On a regular weekday I cross the square in front of the appartment to see some dirty streetpunk at the Blue Collar Hotel in Eindhoven, one of the prettiest venues around. Canadian bad boys Bishop’s Green are playing and there’s a nice turn out for these gentlemen. The guests of the hotel are surprised by the group of skinhead showing up for this gig, but the atmosphere is good.
The weather is fine, so enjoying a nice lager out on the terrace is no punishment for the waiting guests. They’ve apparently come from far and wide, even from Madrid in Spain, which tells you a bit about the scene itself and the band playing today. This scene is slowly shrinking it seems at times, but is tight and warm, filled with dedication and unfortunately that is often overlooked when discussing the whole Oi! movement. The band itself is remarkably friendly to any visitors, grateful even. But regardless how sweet everyone is, there’s about to be some violence in front of the stage!
Stealers from Rotterdam has been around for a while and has that right raw sound with aggression and energy that fits in with the headliner. The guitars keep up quite the pace and give the sound a feisty bite. Roaring his frustration but clearly enjoying every second of it is frontman Pet. Though some of the visitors are sitting out this one in the sun, the band is definitely up for it and manages to really warm up the mood for the main act. After a short set, we wait for the headliner. These guys have a new record out, titled ‘Street Law’, give it a spin.
It’s a noteworthy fact that Bishop’s Green is a fairly young band. The Canadians have only been playing shows for about five years now, but have earned their places in previous bands. Five years in band years is a lifetime in a way. The grateful attitude of hard working frontman Greg Huff says a lot to why this band is drawing a dedicated crowd. In between songs the bald guy with head tattoo’s is all smiles and hand shakes, but then shoots of a number of short, explosive songs. Lyrically the band deals with the more typical themes for the genre, but this always finds a willing ear with the working class, who’s lives are the themes of the songs. Hell, I find resonance in the music of a band like this just as much.
The sound relies on the staples of the Oi! scene and is pretty much straight forward, though surprisingly melodic and filled with chants and folky elements. There’s a primitive element to the music of the band, which really ignites when the band and audience jointly create that particular atmosphere. Chanting a long and raising fists, this is the interaction that matters. The pumping drumwork of Orville Lancaster is just chugging on to that party, where more beer flies around then gets drunk. Punkrock, the way it was ment to be, without ruffles, bells and nonsense and only the occasional guitar solo by Scott Farquason.
The band doesn’t play that long, but every song is spot on and the crowd gets rather jostled and I suppose fatigued. Heat, beers and a lot of fun. The sound of the band might not be pushing forward the genre, but why change a thing that is working fine. It’s been a good night.
Thanks a lot to Brendy Wijdeven for the pictures!