X-Ray Spex - Live @ The Roundhouse London 2008
"Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard - well I think, Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" One of the greatest open lines to any song from one of the greats of the original punk movement Poly Styrene, and a precursor to the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s. For the uninitiated X-Ray Spex were a short-lived punk rock band fronted by the aforementioned Poly who was blessed with a voice that could shatter windows at 70 paces. It was not to everyone’s taste but annoying people was part of the whole punk ethos and Poly and co did that to great effect. As should be the way with all great punk bands they fell apart in 1979 having produced a mere five singles and one fantastic album, Germ Free Adolescents. A couple of brief reformations in the 1990s followed to limited success - which is a shame as 1995's Conscious Consumer is an album well worth checking out.
This CD and DVD set is a complete record of the one-off reunion gig at London’s Roundhouse in September 2008. Only Poly and bassist Paul Dean remained from the classic line up. Sadly guitarist Jak Airport passed away in 2004 and the remaining members chose not to be involved. Their absence, sad though it was, does not detract from what is a fantastic gig from a band so clearly enjoying themselves. There are highlights aplenty on this raucous 20 song set. Opener. ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’ gets the crowd moving and the ferocious pace only lets up for the songs from Conscious Consumer, which is understandable considering very few even know of its existence. The main set ends in glorious style with ‘The Day The World Turned Day Glo’ and that just leaves the encore which could only be an even better run through of the song that started the whole thing off, ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’. Beer soaked and smiling the crowd wended there home and I wish I’d been with them.
The production values on the DVD may be a little amateurish but that only adds to the charm of a great one-night affair. This set is a brilliant way for fans to relive what looked to be a realy enjoyable night and, for newcomers, would be an excellent introduction to these punk legends. Once you’ve done with this you can then go out and buy Germ Free Adolescents, you know it makes sense.