Saturday, September 9, 2017

GBH at the Gramercy Theatre

Colin Abrahall
Named after the British legal term "grievous bodily harm," Charged GBH formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. GBH was a pioneer among the English street punk movement, often nicknamed "UK82." Vocalist Colin Abrahall and guitarist Colin "Jock" Blyth were in the original band, and Ross Lomas replaced the original bassist early on. The band renamed itself GBH in 1984. Over the years, the band went through several drummers, with current drummer Scott Preece joining in 1994. The band will release its 12th studio album, Momentum, on November 17, 2017.

While other UK82 bands modified their sound or disappeared, GBH has remained true to its original sound for nearly four decades. If anything, the music has been refined so that the 1980s punk snarl and aggressive beats are clearer and stronger. At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, the simple guitar-bass-drums backdrop to Abrahall's vocals was a crisp and bombastic wall of sound, thrusting like a locomotive with hardly room for a heartbeat between songs. Power chords drove the headbanging, and the explosive speed brought on whiplash. GBH displayed something rather unique in contemporary music, in that few bands still play punk rock this purely and primitively.

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