The Zounds – De Vinger, Den Haag 08/01/11

How cool to get The Zounds playing your birthday party? That’s effectively what happened on this evening, and it speaks volumes of good things about the band and those celebrating their birthdays. De Vinger is a great club, dedicated to all things punk, and Incendiary was able to enjoy some top punk tunes till the band (who’d had a bit of a mare journey-wise by all accounts) finally got ready to play.
A quick word about the audience: mixed. This was a birthday do, but it was interesting to see a mix of well-appointed affluent and slightly bemused Den Haag youth, some genuinely Bohemian elders, a sprinkling of punk renegades still strutting, peacock-like around their stomping ground, and a number of children.  
And, as if to celebrate this eclectic gathering, the band indulged in a bit of audience participation, but there was a practical reason: sound levels needed to be checked and in the absence of a mix desk who better to do it than the crowd? Once sorted, the band launched into a brisk set: with a fair sprinkling of tracks based round their classic LP, Curse of the Zounds. A fine version of Demystification was duly ticked off, as was True Love and the crowd, without much rush or fuss, took things in their stride.
The Zounds main driving force and wit is still Steve Lake, whose chatty and engaging persona often belies the music his band are famous for making. A classic example of this was when Lake commented about how his “nice” water was (Spa Rood, thanks, yes I’ll take the advertising tab, ta) and then kicked off with a brilliant and passionate take on Did He Jump or Was He Pushed?, which is a long and troubled tale about teenage suicide. Still, these things happen… 
Things warmed up considerably towards the end of the gig: the crowd (including an increasingly raucous section that kept bumping into a quiet mother & her child, who in turn seemed determined not to move to the back) went predictably nuts to the closing tracks Can’t Cheat Karma and Subvert.
Great night all round!