Friday, September 26, 2014

G.B.H. at the Gramercy Theatre

Colin Abrahall
G.B.H. formed as a street punk band in 1978 in Birmingham, England. Upon learning that there was a metal band by that name, the punk band changed its name to Charged G.B.H. When the metal band split in 1984, the punk band resumed using the shorter name G.B.H. The initials originated from a term used in British courts, "grievous bodily harm," although music fans have argued that they stand for Great Britain Hardcore or Great Big Haircuts. G.B.H. released one 12" and two EPS in 1981, but when they went out of print, the songs were compiled as Leather, Bristles, No Survivors and Sick Boy. G.B.H.'s most recent album is 2010's Perfume and Piss. Presently, two original members, vocalist Colin Abrahall and guitarist Colin "Jock" Blyth, are joined by nearly-original bassist Ross Lomas and drummer Scott Preece.

G.B.H. stopped at the Gramercy Theatre tonight on its 35th anniversary tour to a rowdy, body-slamming audience. After opening with a fast, pounding two minutes of "Unique," a track from the veteran band's 2010 album, GBH performed the 15 songs of Leather, Bristles, No Survivors and Sick Boy in order. The set concluded with 10 more songs, most of which were from the band's 1980s albums (though "Kids Get Down" was also from 2010). While some of the band's mid-period albums flirted with metal, the band returned to its hardcore punk roots, with each song packing a powerful wallop within three minutes. Some songs featured a short guitar solo; most featured none. Abrahall, bleached blond spikes and wearing a black leather biker jacket (removed nine songs into the set), still looked the part, and the rallying three-chord songs he grunted were saturated with unfiltered punk energy. This was hardcore punk for purists.