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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OCTOBER LIVE REVIEWS

GALLON DRUNK
London
Corsica Studios
July 16th
4/5
A rain-sodden night on a back street beneath a dank south London railway arch, the setting for tonight’s show could have come straight out of a Derek Raymond novel. For a band who over their twenty-year career have often appeared to have staggered off the pages of their own latter-day crime-pulp, these surroundings seem apt. Launching into ‘Dragging Along’, the ‘Drunk set their stall out, with sozzled dimestore-malevolence and fuzztoned grind to the fore. Hunkered over his distressed Fender Jaguar, head ’drunker James Johnston whips up an equally distressed twang with as much regard for fretting technique as a man with a mike in his left hand can possibly muster; be-shirted in retro-polyester and a heroic distance from his last encounter with shampoo, Johnston growls his blues between his guitar swipes. Terry Edwards meanwhile, a vision of spivvy cool in sharp dogtooth check, parps Funhousey free-jazz figures over the distorted throb. Dredging up the silt with recent single ‘Grand Union Canal’, and lurching through ‘Running Out Of Time’ and ‘Bad Servant’, Gallon Drunk steer their sozzled set towards its red-eyed climax, stirring up some neon-streaked London murk in the downbeat setting of the E & C.
Hugh Gulland

YOUNG LIVERS
DOWN AND OUTS, ATTACK! VIPERS!, CHILLERTON

London Brixton Windmill
October 4th
5/5
One of the most exciting new bands on No Idea’s impressive roster supported by some of the finest bands in the UK punk and hardcore scene at the moment? Yes, tonight was sure to be good. The first of tonight’s pair of Pompey bands (the second being Attack! Vipers!), CHILLERTON impress with their raw and emotional melodic punk. Fans of Jawbreaker take note. The energetic and vicious ATTACK! VIPERS! savage the crowd with their Converge-meets-Mogwai hardcore assaults and vocalist Joe Watson gives it everything as always. Liverpool street/pop punk hybrid DOWN AND OUTS get everyone singing along to their infectious tunes before Gainesville, Florida’s YOUNG LIVERS blow the roof off the place with their anthemic and discordant blasts. With three gravel-vocalled singers and a relentless sense of urgency that sees the songs on their debut ‘The New Drop Era’ and their recent split with Attack! Vipers! come alive, this is the perfect end to a varied and thrilling night of punk rock.
Ian Chaddock

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

REBELLION FESTIVAL
Blackpool Winter Gardens
August 7th – 10th

Three months after the two day extravaganza that was Spring Rebellion 2008 in Vienna, Blackpool yet again played host to this summer’s Rebellion UK, seen by some as the most important festival of the year. Winter Gardens opened its doors to sea of punks, skins, psychobillies and old school boot boys anxiously awaiting Darren Russell’s punk alternative to the UK festival music scene on Thursday 7th August for fours days of live punk, oi!, ska, drink, and Max Splodge’s infamous and humorous bingo. With the deafening sets of Section 5, Total Chaos, Short Bus Window Lickers and Dom Collins opening the weekend, it was the bands of Friday that really worked festival punters into a punk rock frenzy.

Friday

New Zealand trio THE RABBLE (3/5) kicked off Friday in the Empress Ballroom. Shaking off their fear, the boys played energetically to their biggest crowd to date with their electrifying mixture of punk and ska. After a well received set, The Rabble left the audience wanting more, but there was little time to dwell on the fact as soon after the Manchester ska sensation Sonic Boom Six took to the stage followed by Watford’s own Argy Bargy. Rising oi! menace ARGY BARGY (5/5) delivered an explosive set with songs including ‘Light Over London’ and ‘No Regrets’ from their new album ’The Likes Of Us’. Watford John’s powerful street vocals accompanied by rock and roll rhythms, coupled with excitement and stage charisma, the North London boys set the mayhem for the rest of the weekend. Deadline, Love and a .45, Moral Dilemma, Fire Exit and London are just a handful of bands that kept the relentless rebels entertained until the first main act of the evening took to the stage. After 21 years of silence, THE BOOMTOWN RATS (4/5) have reformed as a 4 piece (minus Geldof) to thrash out their crossover of punk rock and new wave tunes. The good sound and a tight set was well received by the diverse crowd who particularly enjoyed ‘20th Century Girl’ and the new improved version of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’. Meanwhile, over on the acoustic stage in ‘Bizarre Bazaar’, south London cockney duo CHAS AND DAVE (4/5) got the modest crowd into a hoe down mood with boot stomping and hands clapping in Blackpool’s first knees up since the Queens Coronation. With classics such as ‘Gertcha’, ‘Rabbit’ and ‘London Girl’ it just goes to show how much variety Darren Russell puts into these shows, and just how diverse the punk rock scene actually is.

Saturday

With an early start Saturday, the best hangover cure since the headache tablet, Max Splodge’s Bingo had the bands fresh from their morning sound checks in fits of laughter. Constantly repeating numbers, and giving out prices pinched from hotel rooms, the unlikely bingo caller put everyone in the right mood for another day of live bands and weak beer. PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES (4/5) packed out ‘The Arena’, with more trying to squeeze in, all anxious to see a glimpse of the no nonsense punk rock band that has been going for 30 years. The boys put on a good show but after a while, the sped up tracks all blended into one and making them hard to distinguish one from the other. However classics like ‘Band From The Pubs’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ got fists pumping, feet stomping and beer flying.

Lloyd Grossman’s 1970’s reformed new wave punk band JET BRONX AND THE FORBIDDEN (2/5) preformed a very easy going set, with Grossman playing some funky bass, accompanied by the vocal of ‘Valentine Guinness’ they were dishing up their own recipe of rock ‘n’ roll. However lack of enthusiasm on stage didn’t engage many punters but considering this was the band’s first festival since reforming, they did their best!
Edinburgh’s punk rockers THE REZILLOS (3/5) delivered a classic set covering all their best hits such as ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight!’, ‘Getting Me Down’ and ‘Flying Saucer Attack’, with a glitzy glam punk rocking image and powerful struts on stage, accompanied by thumping guitars, but on the other hand were let down by a distorted echoey sound, but fans remained content. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS (5/5) followed on from The Rezillos to a crowd of thousands, all anxious to catch a glimpse of Jake Burns and his crew smashing out their catchy punk tunes. From the moment the band took to the stage the audience went mental, and from here on in the set just got better and better. Each band member putting in the energy of a new band playing for the first time, with bassist Ali McMordie especially taking over every available piece of stage he could, running and jumping around. ‘Strummerville’ made an early appearance in the set, along with ‘Barbed Wire Love’, but unlike most bands, the set order made little difference to the feel of the gig. ‘Alternative Ulster’ was the song to close the show leaving everyone in on a high ready for the band that everyone had flocked to Blackpool to see. Cock Sparrer. In 1972 four mates from an East London school started a band. 36 years, after a few line up changes over the years, COCK SPARRER (5/5) are one of the most influential, iconic and genre breaking bands on the punk scene. Mixing political punk lyrics with catchy lead guitars and heavy bass lines, and the occassional love song thrown in for good messure. Another packed room in the venues biggest arena, Cock Sparrer, as always, fulfil all expections everyone had of them. Playing tight and professionally (not a word you hear a lot in punk circles) while still having a laugh on stage. From Colin’s jokes to his re-entrance to the stage for their first encore wearing a police helmet ready for ‘Riot Squad’, without a doubt Cock Sparrer was the band to really made Rebellion the weekend it was, the one band everyone wanted to see, and the one band who after 1am finish and another 5 hours of drinking could be up at 11am looking for a fish and chips with a Guinness to wash it down. And to top it all off, on Sunday morning, Colin and Micky joined Middle Finger Salute on stage to replay ‘Because You’re Young’.

Sunday

The escapade of Rebellion 2008 was dawning to a close end upon Blackpool’s punk rockers, and kick starting the day was Blackburn’s punk rocking quartet MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE (4/5). Over the past year MFS have gone from strength to strength. Their original punk rock sound is tuneful yet aggressive and even though they were on early Sunday afternoon, enough people had made it out of bed to make it all worth while. Lead vocalist Calum really knows how to work his audience, cracking jokes between songs and digging into his guitar to make the whole sound experience one to remember. MFS are set to climb the punk rock social ladder over the next few years, starting with a support slot with Rancid this November! The four piece punk band STRAWBERRY BLONDES (3/5) rocked the pavillion with spitting attitude and a booming thrashy sound, as they hit the stage frantically with a fast paced rhythm, Strawberry Blondes will be touring with the likes of Millencolin and Neville Staples later this year so catch them near you! Andy Scott’s own reformation of THE SWEET (5/5) gave an outstanding performance bringing back the original days of true glam rock. Accompanied by high pitched vocals, outlandish lighting, roaring guitars, and glitz glam fashion, the Rebellion punters couldn’t resist a good old sing a long. Soaring through infamous hits such as ‘Teenage Rampage’, ‘Wig Wam Bam’ and ‘Ballroom Blitz’, the hall of the Empress Ballroom had an eccentric atmosphere as crowds among crowds couldn’t help but sing to one another, chanting to every word in awe of true honest glam rock. The Sweet did not disappoint. The legend that is Charlie Harper, vocalist of UK SUBS (3/5), had no problems packing out The Empress Ballroom, with the full original 1970’s line up by his side. With Harper taking on the show like a breeze, the Subs produced a well received set, with a crystal clear sound and punks stomping their feet continiously to all those dear Subs hits we love so much, from ‘Warhead’, ‘Stranglehold’ and ‘I Live In
A Car’ the show only got better for the audience of Blackpool. With the Gary Hodges’ 4- Skins closing this year’s Rebellion festival 2008, We now await anxiously for the next Rebellion, eager for more…
Nick Quinn/Samantha Bruce

THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT
NASHVILLE PUSSY, VINCE RAY & THE BONESHAKERS

London Astoria 2
August 6th
5/5
Rednecks and psychos aplenty flocked to this sold-out rock ‘n’ roll cavalcade but, due to the questionable 6pm start, they don’t all come at once. Kicking off are VINCE RAY & THE BONESHAKERS and although the cult pin up artist, whose designs you’ll know from T-shirts and record sleeves worldwide, and his band provide an above average set of rockabilly tunes, including the hot-boppin ‘Everybody Smokes In Hell’, the small crowd seem unimpressed: a crying shame! Husband and wife team NASHVILLE PUSSY take to the stage next and by now both tiers of the LA2 are teeming with angry fans, but equipment troubles see the band leave after only a couple of songs. A disappointing half an hour later, The Pussy return and play a hard rockin’, if a little concise, set of southern sleaze, throwing in favourites ‘Go Muthafucka Go’, ‘You’re Goin’ Down’ and a headbanging cover of ‘Nutbush City Limits’. There’s still a bad taste left in everyone’s mouth as the band leave, but that all changes when Jim Heath steps onstage in a flame tipped suit, signature Gretch in hand and flashes a smile that’s oozing with Texan charm. After exploding into ‘The Baddest Of The Bad’, THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT treat the congregation to a host of cover songs from past decades, including punkabilly takes on ‘Greensleeves’, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘In Bloom’, proving the holy man and his pastors can convert any genre to the faith. Next it’s back to their own classics, with ‘Galaxy 500’, ‘Martini Time’ and ‘Bales Of Cocaine’. Jim’s fingers seem to somersault off the fret board in a blur and as the band leave the stage, the crowd scream for more. A short while later, they get it, with Blaine from Nashville Pussy joining the rock ‘n’ roll trio onstage for a rendition of ‘Ace Of Spades’, diving into the heaving pit at its climax. Topping the night off with the wrecktastic ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ and ‘The Big Red Rocket Of Love’, breaking midway for a trio of awesome solos, the crowd are left thoroughly satisfied. Praise the word!
Tom Williams

16TH PSYCHOBILLY MEETING
June 26th-29th
Pineda Del Mar
Spain
5/5
This was the year that the annual Spanish Psychobilly Meeting became the scene’s official favourite festival. There had been fears that having moved up the beach from its previous spiritual home in Calella things just wouldn’t be the same. The fears proved right – it was twice as good. The new beachfront semi-permanent marquee was perfect, as was the whole event. The four day festival kicked off on the Thursday kicked off with all-girl Brazilian band AS DIABATZ who were only on their fourth gig ever but went down well, BEN COOPER ROCKIN’ pleased many but it was SPELLBOUND who got the place jumping for the first time of the festival, cracking set. Veteran’s THE BOPPIN KIDS preceded the headliners THE DEAD KIDS who are fronted by Koefte of Mad Sin fame. The name was almost apt as a falling lighting rig nearly killed the lot of them during a freak storm the brought the opening night to an end (footage ‘The Dead Kings – The End’ on YouTube). On Friday TABALTIX started the trend showing the massive talent of the new breed early playing American bands that are emerging on the scene. It was the old guard that took the limelight though, THE KLINGONZ put on a massive show, featuring clowns and fire-breathers and a severe rocking performance, a hard act to follow, but it was BATMOBILE headlining and they blew the place away, showing why they have been top of their game for decades. BAMBOULA once again displayed the talent of the young Americans but Saturday was a night of old school headliners, ROCHEE AND THE SARNOS were Klub Foot Favourites and went down well, but THE LONG TALL TEXANS had the place in a wrecking frenzy with their set of classic after classic that incorporated new tracks that still sounded like classics. THE GUANA BATZ headlined and rose to the unenviable task of following them, but follow them they did, Pip and the Batz belied the years and put on a show that would have had a Klub Foot pit begging for mercy. Sunday was hard work, for bands and fans competing with the football. THE CRACKS from Japan were a revelation, tons of make-up, great songs and a monks habits added by a Texan guest made for a top show. BANG BANG BAZOOKA rocked, and the COFFIN NAILS followed. As always they were great, Humungous seemed thirsty but the party onstage spilled off it, perfect. NIGEL LEWIS headlined, everyone was fucked by this time but it only takes a verse or two of ‘My Daddy Is A Vampire’ from the granddaddy of the genre to inject some reserves of energy into a psycho crowd. A fitting end to what is a must-attend festival. It’s a budget flight to Barcelona away – be there next year.
Simon Nott

 

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X-RAY SPEX London, September 6th 2008

X RAY SPEX.
GOLDBLADE
The Roundhouse
6th September

3/5

It may have been 30 years since X Ray Spex last played Camden’s Roundhouse but tonight the venue was just about sold out with close to 3,000 packing it out. We arrived to find John Robb and Goldblade ploughing through songs from new album Mutiny. Stripped to the waist John puts 150% into his bands piratecore punk rock with some manic dancing and the crowd lapped it up. Look out for them on their Big Cheese sponsored ‘Mutiny’ tour in October. With Roxy legend Don Letts manning the decks between bands there was a real air of this being a very special gig indeed. Taking to the stage looking elegant Poly Styrene and the rest of the band look a bit nervous and the sound isn’t great as they rip into ‘Oh’ Bondage Up Yours’ for the first time in Camden for 3 decades. Her voice is unmistakeable, but a little shaky at times and as the gig goes on they get a bit more into their stride. The crowd are going crazy though and many can’t believe they are actually seeing X Ray Spex after all these years. Bonafide punk classics like ‘Warrior In Woolworths’ and the storming ‘Identity’ with its honking sax crash by, but for me, its not until the haunting ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ that Poly and her band really hit their mark. There lyrics and image always were ahead of their time and this moment sums it all up perfectly.Its all over too soon for many though and already people are praying they will tour. For me though, it was all about nostalgia and hearing some of these songs live – just one more time.

Eugene Big Cheese

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BUTTHOLE SURFERS Washington DC, USA, June 26th 2008

BUTTHOLE SURFERS
THE APES
Washington DC
9:30 Club
26th June

4/5

The Butthole Surfers were preceeded by local Washington, D.C. group the Apes, well worth checking out if you’re a Butthole Surfers fan. Their stage presence and musical style were similar enough to the Butthole Surfers to complement them but were individual enough to make for a great opening act.

The Butthole Surfers didn’t disappoint long-time fans with their classic ‘80s line-up of Gibby Haynes, Paul Leary, Jeff Pinkus, King Coffey and Teresa Taylor. It was a somewhat religious experience that included multiple projectors playing on the same screen, occasional bursts of dry ice and a light show all set to the unique sound that only the Butthole Surfers have managed to achieve. The live show is worth the trek, tickets and traffic.

Performing with the Butthole Surfers was The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars, who took to the stage with surprising talent and professionalism. In the end, though, it wasn’t hard to remember they were just kids. I was jealous of their reckless abandon as they wrestled on stage, threw empty water bottles at the fans, tore up setlists, duct taped themselves and each other, revelled in a cacophany of instrumental chaos and shouted through the megaphone as the Butthole Surfers slipped out the back door.

Kellie Morton

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REBELLION FESTIVAL Vienna, Austria, April 28th 2008

REBELLION FESTIVAL
THE ARENA
VIENNA, AUSTRIA
28TH APRIL

Vienna, host to this year’s Spring Rebellion festival, and the venue ‘The Arena’ is as punk rock as it gets. Formally an abattoir and used for the horror film ‘Hostel’, the old rundown slaughter house was a prefect setting for the two day festival, with over 50 bands including Ska legend Neville Staple from the Specials and American punk rockers the Dwarves.

Saturday

The sun was shining and the day had only just begun, and by noon punk rockers were itching to enter the doors of the Arena. The first outstanding band of the day was GOLDBLADE (4/5), with catchy, sing along choruses and a unique rock and roll rhythm, Goldblade performed a blinding set, with the audience singing every word to ‘Psycho’ people couldn’t help but dance, giving an opening show to the festival punters.
However the street Dutch Oi! band DISCIPLINE (4/5) wrecked the stage as they followed on with an aggressive and fast performance, with heavy thrashy guitars and powerful shouting vocals, the show just seemed to get better.


Discipline tear it up at Vienna Rebellion

On the other hand a quite rigid set from PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES (2/5) with not much charisma on stage, the excitement died down a bit, and the smoke machine wouldn’t stop smothering the drummer! However the boys classics such as ‘Banned from the Pubs’ and ‘Student Wankers’ were definitely the tunes their fans paid to see.
Ska Legend NEVILLE STAPLE (5/5) bopped on stage full of energy, with the crowd cheering him on performing classics such as ‘Monkey Man’, ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Ghost Town’. Staple had no problems pleasing the crowd as he non-stopped skanked through the strewn hay pit, boots were getting muddy but no frowns were to be seen.
However, it was Saturday night headliners, also known as the godfathers of Oi!, COCK SPARRER (5/5) that made the festival come alive. The 1970s reclaimed Oi! legends delivered a set of pure raw rock and roll, combining with thumping working class anthems, and sing along lyrics. Soaring their way through infamous classics such as ‘Riot Squad’, ‘Working’ and ‘Watch Your Back’, Sparrer also threw in their new sound from current album ‘Here we Stand’, performing ‘Gotta Get Out’. The boys gave a classic ending with ‘England Belongs To Me’ giving a true sing-a-long vibe to the show, giving the old boys a thumbs up from me.

Sunday

With the festival coming to a close, another day dawned of punk rocking in the tranquil city of Vienna. The first big act of the day was London’s SONIC BOOM SIX (4/5). The ska punk rock sensation produced a sing a long set with ‘Piggy in the Middle’ and ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. However, with them being on so early, Sonic Boom Six didn’t get the crowd they deserved.
Austrian punk rockers SKEPTIC ELEPTIC (3/5) got the crowd going with a cover of Blondie’s ‘Call Me’. Climbing on the stage’s scaffolding, this band definitely knows how to entertain a crowd.
Watford’s Oi! boys ARGY BARGY (5/5) made a groundbreaking performance with fast shouting Oi! rhythms and a distinct sharp edge of street class punk. Delivering a set of their original Oi! anthems, Argy Bargy also gave the crowd of Vienna a taste of their new album with two tracks ‘There’s Gonna Be A Riot” and “No Regrets”. Receiving a brilliant response the show only got better as lead guitarist Mickey Beaufoy from Cock Sparrer joined on stage for the performance of ‘Argy Bargy’.
American long-haired thrash punk rockers MDC (3/5) had no problem entertaining the crowd at this year’s festival, with crazy head banging and soaring through heavy guitar riffs, blasting the Oi! fans away.
However the closing headlining act of Spring’s Rebellion Festival 2008, didn’t exactly go off with a bang. The American punk rockers THE DWARVES (1/5) didn’t exactly hold a crowd, and even the crazy antics of the guitarist being naked with a thong did not help. With a bad sound and a half empty crowd, the closing of Rebellion’s Spring festival came to an anti-climatic end. The weekend belonged to Cock Sparrer, Neville Staple and Argy Bargy.

Samantha Bruce

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THE WOLFMEN London, May 30th 2008

THE WOLFMEN

London
333 club
30th May

4/5

As the setting for a low-key live outing for ex-Ants men Marco Pirroni and Chris Constantinou and their Wolfmen, the 333 comes with its own distinctive Hoxton ambience: flock wallpaper, charm-school flunker security, hostile restauranteurs threatening to shut down the gig, and a dance floor that sags alarmingly as The Wolfmen take the stage with their surging version of Brian Eno’s Needle In The Camel’s Eye. For a man who claims to hate live work, Pirroni’s giving a good impression otherwise, wringing torrents of glam-rock flash’n’feedback from his yellow Gibson, while Constantinou holds centre stage, belting it out on bass and lead vox with an innate rock-starry sense of assurance. It’s a concise set in the classic ‘leave ‘em wanting more’ mold, a quickfire slam-bang of cuts from the forthcoming album including Love Is A Dog and Whack This Bass, a distinctive re-write of Lou Reed’s long-lost garage nugget Do The Ostrich and a romp through Hawkwind’s proto-punk standard Silver Machine for which the band are lent an extra helping of exoticism with the presence of sitar siren Bishi. Closing matters with a punk-raga hybrid meltdown, The Wolfmen bare their teeth and melt into the night again all too briefly; but with their debut album out in August and more live dates to follow, the gnashing is clearly about to start in earnest.

Hugh Gulland

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BLONDIE Bristol, July 6th 2008

BLONDIE

Bristol
Academy
July 6th

4/5

Though their roots lie firmly in the early NY punk scene, to many, Blondie remain a super-slick 80s pop act, fronted by one of most stunningly photogenic ladies of the era, and with a canny knack for knocking out great tunes, as well as an astute choice in covers that always eclipsed the originals. And that’s just what we got at the Academy, as the band toured to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their rather fabulous debut album Parallel Lines.
Debbie Harry was sprightly and in fine voice, guitarist Chris Stein was a shade static but note perfect, while drummer Clem Burke was as mesmerising as ever. Strange to see him apparently working to a click track, but thankfully it seemed to have little restraining effect on his naturally busy, exuberant style. A largely middle-aged, polite, but enthusiastic crowd were more than up for favourites like ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘Sunday Girl’, and ‘Call Me’, though elongated versions of ‘Fade Away And Radiate’ and ‘Rapture’ did verge on the self indulgent. On the whole, though, Blondie can still hack it, and in case you were wondering, yes, she still looks pretty good.
Shane Baldwin

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TOTAL CHAOS London, February 29th 2008

TOTAL CHAOS

London
The Bridgehouse 2
February 29th

4/5

The room smells of testosterone and cheap hairspray when Californian based punk rockers Total Chaos burst into their first song ‘Dancing On Your Grave’ from their brand new album. There seems to be some lack of movement onstage, but they sound amazing. Rob Chaos delivers his lyrics with conviction and the beer soaked punk audience play their part. Few songs in and few bouncers come and stand in front of the band making sure there won’t be any extra Mohicans on stage. This causes a bit uneasy atmosphere since after all wasn’t punk supposed to break down these rock clichés. Songs such as ‘Attack’ offers their Motley Crue styled guitarist Shawn Smash the opportunity to show his great skills on hard rock soloing. ‘Complete Control’ was their anthem that was supposed to get them on heavy MTV rotation during the mid-90’s commercialisation of punk. Never happened, but surely the bands set and 18 year long career is a true testimony of great song writing. Not a weak song to be heard. Their first encore offers a great surprise. It’s none other than a punked up version of the infamous Monty Python song about the lumberjack wearing high heels! Almost needless to say that the audience also knows the lyrics to this song as well. Couple more classics in the form of ecstatic ‘Riot City’ and they finish off with ‘Boot Party’ sing-along and the leave the drunken audience to stagger fulfilled back into the London night.
Words: Jyrki “Spider” Hämäläinen
 

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THE SONICS London, Mar 21st 2008

THE SONICS

London
Kentish Town Forum
March 21st

5/5

Packed is word bandied about to describe many a gig, but this was, even the cloak room was full. When The Sonics were laying waste to a studio in the North-West USA in 1964 it’s doubtful they ever thought there would be 2000 limeys aged between 16 and 60 screaming for those songs in the 21st century. But there were. The Sonics, may have looked a way bit older than they do in those well-known and grainy black and white album covers but age hasn’t tamed them. Anyone that attending the gig desperate to see the band they never dreamed they’d witness in the flesh but fearing the worst of the performance soon had those fears dispelled. Rob Lind’s sax honked and squealed just as it did back in the day, Gerry Roslie’s screams were as fearsome as they were when they pushed studio needles into the red and Larry Parypa was using the exact same guitar for fuck sake. Every classic Sonics tune was hammered and every cover they made their own, owned once again. Even tracks from the much maligned ‘Introducing’ were blasted out with an amends making aggression. Head’s On Backwards indeed, the whole audience was knocked out, knocked bandy, blown away by a legendary band that didn’t just run through the motions but sucked on Rock N Roll and spat it out shredded just as they had back in the 1960s. ‘This is the national anthem of rock n roll’ announced Rob Lind before launching into their chord twisting version of ‘Louie Louie’ but their anthem is The Witch, they saved it ‘till last then blasted it out as if the decades had never passed, Roslie screamed, and everyone, and I mean everyone, screamed with him and not a neck hair was left flaccid. Another oft-used word sums it – Awesome.
Simon Nott
 

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GBH London, Feb 21st 2008

GBH

London
The Purple Turtle
February 21st

4/5

First one on the bill was Billy Club who offered their version of the GBH-sound. In fact they even started with a lesser know GBH cover ‘Three Piece Suite’. The Dresdens were next with their racing American influenced punk rock and roll, much in the vein of Zeke. Guitarist and the highly energetic bassist made a difference to the sound by sharing the vocals and this Winnebago Deal side project looks certail to go places this year. Riot Squad kept the sounds of streets going with the help of their intense vocalist. The anti-nazi skinheads had a hint of UK82 in their sound and got the crowd going. GBH kicked off their set with ‘Race Against Time’ and it was evident that band was in great shape. Few numbers in and into ‘Diplomatic Community’ and the crowd goes absolutely mental. Songs like ‘Freak’ and ‘Crush ‘Em’ also give guitarist Jock the chance to bring in some brilliant solo bits. The band also plays new material from the upcoming album and songs such as ‘Kids Get Down’ are as great as the old classics. Colin sports his legendary haircut along with the leather jacket and comes out with his usual witty remarks. Their biggest commercial hit ‘Give Me Fire’ gets dedicated to the smoking ban and ‘No Survivors’ gets described as feeling like a Stevie Wonder in snow storm. The intimate atmosphere of the venue clearly contributes to the evening and the band has never sounded better. They end their tight set with stunning version of the Clash anthem ‘White Riot’. And what a riot the night had been.
Jyrki “Spider” Hämäläinen

 

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