Photo of The Samples

Album launch: Maybe Tomorrow by The Samples
Spin The Black Circle, Worcester, 28th October 2023

The Saturday afternoon album launch of the Samples long-awaited LP Maybe Tomorrow was incendiary…

We had assembled in the attic space above the STBC, without realising the scale of what was about to manifest. The mayhem that ensued from the opening chord of the gig was both physical and brutal. Not sure if the ceiling tiles were punctured first or if the windows shattering down on to the pavement was the first indication that punk is still alive and kicking in Worcester…

Truth is, the warm and welcoming afternoon event was sedate and reflective – to begin with at least. The gig started on time and we were thanked for our attendance. The opening track on the album was the opener on the afternoon and Government Downfall was greeted with tapping feet and looks of fond-familiarity.

Unfazed by the intensity of the venue the Samples set about proving why their LP was worth releasing.

Despite being fully aware their working day was a long one – the Band were playing a full gig at the Marrs Bar in the evening – they clearly relished the opportunity to play live again. However, the admittance by bassist/terrace baritone Paz Smith that he had “forgotten why they were there,” was more telling than he realised.

Vendetta was performed as if the previous 45 years had been “clocked” and rolled back. Fight for your life was two stiff fingers to the world. Rabies was a manic ditty that let you know the enjoyably, cramped-space housed some monstrous amps.

Photo of Pas from The Samples
Pas from The Samples at Spin The Black Circle, Worcester

The numbers swelled as the event progressed – “we didn’t know you were starting on time?” – how indicative of the assembled throng: in the 70s & 80s nothing started on time. The time-honoured punks in attendance sported defiant earrings and indecipherable, aged tattoos. These clues hinted at the time served. The Samples t-shirts, worn with not intangible pride, promoted a level of loyalty. The warm handshakes that greeted the late attendees was indicative of the forged friendships in the room. “Christ mate, I haven’t seen you in ages”… “I know, I had a heart attack.” The mutual respect was palpable.

Accordingly, the band played with even more conviction and dynamism as a result of the audience growing.

Eventually, Paz Smith remembered they were there to launch the album part way through their gig – confessing, “I’m no business man.” The music is at the crux of the band, this much is obvious. It is not about the money.

Moreover, The Samples are all about remembering one Sean “Badger” Taylor who was celebrated with Badger’s Song as the final song of the afternoon. The symbolism was weighted with meaning that did not need to be uttered.

The utterances of the bloke on the merch stall captured the afternoon: “Nah, I haven’t brought any t-shirts, I couldn’t be bothered.” He also offered up the greatest sales spiel recorded by the business world: “Please buy some of these albums, my Mrs keeps moaning at me because they are all over the bloody dining table at home.”

Carefully, I made my way through the broken shards of glass outside the venue. My receding hair peppered with polystyrene crumbs from the broken ceiling tiles, whilst protectively clutching a white vinyl copy of Maybe Tomorrow under my arm. As I meandered through the town trying to work out how much time I had left in the car park; my thoughts were triggered by how “alive and kicking” I felt.

By: The Swilgate Scuttler

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