Live review: Guitar Gangsters / Friends of Luca Brasi / The Green Fog

Three excellent bands delighted the Punk faithful on 16th Feb '24!

On an unseasonably warm mid-February evening, the Hope and Anchor in Islington hosted Guitar Gangsters, masterfully supported by Friends of Luca Brasi and The Green Fog. A popular choice for many, the event was sold out, much to the delight of promotors Sam and Tony from UXB Music Promotion and Sounds of the Suburbs Record Store! Squeezing past the queue at the main bar which was several folk deep, I headed straight downstairs to make sure I caught all of the music.

Opening band The Green Fog are a brand new trio, fronted by guitarist / vocalist Alan Walshe (Thee Escapees, The SD5) with The Fallen LeavesIan O’Sullivan on drums and Sean Pereira Summers (Thee Escapees) on bass. This was their debut live show, but you’d never have guessed that, being the experienced musicians they are they put on a highly polished performance.

Tight, precise drumming, rockin’ bass riffs and groovy guitar solos kept the crowd bopping to the band’s Garage / Mod sounds. They must be encouraged by the reception their material got – hopefully we’ll see them again soon! I captured their song ‘Wasted’ on video – watch in HD below:

The Green Fog
The Green Fog - photo by Ruth Rae

The baton then passed to Friends of Luca Brasi who kept the energy running – all five of them soon had the crowd clapping and singing along! Led by Adam Bishop (also of The Vendettas) with Vendettas drummer Brian Gosling making his debut on the drum stool with FoLB, (after a mere 4 rehearsals to learn the songs), I was impressed by their great vocal harmonies and complex bass riffs.

Removing his shirt, Adam was wearing a StranglersBlack and White‘ album T-shirt underneath which is always a good sign! Playing a mixture of less well-known covers and their own songs, the band’s catchy Pop Rock with heavier undertones oscillated with 60s and 70s vibes at times, and held everyone’s attention.

Friends of Luca Brasi
Friends of Luca Brasi - photo by Ruth Rae

Tonight’s headliners Guitar Gangsters were originally formed in 1988 by brothers Pete & Phil Ley, more recently joined by drummer Chris Benton & guitarist Ed Sonsino. Describing their sound as “Noisy melodic punk with more hooks than a thing with lots of hooks!” they have released 11 albums over the decades. Named by their record label, the band are proud to still be playing to live audiences.

Pete and Phil Ley - Guitar Gangsters - photo by Ruth Rae

Frontman and singer / songwriter Pete welcomed the packed crowd and proceeded to hold us in the palm of his hand while the GGs swept through a superb set of unreleased new songs, old songs and songs somewhere in between from their albums; ‘Prohibition‘, ‘Skweeler!‘, ‘The Class of ’76‘, ‘Let Em Have It‘, ‘Sex & Money‘ and ‘Fortune Favours the Brave‘.

Fluid, synchronous guitar playing from the front row, sometimes accompanied by all three swaying in time made them a joy to watch as well as listen to! Chris behind the kit was equally exhilarating to watch with real power emanating from his smooth as silk drum strokes.

Chris Benton - Guitar Gangsters - photo by Ruth Rae
Ed Sonsino's guitar! - Guitar Gangsters - photo by Ruth Rae

It was nice to see band members from Menace, Flesh Tetris and Jo Jo and the Teeth in the audience, obviously enjoying the Guitar Gangsters excellent performance!

The band are incredibly appreaciative of their fans, and even wrote a song for them, ‘The Faithful’ which I videoed:

Amongst several upcoming tour dates in the UK and Europe, Guitar Gangsters will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of their first album ‘Prohibition on Friday 21st June at The Water Rats in London. Details below – this will be a very special show – don’t miss it!

Look out for more great shows coming this year from UXB Music Promotion and Sounds of the Suburbs Record Store – they specialise in bringing excellent bands you won’t often see to play the smaller venues in London:

Sat, 30 Mar – Fantazmaz / Honeybadger / Prisoners of Mother England – Hope and Anchor  · London
Fri, 12 Apr – French Boutik / Thee Moot / Dirt Royal – Hope and Anchor  · London
Sat, 27 Apr – Healthy Junkies / PollyPikPocketz / Lo Rays – Trinity Bar  · Harrow
Fri, 24 May – Year Zero / PSA / Vicious Love – Hope and Anchor  · London
Sat, 15 Jun – The See No Evils / Darron Robinson / SuperMinx 70 – Hope and Anchor  · London
Sat, 6 Jul – Tizane / Eville / Down In Autum – Hope and Anchor  · London

Main Photo (Guitar Gangsters) Credit: RUTH RAE

Guitar Gangsters set list - Hope and Anchor 16/02/2024
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