The Godfathers @ Birmingham Academy 3, 14th May 2010


If this band slipped beneath your radar first time round (as, shamefully, it did the reviewer) then a brief resume from their official web site gives you some background, and, as will be appreciated very soon, a necessary health & safety warning. “Legendary British rock & roll group The Godfathers were formed in 1985 by brothers Peter Coyne (vocals) & Chris Coyne (bass) from the ashes of their previous band The Sid Presley Experience. The Godfathers toured extensively & quickly earned a serious reputation for their electrifying brand of primal rock & roll & their incendiary live shows around the world.” Take wary note of adjectives: ‘primal/incendiary’.


Older, wiser but manifestly not mellowed by age or experience, The Godfathers are back on the circuit offering up their mongrel bastard mayhem Punk, New Wave, battery acid stripped-down rock ‘n roll Pyschobilly Delta/Swamp rhythm ‘n blues. Think perhaps Screaming Blue Messiahs, Dr. Feelgood, Wreckless Eric and Pistols et al all conspiring to create the ultimate cut n shunt musical Frankenstein in some dodgy East End railway arch lock-up.

Why in God’s name did the Academy have them kick off at 8.15 of a Friday night? And that was after the support band! ‘Nice to see ya, to see you nice,’ parodies soberly dressed singer, Pete Coyne, ‘even if it’s at this fackin’ ridiculously early time!’ A view shared by numerous punters arriving up to half way through the set. And a word about the punters; what an eclectic mix of mohican, hybrid Goth, very metal retro and, unless mistaken, a tarot reading red-headed hen party and all thoroughly up for a good night. Coyne is a frontman worthy of study. He glares into the spotlights with a possessed distraction of a seething dad waiting for his teenage daughter arriving back far too late from the school disco. It has to be acknowledged that there’s a hubris free homage to Johnny Rotten’s intimidating mic clasped snarls and sneer spat syllables.

There’s no way we can do justice to the frantic twenty-two songs crammed into a gonad, vice-crunching eighty minute testosterone charged set. We kick off with ‘I Want’ with guitarist Del Bartle, grinding out techtonic plate crunching riffs over Coyne’s klaxon edged effect vocals. The evening’s going to be exactly what it says on the tin: Nitromors evidently being their preferred rider refreshment. No number’s more than three minutes long and the pace is frantic interspersed with Coyne’s engaging rapport between both the punters and, more theatrically abrasively, with brother bassist, Chris.


‘Just Because You’re Paranoid…’ was a minimalist chord change angst implosion that neatly juxtaposed a new song from their next autumn album/ep called ‘I Can’t Sleep Tonight’. A classic New
Wave, rapid thrash with drummer, Grant Nicholas, clearly having been cloned with a ketamine fueled octopus: intense would be an understatement.
Ever the congenial host, Coyne elicits from punters their considered opinion of the opus thus far: ‘What d’ya think, Brummies? Fak all wrong with it in my opinion.’ There’s a consensus of agreement.

Nostalgia is still what it used to be with a back catalogue instrumental from the Sid Presley Experience, ‘Public Enemy No 1’. Del Bartle guitars with Link Wray twang bending ferocity thrown
into ironic sharp relief by his assumed stage presence of a partially worn tyre salesman. The man’s influences are encyclopaedic; his craft mesmeric. ‘We’re gonna make some unholy fakin’ noise now,’ informs Coyne having espied a bewildered looking punter whom he suspects may have mistaken this gig for Ali ‘The Voice of UB40’ Campbell’s home turf ersatz reggae love fest next door.


‘Let’s play Red, Red Wine and really confuse the fakka!’ quips brother Coyne. That indomitable Cockney wit has us provincials rolling about. On it churns majestically with guitar stampede, ‘This Is War’, ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’ with a knuckle bleeding, We Will Rock You, intro. Heroic agitprop anthem ‘This Damn Nation’ goes down a storm as do so many other numbers including Rockabilly stomper, ‘Walking, Talking Johnny Cash Blues’. Limited copy space must sadly eschew other equal treasures. Encore time and this is where the so far pogo-lite mosh pit gets in tandem. ‘Thanks for having us back; I like you Brummies, fakin’ dry sense of humour and you’re honest.’ The nihilistic, anger mantra, ‘Birth School Work Death’, writhes with guitar/girder welding venom that could be a
prescient, contemporary banner for a soon to be credit crunched, scapegoat dispossessed lost generation.


The closer, oddly enough, is a seething, cranked-up cover of ‘Cold Turkey’ with Coyne demurely anticipating the punters to come up with the roof punching chorus. They discharge their responsibilities in spades. He makes a stab at mangling the mic stand then sort of sheepishly puts it right and makes an extended boom to reach over the punters and catch the chorus through the PA. He nods benignly: acknowledging that he is, in no doubt, The Daddy, The Don. ‘That’s it Brummies. Now look behind you. It’s the merchandise stall. Get buying!’

Review – John Bentley
Photos – Ian Dunn

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2 thoughts on “The Godfathers @ Birmingham Academy 3, 14th May 2010

  1. Great review, it is a shame you missed the support band Black Bombers because they are bloody great!

  2. Thanks for you response, Toni. Sorry to miss Black Bombers but given their tea-time slot I wasn’t to know! Will keep an ear out for them. They’ll appreciate your name check all the same. xxx John.

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