Sometimes, last-minute decisions are the best ones and deciding only a few days earlier to attend this event was a great one, the deciding factor being that one of my favourite Punk bands, the Cryo-Genics, were the opening act. This was capped off by the excellent GBH and Breakout aka Intensified Chaos.
GBH – Breakout aka Intensified Chaos – Cryo-Genics
Plymouth Underground, Saturday 4 March 2023
Words: Jools Green
Photography: Keith Conlin
At the start of their set, the Cryo-Genics were met with just over a half-filled venue and a fairly sedate crowd. This was not necessarily a bad thing as it allowed their cheekily charismatic vocalist Sid to go into the crowd and deliver his vocals up close and personal, working his way amongst everyone as he did so and continuing to relish the action as the venue rapidly filled around him and the crowd livened up.
They delivered a blistering set that included the singalong favourite of mine, You’re Sick, the controversial Prostitute, along with Plastic Pigs and Suicide Bomber, with the comment, “we hope no one will be offended by our songs, ‘cos if so there’s the door!!” Quite right too!!
The seventeen-second Dead Head featured, about which Sid said that they “are trying to get it down to fifteen seconds,” and everyone’s favourite, Police Brutality, which is apparently a true story from Sid’s youth. Once again, they delivered a superb performance, tied together with witty between-track banter.
Breakout aka Intensified Chaos
Breakout were originally known as Intensified Chaos back in the ’80s before changing the name and then going on hiatus for several decades. Fast forward to now, and they play like they are making up for lost time.
It was their second return to Plymouth in twelve months, and judging by the buzz in the crowd, there were a lot of people very happy to see them return so swiftly, as were Breakout about being back. Their set of classic tracks, dynamically delivered, also includes a song titled Police Brutality, the heartfelt song NHS, dedicated to the service.
No Rights merged into Don’t Wanna Die, keeping the momentum of the now lively pit going, which I was caught up in the midst of, making it a very exhilarating experience all round. Their final track was also a heartfelt one, Waste Away, dedicated to former band members.
With a career spanning over four decades, headliners GBH received a riotous reception as they hit the stage, greeting the crowd in true South-West style with vocalist Colin shouting, “Alright me luvvers!!”
The pit quickly whipped up into a berserk frenzy, and I found myself tossed around like a half-empty bottle of Buckfast in a stormy ocean while Keith, our ever-intrepid photographer, had to rapidly scale the side of a stack of amps in search of steadier ground.
As exciting as this was, I felt, halfway through, “in need of refreshment” and that I should retreat whilst I was still physically intact and view the rest of the gig from the safety of the bar area at the back. It’s a very intimate venue, so you still get a great view from there, leaving Keith still clinging to the amp stack.
Included in GBH’s powerfully engaging set was opener Time Bomb, War Dogs, Maniac, Give Me Fire, my personal favourite Boston Babies and ending on an excellent cover of Motörhead’s Bomber.
Overall a superb evening of classic Punk Rock from three excellent bands, and as manic as it was at times, none of us would change a second of it. It was a comfort to know that everyone was looking out for each other in the pit.
Plymouth may be a small city located at the back of beyond, but we are fortunate to have such a thriving and friendly music scene. You might go to a gig alone, but you’ll always leave having made a new friend or two. It stands as a testament to the efforts of the bands, fans and promoters alike.