Articles / Reviews

The Outsiders - Article by Mick Mercer

date: Nov 12, 1978



Soon many people will find the effort of posing too great an effort, and will admit just how good The Outsiders are. Simply for having long hair they suffered bad reviews. (I’ve never seen them get a good one.) They are a rock band, not Punk or New Wave, but a rock band and deserve to be accepted as The Boomtowns, Tom Robinson, Saints have been.

The most recent attack on them came from Burchill, self-professed intellectual of NME and that was correctly put down in the letter (right) the following week I saw The Outsiders play The Speakeasy. Me, Colin, Captain Hairdo plus five friends of The Outsiders made up the crowd and despite the non-existent efforts of a soundman from a mental institution The Outsiders played very well. On their album ‘Calling On Youth’ there was some rather boring stuff, but they’ve overcome their problems now and the material is a lot stronger, as their forthcoming EP will show. The album was released early this year to no acclaim whatsoever. The title track would have made a very good single, ranking alongside the best Punk discs. ‘Breakdown’ is a very good slow, soulful number, but ‘On The Edge’ and ‘Hit & Run’ showed how things were to go a bit too heavy, but nice and raw. ‘Start Over’ is a slower tune, and on side 2 there’s nothing too brilliant. 

‘Weird’ and the songs that follow seem to suffer from having 77 style message in spirit of 75 song structures, but if these were early songs, as I suspect they were, not only do they show promise of greater things to come but it shows The Outsiders were ahead of most of the bands currently getting 
vast sums of money, and not copying, as people claim. It was only the image that got them a bad name. If you take more notice of image than you do of the music you’re in danger of becoming Julie Burchill. At the Speakeasy they started with ‘New Uniform’ as a hefty riff blew my brain across the room. This was followed by ‘Consequences’, ‘Blowtorch’ and ‘Freeway’, which will probably be on the EP and if ‘New Uniform’ is anything to go by then lyrical naiveté is a thing of the past. The music is much stronger than anything off the album and ‘Freeway’ in particular has the type of tune which lodges itself in your memory for days after. 

They’re not the most visually exciting band, bass and drumsman remaining static, whilst Adrian on guitar is content to stamp his way through the stage as he grinds away on guitar. They do ‘Raw Power’ and it lives up to its name, and finish with ‘Count For Something’ and in the second set, where the sound improved, they did one called ‘Conspiracy Of War’ which hints at things to come. Maybe now Iggy’s said they’re “in the groove” many people (even JB) will catch on to them. They’ve got a lot of gigs soon, so go and see them. 

1978 Mick Mercer

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