HAPPY BIRTHDAY STUPIDO RECORDS!

Vive Le Rock visited Stupido Records 30th Anniversary party at Tavastia Club, Helsinki in late April to find out what makes this great Finnish record label tick.

Stupido Records was founded in 1988, and since then their empire has grown to include a record shop, a mail order service and a publishing company. They’ve signed 37 legendary Finnish  bands including Pelle Miljoona (pictured), Waltari, Tumppi Varonen (from Problems and Pelle Miljoona) and Villu Tamme / J.M.K.E.

This event was over two days and various Stupido Records artists performed, including  Finnish punk rock legends like Pelle Miljoona (Pelle Miljoona – singing and drums,  Tumppi Varonen, Veli-Pekka ‘Puka’ Oinonen – guitar). Pelle Miljoona is a pioneer in the Finnish punk rock scene. He recorded his first album in 1977 and the band line-up has changed over the years, hence most recognised names who played for the band over the years are Hanoi Rocks legends Andy McCoy on guitar and Sam Yaffa on bass.

On the night Pelle Miljoona played his hits like ‘Moottoritie On Kuuma’ (‘The Freeway Is Hot’), ‘Tahdon Rakastella Sinua’ (‘I Want To Make Love To You’).

Tumppi Varonen & Problems (Tumppi Varonen – singing, Heikki Hiekkasalmi – bass, Saska Ketonen – drums, Petri Peevo – guitar). Tumppi Vuorinen is a musician, writer and former municipal politician. Varonen made his first recording for Problems in the late 1970s.  Since then, he has been playing  on and off with Problems and Pelle Miljona’s bands. Tumppi Varonen &  Problems played ‘Katupoikia’ (‘Street Boys’), ‘Tiina On Punkkari’ (‘Tina Is Punk’) and the new single ‘Ihan Sama’ (‘What Ever’).

Tumppi Varonen & Problems

Pää Kii is a punk band founded in 2012. Soundi and Rumba magazines chose the band’s first album to be their 2012 album of the year. Pää Kii has also has been awarded in the Femma and Emma Gala. (Teemu Bergman – singing and guitar, Antti Leppäniemi – guitar, Vekku Vartiainen – bass, Heikki Laaksomies – drums) They played ‘Paskahousun Paluu’ (‘Return Of The Shitpants’), ‘Apinoiden Planeetalla’ (‘Planet Of Apes’) and ‘Sweet Home Kouvola’.


Pää Kii

All bands were really energetic and Stupido records can be proud of their long success in the music business as a independent record label.

For more information visit www.stupido.fi

Photos by Jari Flinck https://www.instagram.com/jariflinck.photography/

Text by Kati Brugnoli  www.katibrugnoli.com

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BEDLAM BREAKOUT Northampton Roadmender

Friday 15th March

With five great bands covering the whole spectrum of psychobilly, Friday evening at Bedlam is a cool way for the curious to check things out. Local band GOGO LOCO open proceedings and they’re an extremely likeable duo. Guitarist and vocalist Joe is like Chuck Berry with restless leg syndrome, pacing the stage like a student from The Ministry of Silly Walks. Original tunes like ‘Maraca GoGo’ and ‘GoGo Loco Twist’ capture the energy of the British R&B boom only cranked up to 11. Their energetic performance is well received and throws down the gauntlet for the whole weekend.

Rising to the challenge are THE X-MEN. They immediately evince a strong garage-rock influence: imagine The Stooges jamming with Them while imbibing hallucinogens. A superb swirling psychedelic sound hypnotises the audience as The X-Men pull out a cover of The Syndicate Of Sound’s ‘Little Girl’ along with their own classic ‘She’s A Witch’. Closing with a rendition of The 13th Floor Elevators ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ only endears them to the crowd further.

The aptly titled FRANTIC VERMIN are a pleasing amalgamation of of styles as rock’n’roll meets ska with a country twang. It’s no mean feat to blend different genres but Frantic Vermin pull it off effortlessly by underpinning their sound with a strong song sensibility. A trio who make a big noise they turn in a crowd pleasing set.

The ultimately silky voice from the coolest cat in town COLBERT HAMILTON brings his band to entertain Bedlam. Risqué without being rude, ‘Dirty Dog’ kicks his set off in fine style with Colbert working the stage like a pro and by the time we reach ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’ he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Ably backed by his band the BAD BREED, ‘Rock Party’ turns the whole venue into a… rock party, and they bring a nice flavour to the evening.

Providing the missing link between rockabilly and psychobilly, RESTLESS hit the stage and immediately set the venue alight. ‘After Midnight’ is a definite highlight along with a high voltage version of Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’, a song they’ve now made their own. ‘Mercury Blues’ is performed with great abandon theirs is a nice set that ebbs and flows and ticks all the right boxes and provides a fitting culmination to the opening day.

Saturday 16th March

Opening Saturday are a late replacement on the bill: the GARBAGE BAGS. With a sound guaranteed to blast away any hangovers they remind me a little of The Cramps… only more hyped and amped. Drummer and vocalist swap slots for one song which, along with some neat changes in tempo, keeps things interesting. With a wall of distorted guitar and a hyperactive frontman it’s an entertaining start to the day.

ATI EDGE AND THE SHADOWBIRDS arrive from Hungary armed with an adrenaline charged brand of rock’n’roll. With songs about cars, girls and cannibals they can’t really go wrong. They plough through a crowdpleasing set of which ‘Rockabilly Boogie’ is a definite highlight.

Putting the psycho in psychobilly are Japan’s GIGANTIX who prove the scene is truly global. They turn in a fun-fuelled set and the crowd soon warms to their surf-tinged sound. A manic cover of The Animals’ ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ raises the level of insanity and they win the first encore of the day: ‘Space Song’.

THE ROCKETZ hit the stage like a well- oiled machine and treat the throng to a bawdy ‘I Want U Dead’ and an atmospheric ‘Before The Night’. Spawned from the fertile Los Angeles scene, they are part of the vanguard (along with NY’s Screamin’ Rebel Angels) who are taking rockabilly to a new audience. ‘Killing’ is a set highlight and the band should be on your radar.

The SURFIN’ WOMBATZ are always guaranteed to raise more than a smile and, like their South London counterparts The Gonads, they keep their tongue firmly in cheek. With a thirty-year history they’ve built up an impressive discography and they deliver a career spanning, best of set. ‘Bald Billy Boogie’ really rocks and the band relive their Klub Foot days with tracks from their debut album. They have a sound that incorporates different styles (like the ska-infused ‘Peter Cushing’) and they’ve finally written a surf song but in their own inimitable style: ‘Surfin’ South London’. ‘Lack of Beer’ initiates a huge sing-a-long before a raucous rendition of Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’ brings the afternoon to a fitting finale.

Berlin’s DAMAGE DONE BY WORMS are out of the trap like a greyhound chasing a hare and by second track ‘Beer’ they’ve won over any doubters and pulled the slackers in from the bar. ‘Tommyknockers’ from their debut album follows; each track is delivered with passion but ‘Butcher Of The Night’ is a definite highlight. They use catchy guitar lines to snare the listener as evidenced by a fiery ‘Gasoline’ and their cover of The Buzzcocks ‘Ever Fallen In Love?’ is a fitting tribute to Pete Shelley.

THE HANGMEN turn in a solid set but fail to really capture the crowd’s full attention. Thankfully, a period of recording inactivity has been broken and the new tracks debuted point to a bright future.

Now making their fourth appearance at Bedlam, the MILWAUKEE WILDMEN hit the stage and provide a master class in stagecraft. ‘March’ stomps like an army and ‘Get In The Pit’ is suitably raucous. Their sound really swings like a pendulum especially on ‘Die Alone’ while a rocked up cover of Dead Or Alive’s ‘(You Spin Me) Right Round (Like a Record)’ wins the crowd’s approval. They close their set with another cover, this time a warlike version of Stan Ridgeway’s ‘Camouflage’ which is segued with Matchbox’s ‘Midnight Dynamos’. Genius.

THE RICOCHETS are welcomed to the stage like old friends and a cover of ‘Brand New Cadillac’ only increases their standing as scene legends. ‘Paranoia’ follows along with the insanely catchy ‘I’m a Loser’. With no signs of slowing down, they hit us with an excellent version of Generation X’s ‘King Rocker’ and a fine rendition of ‘Woolly Bully’. ‘Black Magic Woman’ follows as the band turn in a well received set. ‘In Hell’ is a precursor to two well deserved encores which includes a delirious ‘Psycho’.

A tangible tension builds as we await NEKROMANTIX which is finally released when the band hit the stage. By second track ‘Night Nurse’, the entire venue is under their spell and the band turn in a set that proves why they’re undisputed headliners. Bathed in blood red light and with his trademark coffin-shaped double bass, vocalist Kim looks like a demented preacher and delivers a sermon in the shape of ‘Alice In Psycholand’ and ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’. ‘The Blood Cure’ raises the temperature and initiates some serious wrecking in the pit and there’s a real chemistry in the band and they perform with an obvious joy. In the live environment the band become infinitely heavier and they wouldn’t seem out of place at a metal festival. Waves of affection radiate between crowd and audience and Nekromantix are the perfect band at the witching hour. Miss them at your peril.

Sunday 17th March

Suited and booted, there’s a touch of The Meteors in THE MIGHTY INTERCEPTORS’ performance. Their set is a short, sharp shock and there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. New track ‘Danger In Every Curve’ points to a bright future.

The SPACE WASTERS deliver a fine slab of garage thrash which shows a definite Stooges influence. Opening shot ‘Action’ doesn’t take prisoners and neither does ‘I Don’t Like You’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’. They cap an enjoyable set with a rocket like X-Men cover.

Norfolk’s FAT’N’FURIOUS certainly know how to please a crowd which they do by covering ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ and ‘Monkey Man’. However they’ve got some cool original tunes like the mighty ‘King Of The Asylum’ which sits easily next to a rendition of The Meteors’ ‘I’m Insane’ (which they fuse with the Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’). Closing with ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ means they won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

A late and welcome addition to the bill are Bedford-based HENRY & THE BLEEDERS. With a set largely debuting new material, ‘The Beast’ in particular stands out with its catchy guitar motif and signposts a majestic new record. Led by the hyperactive and effervescent Henry, the band deliver a turbocharged set and close with perennial favourite ‘(I Gotta) Rock On (For You)’ sees them bow out in style.

Fun with a capital F, the DEATH VALLEY SURFERS are a six-piece with a big sound. Plenty of brass and even some violin add a touch of brevity to their set but underneath the madness they’ve some great tunes like ‘She’s Not Home’. A cover of ‘Tequila’ evinces a real surf influence and their set is a riotous cornucopia of sight and sound. J.B. From the Space Wasters joins them for a frantic set closer ‘Johnny B. Goode’.

THE GRISWALDS open Sunday evening in suitably loopy fashion with a set that doesn’t waste a second. ‘Spasms’ really grooves as ‘Hooker’ and ‘Fright Night’ follow in quick succession. New track ‘Psychobilly Love Affair’ is set to the sound of Bad Manners’ ‘Skinhead Love Affair’ while ‘Crazy Jim’ brings a ska influence. A faithful cover of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ is well received before an encore of The Housemartins ‘Happy Hour’ brings thing to a conclusion in an appropriately surreal fashion.

With their heavy ska sound PADDLE CELL are something of a revelation. With a sound that’s heavily laden with brass they soon get the whole venue skanking. As you’d expect, ‘Waiting’ and ‘Montego Bay’ set the venue alight and Paddle Cell are rewarded with the biggest cheer of the evening.

After some tour tribulations and shenanigans, THE SURF RATS perform with a new drummer who only had 24 hours to learn a set – but you’d never guess. ‘Vampire Lover’ really rocks as does ‘Evil Girl’ and The Rats put their unique stamp on rock’n’roll. The adrenaline-infused ska of ‘Smash it Up’ adds some variety to their set and new track ‘It’s The End’ shows some real development. A well-deserved encore follows in the shape of ‘Welcome to Killafornia’.

BATMOBILE are worthy headliners and, as the first non-British band to perform at The Klub Foot they have a special relationship with the UK. Hitting the stage the band are like whirling dervishes and it’s obvious why they’ve stayed at the top of the game for 35 years and many would argue that new record ‘Brand New Blisters’ is a career highlight. Affection radiates between band and audience as they plough through a greatest hits set and with their back catalogue they can’t go wrong. Running close to curfew the band still manage to cram in all their well known tunes plus a few fan favourites ensuring nobody leaves disappointed.

Peter Dennis.

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POPLAR CONSENT!

Rising London street-punks EAST END BADOES launched their new album A Punk Rock Sound With An East End Beat last month – with a full supporting cast! – at London’s 100 Club. Vive Le Rock‘s Tony Ghirardi was there…

EAST END BADOES
The 100 Club, London
The 100 Club was the evening’s destination for Human Punk’s four band offering of East End Badoes, The Violators, Knock Off and Geoffrey OiCott, and there was the added attraction of it being the Badoes album release gig.
The evening kicked off with Yorkshire Cricket based Oi band, Geoffrey OiCott. Dressed in their obligatory cricket whites, they warmed up the 100 Club with their tongue-in-cheek renditions ‘Dawn Of The Dickie Birds’, ‘Robin Hood Was A Yorkshire Man’ and ‘Glory Glory Garry Thompson’, which was changed to ‘Glory Glory Eric Bristow’ in recognition of the darts player’s recent death.

Knock Off (left) were next up, a three piece from Watford with a couple of cracking albums and singles under their belts. They are an ultra-hardworking band and it really shows with their tight professional set which included crowd favourites ‘Are You Offended’, ‘Jack The Ripper’ and their terrace chant, ‘Football, Beer And Punk Rock’ which always goes down a storm.

UK82 returned to the 100 Club in the shape of The Violators (below). Having been back together since last year’s appearance at Rebellion, great things were expected of them. After overcoming some initial bass amp problems, they put in a blinding set of old favourites, with ‘Summer Of ‘81’ and ‘Gangland’ being the highlights. 

The stage was now set for the East End Badoes to make their first ever album launch. There was a large following for them, most of whom piled down the front of the stage to join in the fun. The majority of tracks, as expected, were from the new album, like ‘Poplar Boys’ and ‘Trouble On The Streets’, all were very well received by those in attendance. The band played at full tilt and at one point Mark’s snare drum broke; until a new one was found, a member of the audience offered his prosthetic leg to use! A great, fun evening which ended with a few of the crowd on stage adding vocals for ‘Trouble On The Streets’ and their cover of The Professionals ‘1-2-3’.
Tony Ghirardi

 

 

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VIVE LE JOCK!

Last weekend, Vive Le Rock went north of the border to co-promote a show at Broadcast in Glasgow featuring three of Scotland’s finest up’n’coming punk bands. Neil Hodge was there to review the proceedings….

Take a Saturday night in Glasgow, a NYC record label, add three of Scotland’s premier punk bands, an intimate venue full of enthusiastic punters and you have the recipe for a superb night out. This was a hotly anticipated sold-out gig, with people travelling some distances to attend (Dublin, England, North of Scotland). They were most definitely not disappointed.

Tarbeach Records label-mates ReAction, Heavy Drapes and The Zips came together to provide a high octane, hundred-mile-an-hour punk rock romp. The running order had been kept under wraps beforehand to ensure maximum attendance for all bands and the ploy worked. The venue was rammed and the atmosphere was palpable as Airdrie’s peerless ReAction kicked things off in vigorous style with a selection of tracks from their debut album and recent EP. Opening up with ‘Dead Boy Racer’ the pace started at break-neck speed and didn’t let up throughout the set. The now familiar songs in the set were bolstered by some raucous new material including ‘Kamikaze Baby’, a song about Debbie Juvenile from the original Bromley Contingent, and closed with audience choice, their energetic version of External Menace’s ‘Someday’. By the time they left the stage packed-out venue was now a veritable sweatbox.

HD Kiss 3

There was no time wasted between bands and shortly after ReAction exited stage left it was the turn of Edinburgh’s Heavy Drapes. The band took to the stage with frontman De Liberate making his now familiar declaration “We’re Heavy Drapes and we are punk rock,” before launching into their musical manifesto with ‘Number 1’. Fresh from a triumphant gig on Rebellion’s main stage, this was the first gig for ex-Scars guitarist, Paul Research. He has certainly brought a new vibrancy to the band who were on blistering form. It was a colossal assault on the senses from start to finish. The set included all the now standard Drapes tracks – ‘Into the Blue’, ‘Janie’ – with the crowd in great voice too, especially on tracks like ‘Let’s Free The Working Class’ and set closer ‘(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted’, every song going down a storm with the partisan crowd.

Zips 3

It was down to seminal Glasgow punk legends The Zips to close proceedings. We were treated to a career-spanning set starting with the topical ‘Hear, Hear’ and ‘Thin Blue Line’ from the latest album. The tempo of the evening was kept up with the likes of the high-spirited celebration of ’40 Years of Punk Rock’ and the first live outing for older song ‘Take Me Down’, which features on Gary Crowley’s upcoming punk and new wave compilation, through to set closer, early single ‘Don’t Get Pushed Around’, The Zips jolted the already exuberant crowd into another level of euphoria, the resultant jubilation saw the night ending with a stage invasion.

With new songs, imminent albums and forthcoming gigs a-plenty from all three bands, the future looks dazzling for Scottish punk. If you haven’t already done so, seek them all out – or stay at home staring at your navel, the choice is yours.

Neil Hodge

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LIVE REVIEWS EXTRA!

Because Vive Le Rock mag is crowded with great live reviews, we sometimes can’t get them all in!

So here’s a couple of extra reviews for yer…..

LAST GREAT DREAMERS
THE WHEATSHEAF, OXFORD

The LAST GREAT DREAMERS arrive in Oxford at the arse end of a nationwide tour in support of their latest release, the aurally agreeable pledge music, fan-funded ‘Transmissions From Oblivion’. Although struggling with man-flu the band deliver an energetic, heel kicking, Beechams assisted full throttle performance. Dressed in an array of hats, scarves, spotty shirts with obligatory black waistcoats, the band are Dickensian visual vagabonds and if ever a group sounded like they looked it’s the LGD. Set and album opener ‘Oblivion Kids’ initially suffers from streaky vocals due to said illness but front man Valentine digs deep and delivers a performance which grows in stature the longer he continues. Single ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ avoids turning into the Euro 96 anthem ‘Three Lions’ by a goalpost and ‘Ashtray Eyes’ sees lead guitarist Slyder take over the singing duties. A finale of ‘Last Great Dreamers’ and the smash and grab closer ‘Dope School’ complete a spirited sixty minutes of Snot, Rattle and Roll.
Guy Shankland

FROM THE JAM
SUB 89 READING

FROM THE JAM open with a top ten treble of ‘Modern World’, ‘Strange Town’ and ‘Beat Surrender’ it’s a win win scenario that opens the nostalgic vocal floodgates. A rousing ‘Butterfly Collector’, ‘Down In a Tube Station’ and ‘That’s Entertainment’ are all given early set-list outings. Bruce Foxton confidently handles singing duties on ‘David Watts’, ‘Smithers Jones’ and ‘News Of The World’. ‘Going Underground’, ‘A Town Called Malice’ and ‘Start’ simply demonstrate the pure unadulterated song writing genius of a youthful Paul Weller. FTJ deliver these songs with energy, passion and breathe life into this timeless body of work. The songs all remain vital and provide an incisive snapshot of Thatcher’s Britain in the early eighties through the eyes of a young disaffected suburban male. A double finale of ’In The City’ and ’Eton Riffles’ puts the final cherry on a celebratory, Jam packed night. Twenty songs in ninety sing-a-long minutes, most sung word for word by the sold out, smiling, Sub89 crowd. That’s entertainment.
Guy Shankland

 

 

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RADIO BIRDMAN, THE WAREHOUSE, FALKIRK

Legendary Australian proto-punks Radio Birdman finally arrived in Scotland, almost forty years after their last thwarted attempt.

Support act The Fuckin’ Godoys kicked things off with an explosive set that demonstrated their love of 70s Brit-punk. Art and Steve have backed Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek on various tours and releases, but even as a stripped-down duo of drums and guitar, the twins generated enough energy to power the national grid.

The headliners opened with the atmospheric ‘Crying Sun’ before barrelling into ‘Smith & Wesson Blues’, guitarist Dave Kettley locking in seamlessly with bass legend Jim Dickson and the propulsive drumming of Nik Rieth.

Frontman Rob Younger was in fine voice and good humour, joking with the audience before the band tipped into a molten ‘Descent into the Maelstrom’.  The dapper Pip Hoyle showcased his keyboard skills on a rapturously received ‘Man with Golden Helmet’, while Deniz Tek gave us a masterclass in his influential guitar style.  The guitarist’s wife, photographer Anne Tek, kindly supplied the live shot for this review.

We got a slew of classics- ‘What Gives’, ‘i-94’, ‘Do the Pop’, ‘Aloha, Steve and Danno’, ‘More Fun’ and ‘New Race’, plus a surprise cover of Magazine’s ‘Shot by Both Sides’. ‘Anglo Girl Desire’ and ‘Alone in the Endzone’ were particular highlights, while an incandescent ‘Hand of Law’ included a snippet of The Chantays’ ‘Pipeline’.

This was an inspired performance by Australia’s finest- fingers crossed we won’t have to wait another forty years for a return visit.

Gus Ironside

Pic by Anne Tek

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ALTERNATIVE FESTIVALS EXTRA!

Planning on going to any festivals this summer? JC Carroll of THE MEMBERS gives his views on some of the alternatives…..

 

THE BEST FESTIVALS IN ENGLAND (that you have never heard of)

SOMETHING ELSE, BLANK GENERATION and GLASTONWICK

I have just played three of the best festivals in England. And most of you will not have heard of them. There was no blanket coverage on BBC about them, there was not be articles in the national press about them. Later on in the year I should be heading off to play Rebellion in Blackpool and later still the great British Alternative Festival in Skegness

Skegness, Blackpool – smug southerners amongst you may chuckle. Sticks of rock, fish and chips, caravans, northerners on holiday, Butlins, how quaint.

Coldplay will not be playing or Kanye West or Adele or Jack Garrett or Sam Smith or Busted. You will not get an NME tent that comprises of people performing on a laptop.

You will get The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, The Damned, The Members and scores of younger bands like Knock Off, alt-rock, reggae, rockabilly, pirate shanties, folk music and every form of authentic music indigenous to these isles. People will travel from Australia, America, Berlin to attend because these are the biggest celebrations of alternative culture in the world.

These events will be largely ignored by the media and will sell out. The clue is in the name of the last festival, the word ‘alternative’.

In the 70s, the festival at Worthy Farm was alternative. It had David Bowie, Gong, Hawkind freaky hippie bands. Before punk we didn’t want pop, we wanted alternative music. John Peel championed it and punk grew out of it.

Three weeks ago we played at SOMETHING ELSE in Duns Tew, a completely solar powered festival in a field in idyllic Oxfordshire, organised by the legendary Gail Something Else. Gail is a Queen of the Alt scene, a scarlet-haired Tattooed Bodicea in a van. Her festival in Oxfordshire is totally off the grid: water from a well, solar-powered with wood fire pizza. It has travellers, punks, lawyers, doctors, civil servants and plenty of disabled people. Veterans of the Battle of the Beanfield, young punks, dreadlocked pirates – they are all there and they love my band The Members.

A week later we were celebrating 40 years of punk in a squatted building in Tottenham with a massive line up of punk bands old and new. Veterans of the 77 scene and younger acts. Audience age from 16 to 60. A squatted building, vegetarian food… Was this some sort of retro 70s themed party? No, this was BLANK GENERATION, London in 2016 where punk is not a retrospective token programme on Radio 2 or an exhibition at the photographers gallery. Where punk is a viable alternative to the soup of talent show cannon-fodder and landfill castrati-electronica pumped out of BBC and the commercial stations. Where punk is the antithesis of the commercial pouting narcissists that inhabit the front page of iTunes and the Google-owned Internet like a massive Westfield shopping centre in the sky hovering forever in our periphery vision

There’s that word again, the nemesis of alternative, ‘commercial’.

The third festival took place in a farm in a hollow in the South Downs, a more politicised bunch, double-decker buses ferrying people from Shoreham, Worthing and Brighton, men and women, taking their children to their first festival. Eighty different types of independent ales, ciders and perrys. No queues for overloaded chemical toilets here, it is largely run by a gentleman poet called Attila the Stockbroker with his hands firmly on the artistic tiller and the cheque book he promptly paid me with. A guest of mine and the veteran of many Readings and Bestivals cheerfully messaged me and said it was the best festival she had ever been to.

Many people only go to one festival a year and choose one with the most acts because it represents value for money. They try and make the best of the Syrian refugee camp accommodation and toilet conditions these large events with their corporate sponsors and the illusion of overpriced glamping offer. What they get is an official beer, more acts than they could consume in a month and hours of massive dehumanising queues in and out of the premises – a sort of Dystopian Babylon, a Hell on Earth, The Somme with Borough Market Vietnamese street food, Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran.

In Blackpool everybody stays in B & B and shits in a proper toilet. In Skegness you get a holiday apartment thrown in with cable TVs. There are no wellies, mud, chemical loos. Fish and chips, steaks and beer in a glass. Oh, and a roof.

Oh, and the other thing about alt festivals is they feed the band give you tons of beer tokens and pay you!

Bring it on !

With the exception of John Giddings’ Isle of Wight, the main festivals are punk-free zones preferring 80s and 90s revival acts to the cultural authenticity and grit of our generation .

Something Else, Blank Generation and Glastonwick are independent festivals run by brave people who champion the alternative, Vive Le Rock, Vive le Difference!

JC

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THE DAMNED: ACADEMY IS THE LIFE FOR ME!

THE DAMNED celebrated the festive season with low-key show at the O2 Academy, Islington in London on 20 December. Our man Andy Zel was there….

THE DAMNED
THE FEATHERZ
O2 Academy Islington

The Featherz warm us up nicely with their punky glam fare comprising the melodic buzzsaw guitar, crunchy riffage and spirited vocals of frontwoman Danie Cox. In addition to catchy originals such as ‘When Was The Last Time You Had Sex’ and ‘Takes One To Know One’ we’re treated to covers of T Rex’s ’20th Century Boy’ and Penetration’s ‘Don’t Dictate’ which go down very nicely and more or less sum up where this lot are coming from musically.

About to enter their 40th year, The Damned’s vigour seems to increase with age. Launching straight into ‘Wait For The Blackout’, they proceed to wire us up with an electrifying set, drawn largely from their classic trio of late 70s/early 80s albums – ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, ‘The Black Album’ and ‘Strawberries’. Aside from the inevitable (and essential) ‘New Rose’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’, only ‘Fan Club’ survives from the first album, but there are nods to the more commercial mid 80s era in the form of ‘Grimly Fiendish’ as well as ‘Eloise’ and a particularly exquisite version of ‘Alone Again Or’ – dedicated to Arthur Lee.

Standouts tonight include ‘History Of The World (Part 1)’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, ‘Smash It Up’ and the aforementioned ‘New Rose’. With it being the festive season we also get ‘There Ain’t No Sanity Clause’ and ‘Turkey Song’, the latter featuring guest appearances from fellow travellers Charlie Harper and Gaye Advert.

The Captain thanks us “for putting up with us for the last 39 years”. It’s been our pleasure sir. Here’s looking forward to the Albert Hall in May for the 40th!

Andy Zel

 

Photo by Dod Morrison

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MANICS’ BIBLICAL RETURN IN EDINBURGH

MANIC STREET PREACHERS opened their The Holy Bible 20th Anniversary tour in Edinburgh last Saturday. Vive Le Rock’s Andrew Welsh was on the scene…

MANIC STREET PREACHERS / Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Few bands have enjoyed a relevance over the past quarter century like Manic Street Preachers.
Plenty have been around for at least as long and similarly prolific, like Killing Joke and Therapy?, but have long since ceased to puncture the public consciousness beyond a fervent, if limited, fanbase despite producing consistently excellent material. Then there are your Blue Nile types, those who pop up fleetingly with a new album every seven or eight years, take the critical plaudits and vanish again.

With 12 studio albums and the equivalent of at least another half dozen in assorted B-sides and rareties behind them since 1990, Manic Street Preachers have never been afraid of failure. Last year’s Futurology was a bold step into the realm of Krautrock, but surely their biggest gamble was 1994’s dark masterpiece The Holy Bible, a searing diatribe that covered subject matter such as anorexia, prostitution, the Holocaust, capital punishment and suicide with brutal honesty. Its principal lyric architect Richey Edwards went into meltdown post-Holy Bible and disappeared aged 27 in 1995, with his fate still unknown.

It is precisely because his childhood friends James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore subsequently went on to greater success that seeing them reconnect with Edwards’ uncompromising youthful lyrics in their mid-40s has an emotional significance for the band’s fans. The industrial rock opener ‘Yes’ set the tone at the Usher Hall, with the bouncing massed ranks firing back every word to the Welsh trio in their forces-style garb, the stage similarly bedecked in camouflage netting a la the band’s original Holy Bible tour 21 years ago.

Shafts of humour amid a set made up of such compellingly bleak material were inevitably few, but the chorus of pantomime boos that greeted mention of Margaret Thatcher in the haunting sample that pressaged the militaristic stomp of ‘Ifwhiteamerica…’ raised a smile from Bradfield. The rugged frontman clearly relishes the challenge of reproducing his astonishing guitar-and-vocals performance on the album, and in a century-old venue noted for faithful recitals the intricacies of such visceral tracks as ‘Archives Of Pain’, ‘Mausoleum’ and ‘Faster’ rightly came across as the technical achievements that they are.

The second half of the show was an enjoyable selection from the Manics’ bulky back catalogue. Bradfield went solo on a heartfelt acoustic rendition of ‘The Everlasting’, “something a little more touchy-feely” as he understatedly put it following the first hour’s confrontational content. By contrast, the Guns’n’Roses-like anthem ‘Condemned To Rock’n’Roll’ was a flashback to the original Generation Terrorists, all slogans and spraypaint, with Wire saying the song had never been played live by the four-piece because he and Edwards had been unable to learn it.

Futurology‘s ‘Walk Me To The Bridge’ stood up well beside MSP classics ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, while the leviathans ‘If You Tolerate This’ and ‘A Design For Life’ were delivered with feeling and intensity.

As the 20th anniversary of 1996’s Everything Must Go album approaches, speculation is rife that they might be about to embark on another themed tour next year. With the throng at Usher Hall made up of feather boa and mascara-wearing veterans and 20-somethings alike, all keen to grab a slice of thrilling ’90s celebration, there appears to be no shortage of demand. Certainly, if the trio handle their commercial breakthrough LP with the same reverence and total commitment as they showed to The Holy Bible then a must-see experience lies in prospect.

Andrew Welsh

http://www.manicstreetpreachers.com/

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MICHAEL MONROE

Michael Monroe
02/12/11
Electric Ballroom

The former Hanoi Rocks front man has been slotted in between the modern day Misfits known better as Wednesday 13 and Swedish glam rockers Crashdiet. The recent change in his band has been the addition of Dregen from Backyard Babies and Hellacopters replacing Ginger of the Wildhearts fame and it quickly becomes apparent that there wouldn’t be anyone more suitable axe man to accompany mister Monroe. While Andy McCoy’s soulful playing was central to Hanoi Rocks’ sound Dregen is a great onstage companion to Monroe and a perfect match for the punk influenced in your face, split stretching rock and roll of his solo output. Also former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa is present pumping his groovy bass lines to the packed venue while his New York Dolls band mate Steve Conte adds depth with new guitar lead parts to old Demolition 23 songs like “Nothing’s Alright”. Due to the newer generation headliners the young audience might not be too familiar with the music in question, but they are definitely are receptive to it!

Mike dedicates the whole set to his former best friend and original Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, whose birthday it also happens to be. While a big chunk of the material comes from the bands recent award winning studio album “Sensory Overdrive” Mike does still treat the audience to a fair trip down to Hanoi with “Mystery City”, “Motorvatin’”, “Malibu Beach Nightmare” while climaxing with “Taxi Driver” and the brilliant guitar solo tradeoffs. Backed by his best backing band to date, it’s a full on energetic 50 minutes of sheer rock and roll brilliance from Dregen’s duckwalks to Monroe’s wild onstage antics from climbing to the stage’s framework to his spellbinding saxophone solos. Forget about vodka or Nokia’s mobile phones (not to mention the rubber boots that predated them!) Mister Michael Monroe is the greatest export Finland has to offer!

Jyrki “Spider” Hamalainen

 

 

 

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SHAM 69 / STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

SHAM 69
29/10/11
London Brixton The Electric

This is the opening night at the newly refurbished … Electric in Brixton (The old Fridge ) the first that hits you is the smell of fresh paint, as expecting the Queen to come.
Well tonight it is the King’s of Uk Punk, the Original (except the Drummer) line up of Sham 69 for a "one -off" show ….

The Skets were the 1st band on and reminded me of The Blaggers ITA with punk duel singers … with subliminal ska – punk tunes – something Beastie Boy esqe about them too.

Control (ex Beerzone / Intensive Care, Scottish group) were next up, delivering a Passionate blast of Punk Rock, not breaking out of the mould , yet the Real Deal!

This much anticipated reunion Sham gig, part of a mini Punk weekend / SLF playing the following night (that’s another story!) has brought all the old Punx , Skins and Herbets out of the woodwork to a sold out venue.

When Sham come on to a whole String of old song’s ….the crowd take a while to gear up, more in awe that Jimmy is back on stage; thankfully with his Ballet period, well behind.
From the first song in, "What have we Got" to the more better know "Angel with Dirty Faces" where Jimmy misses the timing and passes it off, professionally. The band themselves look all relatively good for over 35 years of "Rock n Roll" (albeit with a short hiatus thrown in.)

Sham really did come from the place they were singing about…. and formed way back in 1976, the original working class .. so when Jimmy has a costume change, and treat the crowd to "Hersham Boys" ..the crowd chant a long to the classic lines "Hersham Boys …laced up boots and corduroys’" a feeling of unity is already forming in the crowd.

Along side "Tell us the Truth" and "questions and Answers" this ending up quite a spectacular night; when they begin the unmistakable power chords to my personal Favourite "Borstal Breakout" the whole crowd pogo, until puffed out….. 3 and half minutes later .

Sham 69 …go off and knowing they would be lynched if they didn’t play their All time Anthem, come back on and blast, "If the kids are United" …really Jimmy’s lyrics are nothing less than genius and such a simple message for all Ears the world over …covered by many bands, including Rancid.

This was an early show, with the usual "crap" club after …so as much as Sham were welcomed back by their loyal fans… the light went on…so unfortunately, no "Sunday Morning Nightmare" – never mind …lets just pray that this is not going to be a "one-off" and the original band can carry on … for "012 and beyond"

Indeed the Cockney Kids are innocent"

Nicola Hull

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
Tues 18th Oct.,
Southend

Stiff Little Fingers, formed way back in 1978, and were and Still are The Best Punk Rock Band in the world ….. tonight they play Southend as about 300 eager Fan’s pack Chinnery’s out!
SLF are just back from a USA tour, where I heard ; the powerhouse of a drummer, Steve Grantly was not too well yet still managed, somehow, to do the whole Tour, proving how much of a true Warrior he is….

They take the stage to the usual instrumental "Go For It" and it’s a "1234" straight into "Wasted Life," the B side to their very first single (D.I.Y. Rigid Digits label)
First 3 songs all hammered out, like rapid machine gun fire – only slowing down so, the audience can have a little breather to the Motown inspired.." Silver Lining" albeit the opportunity to have a dance too.

An unrecorded "Liar’s Club" is a taster of what’s to come from a New forthcoming Album, in the pipeline. There is some really nice Surprise songs in this "All of The Best" set list tonight, enough to put a grin on the most avid fans face. One such tune is the amazing "Back to Front " an Anti Racist track with the very apt line’s … "Buckets and spades to make your day with …he’s not like us he must be done." Another classic single from ..back in the day, enter "Straw Dogs" the bands first 7" single for Chrysalis (The contract they almost wrote themselves) this is a real gruff, punky number; with Jakes voice still holding the Passion of 1000 street protesters. As if this is not enough for the ardent fan’s, they then treat us to another old tune called "Wait and See," dedicated to their prestigious life time achievement award from the City of Belfast. I personally have not heard this tune live for at least 20 years.

Now this in all fairness, may just be the most biased live review ever … as this is my all time Favourite band, when I heard "Johnny Was" coming from my Big brothers bedroom; aged 6, my lifelong affair started there. First seeing them live in 1983 (Last ever show, Sun 6th Feb) then when they reformed in 1987, I hitched – hiked too see them at every single show in the Uk, losing count at roughly 200 times, give or take!

So when I say this is one of the best time’s I have ever seen them, I really do mean it. There is 3 cover versions thrown into this mix, including "The Specials -Doesn’t make it Alright," a version that Roddy Radiation prefers to his own bands original. Another two reggae tune’s called "Love of the Common people" and "Roots Radicals and Rockers," proving the band ‘s love of Jamaican music and giving the very happy audience a chance to Skank along.

A newly revamped expression of "Tin Soldiers" is soaked up with the real life story of a young and naive, Scottish Soldier who indeed "Swapped boy scout hat for army cap, he thought he’d be prepared". Then the band have a minute respite, before a (silly) Encore, "Schools out for Summer" Alice Cooper, which seems to go over a lot of the young one’s heads…. mostly son’s and daughters of first timers.

The cherry on the cake comes with, the bands two most revered classic’s played back to back, "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster" (This really could be an National Anthem !!)

Well what a night, an amazing set by an amazing bandand the truly amazing thing is next year will be SLF’s 35th year and they are still Burning…… glad I will be seeing them in London the following week. If for any reason you do not know this great band, this please go and check them on their next Tour dates… April / March in 2012 – for a "Punky, Reggae party, one you will never forget. Hanx !

Nicola Hull

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KING BLUES / SWINGIN’ UTTERS


THE KING BLUES
Chinnerys, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Friday 26th August 2011

As a warm up gig for Reading and Leeds, The King Blues come on stage to a crowd who can’t quite believe their eyes, yet welcome them with all ears in a venue ready to burst. Opening the night with the track ‘The Last of the Dreamers’, The King Blues show their commitment to putting on a blinding show from the minute they get on stage, with haunting vocals drawing the crowd in from their pints then like a thunderbolt Itch crashes through with his spoken, searing lyrics followed sharply by ‘We Are Fucking Angry’. The ferocity of the deliverance leaves no one questioning just how fucking angry they are.

Southend really gets to see how well this tight, well-oiled unit can play, ploughing neatly through tunes from all 3 albums, such as ‘Mr Music Man’, ‘Under The Fog’, ‘My Boulder’ and ‘Lets Hangs the Landlord’, to name but a few. A heaving, jumping audience sing almost word for word, song after song, from the just over 14 year olds to the just under 60 years olds. This band have crossed the ages with a success rarely ever seen. Even when a technical fault with the bass threatens to dampen an already sweaty night, with pure professionalism Itch strikes up a solo Ukele trio of tunes including the much loved ‘Out of Luck’ to the delight of the swaying crowd. A short break in the proceedings and Jamie takes the chance to talk to the audience as he does like an old friend, although this is the first time The King Blues have played Southend, and maybe the first time some fans have seen them.

By the time the thunderous ‘The Streets Are Ours’ is played the crowd are bouncing up and down like a hoard of protesters around a samba band. It may have been said before but the music and energy that The King Blues creates every time conjures up the perfect soundtrack for the revolution, and so with the new Clash-stylee, drum and bass version of ‘Power to the People’ blazing through, The King Blues show just how their roots are still very much in Punk Rock.

Andi C

SWINGIN’ UTTERS
London Camden Underworld
Sun 4th September 2011

Quite Early doors on this Sun 4th Sep; with a fairly big line -up. Catching a bit of The Exposed, it’s good straight forward Punk Rock that leaves the crowd suitably impressed. I also catch Moral Dilemma, who are one of London’s hardworking, hardcore Punk Rock bands, with good tunes with a fast delivery, they deserve to be much bigger. The members of this band seem to not only tour a lot, but also turn up to other bands’ shows and support the scene.

The Underworld (or mini world tonight) is only 3/4 full, yet more than enough people to welcome back the Utters. With an outstanding brand new album on Fat Wreck, the Utters are back after a long hiatus, except for a comeback Barfly show last year. They’ve still got what it takes even though, like the name of the new release suggest, they do look like they are here ‘Under Protest’. All Utters songs are like mini Ramones tunes, in a sense, not lasting for more than 2 and a half or 3 minutes.

Swingin’ Utters formed in the late 1980’s, originally from Santa Cruz, they were first known as Johnny Peabucks (A story in its self…) and Swingin’ Utters’ debut was called ‘Scared’. They moved to San Fran, where they recorded the ‘Streets of San Francisco’, produced by Lars Frederiksen of Rancid.

With loads of new songs to air tonight, it is great when a few of the old classics from their past are aired – ‘A Juvenile Product of The Working Class’ and ‘Wind Spitting Punk’ are blasted out with pure passion. The Swingin’ Utters have always been one of the best Punk bands from California’s late 80’s / 90’s scene, first coming to these shores as Rancids support band, so they have still got a very loyal following from then. With intelligent and very clever lyrics, often with a McGowan / Stummer-esque poetic vein, they’re pretty special. The other new tunes that stand out are ‘Brand New Lungs’, ‘Bent Collector of 1000 Limbs’ and ‘Give it All to The Man’.

They also air some classics, like the punk anthem ‘Catastrophe’ and some great tunes from their ‘5 Lessons Learned’ album, yet classics like ‘No Eager Man’ from ‘The Streets…’ album, really gets the eager crowd going, After a frantic hour set and a much happier looking Johnny Pee Buck singing (thanks too the amazing crowd and the band’s musicianship) the group blast out one off their all time greats ‘Next in Line’ with lyrics … like, "Out the back door and to the corner store – all I want is a drink and nothing more" – this comeback looks like it’s here to stay. Swingin’ Utters are a kind of Stiff Little Fingers / Clash meets The Pogues on the High Seas , for the 21st Century, with all the energy and passion to boot.. Looking forward to seeing them come back to these shores next year.

Andi C

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ADAM ANT / THE STRANGLERS


Photo by Dod Morrison

Adam Ant & the Good The Mad & the Lovely Posse    – Fat Sam’s, Dundee – May 21St 2011
 
To be totally honest I didn’t expect much from Adam Ant decades on from his hey day. Boy was I proved wrong! This ended up being one of the best gigs of the year (and no doubt still will be when December rolls around).
 
The lights went down and the band strolled on. Adam followed, making a grandiose entrance, not lacking any of the flare he had in days gone by. He kicked it off straight away with ‘Plastic Surgery’ and it was great hearing him singing in the same varying tones I’d heard on his records. He camped it up in new romantic style but was way more punk than I’d ever expected. He did look (and act) a bit like Captain Jack Sparrow. It seemed like the audience were intrigued at first and then soon warmed to him.
 
Adam spoke to the crowd between songs giving snippets of amusing stories. He enthusiastically dished out song after song, playing up to the crowd looking like he was really enjoying himself. The two drummers belted out their rhythms giving the music the heartbeat that it’s known for. The band seemed a little non plussed at the start, but then standing next to the vibrancy of Adam Ant might make anyone look a little bland!
 
I didn’t know many of the first few songs which I now know were ‘Dog Eat Dog’, ‘Beat My Guest’, ‘Kick’, ‘Car Trouble’ and ‘Zerox’ but he really drew you in and it didn’t matter if you’d heard them before or not. Two girls came onto stage for ‘Deutscher Girls’ and Adam Ant seemed to enjoy being very theatrical with them. He obviously preferred his earlier music and said as much, but made money from the later music – that was the cue for ‘Stand and Deliver’.
 
I (and the rest of the audience) was blown away by ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’. He said before that this song was written when passion and lyrics mattered. The drumming was fantastic and Adam Ant himself was on superb form. He had such an infectious grin and was very lively.
 
One story Adam told us was about why he often had 30 second intros of drumming. Apart from being his sound he said that it’s because back in the day DJs would talk all over the start of a record on the radio and people would maybe miss the title, so this way by the time the planks (his words!) had finished talking the record would just be starting! Then started up the now famous sound of the intro to Antmusic and the whole venue was singing along.
 
Before singing A.N.T.S. Adam said that this song was close to his heart and represented everything that punk rock meant – “whether jumping up and down pogoing or spitting.  Me, Jordan, Sid and all other reprobates used to go to clubs and play this song, which I have adapted for you tonight” A.N.T.S is Adams version of Y.M.C.A and was very amusing to see performed!
 
‘Lady’ also got an airing even though this was the b-side to his first single. It has always been one of my husband’s favourites, and Adam told us that this song used to get him into trouble like most of his songs did. He seemed to like playing the earlier ones from the ‘Dirk Wears White Socks’ era but he said it was the poppier ones that made him famous.
 
After a brief break the band came back on and Adam had done a quick change into a kilt. However on it were three lions on the back and a St George’s flag on the front. The crowd boo’d (in good humour) but Adam took it the wrong way and said “How fucking dare you boo me! I’ve got a song for you.” He starts to sing ‘No Fun’, obviously aimed at the crowd, and quickly moved into ‘Physical’ playing like a man upset – hard guitar riffs and spitting at the stage. Suddenly he threw the guitar down, gestured to the crowd and walks off. The band finished the song looking a little bemused and the crowd waited for more but he had gone, left the building, which is a pity because I think he would have got an exceptional goodbye from the crowd. Apart from the last couple of songs this was a most memorable night and nothing should detract from how good an entertainer he is.
 
 
Plastic Surgery
Dog Eat Dog
Beat My Guest
Kick
Car Trouble
Zerox
Deutscher  Girls
Stand And Deliver
Catholic  Day
Kings of the Wild Frontier
B Side Baby
Wonderful
Never Trust A Man
Cleopatra
Lou
Goody Two Shoes
Viva Le Rock
Christian D’or
Lady/Fall In
Antmusic
—————
 
A.N.T.S.
Prince Charming (not played)
Fat Fun
Press Darlings
—————
No Fun
Get It On (not played)
Physical
 
Words by Sally Morrison (and a few by Dod)

 

 

The Stranglers / Wilco Johnson / Mike Marlin (The Black and Blue Tour)
London Hammersmith Apollo Friday 11 March 2011

Insouciant Mike Marlin was the calm before the storm. On stage in a silk dressing gown and sipping a glass of wine he treated everyone to his own style of jazz-pop, including a unique take on the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive.

But it was the bulging, bug eyed Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood fame who certainly got ‘the show on the road’. From Barbed Wire Blues to She Does it Right, Wilko pumped out r’n’b brilliance through his customised style of simultaneously playing lead and rhythm on his guitar, while maintaining his frenetic, jittery off-the-wall actions. 

By the end of the set the audience, who ranged from 60 to 16, were hyped. As the lights went down and familiar Stranglers signature theme, Waltzinblack, throbbed out, the indefatigable band also known as The-Men-in-Black materialised on stage.

The band has come a long way since 1975 and certainly know how to play a dynamic set. They kicked off with the provocative I feel like a Wog, a condemnation of racial bigotry snarled out by now-well-established front man and guitarist Baz Warne, whose vocal dexterity can handle the gruff temperament of the likes of Hanging Around but also has the cadence required for Golden Brown and Always the Sun.  

Essentials such as Grip, and Duchess were all there as well as surprise rarities such as Dead Los Angeles and Tramp to the delight of the more hardcore fans. They also unveiled new song, Freedom is Insane. With its portentous lyrics, dirty thrumming bass line, swirling keyboards, and sung by the incomparable Jean-Jaques Burnel it a gem of a track bound for classic status.     

The sound of the Stranglers has obviously struck the right chord with the public and has helped them survive over 30 years in the business, picking up a dedicated cult following along the way. They are also one of the few bands left who can deliver quality rock’n’roll with edge which they proved once again on the night. See them while you still can because there won’t ever be another band like them.

Mark Ottowell


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DROPKICK MURPHYS / IGGY & THE STOOGES

THE DROPKICK MURPHYS
LONDON BRIXTON ACADEMY
4/5

Brixton is full of people swigging Guinness, pretending its St. Patrick’s Day and wearing at least some green tonight. Why? Because Celtic punk heroes the Dropkicks are in town to party, that’s why. Before that though, the crowd is warmed up brilliantly by the long-awaited return (their first London show in seven years) of reformed Californian punks FACE TO FACE, with Trever Keith and company clad in black and blasting through breakneck-paced fan favourites like ‘Disconnected’ and ‘I Want’, with people (including myself) screaming back every word, punching the air and grinning from ear to ear. As a half-cut crowd chanted “Let’s go Murphys!”, the lights went down and an Irish folk song welcomed THE DROPKICK MURPHYS on a stage covered in giant stained-glass windows. For an hour and a half this was the Murphys’ church, with an irrepressibly energetic band and crowd celebrating life (and getting shit faced) to songs like ‘(F)lannigan’s Ball’, ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ and ‘The State Of Massachusetts’. Hallelujah!
Ian Chaddock


IGGY & THE STOOGES
SUICIDE
LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
5/5

I have to say I wasn’t expecting that much from Iggy and his James Williamson era Stooges tonight as they attempted to play one of the greatest ever punk albums, ‘Raw Power’, in its entirety. Williamson has been out of music for years working as Vice President of technology at Sony, but having since retired, here he is back at Iggy’s side, strapping on his Gibson Les
Paul again. But from the moment they launch into the albums’ title track it’s clear that these Stooges mean business. In what is a chaotic, rocket fuelled 90 minutes Iggy orders a stage invasion (“Nice work guys, especially you with the glasses!"), repeatedly dives into the crowd, humps the stage and berates the people upstairs for being posh. We get ‘I Need Somebody’, ‘Search And Destroy’ and even some songs from the rarely heard Kill City EP. The band are a powerhouse, supporting a maniacal frontman who puts kids a third of his age to shame. He may sell insurance now but Iggy is still the world’s forgotten boy. Legendary.
Eugene Big Cheese

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THE SKIDS, Dunfermline Alhambra Theatre, Mar 2010

The Skids @ the Alhambra Theatre Dunfermline 06-03-10
 
So this was to be the last ever Skids gig at the Alhambra theatre in Dunfermline, the band’s home town. The Band for tonight is Richard Jobson, Bill Simpson, Mike Baillie and Bruce & Jamie Watson.
 
The intro CD comes on, a roar goes up and they are on. Richard Jobson swinging his arms and legs about like a mad man possessed. The first two songs were over in a flash. As I catch my breath Richard tell us the next song was written in the library and “Working for the Yankee Dollar” is played. The crowd go mad.
 
They then go on to dedicate the next song to Stuart Adamson who was a special guy to them all. The crowd agree and we are played “The Saints are Coming”. Jobson says “too many bands from our era just go through the motions nowadays but we play from the heart,” and this receives a rapturous applause.
 
“Masquerade” is up next and the crowd are getting more excited as each song passes. They end the evening with “Into the Valley” and this had the building shaking. Everyone in the theatre are on their feet, from the moshpit to all the people up in the balcony seats, all singing along. Jobson holds the mic towards them and it is the loudest and best sing along I have ever heard. The fans are still singing when the band goes off.
 
But that surely cant be it – they come back on to do acoustic versions of  “Saints are Coming” and “Into the Valley” which mellows the crowd out before they play “Fields”, which according to Jobson they have never played live before.
And finally it is time for “that song that is like a lead weight around our necks all evening and you have been waiting for” says Jobson – “Albert Tatlock” is screamed out! “TV Stars” is played and the roof of the Alhambra is nearly lifted off its hinges.
And that was it – two hours of sheer brilliance and the last ever gig, if so they did their hometown and the fans proud but most of all they did themselves proud.
 
As they walk off Bruce stands alone and shouts see ya soon.
 
The end or the beginning…?

Words & photos: Dod Morrison
 
http://www.safeconcerts.com/dod/gallery.asp

http://www.myspace.com/dmphotographyaberdeen

 

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999 Aberdeen, February 19th 2010

999  @ Café Drummonds Aberdeen 19-02-10

999 ripped through their set. Kicking off with traditional opener Black Flowers For The Bride, the band quickly hit their stride and showed why, in their 34th (!) year, they’re still a top live act.

Despite being a wee, round guy these days, Nick Cash is still a great front man as he gurns and hams it up in front of the mic. They blaze through Inside Out with guitarist Guy Days going mad as he belts out the “Woah-o-oh” backing vocals. The first few times I saw 999 play he always came across as silent and moody onstage but the last couple of gigs he really seems to be having fun, using at various times a bottle and his mic stand to shred his strings. He’s the epitome of middle-aged cool in his black suit and is one of those guitarists who makes it look oh so effortless as he rips the lead lines from his instrument. In amongst the classics like Boys In The Gang and Don’t You Know I Need You, we get quite a few from recent album Death In Soho and they fit perfectly with the vintage material. The System and Gimme The World could have fitted just as easily onto their 1978 debut as they do on the current record. In particular, Last Breath sounds really good tonight, prompting an audience singalong on the chorus.

Big Arthur on the bass kicks off Feeling Alright With The Crew prompting a rush to the dancefloor as people recognise the old favourite. There are some really BIG guys moshing in there tonight so I’m staying clear My Diet Coke isn’t really a tipple conducive to punk rock dancing anyway.  We get Hit Me and Titanic Reaction in quick succession keeping the high pace going. In fact, if I was going to have one we complaint (as I always usually do hehe), then it would be that they play their slower songs too fast. In particular, FAWT Crew and Emergency lose the slow burning air of menace that the records have when they’re played this quickly. It’s not all bad though, as the quicker pace gives Homicide a bit of extra zip and really gets the crowd going. Judging by the red and sweaty faces at the end of it, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a heart attack here tonight.

Words by New York Johnny
 
Photos by Dod
 
http://www.safeconcerts.com/dod/gallery.asp

 

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DECEMBER ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

 

THE LEGAL TENDER TOUR

SHIHAD, THE LIVING END, AIRBOURNE, LUGER BOA

Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand

October 2nd

5/5


The Living End

 

With four of down under’s hottest live bands teaming up for the eight-city Legal Tender New Zealand tour it was a great chance to see just how good rock ‘n’ roll is these days in NZ and Australia. Kicking off the night were LUGER BOA, formed from the ashes of NZ acts the D4 and Sommerset and they get the crowd worked up with 20 minutes of glammed up, high energy rock ‘n’ roll before AIRBOURNE follow up their Sonisphere triumph by slaying the crowd with the likes of ‘Runnin’ Wild’, ‘Blackjack’ and ‘What’s Eatin’ You’. The only new track they previewed was ‘Born To Kill’ which wasn’t exactly a departure from their debut, but if it ain’t broke… THE LIVING END never disappoint live and Chris Cheney remains one of the best guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll. Oldies like ‘Prisoner Of Society’ and ‘Second Solution’ mix well with the heavier new numbers like ‘White Noise’ and ‘Raise The Alarm’ and they end their set with Chris literally climbing Scotty’s double bass in a brilliant finale. The Living End simply rule! Catch em’ on their U.K tour in December. New Zealand rockers SHIHAD are celebrating twenty years as a band, and in that time they have come close to cracking the US but due to a brief change of name to Pacifier due to the September 11th attacks they didn’t quite get there. And that’s a shame because what Shihad do best is big anthem, chorus-packed rock, and with an arsenal of huge songs like ‘The General Electric’, ‘Comfort Me’ and the heavy as a death in the family ‘Empty Shell’ they have the 1800 fans here tonight blowing the roof off the town hall. With a new album and tour due to hit the UK in May, maybe its time for you to check out Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins’ favourite band.

Words/Photos: Eugene Big Cheese/Matthew Stead

Heavy Trash / Gin Palace
Lexington, London, 16/09/09

Coinciding with – rather the being part of – the Not The Same Old Blues Crap season of punk rock blues gigs, tonight’s show was nevertheless in full accordance with the Blues Crap ethos of low-down rockin’ delights. North London three-piece Gin Palace soften up the crowd with their sozzled high-impact blues noise. Jon Free prangs out his crash-test chords while vocalist Meaghan Wilkie fixes the front row with a mischievous glare while declaiming the virtues of ‘Kicking On’, Australian parlance for ‘Knock ‘em back’ in case you’re wondering.
The evening’s main draw Heavy Trash comprises ex-Madder Rose and Speedball Baby guitar man Matt Verta Ray and Jon Spencer of Blues Explosion fame. HT seem to have set their parameters more-or-less within the city limits of fifties rockabilly. There’s a strong whiff of hair-oil in the air, and while Spencer’s more familiar on-stage mode – an overstimulated white James Brown – appears to have been toned right down, he’s still throwing enough ‘68 comeback moves to maintain the magnetism. Heavy Trash bring it right back to Sun Studios’ basics; the rhythmic whip-crack of a Slingerland snare, the organic thump of a stand-up bass, sprung reverb and glowing valve tubes. Spencer and Verta Ray revel in the undimmed thrill of vintage rock’n’roll tones, the authenticity of this music at its moment of post-war inception. A history lesson it might be, but it’s one that bears repeating, and in the hands of Heavy Trash, the spirit’s tangibly alive.
Hugh Gulland

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds
100 Club, London, 29th November

With a resume bragging stints with the Cramps, the Bad Seeds and a long association with Jeffrey Lee Pierce in the Gun Club, Kid Congo’s status as six-string foil to the greats is beyond argument; as a front man in his own right, he’s been a little longer coming forward, but with his current outfit the Pink Monkeybirds now touring their second album Dracula Boots, it’s a role he seems increasingly comfortable with. In their coordinated bolero jackets and red silk shirts, the Pink Monkeybirds are a vision of south of the border cool, fully in keeping with the Congo charisma. With his toothily angelic take on the street-hip slouch of a barrio hustler, Kid’s on winning form, dusting the front row with handfuls of glitter between numbers with that sleazy-soulful grin on his chops. The set doesn’t shy from Congo’s illustrious past; Gun Club staples such as Sex Beat and For The Love Of Ivy are pulled out of the hat at strategic points, and the recently-departed Cramps man Lux Interior gets a respectful salute with a spirited Goo Goo Muck. Kid’s own material meanwhile follows a Latino-punk groove, over which Congo’s guitar tone – a ghostly splice of feedback and tremolo – conjures desert winds and lost spirits. The sonic spookiness peaks on a sublime instrumental take on Jeffrey Lee’s Mother Of Earth, from which Kid slams into the lascivious grind of La Historia De Un Amour, before wrapping up the set with a jubilant I’m Cramped. We don’t got too many originals left, but Kid Congo still has his instincts sparking, and for that I’m happy.
Hugh Gulland

THE KING BLUES

London Camden Electric Ballroom

October 9th

5/5

 

Entering the Electric Ballroom, we’re immediately greeted by the sight of a man distributing leaflets and asking us to sign a petition: bring the troops back home from Afghanistan. It’s immediately clear that this was all the KING BLUES doing, liberal-minded punks that they are.

On stage a wooden music box sits alone playing ‘London’s Burning’. Not quite the introduction one would expect from any band, but it works, proof positive that popular acclaim be damned: Itch and the boys don’t confirm.

Storming the stage and erupting into song, the atmosphere can only be described as electric while their lyrics could be described as pure poetry. Combine this with energetic ska, fused with acoustic folk and you’ve got yourself a room full of people either happily bouncing or skanking. We’re treated to a great selection of tracks, including ‘Lets Hang The Landlord’, ‘I Got Love’ and ‘Save The World Get The Girl’. The mood is toned down; dangling fairy lights contribute to a beautiful performance of ‘Underneath This Lamppost Light’, proving the ability of frontman Itch when it comes to delivering with just his ukulele and incredible voice. Swaying arms and beer cans unite as the whole crowd sings the refrain of “You look beautiful tonight”. This soon ends as ‘My Boulder’ begins, and to everyone’s astonishment, Itch welcomes “My boys from Enter Shikari” mid-song. It’s a crowded stage, but both an epic collaboration and performance that leaves everyone feeling gob smacked. Itch thanks the crowd and enthuses: “We’re fucking overwhelmed. Thank you so much.” If anything, we’re overwhelmed; tonight’s performance is nothing less than superb, and unforgettable. The King Blues are on top of their game and showcase British talent at its best.

Words/Photos: Chloe Gillard

BIG CHEESE PRESENTS

THE BRIGGS

STRAWBERRY BLONDES, MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE

London Camden Barfly
September 13th

4/5

They may be young bands, but it’s nice to see a healthy age range making up the audience at this up-and-comer Sunday night buffet. Punk rock is top of the menu and served up for starters are MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE, a talented Blackburn four-piece who are heading for high places. They’ve already shown their colours on this year’s Warped Tour (not to mention on the follow up compilation) and though tonight’s crowd may be a teensy bit smaller, the band’s performance is clearly no less passionate. Punchy, brash and garnished with old-skool integrity, this support slot provides the perfect aperitif, quickly setting juices flowing. Our main course arrives a couple of drinks later, in the form of STRAWBERRY BLONDES, and it’s evident from the first taste that we’re in for a treat. Comprised of a satisfying medley of anthemic punk and roll tracks like ‘Goodbye Inspiration’ and trumpet-backed ska songs like ‘Beat Down Babylon’ and ‘Rip It Up’, the Newport threesome deliver the set with silver service, however it’s clear that something is lacking with this latest nouvelle lineup, which if you want this critics opinion, could definitely use a fourth helping. The final dish of the night comes from those West Coast curs THE BRIGGS, a rowdy bunch of scoundrels with six releases under their belt and though little of the band’s early material makes the cut this time, a fresh batch of shanties from new album ‘Come All You Madmen’ is enough to fill anyone’s plate. Jason LaRocca’s phenomenal guitar work and the swarthy vocals of his brother Joey make a winning combination, most notably in tracks like ‘Oblivion’ and ‘This is LA’ and by the end the crowd are stuffed to bursting: truly the night’s piece de resistance! But though tonight’s portions have been generous, the presentation faultless and the quality of the highest caliber, this is one patron still left hungry for more. Perhaps a kebab is in order on the homestretch?

Tom Williams

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NOVEMBER ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

DURHAM PUNK FESTIVAL
SEPT 12TH

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.

Dod
www.myspace.com/dmphotographyaberdeen

THE ANGRY SAMOANS
BALTIMORE
SEPT 15TH

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.

Kellie Morton
 

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