Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cock Sparrer; Street Dogs @ Warsaw

Cock Sparrer; Street Dogs
@ Warsaw
Brooklyn, NY - February 11, 2017

Cock Sparrer exist in something like an alternate dimension. They are less well known by long miles than the foundational punk bands of the mid and late 1970's but the ones who do know them worship them as perhaps the greatest band in the world and - not unlike the Sex Pistols - that's really truly based on one album, Shock Troops. Once someone hears that record, they fall into it and never escape. But if that doesn't happen, a punk fan may only hear of the band on the periphery of the genre, skirting the edges of their existence like one may skirt the rim of a black hole, never crossing over into the pull of the immense gravity.

Looking every bit their early 60's as British punks of their time would, these iconic working class blokes recapture the youth and vigor of their songs and maintain their creed of being away from the fray of image and clannishness that plagued and haunted their peers over 30 years ago. This isn't to say that there is a grand indifference. There is just enough, especially these days, to merit a small affiliation for what's good and right to keep in your pocket for yourself, a soundtrack for action, even if this part of the action is getting together with friends and keeping yourself sane with a good time. There is a reason "We're Coming Back" is the show closer.

Of all the songs from Shock Troops and their larger body of work, the one that may speak best for these days is the one they kicked the night off with - "Riot Squad". A brilliantly written story of a small time hood who failed at being a big time hood so decided to join the police for the most cynical and sociopathic of reasons, Cock Sparrer, in just a few minutes back a few decades ago, uttered a warning and reminder of how quickly our lives can get away from us so keep your guard up. As lead singer Colin McFaull said at the end of the night - "stay safe and love each other".

Street Dogs have been Mike McColgan's going concern for 15 years now and the Dropkick Murphys' founding singer still rallies the crowd with his forthrightness and soul. I don't know who the hardcore guy was who came up from the crowd for one song, if anyone knows, leave a comment.