; I’m sure they will be mainstays on the local UK punk circuit for a long while to come.
Photos by Gareth Young