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Steve Ignorant's The Last Supper

Sun, 20 Nov 2011

Steve Ignorant's The Last Supper

I went to see Steve Ignorant's final performance of Crass songs last night. "The Last Supper" took place at The Shepherd's Bush Empire, the venue where I saw Steve's initial revisiting of Crass songs four years ago with "The Feeding of The 5000" shows.

The performance was excellent. Steve and his band worked through classic Crass songs from their 1977 - 1984 catalogue with real passion. They started with "Do They Owe Us A Living" from the first Crass album "Feeding of The 5000", then tracks from "Stations of The Crass", "Penis Envy", "Yes Sir I Will" and "Christ The Album".

It was already proving to be an unforgettable show when, to everyone's amazement, Steve was joined on stage by original Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud. I never thought I'd see this. When Steve Ignorant decided to tour with a band performing Crass songs Penny Rimbaud had made it clear that he wasn't in to the idea.

This public reconciliation was incredibly moving. They did a version of "Do They Owe Us A Living" together and there was not a dry eye in the house. Then, to add to the moment even more, Crass vocalist Eve Libertine joined them on stage and they performed "Darling" from the Penis Envy album. Three Crass members on stage, doing Crass songs. Wow.

I saw the three of them in 2002 at the Crass Collective event at the South Bank, but they were not on stage at the same time. This was really was a special moment. There will never be a Crass reunion - but it was as close as you could get.

Crass were undoubtedly one of the most important bands to come out of the UK in the late 1970s. They were not weekend punks, they lived a full-on DIY/anarchist lifestyle. They invented the anarcho-punk music genre, organised festivals, published their own magazines for distribution at gigs, introduced stencil art to the masses and continue to influence bands to this day.

However, I never saw them play live. By the time I moved from the small village I grew up to a town big enough for them to play in they had split up, so the Steve Ignorant shows will be as close as I will get. To be at last night's show was a real privilege.

Pictures on Flickr.

Author: Sean Clark