Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The pUKES - A Punk Rocking Ukulele Orchestra

The pUKES - Photo by Diana More
I noticed on the posters advertising the Tate Modern's Merge Festival event to launch "The Art of Punk" book, that music was to be provided by a band called The pUKES. It automatically conjured up images of a really awful Kenny Everett Sid Snot Gizzard Puke Punk parody but, as it turned out, that couldn't have been further from the truth. As the lecture drew to a close there was a flurry of activity and over twenty brightly coloured Punks took to the stage. Apart from the drummer, they were all clutching Ukuleles, or Ukes, and I soon cottoned on to where the band's name originated. What followed was an unexpected delight, a set of Punk Rock classics covered in a truly individual style, that just made you grin from ear to ear. From popular favourites such The Clash's "White Riot", Ramones "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" and X-Ray Spex's "Oh Bondage Up Yours" to slightly less well known numbers like Menace's "GLC" and Cocksparrer's catchy anthem "Because You're Young", The pUKES sang and played their hearts out, it was fantastic.

The pUKES at The Tate - Photo by Steve Worrall
After the Tate Gallery event finished we all traipsed round to the nearby Charles Dickens pub, the band crammed themselves in and did it all again. This time freed from the restraints of the seated auditorium and the total absence of a bar at the Book Launch, a few pints made the experience of seeing The pUKES even better. The packed pub sang along to all the hits, and even when the band slipped in an original number, "Will I Learn", it was such a great song that I still sang along, even though I'd only heard it for the first time at the Tate a couple of hours earlier. So it all turned out to be a raucous and fun night, not something I expected when I first took my seat in the Tate Gallery's auditorium earlier that evening. The pUKEs describe themselves as a "ukulele anti-society for punks", they are based in London and first started meeting up in early 2011 at their local The Royal Sovereign. A lot of the band had never played an instrument before taking up the Ukulele but other members have been in bands such as UK Subs, Extreme Noise Terror, Lost Cherrees, ATV and Rabies Babies. The band are now in demand, playing gigs, festivals and punk's picnics in London and beyond. They have also been lucky enough to share a bill with many of the bands who inspired them, including Sham 69, UK Subs, Vice Squad, Bad Manners, Chelsea, Menace, Subhumans and Splodge. So if you are planning a Punk Rock party any time, you know you can always call on The pUKES to supply that perfect feel-good entertainment.

Here's the official video to their own original song called "Will I Learn". 

Many thanks to Clara, you can check out The pUKES web-site here.

The pUKES - Photo by Diana More
You can watch a video of "White Riot" filmed at The Tate at the Retro Man YouTube channel.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your kind words - glad you enjoyed the night - I know we did!