Don’t Dictate/ Penetration 2017

If  I bothered to google it I could recall the first time I got to see the band Penetration. I know that it was either at Newcastle Guildhall on  6th of June 1977 along with The Adverts , Warsaw ( the forerunner to Joy Division) and another local outfit Harry Hack and The Big G  . Or maybe it was on a sunny  Saturday afternoon at Newcastle Polytechnic as such educational places were called back then. Either way both gigs were incredibly exciting , a gathering of unlikely like minded folk that really had not  existed 6 months earlier. A musical  bridge had been crossed, something that was meaningful and tangible to both the lads and lasses from council estates and to those music loving  students who took pride in their esoteric tastes .  Social history books, rocumentaries and punk anthologies inform us of those heady ,exhilarating  ,normal days and nights, so i wont go on about them now ,suffice to say that in 1977 the fanzine Deviation Street’s founder Kevin Anderson  interviewed them in issue 1 of the zine and that this can be found in our archive pages , just click the link and scroll down the pages.

11-28-2012_008sRob And Pauline

Penetration were one of the best, and after a gap of numerous years I am happy to say that they continue to be so . Their 3rd album Resolution created 36 years after their second album, received much critical acclaim and rightly so . I am not a rock journalist and have no aspirations to be one but its an album that flows,   filled with Northern grit,passionate,  honest and warm,  from its  soundscaped instrumantra to its confessional  outromistra   . Like the best albums its best played from start to finish , immerse yourself in the experiential.

I was fortunate to see Penetration in 2016 and again more recently in  late October . They were supported by The Blunders  who I missed due to a delayed train and The Members, who were incredibly good , musically crafted songs which seem to have aged better than I would have expected. Not being into The Members at the time I was impressed , not just a bunch of guys getting their act together for a couple of pints  but a real band .  Front man JC Carrol  challenged those rockumentary  perceptions of the angry obnoxious  punk simply by being himself , he spoke of his loneliness of living in inner city  bedsit flats, cutting through the romanticism of being at a loss . The band and the songs were consistently  good and  their two most known songs , Sounds of The Suburbs and Offshore  Banking Business  went down a treat with the audience and it was a good size crowd that happily waited in anticipation for Penetration to come on .

DSC_0013 (2).JPGSteve Wallace, Pauline Murray, Rob Blamire, Paul Harvey

Penetration didn’t  disappoint either , keyed up , the combo of crunching and spiralling  guitars sparring from Steve Wallace and Paul Harvey  into the ground and up into the ether are driven  by firing drums and the pulsing bass of Rob Blamire  they sound on form. Pauline Murray is one the best vocalists around , her voice has presence, and the band can play every song  past and present sounds fresh and strong .  When Don’t Dictate comes along early in the set the audience respond , not in  nostalgia but as if hearing it a new , a song for today’s political climate , it’s still a great song . DSC_0012 (3)Pauline , Rob , Paul

The set switches from those early songs tracks from the 1st and 2 albums to those on the Resolution album as well as their latest recordings . Later  a rendition of the Flaming Grooves classic… Shake  Some Action .. It  sounds like a Penetration song , they nail it as their own. Its  a great night and as the gig draws to a close I realise later  that in my  own excited /animated state that I have lost my note book . Still I had  a great time and judging by the faces and post gig banter of those around me they did too .  DSC_0022 - Edited Steve and Pauline



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