Bullets and Octane Live @ The Barfly, Cardiff (UK) - 11th October 2006

Tonight, Wales were facing the footballing might of Cyprus just yards from this gig and in comparison I guess the Millennium stadium was just about as full as the tiny Barfly person per actual capacity.

I don't get it with the UK glam/punk fan base, a band as obviously talented and important for the scene as "Bullets and Octane" and we get 50 or 60 people turn up, yet put on a poxy "Guns N Roses" tribute in the same venue, the fucker sells out.

Anyway, I could wax all night about how essential this band are right now, but the guys do a good job of doing that themselves. Led by the engaging and enigmatic charm of vocalist "Gene Louis" this is band at home on a small stage. Having witnessed a good but subdued Download performance in June this year I wanted to finally see what the buzz was about, I mean if punk/hardcore legend Page Hamilton produces your major label debut you must be doing something right eh? What better place than a sweaty club in Wales then.

From the off the human dynamo that is Louis spits, spins and struts like some deranged Sid Vicious/Gary Glitter hybrid. To either one side and behind on the miniature Barfly stage is the powerhouse rhythm section of Ty Smith and Brent Clawson on drums and bass respectively. To our right is the driving melodic axe work of "Slash-a-like" James Daniel. This really is a band not fucking around. The delivery of soon to be classics "My Disease" and I Ain't Your Saviour" is so frantic that the band themselves have to take a few steps back and check their pulses. "Pirates" and "Cancer California" being possibly my least favourite tracks on the awesome debut "Revelry" and this years superb follow up "In the Mouth of The Young", but 'live' they gain a new aggressiveness that finally see's the penny drop for me.

By the time they rattle through "Sing Me Sorrow" I'm thinking "this is possibly the best band I've seen in fucking years", yes even better then my own personal fave glam punkers "Backyard Babies" on the Total 13 tour.

I have to admit that I got so involved in this show that I lost track of a lot of the songs played and just savoured the moment stage front and centre, with "Gene Louis" spending most of his time in with us. Tonight was all about what got me into music in the first place. A visceral energy that said, "fuck you" to the status quo and an immediacy that said you must enjoy the time you have on this planet.

I implore you not to let this band disappear into obscurity. Get to the gigs, buy the album and let Bullets and Octane live the dream long into the next decade. On tonight's showing they deserve it, just like I deserve a good nights sleep.

This so far, is easily my gig of the year. But take care out there this band is about to explode.

by Johnny H.

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