A gig? In a launderette? What’s going on here? The University of Essex‘s Punk Society are truly mental and organising a gig in a launderette was nothing short of genius. If ever the DIY ethos was captured in one moment, it would be an unplugged folk punk gig in a university launderette.
Opening the show was the mastermind behind this, the wonderful Wolfe Sunday. Opening with his hilarious song ‘Road Testing,’ a song about why he should never get behind the wheel of a car, it set the tone for a weird, wonderful and often hilarious night. Next up for new song ‘Running Away,’ there was a stage dive and a mosh pit. The sight of people running into each other must have been a weird sight for the people doing their weekly wash, but even better for the ones who joined in. Up next were his hits ‘Botany Bay,’ and ‘Gettin Out of Hell,’ where the audience sang along and genuinely had a good time to the good vibes. It was the first time I’d seen Wolfe Sunday live, but it wouldn’t be the last that’s for sure.
Up next making his live debut, The Dressing Gown Warrior from Cliffe. This one man wearing a dressing gown and Slayer t-shirt, armed with only an acoustic bass paced around the launderette strumming before announcing. “Hi I’m The Dressing Gown Warrior from Cliffe and this is Raining Blood.” Suddenly ‘Raining Blood’ erupted and pandemonium broke out as confused onlookers watched. Screaming the lyrics and adding improvised lyrics about the high price of alcohol, it was certainly a set to remember. Launching into ‘Angel of Death,’ the Slayer madness continued as confused patrons unloaded their clothes.
Next though the Warrior started to perform some comedy improv songs. One of the songs was about how the US Army should have invaded TV Chef Ainsley Harriott‘s house for oil instead of Iraq. and The Dressing Gown Warrior performed two songs about the band Will Whitehead feat. the Chris Kanski Mosh Collective Band, one song about Will Whitehead, or about the Mosh Collective. Greebo Dave from the collective moshed to the song and joined in on one at the end with the crowd for a rendition of Baby Godzilla‘s ‘Powerboat Disaster.’ This will show go up there with Slipknot at the London Astoria as a landmark show in musical history. As the Warrior himself said at the show, “Wembley or Bust!”
Up next it was two members of a new band, Story From A Scrapbook who performed a short but sweet set of covers which caused the laundrette to break out in a round of applause. The likes of ‘Where Have You Been,’ by Reel Big Fish and ‘First of May,’ by Jonathan Colson drew huge singalongs and laughter. Hearing around 20 people singing about outdoor intercourse was like something from American Pie, but by God was it good.
Furr by Blitzen Trapper
Little Victories by Matt Nathanson
Cowboy Chord by Frank Turner
Laid by Matt Nathanson
Where Have You Been by Reel Big Fish
First of May by Jonathan Colson
Ending the first segment of the show was Wolfe Sunday (on a washboard), The Dressing Gown Warrior and Ryan Jones of Nobgoblin as Didgeridoo))) who formed a new genre (Didgeridoom). Yes, it is doom but with a didgeridoo involved. This unplugged set was incredibly weird but without a doubt enjoyable. The screams filled the laundrette and brought the doom to the patrons doing their weekly wash. Their only song ‘Aborigine Baliff,’ was the great start to a career that will no doubt take them to Temples Fest.
After that the party did not end there as we ended up moving to another launderette on campus. Wolfe Sunday (who performed part of the set in a bin) played only two songs ‘Parting Ways’ and ‘Whisky Moon’ but they were incredible and brought a smile onto the face of a different set of confused people.
Next up it was the return of the Dressing Gown Warrior, who performed only four songs but they were crowd-pleasers. The songs were ‘Super Thunder Blade,’ by local lads Meadows, trance anthem ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway, ‘I Am The One and Only,’ by Chesney Hawkes and the circle pit starter of ‘Walk’ by Pantera. After a reprise of ‘First of May,’ where everyone joined in, including some harmonica from Ryan from Nobgoblin. That moment was what I loved about the show, everyone chipping in to make beautiful music in weird places.
Then came the final bit of the tour which added, after some sing-alongs to Nirvana‘s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ Motörhead‘s ‘Ace of Spades’ and Weezer‘s Buddy Holly. Lauren the Lyricist took on Greebo Dave and The Dressing Gown Warrior in a rap battle. The put downs were brutal, the laughs were loud and the flow was excellent. No one really won, except for the audience which had a great night. After The Warrior performed the original song ‘I’m Just Harry,’ about Harry Potter’s time under the stairs, it was time to go and everyone went their separate ways, ready to pounce again.