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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THE RUTS DVD SCREENING, London, Jan 25th 2008

THE RUTS DVD SCREENING

London
Shepherd’s Bush Empire
January 25th

4/5

Since the monumental concert that took place last summer that amounted to guitarist Paul Fox’s final stand, the trickle of affection and recognition that in the Ruts we had a potentially world-conquering musical force has become – well, flood might be a strong word. But it constitutes a welcome reappraisal of a group who really were the equal of more celebrated peers.

That terrific gig – featuring a roster of punk’s good and great, has now been released on DVD. And on first viewing it captures much of the intimacy and emotion of the event. Of course, the highlight was the once in a lifetime opportunity to catch Henry Rollins walking a mile in Malcolm Owen’s shoes and do a tremendous job of it. And he’s back again tonight to compere events. But as a gut-busting entrée to the premiere, we have a traffic jam of artists here to pay their respects.

Day 21 – Jimmy Pursey’s new band – were first up. Jimmy is Jimmy to the nth. Closed with a version of ‘Borstal Breakout’ that was fun to hear. Alabama 3 injected a frisson of honky tonk irreverence into proceedings – doing a head count on still extant Ruts was the definitive moment of black humour all night. Dirty Strangers, Paul Fox’s old band featuring his son on drums, offered up an emotive ‘Love In Vain’. We’ll skip over P.A.I.N.’s set, thanks. On to the ever reliable TV Smith, who had never knowingly been undersold in a live context. The acoustic ‘Babylon’s Burning’ was a treat. Vice School – led by Beki Bondage with members of Girlschool – did a fantastic job on ‘Something That I Said’ but then murdered ‘West One’. JC of the Members/Disciples evoked the full majesty of ‘Jah Wars’, followed inevitably by ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’. Then, in the absence of Johnny Moped (I guess Brenda just wouldn’t let Johnny come out to play tonight) Captain Sensible tackled ‘It Was Cold’, which brought cheers of recognition, pinged through ‘Neat Neat Neat’ and then dragged Rollins onstage for ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’. Grand!  Profits from the CD go to charity so treat yourself to one here: http://www.theruts.bigcartel.com/

Alex Ogg

 

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THE LIVING END, St. Kilda, Australia, Nov 30th 2007

THE LIVING END

St. Kilda Prince Bandroom
Australia
November 30th

3/5

There’s a curious atmosphere in the Bandroom tonight. You’d think The Living End’s only Australian gig this year would be a buzzing beehive of expectation, but instead the audience (a mix of die-hard fans and attendees for some tedious showbiz awards bash at the same venue) are simply happy to be here. Nothing wrong with that mind, but you’d expect more a tad more rock n’ roll spirit to infuse the proceedings. Still, once the band take to the stage, we’re reminded why we like them so much. Tonight’s gig is a mixture of old, new and somewhere in between as the boys dust off the studio cobwebs and get to business, and business is, mostly, good. Guitarist Chris Cheney is something of a shredmaster general and it’s nice to see a young man in such dapper clothes as the boys tear through their set. Only problem is, while the gig is definitely ‘good’, it rarely crosses the divide into ‘great’. A shame, as this outfit has honed their craft through years of playing toilets and you just know that, were circumstances in their favour, they would be electrifying. Still, we get some good rockin’ tonight (spoilt only by a questionable cover of Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ with vocals courtesy of that chimp from Jet) and everyone leaves happy. I’ve seen bands do more with less, but perhaps I’m just too cynical. The boys done good.
James Gates

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FEEDING OF THE 5000, London, Nov 25th 2007

FEEDING OF THE 5000

London Shepherds Bush Empire
November 25th

5/5

In 1977 a group of anarchists called themselves CRASS released an album called ‘The Feeding Of The 5000’. Soon after they were investigated by the CIA, MI5 and the KGB. During their seven years as a band they attempted to change the world. For the millions who listened to the message they articulated with such brutal precision – they did.
While much had been made of Steve Ignorant’s decision to perform ‘The Feeding Of The 5000’ from the Guardian newspaper to punk messageboards, the electricity of the anticipation in the run-up to tonight soon gave way as the military drumbeat of ‘Do They Owe Us A Living’ cut away all concerns as nothing less than a political juggernaut burst through West London. With tracks such as ‘Banned From The Roxy’, ‘Punk Is Dead’ and ‘So What’ within the setlist, how could tonight ever have failed? As the brilliant punk masterpieces ‘Bloody Revolutions’ and ‘Big A Little A’ found themselves aired later on in the set they also found themselves with a backing choir of four thousand belligerent punks who, by the looks on their faces, could still not believe both their eyes or ears as the music of CRASS through Steve Ignorant once again filled the airwaves. Steve Ignorant achieved what many thought impossible tonight. A virtuoso delivery and performance found itself coupled alongside the unconditional love felt for the songs that channeled through to the faces in the crowd and somehow beyond. It was nothing less than perfect in every way.  Billed as a night of love, music, film, performance and anger, tonight transcended all of those emotions and in an age where we have been accustomed to homogenized corporate punk charlatans became nothing less than magical. If there is no authority but
Yourself, let’s hope Steve Ignorant performs again. It’s rare nights like these that do change people’s lives. Gig of the year.
John Damon
 

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SEX PISTOLS London, Nov 8th 2007

SEX PISTOLS

London Brixton Academy
November 8th

2/5

So here we go again. Third time lucky? After the Pistols original reformation was a triumph at Finsbury Park, the next one at Crystal Palace was a sloppy, unrehearsed show. And so what about tonight at Brixton? Well from the moment a country squire attired John Lydon takes the stage it seems they haven’t really bothered putting a lot into this. Lydon’s vocals now exaggerate ‘Pretty Vacant’ to torture point and the once cool as fuck Steve Jones hunches his bulking frame over the guitar to spew out, at the best, mid paced pub rock. In fact, a voice close to Big Cheese reliably tells us they only bothered ‘rehearsing’ 4 songs before tonight. So yes, it is the Sex Pistols, but it is also a load of bollocks. Having seen the Ruts reform recently, they would have wiped the floor with these Pistols, even though one of their members was dying! No, tonight was a simple cash-in – and none of Lydon’s sarcasm can hide the fact that they were terribly average. Apparently they got better as their residency went on but if this is the future then England is Dreaming. At £45 a ticket, ever got the feeling you’ve been cheated? Oh, and why, oh why, did they get the Cribs to support them?
John Damon

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SIOUXSIE – Paris, Sept 28th 2007

 

   SIOUXSIE  Eiffel Tower Paris September 28th
4/5
Unveiling material from her long-anticipated solo album in the intimate (and
frankly, breathtaking) setting of the first-level bar of le Tour Eiffel as part of
the Coke Music Discovery sessions, you'd be hard-pushed to top Siouxsie for sheer
sense of occasion; poised in the chilly Paris night several hundred feet over the
city centre, tonights venue is so far removed from the humdrum dive-bar location of
your usual rock-circuit bash, it's something of a masterstroke. As the intro-tape of
Morricone's Ecstasy of Gold gives way to the insistent dance-punk groove of album
opener 'Into A Swan', Siouxsie executes an immaculate grand entrance. Zippered into
an outrageously slinky metallic catsuit affair, with her signature shock of black
hair( that launched the look of a thousand Goth girls) and cats-eyes warpaint,
Siouxie's unassailable stage presence is as captivating and startling as it ever
was. High-kicking playfully over the heads of an adoring front-row, Siouxsie stakes
a claim on the here-and-now without so much as a backwards glance to Banshees days
and her influence on Gwen Stefani and even old' Madonna herself are obvious here
tonight. Through a shimmering set of new material from this year's Mantaray CD, our
girl undulates like a cobra to the album's eastern-tinged rhythms, working the stage
with a winning blend of feisty assertiveness and spooky entrancement. Loveless
rides out the darker currents of disintegrating romance, while 'If It Doesn't Kill
You' smoulders with torchy regret; 'Sea Of Tranquility' glides on tropical
currents, 'They Follow You' flows sinuously. Bowing out with a jazzed-out reprise
of 'Swan' and an unexpected romp through the Doors 'Hello I Love You', Siouxsie and
her new musical ensemble take their leave and we spill out onto the observation deck
to contemplate Paris' grand night time vista. A landmark show in every sense,
tonight was a fitting launch pad for the new solo Sioux and a unique event
altogether.

Hugh Gulland

 

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