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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REBELLION FESTIVAL 2009

REBELLION FESTIVAL
Blackpool Winter Gardens
August 6th-9th
5/5

There’s never a better catalyst for punk rock than a bit of global economic meltdown. Nearly 8,000 from the four corners of the globe invaded Blackpool’s cavernous Winter Gardens for 200 bands, five stages and four days of drinking to oblivion – it was rightly hailed the most successful in the annual event’s history by the promoters. Some are crazily suggesting next year’s lasts a week but, hey, that will actually kill us!! With a humungous merch and market area, a quite brilliant punk art exhibition from tons of well-known punks including Gaye Advert, Charlie Harper and Knox, and enough bars to keep George Best happy this years Rebellion could just be the festival of the year.
Rebellion, as always, was a case of so many bands and so little time but a few more highlights that worked for us included the mighty DAMNED, the theatrics of Monkey and his ADICTS crew, the rabble rousing GOLDBLADE complete with virtually every female in the place joining them for the encores, the carnage of NAPALM DEATH, the re-emergence of SEPTIC PSYCHOS after a hiatus of over 20 years; the gathering storm that is CUTE LEPERS, UK SUBS legend Charlie Harper still performing with more balls than bands a third his age and the ability of guitarist Jet’s unfeasibly high quiff to stay up throughout the set, feisty horrorpunks PINK HEARSE having no balls but putting on a great show, the no holds-barred carnage of DRONGOS FOR EUROPE and the work-hating acoustic antics of one PAUL CARTER, the VIBRATORS’ KNOX and CHARLIE HARPER’S acoustic ‘Warhead’, the DUEL actually turning into a pretty good band, CHRON GEN playing ‘Outlaw’, newcomers CONTROL pulling a huge crowd for their first major show, ABRASIVE WHEELS’ new stuff sounding like AFI (!) the STRAWBERRY BLONDES, SONIC BOOM SIX,THE RABBLE,MORAL DILEMMA and RANDOM HAND bringing the new blood, MAD SIN keeping the psychos happy, THE BEAT doing a great job, THE EXPLOITED beating the bastards, the ‘Young Ones’’ ADRIAN EDMONDSON perhaps rethinking his move into punk, ARGY BARGY bringing the street to the Olympia, PICTURE FRAME SEDUCTION and SICK ON THE BUS keeping it strictly old school, plus a brilliant cast of hundreds including great sets from LOVE AND A 45, TEXAS TERRI, JAYA THE CAT, New York’s THE BLAME (nice guy), LEFTOVER CRACK (get some clothes!), 999, ANTI NOWHERE LEAGUE, PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, SHAME ACADEMY(not getting crowd they deserved) and the FREEZE, AGNOSTIC FRONT and the ADOLESCENTS flying the USA flag in brilliant style. Oh, and the STUPIDS just about being the best reformed band ever!
KILLING JOKE front man Jaz Coleman – punk rock’s answer to Nostradamus – was making his debut at the event and performed as though his life depended on it. It did – he predicted the end of the world in December 2012. The band were at their most blistering as they raged through driving early eighties anthems like ‘Requiem’ and ‘Wardance’ – songs that were sounding as fresh in 2009 as they were when they first hit Thatcherite Britain in the early 1980s, thanks to the band reverting back to their original line-up with Youth back on bass, Paul Ferguson pounding the skins and Geordie on guitar.
They were in stark contrast to jokers of a different kind – THE DICKIES. The enduring West Coast outfit have been off the Rebellion roster for the past couple of years and their set – spanning frenetic early chart hits like ‘Banana Splits’ right through to more up to date madness like ‘My Pop The
Cop’ from the 2001 long-player ‘All This And Puppet Stew’ – sparked one of the maddest pogo-fests in the history of Rebellion.
BAY CITY ROLLERS definitely got the prize for most random act on the menu at the weekend: one original member (Eric Faulkner) and far more sprightly looking backing band that looked more suited as on-stage members of Placebo.

They were joined on the apply named Bizarre Bazaar stage by KUNT AND THE GANG – a man that knows absolutely no shame and pervades a style or humour that can only be best described as ‘very wrong’ and had various female audience members leaving in shock. And in between downing beers on the pier with Blackpool’s pensioner population we staggered off into the sunset looking forward to next year. Bring it on Darren!

Words: Neil Anderson/Eugene Big Cheese
Photos: David Brown/Lucy Pryor

FOLLOWING PHOTOS COPYRIGHT DAVID BROWN


Anti-Nowhere League


Killing Joke


Killing Joke


The Adicts


The Adicts


The Damned


The Exploited


The Exploited

FOLLOWING PHOTOS COPYRIGHT LUCY PRYOR


Agnostic Front


Deadline


Goldblade


Leftover Crack


Mad Sin


The Rabble


FAN TOP 5s OF REBELLION FESTIVAL

Sent in to info@vivelepunk.net

1 anti nowhere league
2 killing joke
3 chron gen
4 goldblade
5 resistance 77
angie x

1. the Adicts
2. killing joke
3.Koffin Kats
4.the Subhumans
5.pink hearse
dod

1.UK Decay
2.The Cute Lepers
M Foster

1.KILLING JOKE
2.THE EXPLOITED
3.RUST
4.LOS FASTIDIOS
5.ARGY BARGY
Billy McConnell

1.CHRON GEN
2.THE RABBLE
3.UK SUBS
4.ABRASIVE WHEELS
5.THE BEAT
Andy F Scotland

1.KILLING JOKE
2.SHAME ACADEMY
3.THE BLAME
4.SICK ON THE BUS
5.U.K DECAY
AL london

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17th PSYCHOBILLY MEETING

17th PSYCHOBILLY MEETING
Pineda De Mar
June 24th – 28th
5/5



The psychobilly scene’s summer holidays rolled around for the seventeenth year and once again lived up to all the anticipation. The town of Pineda De Mar (near Barcelona) is invaded by fans from all over the world meeting up during the day at the ‘Psycho’ Beach Bar. Various warm-up gigs took place during the week but the big names began to roll out on Thursday night at the smaller Magmar venue. The ASTRO ZOMBIES were definitely one of the highlights. The news of Michael Jackson’s sad demise had begun to filter through so it was up to DEMENTED ARE GO to pay tribute with a hearty ‘Good riddance you c**t’ before blasting into an excellent set. Friday was the first day in the large beach-side tent venue. The UK’s new favourites THE GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS gave a rollicking show to those that had turned out for their early slot. The horrorpunk-tinged THE REZUREX put up a slick performance before neo-rockabilly veterans THE CARAVANS gave the punters still sat outside no choice but to get in and check their set out. Psychobilly legend P PAUL FENECH headlined. His latest solo offerings have been excellent slabs of studio greatness but live they didn’t seem to ignite with the crowd. Maybe the fact the line-up was The Meteors with a couple of additional vocalists was the problem. The solo work is not The Meteors by design, but maybe that is what the slowly dispersing crowd would have preferred. A few Meteors classics pulled out of the bag did little to dampen the slight air of anti-climax. Saturday was lit up early by THE GUITAR SLINGERS, a psychobilly super-group of well-known luminaries. Japanese band BATTLE OF NIMJAMAZ blasted ears with their hard sound before THE GO GETTERS brought the rockabilly back but the band of the night and the whole weekend were FRENZY. Steve Whitehouse and cohorts showed how professional and tight psychobilly can be. The whole show simply rocked and with the wealth of top songs available from their back catalogue, never let up and thankfully never slipped into extended bass solos or crowd chant-backs. The whole weekend is so much more than just the gigs, the majority of Sunday being spent at the organized pool party. Sunday night was slightly quieter but no less rockin’ with The ARKHAMS, THE SURF RATS and POX raising their game, The Arkhams were particularly impressive. It spoke volumes that such a large crowd had amassed for headliners THE RICOCHETS and the wait was worth it as they blasted through their set of pioneering 80s favourites with three minutes of slap-bass brutality ‘Running Wild’ the highlight. The 17th Psychobilly Meeting was better than ever before, Sun, Sea, Psychobilly and a great atmosphere all packed into a very long weekend that belonged to Frenzy. Be there next year.

Simon Nott

 

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JULY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

Vive Le Punk Presents…
VIVE LE PUNK
London South Of The Border
April 9th
4/5
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!

Hazel Savage

The next Vive Le Punk night will be in July

SATANTIC STOMP
Halle 101, Speyer, Germany
April 11th-12th
5/5
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.

Simon Nott

Big Cheese Presents…
PROPAGANDHI
London Islington Academy
April 19th
5/5
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.
Ian Chaddock

Big Cheese Presents…
NOFX
SNUFF, THE FLATLINERS, POUR HABIT
London 02 Shepherds Bush Empire
May 3rd
5/5
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.

Tom Williams

GROEZROCK
Meerhot, Belgium
April 17th-18th
4/5
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.

Daniel Talbot

GALLOWS
London Madam Jo Jo’s
April 29th
5/5
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.

Jim Sharples

THE LIVING END
Camden Koko
April 22nd
5/5
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.

Simon Nott

 

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VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL

VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL
Leamington Spa The Assembly
April 26th

Here are two fan reviews of the VLP festival. All photos are copyright Uglypunk.

The venue was excellent, recently refurbished – and it looked it too. Great stage with good visibility from anywhere in the room. There was mention of a new £250,000 sound system having been installed, and after hearing all the bands play you couldn’t argue with it either – they all sounded exceptionally good. Even the light show was very good all day and reached its peak at the end of the night for the UK Subs and the Anti Nowhere League. The only downside during the whole proceedings was the over-use of the smoke machines for the last few bands – so much so that Nato (the ANWL drummer, for those that don’t know) couldn’t even read his set list at one point – and it was less than three foot away from him !!!!!

ALL the staff (yes, INCLUDING the bouncers) were excellent, and as usual at these events there was no trouble whatsoever – just everybody having a good time and really enjoying themselves watching the bands.

First up on stage were a local band called SECTION 13 (4/5) – pictured below – who did a great set, watched by a decent gathering for first on like. Very energetic and watchable frontman, with a good punk sound made for a fine start to the days proceedings.

Next up – the ever fast and furious VARUKERS (4/5), who never fail to produce the goods, with Rat stalking the stage and taking command as usual. Bit early in the day for them to be playing – but with so many other good bands still to come someone had to be second on!

Similar can be said for the third band too, THE LURKERS (4/5) – but Arthur was needed later on for the 999 set, so we’ll give yer that one !! Another polished performance by the three piece punk legends and very well recieved.

The day was still only young and already it was time for the consistently brilliant VICE SQUAD (4/5). With the super Beki Bondage up front they put in another great performance (even when Paul’s Amp blew! But he sorted it out, and most punters probably didn’t even notice!) Excellent delivery and energy throughout the whole set.

Time for THE MEMBERS (3/5) now. Recently re-formed after approx 20 years (so I was told) and this was only about their fifth gig since then. The least lively band of the day, which was only to be expected – played a mixed range of tunes including some slow ska/reggae types and the crowd pleasing Solitary Confinement and Sound of the Suburbs. Not my type of music – but that is nothing against their collective performance.

Arthur has had a long enough break now! So it’s the turn of 999 (4/5). Brill set with lots of old stuff mixed with a few of the new album tracks, and they all went down well. Nick Cash was lively on the large stage and even managed to get airborne a couple of times too!

Enter the maestro… Charlie Harper and the UK SUBS (5/5). Charlie was on top form, clad in leather jacket and Vibrators T shirt – prancing around, throwing the mike stand in the air, jumping about, and more. How does he do it after all these years, AND, at his age?! Sorry Charlie. A great performance from a great man. He always has time for the many people that want a word or a photograph with him, and today was no exception – mixing with the crowd/fans all day/night. Top man. Anyway, an excellent set produced by the whole band – even though Jamie (the drummer) was clouded in smoke for most of it!

Headline time, and the ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE (5/5). Up steps Animal to take centre stage, flanked by Shady and the recent new member Johny Skullknuckles (still playing with Goldblade as well by the way), and the awesome Nato pounding the skins at the back, and the power level is massively increased with the shout of "We ARE The League". A fabulous show put on by all of them, well over an hour of their fav/best songs had the crowd enthralled and bouncing around. A great finale helped by the top quality pa system and the cranked up light show. Even the smoke effects looked good for the punters (and the photographs!), but it was a bit much for the band members.

Another all-dayer like this should be a must. Big thanks from me and many others to Nigel, the General Manager, and ALL involved at The Assembly in Leamington Spa for their hospitality and for Hosting the event. If you’ve never been to this place to see a gig, then GO ! You wont be disappointed.

CHEEEEEEEEEEERS,
‘UGLYPUNK’

ALL photographs are copyright of ‘Uglypunk’ and may not be reproduced without prior permission.

THE VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL

Had an excellent weekend in Leamington, rounded off by a superb gig promoted by the Vive Le Punk website.

The venue, The Assembly Rooms in Leamington is ideal for a gig. Great sound and great lighting with a couple of well staffed bars.

The gig started off with local band SECTION 13 (3/5), whom I had not heard before, and they got the afternoon off to a great start. More hardcore than ‘77 punk but very enjoyable. They even played Black Flag and Bad
Brains covers, which they nailed.

Next up were the VARUKERS (4/5) who are celebrating 30 years of hardcore punk! Rat, Biff and the crew piledrived out a great set of apocalyptic sounds and
proved they still have the fire. They are off to New Zealand and Australia right now as part of a world tour. Catch ‘em when they are back.

We then had THE LURKERS (5/5) who never disappoint. Arturo is a great frontman and the band always play a great show. They played old and new tracks including “Rubber Room", "Shadow" and the brilliant "Come and reminisce if you think you’re old enough", finishing off with "Go ahead Punk".

Next up were VICE SQUAD (4/5), who despite early amp problems, were excellent.

999 (5/5) took to the stage next and like The Lurkers were on blistering form. We got the usual tracks, "Homicide", "Nasty Nasty", "Feeling alright with
the crew" as well as a couple of tracks from the superb "Death In Soho" album.

Then a band that I never saw first time around – THE MEMBERS (4/5). When they took to the stage I thought "Who the fuck are these old blokes?" because they looked like old blokes and not your usual "punk band". Being one of their first gigs in 20 odd years showed and they made a few cock ups, BUT, it was great hearing "Sound of the suburbs", "Soho a go go", "Police car" etc
live. Their new single "International Financial Crisis", which is an updated version of "Offshore banking business", was also played and is superb. Give them a bit of time and go and see them – superb.

Good ol’ Charlie and his merry gang were up next and as usual the UK SUBS (5/5) were superb. Admittedly you could probably know from memory what the band are going to play, CID / RIOT / WARHEAD / STRANGLEHOLD etc but they always play so well. It was good to see the band so high on the list, although quite a few people thought that they should be headlining and a few left before the League took to the stage.

Now I love the ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE (5/5), and despite knowing the set list pretty well, I am never disappointed, and this gig was no exception. From WE ARE THE LEAGUE / SNOWMAN / WOMAN / LET’S BREAK THE LAW to tracks from ROAD TO RAMPTON, always superb. Johnny Knuckles, from Goldblade, is probably the best guitarist they have ever had live and it makes them well worth seeing.

All in all, a superb day and thanks to Vive Le Punk for organising it.

Tim Richards

A big thanks go out to Uglypunk and Tim for their reviews and Uglypunk for the great photos!

FOR LIVE REVIEWS OF THE JIM JONES REVUE AND THE STRAWBERRY BLONDES, CLICK HERE.

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MAY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

THE JIM JONES REVUE
London Madame Jo Jo’s
March 5th

Sleazed into a sold-out Madame Jo Jo’s, the UK’s best-kept rock ‘n’ roll secret is exploding onstage.
THE JIM JONES REVUE (5/5) take the fire of Jerry Lee Lewis, gargle down a bottle of cheap pills with a whisky chaser and spit it out on great tunes like their current single ‘Cement Mixer’. Culled from their cracking debut album, songs whistle past in a barrelling rampage of punk rock fury and hard licks as Jones stalks the stage like a man hopped-up after a session toking on Chuck Berry’s adrenal gland.
It ain’t new and it ain’t pretty, but it’s so raw and passionate that Big Cheese wants in big time. The Jim Jones Revue will make you love rock ‘n’ roll again. You’ve been warned.
El Prez

STRAWBERRY BLONDES
Newport TJs
February 21st

With the current recession triggering alarm bells about the decline of the UK live music scene you could be mistaken for thinking that tonight punters might be a bit thin on the ground, but it looks like they’ve had to widen TJ’s door frames to accommodate the crowd that has swelled into the legendary venue to witness the triumphant return of Newport street punks STRAWBERRY BLONDES (4/5). Back on home turf the Blondes explode onto the tiny stage and the crowd erupts into a flailing mass of limbs as front man Mickie Stabbs leads his mob straight into prime rabble rousing anthem’s ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Rise Up’ and the ska infused ‘Beat Down Babylon’.
New songs such as ‘Social Control’, ‘Hard Times’, ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Fight Back’ show that Strawberry Blondes have that knack of writing songs that perfectly capture the mood of the times. After an all-too-brief forty five minutes an incendiary ‘Kingmob’ brings their set to a close as they leave the stage to a barrage of feedback and chants for more from the sweat drenched crowd. Tonight there’s no encore but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this lot.
Tim Grayson

 

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GOLDBLADE Aberdeen, April 11th 2009

   

GOLDBLADE
Aberdeen
The Moorings 
April 11th
5/5

Goldblade came along and did what they do best. They took the evening by the scruff of the neck and turned it into the best party in town. The name of Goldblade’s game is participation and, right from the off, they had the very enthusiastic crowd pogoing and singing along with their anthemic, football terrace choruses. Opening up with crowd favourite Fighting in the dancehall,followed by strictly hardcore, we then had a minor technical hitch when they lost Pete Birchmore’s guitar midway through the second song. However, after a couple of minutes break, they started at the beginning again with another, even more frenzied run through of Fighting in the dancehall and their theme song, Strictly Hardcore.
The set continued apace, drawing mainly from their last two albums, Rebel Songs and Mutiny. Motormouth front man John Robb never stops moving and it wasn’t long before his shirt was off and he was dripping sweat. There was no let up though as the classics kept on coming. Recent single Jukebox Generation blasted out along side Mutiny along side Riot Riot. Towards the end of their set, John invited someone up on stage to help them out with a final run through Psycho again. The volunteer, although not quite possessing the physique of Mr Robb, got right into the spirit of things, ripping off his shirt and giving it 100% with the lyrics, and a fine job he made of it too. The final song of the night was a sizzling version of Black Elvis which, as ever, had the crowd bellowing along with the words. After that they left the stage and you could see the steam hanging in the air from all the sweating that was going on from both band and crowd.
Goldblade really are one of the best live acts in the country at the moment. Do yourself a favour and check them out when they play your town. You won’t be disappointed.
 
www.myspace.com/dmphotographyaberdeen

 

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FEBRUARY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

MAGAZINE
LONDON HMV FORUM, KENTISH TOWN
February 12th

The disembodied voice of Howard Devoto cuts short a wordy recorded intro, explaining away the band’s highly anticipated reunion with ‘There’s This Woman I Need to Impress’. Drummer John Doyle, keyboardist Dave Formula and bassist Barry Adamson materialize from the shadows, with dapper guitarist Noko filling the shoes of the late John McGeogh, and the insistent stomp of ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ blows away the decades and dispels all need for further explanations. A leisurely figure in half-mast trews, Devoto appears perfectly at ease considering his long absence from the scene. What follows is a near flawless coast through Magazine’s back pages, classic after classic – ‘Because You’re Frightened’, ‘Rhythm of Cruelty’, ‘Permafrost’ – dispatched with panache. Noko executes those McGeoch guitar lines admirably, while Adamson delivers sinewy basslines with uber-cool nonchalance. The set hits a new level with the urgent groove of ‘20 Years Ago’ which sequences immaculately into the giddying ‘Definitive Gaze’. The classic single ‘Shot By Both Sides’ kicks pure adrenaline with its needling guitar riff and the final encore, an amped-up cover of Beefheart’s ‘Big Dummy’, closes proceedings on an unmatchable “never thought I’d see the day” type of show.
Hugh Gulland


Sick Of It All by Nick Mann

BIG CHEESE SPONSORED…
PERSISTENCE TOUR
LONDON KENTISH TOWN FORUM
December 11th

Four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon is definitely not the optimum time for a gig to start, and it’s no surprise early acts WAR OF AGES and DISCIPLINE are missed by many – this reviewer included. The venue’s still far from full as Dutch outfit BORN FROM PAIN (3/5) bully their way through a set that’s high on aggression but low on originality. There’s some serous Hatebreed-worshipping going on here, and even though their on-stage enthusiasm gets a few hyped-up individuals down the front moving, there’s not enough real quality to drag their set above the realms of average-ness. Mediocrity remains the order of the day with Germany’s HEAVEN SHALL BURN (2/5), who also do little to leave any lasting impression with their one-dimensional brand of metalcore. It’s not until TERROR (4/5) take to the stage, that the crowd actually seems interested in what’s going on, and the Los Angeles bruisers up the ante from the off, inciting the first real crowd activity of the night. With just half an hour to play with, it’s good to hear them only dropping in two songs from this year’s ‘The Damned, The Shamed’ effort, leaving space for crowd faces like ‘One With The Underdogs’ and ‘Push It Away’. Fast, furious and straight-to-the-point, they’re pretty much awesome from start to finish.
The feeling that the night was actually getting going was reinforced from the moment H20 (5/5) took to the stage and deliver a consistently great set of super-positive hardcore that’s tailor-made for bringing a smile to the face. Despite a rubbish sound mix, the anthemic nature of their material shines through, right from opener ‘1995’ via the likes of ‘Everready’, ‘Thicker Than Water’, an ace ‘Guilty By Association’ and cleverly dropping Fugazi’s ‘Waiting Room’ into the middle of ‘Five Year Plan’ – it’s all fist-in-the-air, shout-along fun and their set ends far too soon. Thankfully, their departure from the stage merely paves the way for fellow NYHC legends SICK OF IT ALL (5/5). It might actually be impossible for SOIA to deliver a duff set, because tonight is – as ever – pretty much flawless. Right from the proto-mosh of ‘It’s Clobberin’ Time’ through to newer songs from last album ‘Death To Tyrants’, they’ve always remained hard-hitting but anthemic, angry but fun, and their set tonight offers up all of that and more. Twenty years into their career, and SOIA are still the hardcore band to see live.
Words/Photo: Nick Mann

 

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JANUARY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

REBELLION FESTIVAL
London Forum
December 13th

On a day when many experienced massive travel difficulties, arrived to catch the last thrashings of THE RABBLE (4/5), prior to a typically serene GOLDBLADE (4/5) performance; John Robb spending the entire set perched on a barstool, smiling demurely from behind his coiffed fringe. Oh, okay then, it was the usual full-throttle, bare-chested broadside from Blackpool’s favourite punk rock son. A lot of people have made a real effort to see THE SHAPES (5/5) reunite, and revisit those dole snoop-dodging pseudonyms of yesteryear (Seymour Bybuss is still an all-time favourite). That man stage left is Brian Helicopter, and he’s on vacation from the day job (champion skydiver). How cool to hear ‘Batman In The Launderette’ again… Won the sweepstake on how old Andy Ellison of the Radio Stars is (112 officially) but nobody seems to have told him, and he’s soon doing a Robbster, disrobing and taunting the audience with his man-sweat. Next up is the similarly ageless and ever-engaging TV SMITH (3/5). I’ve always preferred him in smaller venues, generally, but he’s never knowingly undersold any audience I’ve been part of. This is the best I’ve seen Charlie Harper and the UK SUBS (4/5) for a while; excellent energy, a thumping ‘Warhead’ that sees the venue really light up for the first time late afternoon, some of my all-time favourite B-sides, and a lot of smiles. YOBS (4/5), the Yule-tidey reincarnation of THE BOYS, were great too; wonderfully appropriate season’s fare if you like a dose of vulgarity with your roasting chestnuts. Had to laugh at one on-stage introduction: “This one’s called . . . ‘C**t’.” The real highlight, though, is catching PENETRATION (5/5) in fine form. They apologise self-consciously for peppering the set with new material from their current Damaged Goods release, but pretty much all of it sounded great. Pauline, Rob et al seem to be having a ball and it’s not too slouchy from where I’m standing, either. After years of under the radar cultdom, kitchen porter colossus JOHNNY MOPED (3/5) has been a practical tart of late; perhaps he’s getting better at giving wife Brenda the slip. When they finally sell him off to medical science and dissect that gladiatorial physique, they’ll find rock ‘n’ roll running through his spine like a stick of rock. Travel anxieties preclude a fuller report of THE DAMNED’s performance, sadly; though I’ll be catching up with them shortly anyway and the new album is as pleasing as everyone is saying.
Alex Ogg

RANCID
THE LAST RESORT, JACSON UNITED
London Astoria
November 16th

It’s been two years too long since the second wave’s biggest punk rock band graced our chilly shores, and on this, their third London show and the last of their sold out UK winter tour, hopes are that they’ll be going out with a bang.
With differing support acts for differing cities, tonight’s show opens with new Deck Cheese signers JACKSON UNITED (5/5). On the second night of their own UK tour, Chris Shiflett’s boys receive a warm welcome from the ravenous crowd, rocking their newly acquired faster-edged sound to its full potential.  A set comprised predominantly of tracks from their recent ‘Harmony And Dissidence’ release, including the future classic single ‘21st Century Fight Song’ and solid moshing songs  ‘White Flag Burning’ and ‘The Land Without Law’, Jackson United leave the audience pumped, but not panting, proving themselves as the perfect warm up band for the evening.
THE LAST RESORT (4/5) take the middle slot of the bill, joining other seminal punk legends GBH, The Exploited and the UK Subs who have filled it on various dates of the tour. True up-starters of the Oi! Movement, The Last Resort are old school through and through and their loud, proud hooligan anthems soon have fists flying en masse. Cropping up lyrically in ‘The Ballad Of Jimmy & Johnny’, a classic track from the headliner’s Let’s Go release, it’s hardly surprising these guys were asked to join the tour, but the raw and belligerent deliverance of tracks like ‘Working Class Heroes’ and ‘Held Hostage’ paints a clear picture of where the Hellcat punx themselves learned the ropes of punk rock.
With little delay, RANCID (5/5), the guys we’re all here to see, take to the stage and if the years have taken their toll on these punk rock megastars, it sure ain’t showing.  All members, including new boy Brandon Steineckert, are on top form and judging by the mash of crowd and size of the circle pit, their fans haven’t grown tired of the tunes either.  A generous set featuring a nice mix of tracks that span their discography, from no-brainers ‘Radio’, ‘Old Friend’ and ‘Roots Radicals’ and ‘Ruby Soho’ to more obscure, often forgotten Life Won’t Wait tracks like ‘Hoover Street’, ‘There’s Something In The World Tonight’ and ‘Who Would’ve Thought’. As per usual Matt Freeman outperforms any pre-recorded effort and as his fingers fly in the ‘Maxwell Murder’ solo, nobody watching can deny Lars when he declares him as ‘the greatest fucking bassist in the world!’ Although no new material is let loose from next years anticipated release, nobody is left disappointed by a set full of sing-alongs.  Rancid is one live band that cannot be faulted and if this performance is anything to go by, then the upcoming stuff is going to be one hell of a riot.
Tom Williams

BIG CHEESE SPONSORED
GOLDBLADE
ARGY BARGY, THE GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS, THE RABBLE
London Camden Dingwalls
October 19th

A real eclectic mix of stuff to warm up a Sunday night started off with an excellent set by New Zealand’s THE RABBLE (3/5) who blasted their way through a set encompassing their relatively short career. They did in a manner that made the look and sound like old professionals with attitude as they didn’t let a sparse Sunday opening band crowd bother them, but rather gave it to them with both barrels. Those that missed it lost out big style. THE GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS (3/5) were buoyed up and ready to go after their recent airplay on Mike Davies’s Radio One Punk Show and didn’t let the crowd, that had been swelling by the minute, down. Their ‘no quiffs’ attitude on their take on psychobilly had led to some recent online banter about ‘Emo Cowboys’ so they took this opportunity to let their doubters have it right between the ears in the manner of a fairly short sharp rocking shock as stinging as bassist Joe’s fingers appeared to be in a full-on psychobilly for the noughties assault. ARGY BARGY (4/5) are pretty much the best street punk/Oi! band around and they blasted the crowd with an enjoyable set made up  from songs from their very fine new album ‘The Likes Of Us’ before getting Cocksparrers’ Colin onstage to end with an encore of their signature tune ‘Argy Bargy’. GOLDBLADE (4/5) had a fair bit to follow but if anyone can rise to a challenge it’s John Robb, and there is barely a better sight in rock ‘n’ roll than him going absolutely apeshit onstage. Stripped to that waist and in full piledriver mode, he fronted Goldblade through a crowd-pummelling set of all-time favourites mixed in with the best off the new album ‘Mutiny’, which left those at the front not knowing what hit them.
Simon Nott/Eugene VLP

EASTPAK ANTIDOTE TOUR
London Astoria
November 5th

As smoke and coloured lights burst in the sky over London this November 5th, fans can be guaranteed that tonight’s Eastpak Antidote Tour is jam packed with enough fireworks to satisfy the most destructive punk rock pyromaniac’s appetites. High spirits are all round following the morning’s election results and as Hellcat punx TIME AGAIN (3/5) open the display, the beers are already flowing fast and frequent.  Tales of ugly shoes accompany other true stories from both their namesake debut and this year’s ‘Darker Days’ release and although the crowd is small, a fast and thunderous effort in tracks like ‘Day Like This’ and ‘Cold Concrete’ soon have them spinning in circles.  The set may be short, but it’s still nice to see Dan Dare and his crew again before their upcoming hiatus.
The ‘Star Spangled Banner’ blasts in the background as their label mates STREET DOGS (4/5) take the stage and it’s clear from the sweat in the air and the swell of the crowd that is going to be a rowdy performance. A ‘Not Without A Purpose’ opener receives a meaty response and immediately fists are pummelling the air. Rambunctious jigging soon ensues and after more props to Obama and a quick lesson in pogo dancing, Mike McColgan finishes with a solo spoken version of U2’s ‘MLK’, the ex-fire fighter’s own personal dedication to the new president elect.
Tribal drum pounds guide Newport’s SKINDRED (5/5) onstage, an innovative choice for the tour, but definitively a popular one with the teeming audience, who are caught under Benji Webbe’s spell within seconds.  Unleashing a brutal performance that sees limbs and bodies hurled in all directions to the ragga metal riddim’, Skindred are truly the definition of raw energy.  Tracks from both their ‘Babylon’ debut and new album ‘Roots Rock Riot’ are served up in generous portions, including volatile tracks ‘Pressure’, ‘Trouble’ and a ‘Nobody’ ending that leaves the crowd infected with a furious primal rage.
It’s doubtful if FLOGGING MOLLY (4/5) could ever put on a poor performance and tonight’s effort does nothing to dampen their spotless reputation.  As violins, banjos and squeezeboxes arrive onstage, the crowd begins to chant, still pumped from the hectic former performance and as the seven-piece take stage, the thrall begins.  With everyone’s favourite redhead Dave King delivering Celtic charm in excess, the dancefloor soon becomes a full-blown Irish céilí.  A boisterous set of the best paddy punk money can buy, songs like ‘Swagger’, ‘Drunken Lullabies’ and ‘Devil’s Dance Floor’ prove that Flogging Molly really are one of the liveliest and most fun live acts out there.  Signing off with ‘What’s Left Of The Flag’ and ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ this has possibly been the most explosive Guy Fawkes night since 1605.
Tom Williams

THE BRONX
CLOUDS, DOOMRIDERS
The Middle East
Cambridge, Massachusetts
October 16th
4/5

THE BRONX started soundcheck just as the Red Sox were rallying back in the ninth inning in an elimination playoff game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles-based band, they were playing in Bean Town and they’d have to wait a good twenty minutes before the audience could tear their attention away from the bar’s small television.
As soon as the Sox won the game, The Bronx hit the stage to the clanking of beer bottles and uproarious celebration. Wasting no time, the band treated the crowd—who by now had been accustomed to the plodding experimental rock stylings of openers CLOUDS and DOOMRIDERS – to their brand of fast, gritty punk. Then came the first chords of fan-favourite ‘Heart Attack American’ accompanied by vocalist Matt Caughthran’s signature opening scream and all hell broke loose. Fuelled by a set list that included ‘Knifeman’, ‘Shitty Future’ and ‘History’s Stranglers’, the previously tame Cambridge crowd whipped itself into a frenzy as Caughthran bounced around onstage like a madman, constantly in danger of hitting his head on the East’s exposed ceiling pipes. The band debuted an untitled song off their upcoming ‘Bronx III’ release and it fit right at home with the controlled chaos playing out in front of the small stage. A couple of songs later it was all over. Few bands do this genre justice live anymore, and The Bronx are definitely one of them.
Kevin Sirois

CRO MAGS JAM
The Nike Theatre
Los Angeles, California
5/5

Original Cro Mags vocalist John Joseph made his long awaited West Coast appearance with his all-star CRO MAGS JAM band at the ‘Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History Of American Hardcore’ book release show. A packed room eagerly awaited the appearance of the tattooed frontman to throw down the old school hardcore jams, and he, along with the band, definitely did. The band, featuring guitarist A.J. Novello (Leeway), drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains, Hazen Street, Madball, Cro-Mags), and bassist Craig Away (Sick Of It All) delivered the goods, punching away at all of the classic tunes and keeping the crowd moving throughout their set. Joseph introduced many of their long-time friends in the crowd, including Lord Ezec (Skarhead/Danny Diablo) and Toby Morse (H20), dedicating songs to them and speaking about the positive message behind hardcore. They played many favourites including ‘We Gotta Know,’ ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ and ‘Hard Times’, with Morse and friends joining in the fun. Showing that despite the drama behind some of the members’ relations, the Cro Mags were definitely a huge part of shaping hardcore and heavy music in today’s scene, nobody should ignore this.
Rei Nishimoto

 

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DECEMBER ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS


CRO MAGS JAM
The Nike Theatre at Montelban Theatre
Los Angeles, USA
October 8th
5/5

Original Cro Mags vocalist John Joseph made his long awaited West Coast appearance with his all star Cro Mags Jam Band at the Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore book release show. A packed room eagerly awaited the tattooed front man to throw down the old school hardcore jams, and they definitely did. The band featuring guitarist A.J. Novello (Leeway), drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains, Hazen Street, Madball, Cro-Mags), and bassist Craig Away (Sick Of It All) delivered the goods, punching away at all of the classic tunes and keeping the crowd moving throughout their set. Joseph introduced many of their longtime friends in the crowd, including Lord Ezec (Skarhead/Danny Diablo) and Toby Morse (H20), dedicating songs to them and speaking about the positive message behind hardcore. They played many favorites including ‘We Gotta Know,’ ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ and ‘Hard Times,’ with Morse and friends joining in the fun. They showed that despite the drama behind some of the members’ relations, the Cro Mags are definitely a huge part of shaping hardcore and heavy music in today’s scene. Nobody should ignore this fact.
Rei Nishimoto

THE LUCHAGORS
LOVE AND A .45
London Camden Purple Turtle
September 29th
3/5

The overly excited Monday night crowd at the Purple Turtle were out with good intentions, if not in droves. Most people were there to see the final night of the Luchagors’ UK tour and expectantly waiting to see if Amy Dumas, ex-WWE wrestler ‘Lita’ could put on a decent punk show. Support came first from Londoners LOVE AND A .45 who are currently tearing up the punk scene with catchy songs and gravely honesty – just don’t call them Paramore as one punter learnt the hard way!
The LUCHAGORS form a tight unit and are musically exactly what I wanted to hear – there are no weak links in this four piece from Georgia.  Naming her band after a wrestling move, Dumas isn’t trying to shy away from her roots, but also doesn’t give out any attitude – she’s as happy playing to a Monday night punk crowd as anyone, no bodyguards and no bullshit. She also surprised me with her voice – I thought it might be all gimmick and no substance, not so. They finished on standout track ‘March Of The Luchagors’, a rallying cry to come on in and have a good time.
Hazel Savage

BACKYARD BABIES
CRUCIFIED BARBARA
London ULU
September 12th
4/5

While they might have dropped off the radar of mainstream rock fans over the last few years, Sweden’s finest continue to draw more than respectable crowds due to one reason and one reason alone: when it comes to providing a soundtrack for dancing, drinking and screwing (all three not necessarily done on the premises this evening although we couldn’t say for certain), Dregen’s mob still kick out the jams in mighty fine fashion. Support act CRUCIFIED BARBARA did the j-o-b, looking good on the stage and pulling off a credible version of Motorhead’s ‘Killed By Death’, even if they did look a little rabbit-in-the-headlights-esque. Ploughing through a set packed with greasy riffs, moob-vibrating bass and glaring aggression, the BACKYARD BABIES prove that they can still more than cut it, slice it and stab it live, even if their recent releases have never matched the brilliance of ‘Total 13’. And even so, as we leave sweat-drenched and beer-stained, we can even forgive them that.
Tim Grayson
 

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KILLING JOKE London, October 3rd & 4th 2008

KILLING JOKE
LONDON FORUM
OCT 3rd & 4th
5/5
Following the tragic and sudden death of Paul Raven this year, Killing Joke announced it would tour again in his honour-and tonight they are playing their first 2 albums ‘Killing Joke’ and ‘Whats this For?’ on the first night followed by their dance/techno influenced era ‘Pandemonium’ album With screens blasting out old KJ images and their famous Jester icon the ram-packed Forum is treated to Killing Jokes ground breaking grinding punk, dub and industrial. With the original line-up including Youth and Big Paul, this is the real deal and over these 2 nights the band proved why they are such an influential part of so many scenes. From the Likes of ‘Fall of Because’ ‘Eighties’ and the always haunting ‘Requiem’ through to the pulsating and rocked out ‘Pandemonium’, KJ pushed the boundaries in a fitting reminder of what a powerful force they have been over the last 30 years. And while dedicating ‘Love Like Blood’ to Paul Raven, it was a very special night in the band’s history. Monumental!
Eugene Big Cheese
 

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