Review: Gimp Fist, Riverside, Newcastle

Gimp Fist singer/guitarist Jonny Robson in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gimp Fist singer/guitarist Jonny Robson in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

It's 13 years now since Gimp Fist began plying their infectious brand of working class anthems, and they've become one of the best street-punk bands in the business.

Their standing in the scene is such that they now regularly pack out the Empress Ballroom at punk's biggest annual event, the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, with 3,000 people - not bad for three lads from Bishop Auckland.

Gimp Fist fans sang along to every song at the Riverside gig in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Gimp Fist fans sang along to every song at the Riverside gig in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

There's no place like home, however, and this first North East gig of the year was evidence of just how devoted their fans are.

Many of them follow the band all over the country, and even abroad, so a gig on their doorstep was not to be missed.

Support came from Belfast band United Bottles, who formed in 2015 after the untimely end of Runnin' Riot following the sudden tragic death of singer Colin McQuillan.

They also played with Gimp Fist at the Riverside last year, so it was good to see how they've developed into a separate entity, with a solid debut album, The Spirit And The Glory, under their belt.

Gimp Fist bass player Chris Wright in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Gimp Fist bass player Chris Wright in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Their 45-minute slot went down a treat, but it was Jonny (guitar), Chris (Bass) and Michael (drums) who most people were here to see, and Gimp Fist hit the ground running with fan favourite First In Line, followed by (Marching) On & On.

The first crowd-surfers weren't long in going over the barrier, and a steady trickle became a tide as the 90-minute set progressed.

Every one of them was having a great time, and even the security guys down the front were grinning as they prevented them landing on their heads and sent them packing back into the crowd.

With six full-length albums and a split to choose from, it was a question of which songs the band wouldn't play, but the set contained enough variety to keep even those who've seen them dozens of times happy.

Crowd surfing increased as the night wore on at the Gimp Fist gig at the Riverside in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Crowd surfing increased as the night wore on at the Gimp Fist gig at the Riverside in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

War On The Streets, Skinhead Not Bonehead and their cover of Swedish band Perkele's Oi! anthem Heart Full Of Pride, which they've long since claimed as their own, had fists pumping the air and the crowd singing back every word.

Three new songs also made the cut, and if The Fight In You, Louder Than Words and Pressure are anything to go by, their next album, which is due to drop next year, should become another instant classic.

The last few numbers saw the setlist dispensed with as they fitted in a couple of extra songs, before finishing with traditional closer Here I Stand, which sums up the band and why so many people have fallen under their spell.

It was another great night in the company of the Gimp Fist gang, and the good news is that after a year off, they're already confirmed for the region's own mini punk festival, North East Calling, in 2019. Roll on next September!

Gimp Fist drummer Michael Robson in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Gimp Fist drummer Michael Robson in action at the Riverside, Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Gimp Fist fans sang every song back to the band at their first North East gig of the year at the Riverside in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Gimp Fist fans sang every song back to the band at their first North East gig of the year at the Riverside in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.