DURHAM PUNK FESTIVAL
The sold out Durham punk festival was held in the picturesque city of Durham situated in Dunhelm House, which is the student’s union building. The stage is in the main arena and there are stalls selling t-shirts, CDs and records along with two bars.
The Fiend came on with their hard-core style and were fast and furious. Then Crashed Out were on, whose front man Chris Wright had sung for the Angelic Upstarts.
Goldblade UK Subs The Business
Goldblade did their Gospel punk set in lightning quick time. They must be the most energetic band out there at the moment. UK Subs with the grandfather of punk Charlie Harper were still showing many a youngster how to do it. Leatherface, a punk band from Sunderland fronted by Frankie Stubbs, are known for an eclectic style spanning American folk music, hardcore punk and post-hardcore. Oi band The Business were up next. ‘Harry May’ and the controversial ‘drinking and driving’ were the highlights.
It had been 25 years since I had seen either of the headline bands - were they going to be as good and would the songs mean the same? Yes they did! I am older but as soon as the bands started up I was transformed back in time to when I was seeing them back in the day.
Security were quick to tell people to get off the barriers not realising they were just enjoying themselves. I remember when I used to do this, it is great to watch the kids of today get as excited as I used (and still do!). The fans might look angry but they are just showing their emotions. When they come over the barriers they will calm down and quite happily get back in the crowd.
Angelic Upstarts Steve Whale, Steve Ignorant Band
First were the Angelic upstarts with Mensi, coming from South Shields only about 20 miles away this was like a home concert for them. They went straight into “Police Oppression” followed by “Never Had Nothing”. Mensi’s eyes were bulging out of his sockets as he sung his heart out, “Last night another soldier” written about soldiers dying 25 years ago and still very topical today. “I’m an Upstart” and “Teenage Warning” had the crowd singing along and in between Mensi joked around with the crowd. “Who killed Liddle” is about the death of an amateur boxer in 1979 and it probably got the most arousing reception of the evening
Then it was Steve Ignorant from Crass. There was great anticipation as they launched straight into their anthem “Do they Owe us a Living”, with the crowd all singing the chorus in unison and very loud. “They’ve got a Bomb” and “Fight Wars not War” are two very topical songs today some 29 years after the release of ‘Feeding of the 5000’ album. “So What” got a great reception, especially by me as this is probably my favourite punk song, I still play it almost every day. There were two screens hanging above the stage with black and white images on. The band dressed all in black like Crass used to do. Steve looked menacing as he sung the songs with venom. The lead guitarist had a wireless guitar so he could run up and down the pit and go into the crowd playing fast and furious. They did encores of “Do they owe us a Living” and “Punk is Dead”. Well on this display no it is certainly not and long may it live.
Even though it is rumoured that other members of crass believe that is a betrayal of the Crass ethos it is a chance for old and new fans to hear crass songs.
THE ANGRY SAMOANS
Have you gone to a show lately and wondered when all the punks started
moshing like indians and ninjas? If so, make time for an old school band
whose loyal fanbase still brings the mosh to the pit.
The Angry Samoans haven't lost the DIY spirit of punk: "Metal" Mike Saunders set up a good portion of the stage gear himself, and told the crowd, "I can carry my own guitar". During a break he voiced his opinion on the current state of punk, admonishing the use of roadies and high ticket prices by stating, "Twenty-five bucks for a ticket? Ours are twelve bucks, and for that you should be able to get up on stage with us". Which people did.
Hey, prima donna punk bands: this is how it's done!
The setlist encompassed 33 hard-hitting songs including my favourite, Lights Out. Drummer Bill Vockeroth did vocal justice to a set of songs while Mike Saunders, in turn, played the drums. The show included a bad joke contest (some of the jokes were, in fact, really bad) and a Pee Wee
Herman dance-off. In the words of Mike Saunders, "We don't perform until you do".
The show was highly energetic and, above all, fun. If you're in the mood for some old school punk and a good time, this is it.