Dirt Box Disco – On the Ninth Day of Christmas – Star and Garter, Manchester: 20th December 2014

Dirt Box Disco – Holly Monroe Photography

On the Ninth Day of Christmas PlanetMosh gave to me Nine Ladies Dancing and there were at least nine ladies dancing at Dirt Box Disco’s Sold Out (again) gig at the STP Records annual Christmas get together at the Star and Garter. Although I think the boss knows I like writing about Dirt Box Disco and Spunk Volcano!

The Star and Garter is a historic Grade II listed building close to Piccadilly Railway Station in Manchester but alas it has been given notice of a Compulsory Purchase Order, so watch their Facebook page for details of it’s future as a live music venue. Dirt Box Disco were the headline act of seven STP Records bands, but they were the only band I was able to see on this rainy Saturday just before Christmas. Although I did catch the last song by The Senton Bombs before aquiring standing space on a bench at the back, so I could write without getting jostled.

Then I heard some loud whoops as four fifths of Dirt Box Disco erupted onto the stage. My poor eyes were suddenly assaulted by a rather toned, tanned, topless torso brandishing a guitar! Having heard that the guy covering for Danny Fingers was named Stinkbomb I was expecting a bald, fat, ugly fucker reminiscent of Baby Spunk so I nearly fell off my perch – well bench at the back!  Now despite the fact that said dude was wearing a Jason Voorhees (from Friday 13th) style mask I could tell he was far more Dave Navarro (my ideal man – looks-wise) than Baby Spunk! Sorry Woodstock! Although I imagine that Spunk looks like Hessu Maxx under his balaclava but that’s another story!

Spunk asked ‘Where’s our singer? Come on Weab’ and last but by no means least Dirt Box Disco-er to take to the stage appeared with several large black bin liners filled with balloons, which were promptly dispatched into the audience. Weab was wearing his customary white and red make up. Spunk looking colour co-ordinated in Spiderman shorts, turquoise Status Quo t-shirt and balaclava with orange Mohawk. Maff in green wig and Deadbeatz in spray-on pants and furry hat! The band opened with Other Side of the Street then Weab asked ‘Have you met Stinkbomb yet? He’s fucking gorgeous’ (I can’t say as I’d noticed!) Then he asked us to burn the roof off as they went into Burning which had everyone singing along to the chorus ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Burning’ Weab then said to Stinkbomb ‘I told you there were some Crazy Cunts here! Very beautiful though! Here’s one about roundabouts’ which was the introduction to Tragic Roundabout after which someone shouted ‘Have you got any good songs?’ to which Weab replied quick as flash ‘Fuck off! We wouldn’t be in Manchester if we had any good songs!’

Peep Show came next with people singing along and dancing. I’d say the audience was mainly male say 80/20 but the women were singing just as loud as the boys! A bit of a moshpit was going on at the front but all was friendly. Spunk managed to get hold of a Mohawk matching orange balloon and tried to twist it into a shape but it had other ideas and escaped! Don’t think it has survived to tell the tale though! Spunk announced the next song Standing in a Queue then indicating Weab said ‘You wouldn’t want to stand next to this sweaty bastard in a queue!’

Weab said the loudest place for audience participation so far had been Cambridge so we had been beaten by posh people! Then the band launched into My Life is Shit with Weab shaking his stuff or rather wobbling like a giant onesie clad weeble! Most of the audience were singing along and a mini replica Spunk got up and danced and sang with Weab, who emitted a loud burp at the end of the song, which I think is his sign of affection as he announced ‘Well done Manchester! You got your title back’ Spunk asked ‘Is anyone coming to our album launch in April?’ and a few cheers indicated an assent.

Weab said ‘This goes out to all the scary dudes with big tatts and muscles’ before I Just Wanna Be a Girl and I noticed that all the flying balloons of the beginning seemed to have gone, probably just useless bits of coloured rubber lying on the floor by this stage. Claps followed and yet another burp from Weab who said he thought we might be ready for a love song and the next song was King of the Castle, the last video they brought out before their Christmas Single and one packed with raw energetic riffs. At the end Weab said ‘Beautiful’ and the winner of the raffle was announced. It wasn’t me so I haven’t a clue what they won. Weab quipped that his next job was going to be a bingo caller! The very short, fast and furious Smackhead came next before Weab asked ‘Anyone new to this?’ there were a few ‘Yeahs’ to which he replied ‘We are Dirt Box, we are bastards and we love it’ and someone shouted ‘Sing it then!’ and they did indeed sing What You Gonna Do About It then came My Girlfriend’s Best Friend’s Sister and Weab said ‘You guys are awesome’ and Spunk asked ‘Have you had enough yet? What do you want for £5 you bastards?’ The cheeky bugger it was £7 so we wanted an extra £2 worth!

Weab said the next one went out to his mother-in-law Jean before I am Rock ‘n’ Roll another great sing along song and Stinkbomb was playing some awesome riffs, I couldn’t help but notice that a fair bit of sweat was glistening on that toned six pack! Then he removed the mask! Ooh er! I have to say he wasn’t too bad at all under that mask! I think they should rename him Sexbomb! Weab said ‘He makes us look ugly! Put the mask back on!’ well Weab said it not me. I wouldn’t have been so rude even though it was true! After that Weab said ‘Fucking breathtaking Manchester’ before another affectionate loud burp then ‘I’ll just give you chance, cos you’re old and fat, to get your breath back!’

Spunk  then told us they had three more songs, then it was back down the A6 for them, but only as far as McDonalds as they’re fat bastards! This encouraged a few heckles of ‘You fat bastard!’ Stinkbomb’s mask was back in place and Spunk said we might be sexiest audience but I Don’t Wanna Go Out With You a song which got a few ladies at the front dancing (ninth day and all that).

Spunk asked ‘Does anyone like my Status Quo t-shirt?’ and before anyone could answer ‘No’ Weab said ‘It’s fucking horrible’ and told us ‘Sir Cliff rang us up and asked, Can you write me a Christmas song? We said No but Spunk Volcano, the legend, the god decided it was time to write a Christmas song’ Spunk asked if anyone had got it and a few whoops implied that they had. I have because I wouldn’t have been able to review it otherwise (here), Spunk said ‘Well if you know it sing along and if you don’t and you like it, buy it, play it on Christmas Day and punch Noddy Holder in the face!’ Weab said ‘I like Noddy’ but Spunk just shook his head. Then although we didn’t want anything for Christmas we did get a live rendition of I Don’t Want Anything for Christmas Afterwards Spunk said ‘That wasn’t too bad actually was it? Merry Christmas to you!’ but Weab said  ‘Still looking tired Manchester! I’m going to Cambridge! Fuck you lot! Manchester Let’s Get Wasted and we did! Weab ended with ‘You’ve been awesome’ and then there were shouts for more.

They hadn’t left the stage so it looked likely we would get an encore. ‘Hooray Hooray it’s Dirt Box Day’ was repeated several times before Maff joined in on the drums. A woman got up on stage, then another who took the mic and took over the vocals for a bit of Dirt Box style karaoke and Weab weaved his way out through the throng leaving the ladies dancing and singing! More people got up on stage. All looked happy then it really was the end as the lights came back on!

For a band who only started out for as a bit of a laugh and a few shows (see interview here) it has been a great year for Dirt Box Disco, their song Freaks was chosen to feature in a Rimmel advert (here), Spunk Volcano’s album ‘Injection’ makes it into our Readers Album of the Year Poll vote here, and they are in constant demand, have played at Rebellion Festival this year and had a foray into Europe. Who know what the future holds for the Midlands answer to St Winifred’s School Choir? Watch this space!

Dirt Box Disco

Set List:
Other Side of The Street
Tragic Roundabout
Peep Show
Standing in a Queue
My Life is Shit
I Just Wanna Be a Girl
King of the Castle
What You Gonna Do About It
My Girlfriend’s Best Friend’s Sister
I am Rock n Roll
I Don’t Wanna Go Out With You
I Don’t Want Anything For Christmas
Let’s Get Wasted
Dirtbox Days

Band Members:
WEAB.I.AM – !!!!
MAFF – tea & cake
STINKBOMB (Covering Fingers)
DEADBEATZ – cooler than you

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!