GIG REVIEW – SHAM 69 – LONDON

Sham 69 at the Roxy, London, June 1977

Conviction, remember that? Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there quite a lot of it about once upon a time? All honest to goodness trench conviction has been pulverised into a subservient heap.

Then someone like Jimmy Sham comes along. Alright, so the name does conjure up visions of a shanty spieler on the Andy Stewart Show. No matter. This geezer eats, sleeps and dreams conviction to the point of self flagellation.

It ain’t the passionate bright young thing garbage kind either. Just a guy struggling in mid air as the trap door opens and the noose tightens.

Easy to get out of the elevator on the patronising cliche floor. So what? Jimmy writes songs about the after effects of glue sniffing (‘I’ve Got The Fever’), the disgusting punk poseurs with no balls (‘They Don’t Understand’), blanket boredom (‘Let’s Rob A Bank’) and (‘The Kids Just Want To Rock ‘n Roll’) etc.

His band – Albie Silder bass, Billy Bostick drums, Neil Harris lead, Johnny B Goode rhythm – created a brick wall sound for Jimmy to bash his head against down at the Sepulchral Roxy last week. Occasionally he over did the theatrics – but you always know he ain’t kidding as the breathless intro to each number exemplified.

Comparisons are odious. But imagine the genetic defect of a coupling between the Pistols and the Feelgoods. Something like that anyway.

Sham 69 have no record contract. They have no manager. They can’t get gigs. They need to play cos they know they’re good.

Er, talking of conviction, ain’t there also a lack of justice too?

(Record Mirror, June 1977)

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