Wonk Unit plus 2 Sick Monkeys and Matilda’s Scoundrels
Venue: The Union Bar, Hastings
Date: 8th January 2016
Wonk Unit over the years have toured with some of the more established UK punk bands, including a tour in 2015 with the ever rising Slaves. So when the mighty Wonk decided to return to Hastings to kick start their year, the opportunity was not one to be missed!
Kicking off the night were local lads Matilda’s Scoundrels. Fresh off releasing some tracks for their split EP with The Barracks, the Scoundrels were on fine form to get rowdy with the TUB crowd. The folk punks provided their familiar joyful Celtic sound mixed with aggressive riffs. For the earliest moments of the set the crowd were timid, but it didn’t take long for several already drunk fans to go a bit crazy, as a mixture of old and new songs caused bedlam at the front. Of course though, it was Matilda’s Scoundrels‘ stand out tracks towards the end that caused the wildest of scenes. ‘Pissheads Anthem‘ to no surprise had the best reaction with the repetitive “HEY” and “BUY ME WHISKEY….” chants. Then to finish the night off ‘Folk Shit Up‘ kept the pits flowing and the pints spilling. A thoroughly enjoyable start to the evening.
To follow that was the Swindon punk duet 2 Sick Monkeys. Considering this duo consists of just a drummer and a bassist, you would be forgiven for being surprised when they pull off some of the heaviest hardcore punk you’ve ever heard. Both members provided rough shouty vocals over some impressively intricate basslines that could be compared to the awesomeness of Rancid’s Matt Freeman and then some hard hitting drum beats to match. Just like the previous set, the pits were relentless, with almost non-stop pushing and shoving to the aggressive punk. Aside from the music, 2 Sick Monkeys were hilarious with their little rants in between songs and just being all out entertaining as they provided laughs as well as great tunes to lose your shit to.
Wonk Unit hit the stage with seven members for the first time which, considering the size of The Union Bar’s stage, it was quite a feat to say the least. If you know anything about Wonk Unit, you would know at best that the wonky bastards are a bit silly, writing songs about a nan who pisses with the door open or how shit it is to be a builder. All of these themes were backed by mostly gritty British sounding punk rock, some with more melodic pieces and the occasional bit of trumpet playing. All in all there was high energy throughout, with no signs of letting up.
One theme which ran strong all night was crowd interaction. For the first time in a long time at a Hastings show, the crowd made every band feel loved by “bopping about” as Alex Wonk put it. The funniest moment of the evening came towards the end as the crowd were asked to sit on the floor and pretend they were rowing a boat to the final song of the evening, to which a majority portion of the audience obliged. Other clear highlights were the performances of popular songs ‘Horses‘ and ‘Go Easy‘, everyone singing along made them both quite beautiful to watch. This was a hell of a first show of the year; every band played great sets that were fun and full of amazing energy and the atmosphere was buzzing strongly all evening. I haven’t seen sets this wild in Hastings since The Filaments came to town in late 2013.
You can check out our review of the Matilda’s Scoundrels and The Barracks split here