Studio Bar 28/10/2017
The Tribunes’ album ‘Can’t Afford to Live’ was launched in style on Saturday night at the Studio Bar in Penzance.
The night began with the Darren Roberts Band. Darren Roberts, lead singer and guitarist with Blank Panda was playing some songs off his last solo album ‘Downswing’. Darren was backed by long-time collaborator Talan Archbold, work colleague Adam Floyd and Tribunes drummer Kevin Williams. The link between Darren and The Tribunes didn’t stop there though as Darren produced the very album that The Tribunes were launching that night. Roberts’ music is full of dynamic range and intriguing time signatures, one minute ethereal, the next rocking out, but always engaging.
Next up was The Ghost of Fishboy Tractor. Anyone that drinks or plays gigs in The Farmers Arms in Penzance knows co-landlord Taf Thomas. TGOFT has been around for years, always fronted by Taf, but with an ever-changing band around him. On Saturday night Lyndon Baldwin was on the kit, Nathan Nicholson provided bass beats and Phil Stevenson played minimal but interesting guitar licks. TGOFT’s music defies classification, taking something from reggae, country and groovy blues to form a sound of their own. Taf’s lyrics are always interesting and often provide social commentary.
Finally, The Tribunes took to the stage. Imitating the album cover, they took to the stage in ballgowns or shirt and tie and provided a table of tea and cakes. The radical-political alternative rock of The Tribunes’ music takes happily from many genres, fusing 1960s garage rock, with 1970s glam and punk, 1990s alternative rock as well as a smattering of folk, blues and psychedelia. The lyrics offer either social or political comment or tell the stories of people whose stories need to be heard. As the first song off the album says “voice the voiceless as tribunes of the oppressed”. Other songs discuss trans issues, imperialism, women’s liberation, anti-fascism, the dismantling of the welfare state and the degrading and alienating effects of life under capitalism. The final song ‘Fight the Power’, is an anthem of resistance to oppression and exploitation and had the audience chanting along.
The place was heaving with excited, sweaty, beautiful people and after the first encore took us ten minutes past the finish time, the call for The Tribunes to play a second encore could not be fulfilled due to time constraints, despite the clocks going back.
If you missed it, The Tribunes will be doing it all over again at Charlie’s Bar in Redruth on Saturday 25th November (support to be announced soon). Thanks to everyone that came down and made it such a memorable night, to everyone that bought the album and to Pete Knight for the excellent photo.