Rob Jones

The Decontrol festival at Pontypridd District Club offered an array of punk postures and the 2pm to midnight proceedings were a hit with the rebel rockers who turned out. This presentation was a Saturday mix of Generation X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talons plus Strictly Severe Dancing. The angry, the alternative plus the anarchic joined forces both on and off stage to vent their fury at a system that remains as immensely flawed. Nonetheless, the bands played and the punters feasted as the music united the nostalgia and the now.
The afternoon sets lit the spark and this momentum catapulted into an electric evening. Abrasive Wheels originally formed in a 1976 Leeds picked up the baton and sprinted with it as they unleashed their anthems in a manner that was a blend of The Ramones meets Oi! Square on! The lads delivered their fiery fare and that included the popular product that occupied the Indie Charts on a regular basis in the early 80’s. There was plenty of energy from these Yorkshire terriers and hardcore fans mouthed the lyrics as if their lives depended on it. Vehement vocalist Rzonca rallied the troops – and, it was indeed a case ofWhen the punks go marching In as the anticipation for the main turn was increasing.
These extensive touring acts work so hard to make ends meet and they have to be admired for their dedication to the cause. However, it was 999 the punters wanted and an example of their industry was that lead singer, Nick Cash, was running the merchandise stall before he took to the stage! In fact, the selection of goodies on offer was top notch. One considers that a quality 999 authenticated long sleeve garment was £12 when the previous month Gary Numan was asking for £45 for a tatty t-shirt plus £70 for a hoodie! Those figures confirm that even though they are trying to make a living the hard-working souls of 999 do their best to reward their loyal disciples.
Cash and company offered an hour of music cherry-picking highlights from a career that has crossed five decades. Hair might have disappeared and waistlines are expanding but the songs are still a blast. There can be nothing but respect for the magnitude of the likes of Emergency, Homicide, I’m Alive, Nasty Nasty, Feelin’ alright with the Crew, Hit Me and the associated army of aural attack.
Despite having formed in 1976, 999 have only experienced two permanent changes to their original line-up and the addition of Lurker – Arturo Bassick as a now longstanding fixture adds an extra impetus to the party. The quartet is a tight unit and they have seemingly miracle enhancing qualities as people slumped in their chairs spring to life and then throw some wild shapes on the floor. It is not all pogo-a go go as 999 have some genuine beats that create a different type of Saturday Night Fever. 
We had been blessed and further joys awaited us…….
The clock struck 11pm and our 11.14pm train had to be boarded on the other side of town. We had little chance of reaching our destination but my comment about our plight reached the ears of a gentleman who was walking to the rear. This kind guy turned to us and said that he would give us a lift to the railway station. We jumped in his car and it was off to go as the Boys in the Gang were saved. The arrival in time for our transport was the sweet icing spread on top of an overwhelming October occasion! Dial 999 for Decontrol indeed!
Thanks for everyone behind the scenes and to the forefront of the Decontrol event and also gratitude to the driver who responded to our Emergency!