The Godfathers at LexingtonSupport:
June 24, 2017 at Lexington
Having released their first album Big, Bad, Beautiful Noise this year, their first since 2013’s Jukebox Fury, the agit- garage rockers The Godfathers boast a completely new line-up except for co-founder and leader Pete Coyne. They demonstrate their self-pride of their recent long player by showcasing it in its entirety as a first set before commencing with a second set comprising of ‘classics and treasures’. But will the new album stand up alongside their immensely strong 1980’s, early 1990’s golden period?
Now back to a five piece after a brief flirtation with just a lone guitarist, it is striking how the current incarnation closely resemble the original classic era line-up. As always, the band, irrelevant of personnel, are dressed in incredibly dapper Italian styled cool shirts and trousers while Pete is attired in a foreboding black suit. Guitarist Mauro Venegas even resembles, in both look and moves, original counterpart Kris Dollimore.
Like the album, the set is a broad animal as it absorbs the many facets of the Godfathers sound. But this reviewer’s preference has always been when the band are at the borders of their aggressive direction as they demonstrate with the opening title track. It has all the attributes of a Godfathers classic; angry, defiant, taut, and formidable. Along with Defibrillator, and ‘Feedbacking’, all could easily be slotted in amongst a mixed collection of an all areas timeline of material. The first is a good warming up set to get everyone in the mood but the anticipation is set for after the short break. Because what we are to witness in the second set is a thrilling ride through their back catalogue of unrelenting Garage Rock, R&B thrills, and Punk sneering attitude of the highest order.
And this is where the Godfathers ram down fervently how vital they were in their classic heyday, at times, lone purveyors of a Garage Rock, R&B, Punk hybrid when the mid to late 80’s contrasting scenes of Hair/Glam Metal and Thrash, Shoegaze, and Goth were the era’s defining scenes. While morphing into the 90’s with Grunge and as the cultural changing landscape of Acid/Rave emerged and exploded. They storm through their anthems with blistering power, energy, commitment, and anger – ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’, ‘Unsatisfied’, ‘This Damn Nation’, ‘Unreal World’ – all with the bang on relevance today as they were when first written and recorded.
Apart from a couple of songs to act as breathers the set is relentless. ‘This is War’ is ferocious, the guitars screaming with savagery as Pete Coyne vents all is rage and on numerous occasions looks like he is fit to detonate like a character from David Cronenberg’s 1981 film Scanners. The classics continue, sounding as fresh and gloriously catchy as first time around with The Yardbirds inspired ‘She gives me love’, the puffed-up confidence anthem rouser ‘I want everything’, and the boisterous country punkoid stormer ‘Walking talking Johnny Cash Blues.’
They also delve deeper into their catalogue both old and new with choices which further confirm what a creative cooking furnace they were, and still are. ‘Obsession’ from the Birth, School, Work, Death album is stunning, hurtles at full throttle. And a couple of B side belters are showcased with the MC5 driven ‘Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you’ and the flip side to the recent ‘You don’t love me’ single, ‘Some reaction’, which would have helped maintain the fieriness if included in their first set.
The delivery of their second set is excellent. Yes, Pete Coyne’s voice has weathered over the years into a somewhat hoarse bark but it doesn’t smear the quality of the songs and the fact that this current line-up may be the best formation since that aforesaid classic line-up. The first set could have benefitted with a few more adrenalin fuelled wallopers. But compared to what followed it is a simple case of being a victim of the second set’s blistering, consistent energetic drive, and up-roaring success.
The Godfathers still sound as sharp as they look, and sure as hell are still a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band.