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Finger Halo w/ The Ramonas, Citrus Club, Edinburgh

  • Written by  Ashley Stein


As a punk lover born 20 years too late, I was pretty ecstatic to learn that I was being given the opportunity to attend this show and hear songs that I never thought I would be able to see performed live. To begin with, the choice of venue confused me; with its black walls and sticky floors, The Citrus Club wouldn’t be my first choice for a standard night out. However, when I arrived I realised that as the backdrop for a punk gig it was actually rather perfect.

As the full line-up had not been stipulated until that night, I was not sure what to expect from the earlier bands. First up were Finger Halo, the latest project of Edinburgh’s musical legend Jo Callis, former guitarist of The Rezillos and keyboardist for The Human League. Jo describes this venture as “getting back to his roots” by returning to his original post as a songwriter and guitarist. Opening with their latest single 'Confusion', it is clear that Jo still has the ability to write an intriguing and well balanced song as well as perform like no time has passed. Sadly, as they slipped in to a two tune tribute to David Bowie it was impossible to tell what songs were being played and everything seemed to get a bit lost. By the end of their set however they managed to pull it back as they finished with a resounding cover of The Human League's 1981 song, 'Seconds'.

As the room starts to fill up, “melodic punk rockers” Shock And Awe take to the stage. Whilst they appeared to be a fit for this gig in terms of genre, I didn't think they were the right support band for this show. Although the lead singer’s enthusiasm was palatable the audience did not seem overly impressed with them, leaving a general feeling of disdain hanging in the air. This could however be attributed to the fact that nobody wanted to wait any longer than they had to for the final act to arrive. Perhaps not something you often hear of at a tribute gig, however …

The Ramonas walk out on to the stage with a tangible confidence, the audience begins to jump and scream before they have even picked up their instruments. The venue is packed from end to end with loyal fans, each more excited than next, bringing a gripping feeling of excitement and anticipation to the room. In true Ramones fashion, the band blast through 34 tracks with speed, precision and attitude, every song an energetic blast of nostalgia. They barely stop aside from when singer Cloey has a “brain fart” and forgets the words to 'Don’t Come Close'. Thankfully, she is quickly put right by a hat wielding man in the front row who obviously knows his stuff. The encore consisted of some of my own personal favourites including 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'The KKK Took My Baby Away'. It seemed to be over all too fast and knowing that they had such a range of classics to choose from, I found myself wondering how they ever managed to decide what to close the show with.

I really enjoyed seeing The Ramonas play, they owned everything that night; the stage, the songs and especially the audience. I felt like I had witnessed something special and I came away from the experience truly inspired.

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