Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Thee Faction + Eight Rounds Rapid live at The Railway Hotel, Southend Sep 08th by Mark Lancaster

Having staged two previous Roadshows, for The Len Price 3  and TV Smith, with Retro Man Blog, the Podrophenia boys, Piley and Mondo teamed up with Reigate's own social agitators, and the country's best Socialist R'n'B band, Thee Faction for another turn at Southend's, and almost certainly Essex's finest Pub, The Railway Hotel. Having seen them a couple of times "up that London" and been blown away with their blistering power chords and Marxist rhetoric, there was no way I was going to miss this one. It was going to be an evening of tunes ranging from Glam, Northern Soul, 70's Funk, Soundtracks, obscure covers and Revolutionary R'n'B. Thee Faction are at the vanguard of agit-pop, fighting the war of position against the savage attacks of a government who are minded only to protect the rich.

Tonight they were joined by Southend's very own Eight Rounds Rapid, who also like a bit of politics with their Strats. Despite being a local band, I had never seen Eight Rounds Rapid before but had heard many good reports from both Piley and Mondo about them. What can I say? They blew me away. Billy Brentford, erstwhile lead singer of Thee Faction said that they sounded like a cross between Dr. Feelgood and The Gang of Four, and he isn't far wrong. Blistering chords, great funked-up bass-lines and powerful drums coupled with fine vocals, showed Southend what a gem we have in our town with this band. They could be huge and knock spots off of all those insipid "Indie" bands that we are force-fed at the "alternative tents" at the big corporate festivals.

Eight Rounds Rapid - Photo courtesy The DimLocator
Fronted by Billy Brentford on vocals, Nylons and Babyface on guitars, Kassandra Krossing on keyboards, Thee Citizen on bass and Dai Nasty on drums, Thee Faction hit the stage at 10:15. Unfortunately, their horn section Brass Kapital were engaged in revolutionary activity elsewhere, so we were treated to a rare appearance by the original six piece. The stage at The Railway is fairly small and doesn't afford Billy Brentford much room to partake in his almost legendary dancing, but he isn't deterred by the possibility that he might, at any moment, fall to his death from his precipitous position. He soldiers on regardless, throwing shapes, fist punching in true revolutionary style and high-fiving a very drunk man down the front who seems to want to engage Comrade Brentford in some kind of political discussion during breaks in the set. Most bands these days shuffle about morosely between songs but not Thee Faction. They take their politics very seriously and songs are introduced by both Babyface and Brentford with references to Marx, Engels and their Socialist hero, G.D.H. Cole.

Thee Faction - Photo by Robin Boot
Babyface even promotes local protest group Southend Against The Cuts and their October 06th demo, for which I would like to personally thank him. The thing I love about Thee Faction is that they know how to have fun whilst putting across a serious message. They might be socialists fighting back against injustice whilst campaigning for a better society but, boy, can they kick-ass. As they say on a song from the brilliant new album Singing Down The Government, "It's Fun To Agitate". A great set included new single "Soapbox" and the fantastic diatribe against the dreadful corporate nonsense of Mumford and Sons, "The Sausage Machine", along with "Responsible", the classic "Marx My Main Man" and my personal fave, "Union Man/Proletarian Man".

The crowd lapped it up, bouncing as high as any Railway crowd I have seen and even singing along with the songs. Revolutionary Southend, I am proud of you for that alone. And they were gone. No encores, for as they quite rightly point out, encores are bourgeois. Afterwards in the bar, both bands said how much they enjoyed it and hoped that they would have the chance to play together again. I have no doubt that Thee Faction will return to paint the town red again. Make it soon comrades. We need you.

Review by Mark "Comrade Marmiteboy" Lancaster

You can download Thee Faction's new single "Soapbox" for a limited period gratis HERE.

The new album Launch Night is at The Half Moon Putney, along with Attila The Stockbroker, on October 18th.

You can buy copies of Thee Faction's excellent new album "Singing Down The Government, or, The War of Position and How We're Winning It" at their on-line Store.

There is a great feature on the gig over at promoter Dave Collins' excellent Planet Mondo Blog. 

With many thanks to Mark Lancaster for contributing the excellent review.


  1. I agree with all of this. Paul Reeves, Egham.

  2. Seconded.. Top work 'rade - you've neatly nailed the night