For this Monday night’s Solid Air I’ve missed Katherine Price and (yet again) Coke Can Jack in full band form.

Damnation Alley are playing their punk/metal thing when I get in. I guess I have to be in the mood for punk, I’m not feeling it at the moment so guess this isn’t one of those nights.

I can’t deny the effort the guys are putting in though, they are just what the smattering of punk fans have ordered . The music is loud and brash, unappealing to me at present, shouted lyrics over crashing chords overlaid on cataclysmic drums.

Whether cover or original the energy is thrown into every song, and the promo presence is there too – as I write I’m interrupted to have the next gig flyer thrust into my hand.
County Hospital Winch

Now the closer for the night come on, County Hospital. The start is artistic, with unmic’d vocals accompanied by alpenhorn, before crashing into a hard rock/punk chorus reminiscent of the previous band


I think I must say something about the visuals. At one point in a moment of tribute bassist Luke unfurls a banner of Laurel and Hardy accompanied by a shout to Stan and Ollie.

Lead Tim is in his trademark raccoon hat, and for some reason he’s in striped tights

County Hospital Laurel & Hardy

 (I later discover these are decorated long-johns).

He’s alternately standing at the mic or wandering around animatedly.

Drummer Ed is just a masterpiece in movement; when loud he’s deliberately all over the place, as they break into a mellow and quiet groove, he’s crouched over the kit as he gets quieter and quieter, while Tim’s movements become gentler to match the mood they’re creating.

As the quiet segment continues Tim wanders around the stage, apologising at one point as he causes feedback, before the jumping starts again to a final crashing chorus reprise.

County Hospital Switch Winch

At the end of the night, the last song is a riff on a couple of chords.  Tim signals for one individual after another to join them and take over instruments, eventually they are grabbing more or less any muso in the room, co-opting them into a jam over those couple of chords. By the end there are none of the original County Hospital left, they’ve left the stage totally in the hands of the new deps.