The Parkinsons - Manchester Academy 3 - 2.10.02

When you're faced with 3 Portuguese spitfires and a pounding Scot with sticks for weapons described as the punk rock So Solid Crew only a mad man would stand in their way. Which is why following a incendiary performance from local stars in the making The Strap Ons the floor is cleared with nothing but the bravest (and incidentally the most drunken) souls lining the perimeter of the stage. When you're the Parkinsons this is a regular occurrence with us Brits, so called inventors of punk rock and home to the Pistols and the Clash, now conditioned into accepting Travis with an electric guitar as the height of rock & roll debauchery and running scared at the thought of a band who are a 4 pronged attack of Scrappy Doo proportions forever snapping at our ankles and demanding their constant attention.

Alfonso, lead vocalist and high kicking demi-god, stalks the audience with the sole purpose of having a party in this funereal den and no-one is safe. But it's all done with the humour and goodwill of a good catholic boy. The ladies (and occasionally beautiful bloke) are taken and romanced with their hands gently kissed as a parting gesture. While their husbands share their pints in a show of blokey solidarity. And some of us are given the chance to be punk rock heroes for the night when he passed the mike to your correspondent who duly shouts ra ra ra into the ether and my 15 minutes of fame are written in the passages of history. We'd personally have preferred to be romanced by our little Portuguese friend, but still it was only the first date and our time will come to take it past first base.

With the debacle which unfolds before our eyes the songs almost become incidental with choice cut "Bedsit City" from the "Streets Of London" EP through to the mini-album "A Long Way To Nowhere". In fact with all eyes on Alfonso rolling around in a sweaty mess on the floor it's difficult to remember that there are actually 3 members on the stage providing the assault to the senses which only comes when you're brought up in a heavily religious regime and then unleashed on the rest of the world for your voyage of freedom. The world may not be ready for them just yet, but with each and every gig the Parkinsons are bringing together lost souls in the journey for the spirit of punk rock.

Alex McCann

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