THE OLD FIRM CASUALS
THE OLD FIRM CASUALS @ The Cathouse, Glasgow – 24th July 2011
Normally in Glasgow when word gets out that The Old Firm Casuals are heading towards the city centre, it’s the cue for the public at large to head for the hills!
Unfortunately, it seems there’s been a bit of confusion and an unnecessary feeling of dread would appear to have pre-empted the band’s arrival judging from tonight’s (at best) half-filled Cathouse. Shame, really because these particular Casuals are the absolute antithesis of football hooligans, inciting broad smiles and friendship rather than fear and loathing.
Of course, we’re talking here of THE OLD FIRM CASUALS as in Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen’s latest side project, the name referencing the DMs skinhead crew of which bassist Casey Watson is part. Drummer Paul Rivas, who plays with Casey in hardcore band Never Healed, completes the triumvirate.
Of course, the focus is always going to be on punk icon Lars, despite his on-stage assertions that “this band is not ‘Lars Frederiksen and The Old Firm Casuals,’ it is simply ‘The Old Firm Casuals,’” and as if to reinforce this, he takes position in the more darkened side of the stage, leaving the brighter spotlights to focus on Casey.
The crowd, such as it is, is split pretty much between Skins and Punks which kind of reflects some of the recent online ‘debates,’ as to whether Lars is / was a ‘Skin’ and has he sold-out on his Punk roots? Similarly, Skinhead comment seems to have been questioning his legitimacy as part of an ‘Oi!’ crew.
Look – forget all that crap. Lars in the man! And together with Casey and Paul, they make one glorious racket. Call it ‘Street Punk’ if you have an issue!
Both the band’s releases to date (7” singles / EPs) were given an airing, including what will obviously remain the band’s ‘anthem’ – the rousing ‘The Old Firm (D.M.S.)’ (see below.)
It is difficult for someone with the profile of Lars Frederiksen to completely push all his previous work to the side, despite his best intentions and I’m sure I’m not the only one to pick up on some Rancid styled playing. But hey! I can live with that! The set is loud and brash, but with only three members, TOFC produce a lovely ‘clean’ and raucous sound that entices the Skins to the front and encourages some wild circle pits.
It’s obvious from the crowd reaction that they want no part of any ‘debate.’ They don’t care about those who have missed out on the show for whatever reason. THIS my friend is what PUNK / OI! Is all about! Loud music, friendship and good times!
(NOTE: if you catch the band live (and those readers heading to Rebellion, I strongly urge you do) just bear in mind that if you buy a copy of the eponymous 7” vinyl, then there is a ‘digital download’ code enclosed. Don’t do as I did and pay a fiver, then come home and but a download copy from I-Tunes before looking at the single!)