Local Wire

GBH

It's ironic that consistency, longevity, and predictability have come to be the hallmarks of "true punk," but that's where we are more than three decades after Johnny Rotten blew his nose all over those things. As Jello Biafra recently sang, there are all these bands singing their "hits from the 'good old days' about how bad the 'good old days' were." GBH is right there, shouting down the culture of early-'80s Britain while we raise our fists in nostalgic rage, trying to get into a lather remembering mean ol' Maggie Thatcher. It's a cool trick, but it wouldn't succeed were it not for the undeniable power of the hard-charging punk style that GBH and their '82 U.K. peers pioneered. That bleak, remorseless heaviness was proto-metallic in its brutality and all but nihilistic in its outlook. Although the memories and the whole "living legend" thing may be a solid enough reason for the old punks to pull on their leathers and check out the show, GBH still defines true-school punk so precisely that its new, younger audience loves the band not for the old times, but for the fact that its approach is timeless in capturing the spiritual tenor of disaffected youth.
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Jason Ferguson