The Exploited Live at Studio 24

te1“I’m glad to be alive!” Wattie Buchan’s first words as he took centre stage at Studio 24, Edinburgh. As many of you probably know,The Exploited started gigging again in November after Wattie suffered a heart attack while on stage in Lisbon in February. And judging by his performance on Saturday night, thankfully he’s firing on all cylinders again. This was also the first time I’d seen the band live, so I was lucky to see a proper Punk legend continue his ‘comeback’.

The Exploited are one of these bands who seem to be perpetually on the road. Even given the enforced hiatus while Wattie recovered from his heart attack and subsequent bypass operation, this was their first hometown gig for 2 years. So as you can imagine, it attracted a lot of interest from their Scottish support, who packed out the venue. And, as seems to be the case when bands play hometown gigs the energy levels were cranked up to 11!

te5Certain Death and Critikill got the evening under way, and were absolutely superb, but everyone in the packed venue wanted to see one band. And one man in particular…

The current line up of Wattie (vocals), Rob Halkett (bass), Matt McGuire (guitar) and Wullie Buchan (Drums) have been together since 2003 – and it shows. Everything they played in what was a really intense set was tight, aggressive, in your face and generally bloody fantastic. Wattie prowled and growled his way around the stage, clearly revelling in the atmosphere of his hometown show. Any notion that he’d be somehow holding back after his heart attack was quickly dispelled as he put in a very intense and accomplished performance.

Other than seeing Wattie at the top of his game, my other highlight was watching Rob Halkett on bass. Without a te2doubt that was the most impressive, energetic performance on bass I have seen this year. One minute he’s spinning his dreads around on the left hand side of the stage and the next he’s ran across to the right to lean down into the crowd to get one of the fans to help him play his guitar. Then before you can blink, he’s back over the other side jumping about – brilliant stuff!

As I mentioned earlier, this was the first time I’d seen the guys, so to be honest I was unfamiliar with a lot of the material they played. But for me, that only added to the enjoyment of the gig. I love broadening my musical horizons and adding quality bands like these to my iPod’s library.

A special mention really must go to the staff of Studio 24 who let the fans get on with enjoying the gig by stage diving, crowd surfing and the like. The pit area wasn’t for the faint of heart, but it was all good natured and really added to the atmosphere of the gig. A lot of venues I know would over-steward gigs like these and put a dampener on the whole thing.

Now, if only I could grow a Mowhawk…