Steve’s Retirement Do – Reviewed by Jason Newson

Picture by Dave Craig

I ummed and ahhhed about reviewing this one as I know a couple of the guys in the band, even played in a band with one of them, it could be a bit awks if it’s a bit of a shit show, but it wasn’t, in fact I really enjoyed it.


This sell out show doubled up as Steve’s retirement do and to my surprise, if you had a pink wristband there was a free bar, happy days. I caught the back end of the support band when I arrived and was a bit concerned that the front man only had one leg, fortunately it turned out this wasn’t the case, of their music, it sounded alright to me.

The first time I saw them and was taken by how bloody good they sounded as a band.

Tonight they sounded even better.

Before the main act came on Steve had a few tributes paid to him by his fellow fire fighters and union members. It was clear to see they had a lot of respect for him but if you know Steve, this would not come as a surprise. Then came the main attraction. The last time I saw Steve and the Protest Family was their final show before lockdown in March last year at The Birds Nest in Deptford, this was also the first time I saw them and was taken by how bloody good they sounded as a band, even with a bit of a shitty PA. Tonight they sounded even better.


The set was a mix of older material, new material and a golden oldie that goes back so far I even played on one the the many versions there are out there. The opener appears to be the standard opener as they started with it last time out, the a capella Hardworking. When I first heard this I thought it was a brave one to begin with, but in context with the rest of the set it works well and goes straight into Side Of The Fox, a ditty about the pointlessness of foxhunting (well that’s what I took from it without going into too much analysis). Keeping with the fox theme, the first newbie of the night Not That Fox, yes Lawrence Fox, an easy target for Steve to work on, and quite frankly a deserving target.

Since the last time I heard this, the Duke Of York has had a bit of a rough time of it

A couple of tunes about our glorious leader BoJo were next followed by one of the highlights of the gig, and one played last time, Air Miles Andy. Since the last time I heard this, the Duke Of York has had a bit of a rough time of it, and not even because of his overall pointlessness as a member of the Royal Family, no, as it is quire clear that he is a loathsome person who should do some jail time at his mother’s pleasure but clearly never ever will, he is a Prince after all. However I digress, if I was not mistaken the lyrics to this one had been updated.

Back in the 6 Of 8 days occasionally we would play this as an encore with Steve, but it never sounded as good as this

The first real old classic, and anybody who has been on a Sunshine Coach should know this song very well, was Brisbane Road. Back in the 6 Of 8 days occasionally we would play this as an encore with Steve, but it never sounded as good as this, and with a fair few O’s fans in attendance it was no surprise that this went down well. OK, so Tamika Mkandewire dates this song a bit, but who cares, this was definitely sing along of the night, and The Orienteer is still only a quid.


Song of the night for me was up next, Supersonic. I love the backing, it works for me, don’t know if this has been recorded, but for me this sounds like it would always work better live. Before you knew it the final song came, the closer last time out as well, God Save The Queen’s Speech. Can’t argue with that as she has a bloody enormous council house and it does need mentioning. No encore was played, but no matter, perhaps next time.


I really enjoyed the show, but what took it to another level from last time was the band sounded very tight and solid. Also, a mention in dispatches for Funky Lol’s fabulous guitar sound. I loved that scratchy high sound he had and thought it worked great with the sound of the band.


So, if you like a bit of satirical song writing performed very well indeed, you could do no worse than catching SW&TPF at a venue near you, if you happen to live North and East of the river, otherwise you may have a bit of a wait. Up the O’s


Setlist:
Hardwork
Side Of The Fox
Not That Fox
Have I Got News For You
A Statue Of Boris Johnson
Air Miles Andy
No Pasaran In E17
Have A Word
Should I Be Wearing A Mask?
Brisbane Road
Supersonic
Han Solo
The Gable
God Save The Queen’s Speech

Today, I’m Singing

Yesterday, I couldn’t touch things
Today, I can touch things
Yesterday, I couldn’t sing
Today, I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing

What about me?
I’m CEV
A year in isolation, cough free
Does anyone care about my captivity?

Yesterday I couldn’t go out
Today I can go out
Yesterday, I couldn’t sing
Today, I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing

Kids with vaccines
Wanna live their dreams
Sick of the disease
Time to do what they please
So, is it goodbye Jason and Joanna?

Yesterday, I couldn’t work things out
Today, I still can’t work things out
But yesterday, I couldn’t sing
Today, I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing

What about me?
I’m CEV
A year in isolation, cough free
Does anyone care about me?

Yesterday, I couldn’t touch things
Today, I can touch things
Yesterday, I couldn’t sing
Today, I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing
I’m singing

Jacob’s Fish Are Happy Fish

Born in Hammersmith
Went to school at Eton
Then Trinity College
Oxford
Presided over the Tory
Association
Went into the City
Started a hedge fund
Amassed what they call
A significant fortune
Estimated worth
150 million
Married into money
Helen The Chair
A mate of his sister’s
Who was always there

Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish

Moved into politics
In ‘97
Didn’t get elected then
Or even at the next ‘un
In Scotland they though he was
Too posh
Canvassing with nanny
Got a resounding 9%
Fuck off, toff
Complained to Piggy Cameron
That his quotas weren’t right
Said parliament oughta be
95% white
Nicked a speech off Trevor Kavanagh
Faked an interview and then
Got a seat in North East Somerset
In 2010

Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish

In parliament he became
King of the filibuster
Thought he was funny
With his history and verse
Holding the record in the Commons
For the longest word spoken
But spoke other words
That were even worse
Addressing members of the far-right
Traditional Britain society
Who would have some of us
Made deportees
And said quarter of a million quid
Spent on MPs portraits
Was just chicken feed

Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish

He got a hand up into government
From a fellow Old Etonian
Leader of the House of Commons, no less
Then was kept away from the mics and the cameras
After he said the Grenfell victims
Lacked common sense
Now , chief Eurosceptic
Out of all the Eurosceptics
Said Trump will be our best ally
After Brexit
He likes Brits to be Brits
And the poor to be poor
And says gay marriage
Still breaks the church’s law

Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish

He broke the lockdown rules
‘Cos he prefers a Latin mass
His relationship with god
Is more important, more pious
Than your relationship
With coronavirus
He wasn’t born to follow
He was born to lead
And his vicious defence of the status quo
Is just born of greed

Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
Jacob’s fish are happy fish
But Jacob can just fuck off

The Singles Club

No, not that sort of club.

After the success of Santa is English, we’ve decided for as long as we’re locked down we’ll produce and put out a new video every few weeks, recorded and shot in isolation but brought together by our nascent mixing and video editing skills and the power of the internet.

The first one lands this week, using up previously unreleased footage from the last time that we were allowed to meet up outdoors, after that, we really are flying solo (together).

Santa is English

It’s been a tough year for bands.

It’s been a tough year for everyone.

We hit some real form with great shows at What’s Cookin’ and The Birds Nest when the curtain unexpectedly fell in March. We girded our loins and learned how to fake a live-but-beaming-in-from-different-locations video, which served us well for a couple of online festivals (and a massive shout out is due here for Joe Solo, Matt Hill and Pete Yen for getting WSO Isolation Festival not only off the ground but out in front of anyone else hosting online festivals, including the big corporates).

As soon as the noose loosened a little, we started the occasional socially-distanced park meeting with instruments and shot our video for the, now online, Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival in a little-known Walthamstow beauty spot.

Slightly less restricted again, we were able to just about stay two metres apart in Steve’s house where we played a few online gigs, either live or pre-recorded, and took advantage of the fine summer weather to enjoy each other’s company in the garden over a drink or two.

But then London went from tier two to tier three to lockdown to tier three and now tier four. Face-to-face ain’t happening but undaunted while more than a little disappointed, we thought we’d find out just what we could do together in isolation. Although The debased street music of the vulgar was all recorded at Steve’s house, this track had to be recorded in five houses on equipment ranging from mobile phones to inexpensive USB interfaces, free software and, in some cases, our employer’s laptop (shh!).

So here it is, our Christmas gift to you. We hope you like it. Keep smiling, keep fighting, and we’ll see you in the flesh soon with any luck.

Solidarity, brothers and sisters!

Russ, Lol, Simon, Andi & Steve

P.S. Get your free download here.

Reviewed by Folk London Magazine

It rattles along merrily and the punk spirit shines through. Singalong choruses are a given

Anja Beinroth, Folk London Magazine

To read the full review, get your copy here.

Reviewed by Fatea Magazine

Never less than thought-provoking, whilst also being highly entertaining, the band who to my mind can be seen as a musical equivalent of Coldwar Steve, indeed the group that can be relied upon to contribute to the soundtrack of the fight against inequality and a better, fairer world, not least because they have something eminently worthwhile to say, deserve a listen.

David Pratt, Fatea Magazine

Read the full review here.

The debased street music of the vulgar

Out now!

It’s been four years (four years!) since the last Protest Family release but finally we’ve got something to share with you that’ll give you an idea of what we sound like these days.

It’s a 100% DIY affair, recorded mostly at my house with some percussion recorded at Andi’s but that said, we’re pretty pleased with the results.

A DIY release comes with a DIY marketing department, of course, and that’s, um, you lot. So do us a favour and tell everyone you know and if you enjoy the EP then tell ’em all again, and if anyone fancies reviewing it then please let us know; someone else’s words always carry so much more weight than ours on occasions such as these.

If you really, really want a copy but finance is an issue, get in touch privately, I’m sure that we can sort something out.