“Good evening, I’m Peter Lorimer”. By way of introduction, so speaks the man with the microphone in his hand. “And this…”, pointing vaguely over his shoulder to the similarly aged chap who has just joined him on stage and is by now sat down behind his drum kit, “…is Billy Bremner”.
Nobody is fooled by this not for one minute because apart from anything else anyone who knows anything about the history of Leeds United is fully aware that the firebrand right-half and former club captain has now been dead for nearly 22 years.
When David Yow, for that is the man in question’s true identity, is finally availed of this fact about eight songs into Flipper’s set, he falls to his knees in faux-anguish. As he theatrically composes himself his only hope is that Lorimer, Bremner’s United teammate from the 1970s, is still alive and possibly running a sandwich shop.
David Yow is here in the UK as part of Flipper’s 40th anniversary tour, fronting the seminal San Franciscan punk outfit that had such an immense influence on what would eventually become grunge and noise-rock. Yow, who first made his name with the Austin, Texas noiseniks The Jesus Lizard and the former Minutemen and Stooges’ bass guitarist Mike Watt were drafted onto the tour to take what would have otherwise been the places of original Flipper band members Will Shatter and Bruce Loose who had succumbed to their respective fatal drugs overdose and ongoing chronic back problems along the way. Yow and Watt join up with guitarist Ted Falconi and drummer Steve DePace both of whom had been in Flipper right from the outset in the Bay area way back in 1979.
The four men will proceed to take us through 75 minutes of fast, furious and absolutely filthy fun but even before they do so the principal support band WE Are The Asteroid has laid down a quasi-Spinal Tap marker for the evening by cranking their amplifiers up to the proverbial 11, striking suitably flamboyant rock star poses at every opportunity and producing some skull-splitting freak rock in the process.
Coming from the same neck of the woods as had The Jesus Lizard before them, WE Are The Asteroid are by their own definition “loud and crazy”. Featuring drummer Frank Garymartin, Gary Chester on guitar and vocals and the former Butthole Surfers alumnus Nathan Calhoun on bass guitar and vocals they sound what the early 70’s US three-piece heavy rock band Mountain would probably be like if they had been launched from Cape Canaveral way back then and come hurtling back down to earth on this side of the millennium. Replete with squealing guitar ‘Moments Like These’ resembles The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ had it been pumped full of helium and discharged into orbit, whilst the concluding ‘Hot Fish’ is pure undiluted proto-punk.
Flipper are only a few thundering chords into set opener ‘The Light, the Sound, the Rhythm, the Noise’ when David Yow is already knee-deep into the crowd, a position he will resume with great regularity throughout the course of the evening. Yow had just turned 59 years of age the day before and is clearly still in the mood to celebrate as he leads the band through a colossal set which leans greatly on material drawn from their first two albums, Album – Generic Flipper and Gone Fishin’. With Flaconi’s brutal riffing underscored by Watt and DePace’s relentless heavy rhythms age has not diminished Flipper’s fevered energy and frontierism.
By the time that Flipper have reached the absolutely banging and concluding squall of ‘Sex Bomb’, Yow has already arm-wrested with a couple of guys at the front of the stage, impersonated Tommy Cooper, ditched his shirt and is now playfully simulating first masturbation and then fellatio with his mic before leaning off the lip of the stage to snog a couple of receptive ladies in the crowd. It is all good clean fun and one helluva way to spend your Saturday night.
Photos: Simon Godley
More photos of Flipper can be found HERE.
And more photos of WE Are The Asteroid can be found HERE