NEVER was a gig so dogged by portents of doom, only to overcome them all and deliver a pretty fine show.

It all started with the original headliners having to pull out, then at 8.30am on the day, another band dropped out due to illness, with the added twist that they were going to be bringing the drum kit and backline.

Cue desperate hunt for the required gear. A huge thanks goes to Jon Rockbitch who provided the drum kit without quibble at just ten hours notice - bacon seriously saved. The rest of the gear was gathered up and carted off to the Irish Centre.

We got there to discover that Ireland were playing France in the rugby. Some higher power seemed to be saying that this show was not meant to be happening.

In fact all it meant was the setting up could be done, but noise had to be kept down a bit. It ended well for Ireland before the gig started, so all was back on track.

First up were last minute replacements Geezapunx who have lain low these past few months having been looking for a new line up. This was completed two weeks earlier with the addition of a bass player. This bass player has only been playing bass for just two weeks and with six songs learnt, it was to be a real punky baptism of fire.

Basingstoke Gazette:

It was a little messy to be sure, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it and it gave a chance to test all the kit before the proper bands started.

Next up were Hancock from Southampton, who played in Basingstoke last year and were a big hit and were back to prove that it was not a fluke.

Basingstoke Gazette:

They blasted out a full set of Ramones inspired, really fast, female fronted punk rock. They have a great selection of songs, most are their own, but they also have a couple of covers that some feel they do better than the original bands!

It was also great to hear members of the other bands on the bill giving them much praise.

Main support was provided by Petrol Girls from London, who in all honesty are good enough to be headlining in their own right. Loosely described as a feminist hard-core band, they are in truth so much more than that.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Their songs are so well structured and were so well executed with such passion and power. They are one of a small number of bands who can literally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when they play. What a buzz!

The headline band were The Featherz from North London, who continued the general theme of girls showing just how well they can rock it up.

For regular gig-goers (like me), this is not news, but it seems to be a message that has to be repeated again and again.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Not quite as heavy as Petrol Girls, they still had a real fast punky set. They had also picked up a posse of new followers who were now ready to worship every bead and every bit of glitter - as well as dance along to their songs.

Somehow every bullet aimed at this show was dodged, so a big thanks to all the bands and to the management and staff of the Irish Centre for a lovely Valentine's night of fun and frolics.