Firing Blanks

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Guns For Hire toss off numbers like they couldn’t give an expletive. In spite of being a band that’s gathering a bit of a reputation for itself, they were happy to make this night’s gig a casual shambles; they didn’t betray a trace of ambition, nor care or anxiety to impress. And yet, in some confused and chaotic way, impressive is just about what they were. 

Guns For Hire, apparently special friends of this contingent, responded with a performance directed entirely for their benefit; and if the resultant atmosphere of rowdy camaraderie was enjoyable as spectacle, it did tend to leave the rest of us on the outside looking in. But it doesn’t matter; for all the cheerful boasts of incompetence and under-rehearsal, Guns For Hire gave a demonstration of that same promise you can detect in their first single, the argumentative “My Girlfriends Boyfriend”. A frankly stroppy song, it shows off the band’s exuberant aggression well enough, but it can be a mite misleading – it’s punch-drunk ska feel is by no means indicative of their whole sound, which veers more towards a sort of modernist punk. Line-up wise, GFH are your basic guitar-bass-drums outfit plus a singer who – whilst his onstage behaviour is completely in keeping with the band’s (i.e. seems pissed) – lets the side down a trifle with some unnecessarily contrived vocals: basically a low, sonorous tremble, reminiscent of Bowie at his more ponderous, or Lou Reed anytime.

In between some unapologetic apologies like, “We ain’t learned this one yet”, they’d amble and crash through such numbers as ‘Age Concern’ and ‘Product’ – two songs, in particular, which sounded as interesting on the lyrical side as they’re raucous on the musical. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the time or place, least of all in this packed and suffocating dungeon of a gig, to judge a comparatively inexperienced outfit’s present abilities or potential.

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