By Wal Reid
Artist: The Exploited
Date / Venue: Sunday December 6th, 2015 - Kings Arms, Auckland
Going to see Wattie & Scottish Punk band The Exploited was like expunging decades of historic teenage angst and dumping it at the Kings Arms. Attending Selwyn College in the 80s, the polarising musical barrage of The Exploited never strayed too far from my dad's old tape deck. Cassette tape ruled the airwaves, it was the analogue age, way before the thought of downloading an mp3 song from the internet ushered in the digital music era and 64K was all the storage you needed on a computer - what a joke!
The tavern audience although small was die-hard as Wattie coiffed in red Mohawk paced the stage like a wild man, hell-bent on wreaking havoc occasionally baiting the feisty crowd. Let's Start A War, Fight Back &Dogs Of War had the crowd moshing (it was slam dancing back in the day) while band members Matt Justice (guitars) and Irish Rob on bass more than effective in their roles, looked on slightly amused, filling out the band's razor edge sound.
Classics Chaos Is My Life & Dead Cities were blissfully received, while 4th form favourites Troops Of Tomorrow& Army Life were tinged with sentimental value. Lost lyrics seemingly returned at will, even surprising myself how much the old grey matter had retained after past solvent abuse days. Wattie's thick as lard accent at times had many at one point wishing they could live google translate, it was unfathomable to think this was someone from the UK but also thinking ‘what the f**k is he on about?'
Wattie was a more subdued than I had expected, but he gave as good as he got. If you yelled something to him chances are it got lost in translation with him eyeballing, you back in reply. F**k The System, Cop Cars and the classic punk anthem F**k The USA capped off a memorable night with the latter song wounding the crowd into a sweated frenzy (shit, it was hot, did I mention that?). The regrettable exclusion of classics A.C.A.B (All Coppers Are Bastards) & Sex & Violence would've made the night that extra bit sweeter, or maybe a sign the band had toned down their political rantings or reverted to a more muted outlook on life.
Whatever it was, it was real. For a moment, it was a trip back to the days when feeling impregnable & owning a commodore 64 computer was all that mattered. Wattie for me is the poster boy of Punk, The Exploited proving Punk's certainly not dead. Here's to the next generation waiting to eagerly discover one of this century's influential musical icons.