Monday, 4 July 2022

Shiner - Essential Youth


(photo : Owen Davies)

 "The most '77 sounding band I have ever heard... like a Raw     Records/Roxy demo.
 Sort of band who did 2 gigs and then quit..
 So far under the radar..  I saw their name on an upcoming gig  flyer when at The Lexington yesterday."

   That was a message I received from Pulsebeat host (and former Dr And The Crippens bassist Wayne Elliott) as he enthused about a band he'd stumbled upon which he decided were "ace!"

  And it turns out he wasn't far wrong. 

  Shiner ( are from Bath & Bristol, they formed in 2019 but their origins are rooted much further back in time. Let me give you a history lesson (nicked verbatim from their Facebook page) : 

In 1977, schoolfriends Tim Orchard (vocals/guitar) and Tim Brooke (bass/vocals) bought guitars, amps and leather jackets to join in with the punk rock phenomenon. For geographical reasons, further recruitment proved rather slow, best summed up by local Bath journalist Simon Kinnersley in his October 1977 review of Johnny Thunders’s Heartbreakers at Bath Pavilion when he wrote, “If London’s Burning, Bath’s not even smouldering”.
Throughout the late-1970s and early 1980s a small pool of punk musicians began to assemble in Bath. The two Tims formed bands together and separately; unrecorded Bath punk bands with names like Doppelganger, The Corgies (with a “C”), God’s Little Creatures (G.L.C.), Nicholas Ferris: Tall Boy… Also on the scene were 5 and 30 Boots (the time and place they used to meet for rehearsal) and Red Mess & The Tampons.
Future Shiner guitarist Duncan Russell was originally welcomed into the fold in 1979 during a school lunch break. The penultimate Shiner member Andy Bull crossed our paths at the dawn of the 1980s, but it was at least a year until he could afford to upgrade his football to a drum kit.
As the scene evolved into the 1980s, the bands that followed featuring most if not all of the future Shiner members were: Bike Boys Go Ape!, Studs On Main Street, Jonah & The Wail, Murder Incorporated and Gunsmoke In Paradise, with a few untitled musical projects coming and going in between.
99% of Shiner’s music is recorded live in the studio. Songs are recorded in batches of four and each session included three brand new songs along with one or two previously un-recorded song from the archives.
Pre-pandemic, Shiner recorded four songs with the then 14 year old Bruno Bof on guest lead vocals. Shiner versus minor, if you like. Now we have joined creative forces to play songs written for and with Bruno, songs written by Shiner and punk songs written but unrecorded in the late-1970s.

  Now for the music. 

  There's 3 songs on their Bandcamp page, all glorious throwbacks to a time when there was a rough and ready punk rock band on every street corner in every town in the country. It's a bunch of old blokes who were around for the birth of punk fronted by a 16 year old who sounds as though he was there and it works a treat. Like Wayne, I'm looking forward to hearing more. You can hear those tracks here : 

  Pick of the bunch? A toss up between Is Everybody Out Tonight? and this beauty. This is Essential Youth...

Everything is hazy, I think I’m going crazy
Nothing new amazes me, the things that other people say
People say we’re lazy, our generation’s gone astray
Say we’ve got it easy, complain about the youth today
Chorus #1
Essential youth! Essential youth! Tell us the truth, tell us the truth
The permissive society abuse our gift of liberty
Corrupt the youth at an early age, send them to a prison cage
Prison life’s romanticised. Law and order are despised
The press started a civil war to wipe out youth for evermore!
Chorus #2
Essential youth! We’re essential youth! So please grow a backbone and, tell
us the truth
We’re essential youth! We’re essential youth! And we need the truth, so tell
us the truth
Gang warfare is nothing new. Queensbury Rules are seldom used
Toilet chains and leaden pipes can change to weapons in a fight
Kids from the gutter, behind prison bars
Cast up our eyes and look to the stars
We’re essential youth! Essential youth!
So please grow a backbone and tell us the truth
We’re kids of this country. We know we’re divine
So stop trapping us in your moral decline
We’re essential youth! Essential youth! So… stop wasting our time and
tell us the Truth…aaaaaaaaaa!!!

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