The McRackins Live @ The Bedford Park, London (UK) - 4th February 2007

A chilly Sunday night in South London. The night before, kids were shooting each other at the ice rink literally yards away. Welcome to Streatham! This place has very little to attract people from afar, but tonight, folks made a trek there for a rare UK appearance of Canadian bubblegum punks the McRackins.

On arrival at this Queen Vic-style boozer I was directed up a narrow staircase at the back, to a room housing 50 or so punks and what looked like an 'Oi' bash. I was starting to wonder how the McRackins brand of catchy pop punk was going to be received by this decidedly working-class group of natives.

First band up was Tommy Schitt and the Punishment Fuckers. With their swallows tattooed on their necks and flat caps covering their lack of hair, my 'Oi' assumptions were seemingly being confirmed. Their set may have been a tad sloppy technically, but what do you expect from a bunch that could've easily been dragged off the terraces at the New Den hours before. But undeniably punk they were, and by the end of their slot I was quite enjoying them, especially their cover of 'Walk Like An Egyptian', which came across as quite funny, 'sung' in a Sham 69 style.

I decided to give the second band, The Griswalds, a miss, and opted to return downstairs to the main bar for a chat with long-time Glitzinet member Sandy Hazard, aka Spot (drummer for the McRackins). Sandy is a veteran to the glam/punk scene, having clocked up miles with Pretty Boy Floyd (the original Canadian incarnation!), Grandma Moses, and The Retreads, as well as the McRackins.

After a couple of beers, we returned upstairs to catch the main support for this tour, the 20Belows. Hailing from Denmark, these guys seemed pretty tight, and although I hadn't heard of them before, they were very enjoyable and well worth checking out. Still wondering how the eggmen were gonna be received, the 20Belows did a good job of changing the direction of the night from the initial 'Oi' onslaught to a more, dare I say melodic variation on the punk theme, laying the foundations for the headliners.

By the time the McRackins took the stage, the crowd were well oiled and in high spirits, but the mood seemed less threatening. This was now a fun moshing crowd. My concerns for the main guys were immediately dispelled as Bil, Fil and Spot tore up the place at a frantic pace. Old faves 'Spud Gun' and 'Colorado Van Crash' were dusted off at lightning speed, along with a handful of tracks from their new album, 'Bat Out Of Shell'. Highlight of the night had to be the comical 'Rub N Tug' which got people slamming and grooving all over the joint.

I think I would've liked to have heard a few of the poppier tunes on the new album, such as 'Summer Of Life' and 'Dazed & Confused', but I think the set fit the gig perfectly. Flying by at a rate of knots, no time to catch your breath, but everyone seemed to have a great time, including me.

Thanks for stopping by in London, guys. Don't leave it another ten years before you come back!

by Stacey Dunk