[One from the archives]
The small, cramped, sweaty, low ceiling cellar bar that is the Royal Park Leeds witnessed one of its most memorable nights as a lunatic audience stuffed to the gills on dodgy lager and cheap drugs saw Whitehouse rip to shreds any notion that they’re washed up and finished with a performance so intimidating and drenched in animosity it made a random act of violence seem as insignificant as a stubbed toe.
But to get us in the mood it’s Milovan Srdenovic and his perverted Mexican gravedigger blues. Milovan takes to the stage wearing a wrestling mask, black Stetson and an orange nappy. The crowd look nonplussed. Proceedings get off to a flyer with an a cappella version of Islam Uber Alles – ‘Robbie Williams Paki Englebert Humperdink Paki Father Abraham Paki’. The audience lap it up rolling about in three inches of spilt lager and tab ends ruining their black tights and tight bodices. For his first solo gig in three years he treats members of the audience to a rousing version of Drink Myself Sick accompanying himself on nothing but a bullhorn, people sing along bolstered by piss weak lager and the sight of Milovan’s skeleton tattoos. Hell Hole Billy Goat sees the appearance of the Thirdreichalele with its cute swastika sound hole, he strums it like his life’s depending upon it wailing that sick mantra blues country cross ended muzak as he attunes himself to the evenings vibe. Milovan dons various guises including false beards and bad perms as he chicken walks his way to fame and fortune whilst belting out crowd pleasers such as ‘16 Fanny Rags’ with its ungodly refrain: ‘16 fanny rags!!’ After a slight technical hitch he sits down to sing Big Janice whilst playing an electric guitar across his lap with a chapatti and a fork. The crowd love him and will turn up in droves at his next engagement.
The place is filling up some and the smoky haze and reek of stale beer welcomes Anenzaphalia to the tiny foot high stage. Huge waves of low-end hertz are turning my guts to mulch and the PA guy fears for his equipment as the Anenzaphlaia duo give a solid performance of industrial noise ambience. Call it what you will it’s ideal ear warm up for what is to be the night’s coup de grace.
Whitehouse eventually appear clutching handfuls of bottled beers; Bennett is lithe in his leather trenchcoat, bare chest and wrap-around shades. Best looks demonic with shaved head inciting the audience to riot with screams and shaking fists but its Sotos who scaring the shit out of everybody. He stares into the crowd as if daring anybody to start trouble – there’s been a message posted on the internet offering £20 to anybody brave enough to chin Bennett mid performance and it looks like Sotos has taken it personally. He flicks a switch and the room fills with the deafening sound of Tit Pulp. Some pissed up arsehole at the front of the stage is seig heiling Bennett and making a total prick of himself - Bennett takes a big swig of his beer gargles with it and spews it into his face. Arsehole takes this as a compliment and goes wild in deluded gratitude - Bennett signals to Sotos to take arsehole man out of the equation. Sotos dwarfs him and has to stoop slightly, then grabs him by the neck and slowly drags him to the back of the room where he’s dumped unceremoniously like a bag of sodden rags. Sotos returns briefly to the stage and the pressure builds as Best takes hold of the mic and starts screaming like a demented banshee. Things are hotting up. Sotos is looking really pissed off eyeballing anybody who looks like they could mean trouble and then spies some lifeless drunk who’s decided to take in the show sitting on a buffet three feet from the stage front. Sotos leans over him and pulls his buffet out from underneath him sending him sprawling into sea of spilled beer and crushed fag ends. Rock and Roll sneers into view and Bennett’s spewing beer everywhere, Sotos shoves the drunk around as Best goes absolutely fucking mental. Sotos is really losing it now and goes back to his post to alter some imperceptible dial and smashes a bottle in a mad fit as it fails to respond. There’s broken glass everywhere and some of it has found its way into his hand. After a couple of minutes it’s clear that he’s losing quite a bit blood, it’s running from his clenched fist as his eyes glaze with unfettered malice. He stomps around for a while then decides to call it a draw and disappears. Bennett, sensing that something is wrong goes after him and we’re left with a baffled looking Best, swigging beer, altering dials, wondering what to do. After a couple of minutes Best too exits stage right leaving whatever it is they utilise to carry on its wail. Some punters decide enough is enough and call it a day. Eventually the noise subsides to an imperceptible whine, people are looking at each other shrugging their shoulders. Then Best reappears pulling on a fag and cranks things up again. Sotos like samples of abuse accompany Whitehouse like squawl and for the next ten minutes it’s a Best solo show. He laughs at the crowd lapping up the chaos, grinning like some malevolent imp and then finally Sotos and Bennett reappear to a huge cheer. They take their stations and immediately rip into the most ferocious version of A Cunt Like You you’ll ever hear. Its sheer unadulterated venom. Bennett and Best are fighting for the mic in a bid to expend their frustration. Best loses and flails around in frustration baring his manic rictus. Sotos is still bleeding and spraying blood everywhere. Bennett starts making cut throat signals and amid the chaos the plugs are pulled and that’s it.
Outside Arsehole man is rolling up his trouser leg to show off a huge scratch that runs the full length of his shin. It’s seeping blood and already scabbing over. ‘See that’ he says to his mates ‘see that? Peter Sotos did that to me he did!’ He was proud dammit.
A special mention must go to the Termite team and Mike Dando in particular for getting this gig on. Making little if any money and taking big risks for little, if any thanks - these guys are the real heroes of the night. Frequent your local Termite gig and see some real entertainment.