Among the pioneers of the British street punk movement called "UK82," G.B.H. formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. The initials originated from "grievous bodily harm," a term used in British courts. 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 band's most recent album is 2010's Perfume and Piss. The band currently features two original members, vocalist Colin Abrahall and guitarist Colin "Jock" Blyth, nearly-original bassist Ross Lomas and long-time drummer Scott Preece.
At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, G.B.H. changed the set somewhat from last year's tour, but with no new material in five years, there was not that much to change. Last year the band performed all 15 songs from its 1981 Leather, Bristle, Studs and Acne compilation album; this year the band stopped at nine tracks and then moved into the bonus tracks from 1982's City Baby Attacked By Rats and 1983's City Babys Revenge. Except for three songs from the band's 2010 album, the remaining 21 songs were from GBH's earliest period, from 1981 to 1983. Looking leathered and weathered, spiky blond Abrahall grunted lyrics mocking contemporary culture and politics. Meanwhile, the power trio behind him remained faithful to its original UK82 purist punk sound. Songs were wrapped in simple loud and fast three-chord power punches that induced moshing and crowd surfing. With very little talk or breathing space between short, no-frills songs, the pounding proved relentless. The one surprise was guitarist Shawn Smash of opening act Total Chaos joining G.B.H. on "Cadillac One," playing a more Chuck Berry-styled guitar lead. Otherwise, this was punk for purists.
Visit G.B.H. at www.gbhuk.com.