By Dave Pehling
BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A long lineage of hard-hitting British bands has risen from the industrial grit of Birmingham. the Midlands city that proved to be the spawning ground of everyone from early metal architects Black Sabbath and Judas Priest to pioneering extreme outfits like industrialists Godflesh and grindcore greats Napalm Death. Birmingham’s street-punk heroes GBH have been raging against the status quo since first coming together in the late ’70s.
As part of the “UK82” resurgence of England’s punk scene alongside politically charged anarchist contemporaries Discharge and The Exploited, GBH filled its influential early albums City Baby Attacked by Rats and City Baby’s Revenge with antiwar screeds and black-humored salvos aimed at the Church of England and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The band was among the most active touring British punk groups during the 1980s, traveling through the states and regularly playing shows in the Bay Area during the initial rise of thrash metal with local crews like Death Angel, Sacrilege and Vio-Lence at Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley and the Stone in San Francisco.
Almost 40 years after first coming together, GBH continues to stir up aggressive moshing and reckless stage diving everywhere the band plays. Still powered by singer Colin Abrahall’s gravelly bark and guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth’s locomotive riffs (original bassist Ross Lomas and longtime drummer Scott Preece round out the line-up), the group returns to San Francisco Wednesday night fresh from appearing at the annual Punk Rock Bowling Festival in Las Vegas for this headlining show at the Independent, delivering the angry anthems from throughout its career and playing new songs from their latest album Momentum on Hellcat Records — the band’s first collection of fresh material in seven years.
Opening the show will be relatively recent supergroup FireBurn. Formed by bassist guitarist Todd Youth (ex-Warzone, Danzig, Murphy’s Law among many others) after his similar all-star punk outfit Bloodclot with original Cro-Mags singer John Joseph went on hiatus last year, the new quartet features onetime Bad Brains vocalist Israel Joseph I, drummer Nick Townsend (Deadbeat, Knife Fight) and Nails guitarist Todd Jones
Wednesday, May 31, 7:30 p.m. $25