JJ Dunning

18:45 28th January 2005

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The Montague Arms is a strange pub. The barmaids are hand-knitted pensioners and there are broken boats on the walls. It’s like someone’s built a Harvester onboard the pirate ship from The Goonies. Stranger still, unsigned Oxford trio The Young Knives are conspicuously ignoring the onstage microwave. Despite wearing "Where the fuck have you brought us?" expressions, their strident beats and strangled guitars prove they’re not just hanging around waiting for it to go ‘ping!’. They’re clearly enjoying nudging shoulders with a band who still get more rock n' roll inches than Pamela Anderson.

For the reformed and reviled Gang of Four, tonight is a special pre-cursor to their stuffed Shepherds Bush dates. They’ve been astute enough to realise it's far cooler to titillate small trendy audiences (backed by a small trendy trio) than wash up in some casino car-park sans makeup. Frontman Jon King scuttles around on all fours, popping up at the microphone sporadically, a concept that might induce Bono into projectile vomitations.

And with legendary Andy Gill sporting a guitar the colour of unflushed hospital bog bowls, it’s much like a band of ultra-cool Dads showing you the way post-punk used to be. Except it’s 2005, and it’s the way post-post-punk used to is be… sort of… and now Jon’s smashing the microwave with a crowbar, which makes them ultra-ultra-cool post-punk Dads. Christ alive, even One-Eyed Willy would have to admit, this is a strange pub…

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