Live Review: Gama Bomb – Manchester

Live Review: Gama Bomb - Deaf Institute, Manchester
23rd October 2023
Support: Apollolyptic
Words: Matthew Williams
Photos: Bill Mawdsley

As I head into the venue, with the noise of the support act, Apollolyptic, blasting out a cover of Motorhead’s `Damage Case` I find myself thinking, are gigs finishing early more often than not these days, as I’ve missed part of another support act. They endeared themselves to me though with their final song, and the excellent chorus line “All that you need, is a kick to the head”, and with their thrashy music ending, they depart the stage.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

Now, how much fun can you have on a Monday night? Well, you can stay at home and watch TV or go to the theatre, or have a meal, but tonight at The Deaf Institute, around 60 or 70 people decided that their Monday night madness would involve watching Irish thrashers, Gama Bomb. And when lead singer Philly Byrne saunters onto stage in his splendid suit and leather gloves, they crank up 'Miami Supercop' and the fun begins.

During the first few songs, the whole band just look uncomfortable, as due to the stage at The Deaf Institute, there’s simply nowhere for them to move, so they seem a bit statuesque, but when they play 'Rusted Gold' their cowboy inspired song from new album 'Bats' it gets the crowd moving, heads shaking and the band seem to relax and start enjoying themselves more, with the guitar solos from Domo Dixon, sounding particularly good.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

And with a couple of favourites up next, '666Teen', a song about nuclear weapons 'Thunder over London' and 'Sheer Khan' the gloves are finally off, literally in Byrne’s case, and the band start sounding really good, with some seriously fast riffs, encouraging the crowd the get a bit more raucous, and they are going down really well.

There then follows a Health and Safety announcement, which, as I hadn’t seen the band for a few years, I wondered what was about the follow, but then through the side door, Snowy 'The Gamabominable Snowman' makes his customary appearance, with him getting in the middle of a circle pit for 'Bring out the Monster' and then he disappears as they begin another new song 'Speed Funeral' which has a killer solo from Dixon, and went down well with the crowd.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

With Byrne now really settled, he’s chatting with the crowd quite a bit, and comments that “there’ll be a few sore heads in the morning” before launching into 'She’s Not My Mother, Todd' which sees a stage diver carried around the room, almost to the bar, and the craziest pit of the night. Just before we get the anti-fascist or as Byrne calls it now, the “anti-tory” song 'Mussolini Mosh' John Roche’s guitar goes, and they were left to contemplate what life would be like without him, with Philly commenting that it would take them “10 minutes to get over it” before the riff kicks and off we go again.

With the set drawing to an early close, Philly thanks the crowd for coming out and says something that will resonate with everyone present, that it was “great to act like children for a few hours again”, as they proceed with a cover of The Pogues 'If I Should Fall from the Grace of God' which they’ve given a proper Irish party thrash vibe to, before ending with 'Zombie Blood Nightmare'` and the excellent 'Terrorscope' before Byrne puts his suit back on and looks like an extra from a Next catalogue shoot, with a massive round of applause ending off the night.

So a Monday night in Manchester was good fun after all!!

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

Photo credits: Bill Mawdsley

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