I’ll be honest, this night was so great I didn’t know where to start with my review. A night of the Clash, and finally getting a chance to see the Farrrell Bros., the anticipation on the drive to the venue was unbelievable. The West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg played host to the 15th Joe Strummer – the Clash Tribute, featuring a line up of the Murder Birds, the Crackdown, Guns Of Wolseley, and the Farrell Bros.
Headlining the night was Selkirk, Manitoba’s the Farrell Bros. Kicking things off with I Fought The Law proved to be the perfect choice. Although the song was covered by the Clash, the song was returned to it’s rockabilly roots in great fashion. The rockabilly purists stuck mostly to originals, but didn’t entirely forget the reason we were all there and added the classics Janie Jones and Know Your Rights in the back half of their set along with the perfect sing-along song Dead End Boys. Although the band has been on the scene for nearly 3 decades, this was my first and definitely not the last time catching the band live.
Opening the night was the Murder Birds. Starting out with a pair of tracks from London Calling, the band played it by the book with a set of covers in honour of the night. The band bills themselves as a punk rock cover band, and the energy and love of the source material showed in their performance.The solid set bounced throughout the Clash’s catalogue, adding Should I Stay Or Should I Go midset, and closing out with I’m So Bored With The USA and Tommy Gun.
After making their recent return to the stage from a 10 year absence, the Crackdown showed no signs of rust. The street punk band was a perfect fit on the night. The band left it all on the stage with covers White Riot and 48 Hours, before closing out their set with help on vocals from Phil Kendel of Chernobyl Wolves.
Guns Of Wolseley , an all star cover band made from a number of local bands ( SubCity, Noble Thiefs, Bo Legged, and Vibrating Beds to name a few), proved they are greater than the sum of their parts. Jumping out of the gate with London Calling, the band got the dancers moving with an eclectic set that also included Police & Thieves and Straight To Hell.
The night was billed as “the only gig that matters” , and the four bands provided four distinct sounds that all fit perfectly together. I’m sad to say this actually my first time at this annual event, and I can’t wait to see how they try to top it next year.