Sanctuary, Friday November 16

THIS was a show I had very high expectations for, so high in fact that I was a little nervous beforehand.

However, I was pleased and relieved that I did not have to wait long to see my expectations fulfilled and then some. All Action Hero from Alton opened up the night with an absolutely belting performance of really fun pop punk straight out of the heydays of the likes of Blink 182. They are way too good to be an opening act, but someone’s got to do it and they did good. Those of us who made the effort to get there on time were truly grateful that we did.

Next up were local punksters Just Add Monsters who are currently on tour. This is another highly animated band, playing fast, aggressive hardcore punk. I have seen them a fair few times, but they are one of those bands I never get tired of watching. I was pleased to see some new material as well as the old favourites. The crowd was beginning to grow a bit by now, which helped give the place a lot more atmosphere.

The next band up, Ipswich’s The Domestics, are the tour buddies of Just Add Monsters. They are also hardcore punk in flavour, though I feel they are more classic and less contemporary in their style. They also play very fast and very aggressively with plenty of movement on the stage and then spilling out into the crowd. Their set list consisted of an impressive 14 songs, squeezed into about 25 minutes - that's what real punk is all about.

The fourth band were Legend in Japan from London, who I have raved about to anyone who'll listen and a fair few who wouldn't - and I can't deny that I was willing them on to succeed. But as soon as the first notes were struck, I ceased worrying and just enjoyed the show and I'm pretty sure that the majority there were impressed by the really energetic female fronted punk band. Now they have finally played in Basingstoke, only one thing remains - they need to play here again as soon as possible, perhaps in the New Year!

Main support was provided by Karn8 from Reading, a female fronted classic rock/dirty rock and roll trio who have been going a few years now and are really awesome. It was impressive how such a mixed bill had gone down so well, with something for everyone and everything for the majority. Karn8 are another very visceral band, with a really physical performance and plenty of banter that you are unlikely to forget in a hurry.

The headline band were The Red Paintings who had come all the way from Australia and were like no other band I have ever seen before. They looked very impressive in their full traditional Japanese costumes. Their music was unusual, operatic rock sort of thing, with cello and violin to set them well apart from the rest of the bands. That difference was reinforced still further by the painting, both the conventional sort (on paper) and the less conventional sort on bodies. It was art on many different levels and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like say that this was the best gig of the year, but I have a horrible feeling I already said that about another show a few months ago!

It was different and a big thanks to all the bands, to the two promoters, Jon Rockbitch and Mr T, and to the manager and the staff of the venue for helping to make it such a success. The only fly in the ointment as far as I was concerned was the bouncer refusing entry to my 20 year-old daughter, in spite of her having a government sponsored citizenship identity card. What is the point of millions of pounds being spent on this scheme if those to whom it is directed (age-checkers) don't have the training to do their jobs properly?