Vive Le Punk Presents…
VIVE LE PUNK
London South Of The Border
Roll up, roll up for a night of punk rock mayhem that is the first ever Vive Le Punk gig night, taking place at the all new South Of The Border in London’s Old Street.
Hidden away in this Mexicola basement is what turns out to be the best punk party I have been to in a long while and officially the best way to kick start the Easter weekend on a Thursday.
First up of tonight’s trio was THE HATEFUL, who are straight-up London punkers and a snarling amalgamation of the Ramones and the Pistols. They were incredibly tight, so if you think you’ve heard it all before I recommend you listen to it all again.
Secondly we had the delightful JOHNNY THROTTLE. Don’t be mislead by the influx of Johnny based names: these guys are hard-hitting, blood curdling screamers that have resurrected Iggy for one last stage dive into a willing crowd.
Band of the night was our darling headliners, the glamorous, the burlesque, THE FABULOUS PENETRATORS. At first I could hardly believe my eyes, but then I couldn’t believe my ears! It was a surly and superb mix of styles that was all baker boy hats and glittery make-up, which caused the whole basement to shake from the lounge lizard swing. These jumpy disco boogie boys turned the night from spitting on the walls to a night of ‘sing a long, even if you don’t know it’.
In summary, certain T4 presenters couldn’t get in, certain members of a recent radio scandal (the granddaughter) were hanging around and our very own El Prez was on the decks. Whatever you do don’t miss the next one!
The next Vive Le Punk night will be in July
Halle 101, Speyer, Germany
The mainstream music press started knocking nails in the coffin of psychobilly, the genre that refuses to die, back in the 1980s and have continued to do so ever since. Rarely has an obituary been so premature Almost thirty years after The Meteors first screamed that their brother was a zombie hundreds of multicoloured psychobillies walked en masse in George Romero-esque misery after being turned away from this sold out festival. This 22nd Satanic Stomp was back at its spiritual home of Speyer after a brief relocation last year. That was a very modern Hellcat-dominated event but this year had an old school feeling about it. Day one of the two-day gore fest featured an excellent festival debut from UK trio the WHIP CRACKIN’ DADDIES whose macabre rockabilly acted as perfect aperitif for the main course of Klub Foot favourites including a welcome return of THE WIGGSVILLE SPLIFFS, and stomping smile along with THE LONG TALL TEXANS whilst veteran US stalwarts THE QUAKES waved the flag for the States with a barnstorming performance from front-man Paul Roman. DEMENTED ARE GO followed in full horror mode with a rasping set of classic sickness. Headliners and highlight of the first day was a triumphant set from the GUANA BATZ, frontman Pip belied the years as he jumped, joked and screamed his way through a set that tested the wrecking pit to its very limits. A DJ set until 4am ensured that stamina was tested to the full.
Day two dawned at around lunchtime with the packed parking lot-cum-campsite strewn with booze casualties from day one’s exertions dozing in the sun. Once again sad eyed psychos were turned away in their hundreds as day two sold out as fast as day one. The action in Halle 101 was frenetic but the audience slightly more subdued no doubt due to the boozed up aural and physical battering they had taken the day before. The bands soon whipped the crowd’s stamina back to acceptable levels with mustachio-ed shenanigans from THE ROCKABILLY MAFIA and an excellent performance by THE LUCKY DEVILS who gave it some French style. Old school favourites THE COFFIN NAILS showcased a chunk of their new album as well as old favourites before a memorable encore when amply proportioned Humungous stripped down to a ‘mankini’ which horrified and amused in equal measure. MAD DOG COLE followed and rocked the joint with a mixture of MDC’s old Krewmen material as well as their own songs which saw veteran warbler all over the stage and speakers. MAD SIN’s show also featured a large chunk of older songs and put up one of the performances of the weekend. The REVEREND HORTON HEAT had a hard act to follow but did so in his usual professional polished style winding down a weekend that was hard going physically but propelled by some of the best Psychobilly performers ever in top form. Next year, book early, get a cheap flight to Frankfurt and be there because the Satanic Stomp is Psychobilly heaven.
Big Cheese Presents…
London Islington Academy
The excitement in Islington Academy is palpable by the time that Canadian melodic hardcore punk heroes PROPAGANDHI take the stage. Excitement is replaced by confusion and amusement as Clive Jones of early ‘70s Leicester metallers Black Widow plays the flute and introduces the band. Quickly forgotten, the Winnipeg quartet open with the title track from their new album ‘Supporting Caste’ and are soon ripping through fan favourites such as ‘A Speculative Fiction’, ‘Less Talk More Rock’ and the mighty ‘Back To The Motor League’, sending the crowd into a frenzy. New tracks such as ‘Dear Coach’s Corner’ and ‘Human(e) Meat’ sit comfortably alongside songs from their previous four albums. Propagandhi are unsurprisingly as tight as they are on record, with dual guitars, a thundering rhythm section and Chris Hannah’s note-perfect and passionate vocals blowing everyone away. The old-school fans were treated to the ‘gandhi classic ‘Anti-Manifesto’ and the Zionism and religion attacking ‘Haillie Sellasse, Up Your Ass’. Thankfully, the preaching is kept to a minimum, with Hannah and co. letting the songs do most of the talking, but the band are surprisingly fun, inviting a fan onstage to sing ‘Fuck The Border’ and joking about being “guys who are almost 40 and still dress like we’re 16”. Encoring with the return of the caped Clive Jones for a cover of his band’s ‘Come To The Sabbat’ before blowing the roof off with the blistering ‘Purina Hall Of Fame’, the night ends with Hannah’s face melting guitar solo and a set that left the crowd picking their jaws up from the floor.
Big Cheese Presents…
SNUFF, THE FLATLINERS, POUR HABIT
London 02 Shepherds Bush Empire
Our openers at this second London Fat Wreck extravaganza come in the form of recent signers POUR HABIT. Harking back to an early SoCal sound with a heavy dose of Compton roots mixed in, the band whip up a tasty circle pit in no time, and while singer Chuck Green may look a far cry from the emo sheen of Davey Havok, the vocals spouting from his lips could fool you otherwise.
Next up are Toronto’s THE FLATLINERS, a band barely out of their school uniforms but with a punk sound that’s solidified their name on the Canadian scene. Providing a nice middle ground for the show, these guys aren’t really much to write home about, but probably worthy of a place on a Fat Wrek sampler.
Brit legends SNUFF mark our strike three on this sunny Sunday evening and the reception from the stalls on their entrance is one of true anarchic admiration. Over twenty years young, with an iconic ska punk sound that’s impossible to pigeon hole, classic songs like ‘Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads’, ‘Nick Northern’ and the slur-along to beat all slur-alongs ‘Arsehole’ all crop up in a performance that shows no signs of wear, despite the bands on/off career.
Unstoppable since their birth, NOFX’s album output has never faltered with mark 12 ‘Coaster’ (or ‘Frisbee’ on vinyl) hitting shops last month. Although we get a nice taster from this, most of the set is happily made up from their massive arsenal of favourites including a mix of faster tracks like ‘I’m Telling Tim’, ‘Bob’ and ‘Seeing Double At The Triple Rock’, chilled out reggae ditties like ‘Eat The Meek’ and ‘Reeko’ and a furious five minute, six song splurge in the middle. NOFX aren’t all about the music though: half of the laughs are…well, the laughs, with tonight’s banter ranging from discussions over Fat Mike’s nipples, to a mini breakdancing sesh from the ‘illustrious’ El Hefe. Everybody leaves with a smile on their face: a true laugh riot night from the Bill Hickses of punk rock.
Belgium’s answer to the Vans Warped Tour, Groezrock is without a doubt Belgium’s premium punk and hardcore festival, mixing a commanding line-up together with a huge atmosphere that would challenge even the largest of festivals.
From the hardcore sounds of AMEN RA to the ska soundtrack of CATCH 22, this year’s line-up stepped it up in terms of variety.
THE LIVING END celebrated their first time back in Belgium for eight years, sounding and looking excellent on stage as true professionals. Cover songs abounded throughout the weekend, with THE VANDALS coming up with a typically amusing version of Queen’s 1978 hit ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Although THE AQUABATS covered Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’, this was not a highlight of the weekend with a mixed reaction of obscenities and salutations.
NO FUN AT ALL, the Swedish punk rock band, formed back in 1991 and even after all these years and several line-up changes, they still pull together for an amazing performance, as did BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, with an electric atmosphere and their loyal army of fans.
Although RISE AGAINST were on top form and produced an awesome show, NOFX managing to squeeze out an almost complete set stole the weekend and blew everything else out of sight.
London Madam Jo Jo’s
Stages weren’t meant for Frank Carter. Within, oh, about five seconds he’s bounded off the tiny platform inside the super-intimate Jo Jo’s where GALLOWS have decided to cap off a screening of the ‘Grey Britain’ DVD with an invite-only show and scampered up onto the overlooking balcony, merrily passing the microphone and bellowing in the faces of industry types as Lags, Stu, Steph and Lee crank out the life-affirming racket that is ‘Grey Britain’, tearing their way through the likes of ‘Death Voices’ and ‘Leeches’ with a recharged level of passion and aggression. On top form with Frank cracking jokes and Stu introducing ‘Belly Of A Shark’ (one of only a couple of ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ songs played, showing the confidence the five-piece have in their new material), it takes little time for a circle pit to develop inside the bespoke venue, with friends and family leading the charge. Fantastic.
THE LIVING END
THE LIVING END’s only London show of their three-gig whistle-stop tour was a sell-out packed house and the band rose to the occasion. They kicked off with one of the new songs ‘Raise The Alarm’ in stomping fashion before wading into classic ‘Roll On’ not giving the crowd chance to draw breath then mixed it all up for the rest of the set with older more familiar material blending well with the new. Bassist Scott Owen is definitely going to be in trouble with bass lovers as he abused his instrument, mercilessly slapping, dragging and mounting it all over the stage. Chris Cheney showed similar scant regard for his guitar, throttling out lightning fast licks as he circumnavigated the stage conquering Andy Stachan’s drums in the process. The band’s anthem ‘Prisoner Of Society’ still takes pride of place in the set and is played with as much venom and power as it was when it propelled the band into superstardom in Australia over a decade ago resulting in raised heckles and a thousand fists accompanied by every voice in the house singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. Not resting on their laurels it was straight back to the new with ‘How Do We Know’ rolling into party piece ‘E-Boogie’ where the drum and slap bass showcased before Cheney played slide with a frothing beer bottle on a guitar of many a dream before necking the remaining booze to rapturous cheers. Last song was ‘White Noise’ which already sounds like an anthem but we knew they’d be back, melancholy but rockin’ ‘Wake Up’ surprised a few but not as much as an impromptu rendition of ‘Jailbreak’ before back to a thunderous and fitting Living End finale ‘West End Riot’ which had the Koko crowd throbbing in unison. Once again The Living End proved that they are one of the best live bands on the planet.