Photo: Berhnard Deckert | Words: Jessie Smith
The blood, sweat, and spit of punk rock history proudly stains the stage of the 100 Club on Oxford Street, and on February 3rd I watched as Opus Kink spilled out upon that hallowed ground to the tune of ‘The Ketchup Song’.
I have to ask, why weren’t you there?
The band dances and twirls about one another, embracing and laughing and falling at one another’s feet. There is a joy in watching a group that truly works together, musician bouncing off musician, the focus not being on puritan perfection but on playfulness and performance. Perhaps at any other gig a snapped bass string would make a man freeze, but for Sam Abbo it seemed to be an opportunity for some amusement, as he raised his bass to the sky and cried out for another. The replacement was maraschino red, and he adjusted to the new instrument with such ease that he may as well have been playing it the entire time.
Angus Rogers makes for a magnetic lead vocal, caressing his guitar and writhing upon the floor as he seems to somehow maintain eye contact with everyone in the room all at once. The band pauses awhile to crowd around and gaze fondly at the drumming of Fin Abbo, as his beat provided a repeated shot of adrenaline, the hearts of every chest in the room thumping harder and faster. Jazz Pope was on the keys, jumping about them as if every push of his fingers was an electric shock. But the beauty of Opus Kink lies in the horn section, with original member Jed Morgans on the saxophone and new addition Jack Banjo Courtney on the trumpet. Surreal breath control, notes that pulled no punches, and riffs that set the band apart from any other postpunk outfit with woodwind or brass.
I was stunned, having entered the 100 Club without any idea of what to expect, with a ticket I had forgotten buying until waking up for work that morning. Not even the support acts of Jack Flanagan (pioneering the return of the slide guitar) or Peeping Drexels (pioneering the return of dressing gowns) could have prepared me for the exuberance of Opus Kink. In a state of awe, the word I kept repeating to my gig accomplice was ‘charisma’. Charisma, charisma, charisma. I cannot stress how vital performance is in live music, how rare it is to see (male bands in particular) express confidence without showboating or ass-hole-ery, how difficult it is to hit the hat trick of ability, presentation, and stamina.
Opus Kink makes it all look so easy. How dare they?