Playing His Own Game
Vic Godard

Vic Godard & The Subway Sect

The Green Door Store, Brighton - 13th June 2015
It’s not every gig that starts with a raffle, but more should. In fact it is testament to Vic’s generosity that ahead of indulging us with a seventeen-song set, he is on stage handing out prizes of his records to lucky winners with the correct three numbers at a packed Green Door Store.

Always highly respected by peers, fans and critics alike, Godard is still firmly his own man and remains pleasingly hard to pigeonhole or categorise. Perhaps, as a cult concern, that’s why Vic has been scandalously overlooked in the never-ending flood of 'I fought the punk wars' books, documentaries and features. In fact, he has been pretty much steadfastly ignored in that regard. And you get the impression this most un-starry and refreshingly modest of performers very much likes it that way too.

Vic and his super tight Subway Sect backing band, including Mark Braby on bass, Kevin Younger on keys, and 'Drum Yob' Ian Holford bashing the skins, kick off proceedings with a spirited 'Born to Be a Rebel', a song so infectious it really should be in quarantine in an isolation ward on an island hospital.

Over the next hour or so the crowd is treated to an absolute masterclass in literate, spiky punk pop such as the classic 'Ambition' and 'Nobody’s Scared', punctuated with the Northern Soul influenced stompers 'Happy Go Lucky Girl' and 'Demon in Me' that get large sections of the crowd moving. No surprise then in a recent interview Vic said he didn’t favour one genre of music and that he was a 'dabbler'. Judging by tonight’s set list from his thirty-odd years, a musical pick ‘n’ mix of styles and genres, which also includes 60s garage and crooning jazz influences, the evidence is clear.

As the evening progresses, with a few amusing false starts from Godard who is either in the wrong key or just chatting amiably with the crowd between numbers, hearing such wonderfully uplifting, catchy songs delivered one after another actually makes for a fairly sobering experience in that it is difficult to conceive a man with such an instinctive ear for a great pop hook and a razor sharp lyric could be forced to supplement his income as a postman instead of being a bankable, well respected, unit-shifting heritage artist. But as someone so intelligently anti-establishment and idiosyncratic as Vic, it's very doubtful he would even want to entertain playing that sterile music business game.

Words: Joe Giacomelli

Vic Goddard
Vic Godard
Vic Godard
Photos by Guy Christie
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