In 1980, guitarist Bruce Treasure formed the band Superhumans, by request of his mother. After finding vocalist Dick Lucas, the group became known as Subhumans, and thirty-eight years later, Subhumans are still rocking audiences around the world.
With no new albums since 2007’s Internal Riot, it would seem like an unlikely band to be billed as part of Dickens “Decade of Dickens” event, but it’s not every day a band as legendary as this makes its way to Canada, let alone to Calgary, so everyone in attendance knows the importance of seeing the Anachro-Punks in the flesh. Bishops Green was forced to drop off this tour but Calgary’s own The Borderguards and Edmonton’s Real Sickies started off the show, ramping up the UK thirsty audience.
Focusing mostly on the albums that made the band, 1983’s The Day The County Died and From the Cradle to the Grave, as well as 1985’s Worlds Apart and all the EP’s in between, the audience fed off the passion still being generated by Bruce and Dick. Filling out the band is their 1983 bass player Phil Bryant and behind the kit is their longtime anarchist Trotsky. From a band who originated in Wiltshire, you could feel the emotion and energy this current American administration has had on lighting this Molotov Cocktail once again. Songs like “Businessman,” “No, Apathy,” “So Much Money” and “Religious Wars” seem to have even more relevance today than from the Thatcher-Reagan era angry youth that started this band. The new song “Thought is Free” also proved once and for all Subhumans aren’t going anywhere. Now in their late 50s, they haven’t lost any of their bite.
Crass and Subhumans helped to “Make Britain Angry Again” and showed DIY culture the true way of punk. As the band burst their way into the stage, all the young punks in the audience will hopefully also have this “call to arms” wash over them. Political messages were the focus of the night and ending the tour off in the “Trump Jr.” land of Jason Kenney, I hope the old and the new take away the message of speaking out and changing the world for the better. As Dick put last night: there’s no more room for apathy. They scream “This is War,” and hopefully it is finally the war against the establishment. The scary relevance of a band that started over 38 years ago should show everyone just how badly things need to change and that there are still people of all ages and creeds here to fight the fascism rising to the surface once again.