5.6.7.8’s + The Masonics @ The Boileroom, Guildford – 24th April 2022

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I don’t know what they were putting in the Medway River, but the banks of that tributary proved to be fertile ground and birthed an amazing array of bands. Thee Headcoatees, The Prisoners and The Mighty Caesars are just a few of the groups who combine to weave a rich tapestry of sound, and we mustn’t forget to add tonight’s openers The Masonics to that illustrious list. They deliver a high-octane brand of rhythm and blues that is propelled by unrestrained energy and, with foot firmly on the distortion pedal, they place their focus on delivering a series of songs that are short, sharp, shocks. The lukewarm applause that greets their first few numbers soon turns into a crescendo as they blast through Chuck Berry’s ‘Thirty Days’ and their very own ‘Chicken Bomb’, which comes barbed with a fine staccato riff. The Masonics play tight and loose and another Berry cover, ‘I’m Talking About You’ caps an impressive set.

The Masonics

It could be argued that Tokyo’s 5.6.7.8’s was one of the very first “crossover” bands. Their fusion of punk and rock n’ roll is highly flammable and when played with a garage sensibility it becomes particularly volatile. If you need proof of their wide-ranging appeal then a cursory glance at the crowd finds the young and old rubbing shoulders with an assortment of mods, psychobillies and rockers and the assembled throng go suitably nuts when the band launch into ‘Road Runner’. Without missing a beat ‘(I’m Sorry Mama) I’m A Wild One’ follows hot on its heels and the sheer joy with which the band play turns The Boileroom into a sea of smiles. A spirited version of The Ikettes’ ‘I’m Blue’ goes down extremely well before bassist Akiko livens up ‘Jane In The Jungle’ with a Motown-inspired bass run and some cute cat calls.

The 5.6.7.8’s

Tonight’s gig is the final show on the band’s brief, 5 date UK tour and the show has an end-of-term party vibe that is evident in the band’s demeanour as the ska-tinged ‘Mothra’ is paired with the single that broke them to a global audience, ‘Woo Hoo’. A sultry version of ‘Three Cool Chicks’ is a welcome addition to the set, and with all three band members providing vocals makes for dizzying listening experience. A cover of The Tornados’ ‘Telstar’ appears like a comet and finds 5.6.7.8’s scrawling their own inimitable mark upon it thanks in no small part to Sachiko, a powerful, yet understated, drummer who ensures that the band really pack a punch. On an evening that’s peppered with pleasant surprises Ludella Black (from the aforementioned Thee Headcoatees) makes an appearance to sing on a mash-up of ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘Locomotion’, a combo which may sound like a strange pairing, but they sprinkle it with magic dust and make it work. Dwarfed behind her Teisco guitar Yoshiko takes us back to the band’s genesis with a roof-raising ‘Bomb The Twist’ while a fuzzed up ‘Harlem Nocturne’ makes for a fitting closer after which the band shower the crowd with party poppers and ensures the 5.6.7.8’s won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

The 5.6.7.8’s

• Words and pictures by Peter Dennis.

5.6.7.8’s Set List:

1. I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield
2. I’m Blue
3. Road Runner
4. Dance In The Avenue A
5. Guitar Date
6. Jane In The Jungle
7. Mothra
8. Ki Kya Shout
9. Woo Hoo
10. (I’m Sory Mama) I’m A Wild One
11. Three Cool Chicks
12. Hey! Mashed Potato, Hey!
13. Hanky Panky
14. Telstar
15. Peter Gunn/Locomotion (featuring Ludella Black)
16. The Barracuda
17. Bomb The Twist
18. One Potato
19. Harlem Nocturne