Japan was devastated by two huge nuclear explosions in WW2 and Nippons of a nervous desposition should duck and cover once again in anticipation of a visit from The Outcasts.

This low-key gig, in a superb new subterranean venue in Antrim a dozen miles from Belfast,
was seen mainly as a money-making venture to supplement a forthcoming Far East adventure for the band later this year.

Unexpectedly, the explosive set sent punk rock sonic shockwaves revererberating far and wide as the former Harp Bar habituees wound back the clock to produce a performance that matched anything in their prime.

First up however was glam punksters Stop Stop Start Again who softened up the crowd by carpet bombing them with a tight set of singalong ditties and showcasting three new songs.

One of these, Beautiful Shoes, had the uninspiring chorus of “it's alright you got beautiful shoes”. Unfortunately these shoes had stood in something – a cast-off riff by The Knack – and this offering failed to match the frenteic frivolity of some of their early catalogue.

That aside, they did a great job of warming up the crowd by belting out original classics such as Better Days and Plastic Fantastic with electric elan. The forthcoming offering on vinyl and CD will be worth getting.

Then it was time for The Outcasts. A slightly changed line up from their Harp Bar heyday but still boasting an engine room of brothers Greg Cowan on bass and vocals and Martin on guitar. Former Harp Bar habituee Petesy Burns now features on lead guitar and French import Jon Paul Isoptope was on drums.

And what a difference the Gallic skin beater has made. The band were tighter than this reviewer can remember and every song was suffused with a vitality and energy to almost have regenerative powers as punters forgot their age and artritic knees and flailed arms and legs on the dancefloor like spiked strictly contestants.

The band churned throught their Good Vibrations back catalogue of classics including Self Concious Over You , Just Another Teenage Rebel and The Cops are Coming but it was the new tunes that caught the ear.