As Promised, last night I went all the way up to Tuffnell Park to see a band called ‘The Pukes‘. Well, I say ‘band’ but that really does not do them justice. They are more of a ‘punk ukulele collective’ or, to use their own terminology ‘a ukulele anti-society for punks’.
I am guessing, but I would hazard a guess that there were around 15 or more people on that stage thrashing the guts out them little Ukuleles. Mostly ladies, mostly with different colored hair. Mostly tattooed. Totally a spectacle to be seen.
I have been talking to Clara from the pukes over email for a little while now. She sent me a list of their gigs a while back (see the events calendar for their next gig). Now there a few guys in my office over from New York for a few weeks running training courses. One of them asked me if we could go to a punk gig, and I remembered Clara had told me of this gig, so I took my New York workmates up to Tuffnell Park. They couldn’t believe what they saw. The pub was full of leather jackets, bright coloured mohawks and big boots, but my New York mates just couldn’t understand people looking like that but still able to ask them ‘scuse me, mate when they wanted to get past. Apparently, New York punks have much lower standards etiquette than London punks.
So the Pukes rolled through a great list of 2 1/2 minute punk standards that, although admittedly never written for ukulele, belonged on the 4-stringers, if they belonged to be played at all. Further more, every member of the band and the crowd enjoyed what was going on. If you play Uke yourself, you will most likely know that sub-conscious grin you get when you play a tune on it, and you know that by all the rules it just should not work, but it does. That exact same grin permutated through the crowd. Even the most hardened punks were bouncing.
Of course, if that wasn’t enough, to top my evening, I went back stage to meet the band, and I was also lucky enough to get a quick play on what we think might be the only solid body Kala U-Bass in Britain at the moment. It’s owner, Paris, was kind enough to let me take some photos of it, but I am going to save most of them for another day. These U-basses need further investigation, and I know just the website… stay tuned!
Want to try punk uke yourself? Download ‘The Pukes Punk Songbook‘ now!