It’s the 14th of February 2020, so that can mean only one thing being marked in H-Bombz diary, right? Yup, its gig time as I head to Le Pub in Newport for Bad Sam’s all-new single launch party.

 

Braving storm Dennis along with what appears to be a head on collision of a Friends Reunited meeting for Arkham Asylum and a Pokemon Go adventure party gone a little off course I have just enough time to grab myself a quick pint before local alt-rock trio The Oversights kick off proceedings with a punchy selection of what we used to broadly describe as “indie music” back in those halcyon days of TJ’s.

 

With ‘Hello Adventure’ their debut 5 track EP available at the merch table and a healthy number of people already looking to catch them live I feel The Oversights just need to get some gig experience under their belts before they become true contenders, but at this very early stage in their career things are certainly looking more than just a little rosy.

With The Oversights idea of image being three Hawaiian shirts slung on quickly before they play it takes a mere glimpse out of the corner of my eye at Igam Ogam wandering through the crowd to really restore my faith in true musical eccentricity. These crazy fuckers look like a band formed by the cast of Psychoville and what’s more they actually sound like it too. It’s all a bit too Primus-y for my tastes but the between-song banter from drummer/singer General Waste is absolutely priceless and bassist Grotty the Clown and guitarist The Third Person look and sound absolutely amazing even if ole Clowny could do with losing about 5 strings off that 6 string bass of his. As I say it’s not my thing musically, but the packed audience seems to love the likes of ‘Happy Families’ so who am I to argue?

Any new music from the Newport’s favourite hardcore sons Bad Sam is worthy of a celebration so it seems completely right and proper that they have chosen tonight and Le Pub (the city’s venue renowned for welcoming lovers…not fighters) to act as the springboard for the band’s all new 3 track ‘Alcoholic’ 7” single. It also feels right and proper that the band should kick off their set with a track from said release, and as ‘Looking Back’ unravels in all its Sabbath meets Bad Brains glory, this sets the tone perfectly for what is to follow with Beddis and the boys playing eighteen tracks from throughout their back catalogue.

I’ve honestly never seen the band tighter or more focused than they are tonight as the likes of crowd favourites ‘Bastard Son Of A Teddy Boy’, ‘I’m A Terrorist’ and  ‘Black John Wayne’ sit alongside deeper cuts like ‘3 Little Pigs’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’, and never mind how much Beddis claims to dislike playing these latter tracks live, they still sound absolutely amazing through the Le Pub rig. What is surprising is that ‘American Fat Fucks’ isn’t given a run out, albeit the long overdue reintroduction of ‘I Love The Port’ (which ends things in total chaos) almost makes up for this.

 

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, that in the times we find ourselves in the UK needs bands like Bad Sam to give us something to believe in. So get off your arses and drop Beddis a message to secure your ‘Alcoholic’ 7” for £5 plus P&P, or if you live in South Wales why not pop into Kriminal Records in Newport Market and pick one up first hand. These vinyl bad boys ain’t going to be around for long, do don’t be snoozing.

 

This one has long been on the list of must-attend no excuses shows.  Regardless of what else might be on a few miles away as tonight Matthew the hills are alive with the sound of music.  But, there was only one place RPM Online was going to be. With all due respect to other venues in the region and other events taking place this was the only Rodeo we were interested in.

First up – Red Light Syndrome. Ably led by Craigy Rees on vocals and guitar this four-piece are somewhere between Husker du, Lemonheads and early Soul Asylum and to be fair they have crafted some really excellent songs that on first listen sound epic. Opening with ‘Stop’ the quality and passion were evident. In their brief set, they managed to impress those clued up people wise enough to come to see all the bands on offer and it’s obvious they have an understanding of the music that inspired them to put these chords together and write music. Bands like The Replacements spring to mind – sure it’s early in proceedings to lay such mammoth role models upon them but if you’re going to aspire to anyone it might as well be the best in the genre. The excellent ‘See Things Through’ was a highlight much like the closing ‘6 Feet Bellow’ and ‘Heartburn’ what a great opener.

Deathtraps.  what can I say about the band who I’ve seen more than my own kids recently – everywhere I go they seem to be as well (not that I’m complaining mind), getting on the bill of some great shows lately and every time I see them they improve on the last time to be fair.  (Regardless of that being the night before in this case but you know what I mean) With a decent crowd in front of them, they get to work on demolishing some of their finest tunes (and a few new ones to boot).  To be fair the band are hot (not in that way) – na, make that red hot at the moment and playing all these shows are turning people onto their uncompromising Action Rock and Roll as they hammer it home. It’s good that Both Fraser and VJ share vocal duties to mix it up as they motor through the setlist lurching from the bulldozer punk rock not quite as speedy as a Zeke more your Rocket From The Crypt with some of the chord-heavy chops like the outstanding ‘Cool Kids’ which again sounds excellent.  I can assure you that Rock and Roll isn’t anywhere near dead with bands like this knocking it out and playing plenty of shows with a variety of bands will win them an ever-increasing following. More of the same next time, please (which I’m sure won’t be far away).

DC Spectres are on next and a twist on the Rock and Roll melon man with their garage fuzz fix high on the menu. With the heat in the venue meaning the walls are perspiring its nice to relax with some Psych fuzzed up surf punk (if there’s such a genre).  Imagine The Fuzztones jamming on The Cramps inspired by those Stooges and your somewhere in the same ballpark.  As the set got going they really hit their groove and for about ten minutes they were on fire until the dreaded technical hitch sidelined them briefly. Those damned guitar string breaks and the momentum is halted. By the time the band have regrouped and got going again, there wasn’t enough time to regain the same momentum  I do think they did enough in half an hour to impress the ever crowd that had gathered and joined them on their journey. The highlights were  ‘Later Than You Think’ and a new song I believe was called ‘I Gotta Know’ Which was most excellent.  I look forward to seeing them again and what they come up with to follow up the excellent ‘Vibrations’ album.

So, onto tonight’s headliners The Hip Priests.  what can possibly be said that hasn’t already been splurged over the internet about our favourite east Midlands fuck ups?  Now with brand new six-stringer Ben in situ? I took my place and waited for the sonic solution to all this turmoil around us in society. As I waited to have my hearing interfered with by an hour of the finest Rock and Fucking Roll I was pleased that there was a good turnout considering everything else that was happening in a ten-mile radius of the ‘Port these boys deserve it for always playing South Wales even when South Wales hasn’t turned out in force – maybe the tide is turning and these fucking boys finally get the kudos they thoroughly deserve.

Anyway.  tonight begins with a tsunami of sound washing over the attendees but with no lifevests needed as we were all going down together this latest incarnation of the Hip Priests sounds absofuckin’lutely huge! I kid you not. With their best album under their belts, they have every reason to attack these shows with a cocksure swagger (not that it’s stopped them before mind) but this time seems different – if they could bottle this it would be lethal.  I’ve said it many times before and I’ll keep on saying it – when you see some bands getting great tour slots and people falling over the sound of some plodding rock like its the second coming of The Stones or the New Stooges has finally arrived it’s one of those scratch your head times as to how can’t others see or hear what you hear. ‘Stand For Nothing’ is the finest loud record recorded by any band on Shit Island in a decade – no question about it. Whilst their audience is slowly growing I can’t believe it’s not exploding.

Anyway, with the dual lead guitar swinging on either side of the stage the band aren’t fucking about and get on with the job of leathering the shit out of the new album. Sparks fly and song after song spills forth from their instruments. from the minute ‘Motherfucker Superior’ attacks you it’s like your being chased down by a pack of rabid dogs such is the ferocity of this current line up.

It’s great to hear some fresh new songs sprinkled throughout the set as ‘Stand For Nothing’, ‘Shit Island’ and ‘Social Hand Grenade’ blend in seamlessly much like the new youf on guitar.  With Oz and Ben things seem like they are pushing each other with each song to be better than the last one and they’re rising to the challenge and it seems to have worked superbly well. Weaving in and out of the songs new and old. ‘Deja FU’ and then ‘Cheers To Me’ was a particular high point in the set which only left ‘Sonic Reproducer’ of in the main set.

The audience felt it and I’m sure the band felt it there was something a little different tonight something a bit special was happening and when Von Cruz offered an extra number be it Iggy or Hip Priest original it was the original Hip Priests song that got a louder cheer surely it was a sign?  I don’t know what for but I’m sure Lee Love was seen smiling which must be a sign so get out of here and get excited because when the Hip Priests come to your town – which they will do then you make sure you’re there and you’re ready – now, people of Shit Island and further afield what are you going to stand For? Stand for Rock and Fucking Roll and Stand for The Hip Fucking Priests who’s time is now, Right Now!

Author: Dom Daley

 

Do you know it’s been a fantastic year for gig’s, The Bellrays, Thee Hypnotics, Lee Bains, to name just a few and all in Le Pub. A superb year for Lp’s loads of new artists discovered, and a time to watch some I’ve followed for a while step out of the underground on to a much larger stage the Bar Stool Preachers, Estrons, and tonite’s support Pizzatramp to name just a couple.

 

Pizzatramp have put in the miles this last year, as they did the year before, levelling Rebellion in the process, they are a well-oiled machine and so far from those beginning couple of gigs, in fact, I’d go so far as to say they just get better every time I see them. Tonite’s showing was a foot down, full throttle, flat out fucked from the time they hit the stage.

 

Now if you haven’t caught Pizzatramp live, the first thing you’ve got to ask yourself is why the next the next thing you have to do is find out where their playing and strap yourself in for the next big thing to hit the punk rock scene.

 

I mean anyone who’s penned a song called ‘Bono is a cunt’ deserves the time of day, it was played tonight and levelled the place, as was Millions of Dead Goths, blowing chunks, Scumbag Boogie, Nunchucks of Hell, My Backs fucking Fucked and” I got work in the morning”. 100% the greatest punk rock band in Caldicot!!!

Following on from the lunacy that Pizzatramp bring it was over to Newport’s finest Bad Sam, now anytime around Xmas your not quite sure of what your going to get from Bad Sam, Beddis pulled out all the stops this year and we’re confronted with the pope stepping in all the way from the Vatican to mumble absolutions overall in attendance and fair play it was packed solid, as the mask drops what we actually have is Bad Sam, Beddis fronted, firing on all cylinders, gone was that metal sheen brought in by the last guitar player, and what a noise and twin guitar carnage now bestowed onto us by Jeff and the Glove, what we now have is punk at its very best.

 

Looking deeper into the band you begin to see the reality which is you also have a shit hot rhythm section locking it all down.  I mean come on starting with “I’m a Terrorist” from the Bring me the head of Lp its only going one way.

 

Now if you’ve ever caught Bad Sam or The Cowboy Killers back in the day, you’ll know that usually the last place you’ll find Beddis is on the stage watching the “Pope” tear through the crowd was a little disconcerting but watching the Pope sings “Dicks with dogs” “Newport Hotel” “Valium”, “Cocaine me” even “Christ Betrayed” took on a whole new dimension.

 

To finally finish off the crowd “I love the Port” was what was demanded and duly delivered. Now if your hoping to see a lot more of Bad Sam in 2019, this line up has shifted things up about three gears, you might be disappointed, in fact, if you see any gigs advertised anywhere get in there!!! The only thing you’re likely to get is the unexpected.

Author:Nev Brooks

Johnny Hayward.

It’s no strange coincidence that at least five of the best gigs I’ve seen so far this year have all taken place in Le Pub, a venue situated just a few miles away from my front door. The owners and local promoters have certainly been working tirelessly against the tide of arena/tribute bilge that is strangling the UK live music scene at the moment to quite rightly deliver real quality live propositions for punters. and its three bands bills like tonight that really do stick a middle finger up at what everyone else appears to be doing.

Granted coupling Canadian garage punks who most people in the UK will probably not have heard of along with two local(ish) bands might not exactly sound like the second coming, but if you hadn’t already heard Ancient Shapes before tonight there really is no excuse for musical ignorance in this age of the interweb. Admittedly it took me a few listens to realise that contemporary country singer Daniel Romano was also the Daniel Romano fronting Ancient Shapes, such is the shift for him musically with this project, but once it had all clicked into place and I had managed to procure a copy of the band’s 2016 self-titled debut record this was always going to be a must see gig for me.

It’s such a shame then that more people hadn’t done the same levels of research I had because Cardiff trio Human Heat gets to open proceedings tonight to only a handful of people. Ploughing into their set of intricately constructed alt-rock and only receiving a smattering of applause in return. Its moments like these that make me so angry about the UK music scene right now,  but you know what, if people can’t be arsed to venture out the door to their local club to support new bands then they deserve to be paying £50 to £100 to be watching a few dots on the horizon in some fucking aircraft hangar, or worst still the £10 to £20 they are willing to part with to watch blokes pretending to be bands they never saw or liked the first time of asking. That’s right fuckers leave all the hard work to us if you want, then rejoice in the fame by association if a local band does finally make it big… Look don’t get me started, this is supposed to be a live review, not a rant.

Thankfully my faith in humanity is almost restored by the time The Violent Hearts take to the stage with the venue having noticeably filled up and all that inner rage I was feeling immediately subsides as I can now rejoice in the inner rage of someone else instead. Melding the post-punk angst of Joy Division with the spiky punk pop sensibilities of Newport’s very own 60ft Dolls The Violent Hearts are certainly a very intriguing proposition. With singer/guitarist James Mattock and bassist Carl Murrihy having previously worked together in Sharks and with Mattock currently in White Trash with drummer Aidan Sin (their post Computers band) I kind of have a sixth sense about what witnessing The Violent Hearts live might be like. From the off their energy levels are enough to put a Duracell bunny to shame, however sonically this is very much a different thing from the guys. Okay at times there is still the odd hint of Strummer in Mattock’s voice and the rockabilly shuffles that Sin also delivers when sat behind the boogie-woogie master Henri Herbert do creep into proceedings every now and then, but that’s really where this all stops and the musical alchemy these boys practice begins. With little to no between-song banter and just the dissonant sound of a Jazzmaster left to chime in each new song the 30 odd minutes the trio are on stage is dark and compelling stuff, Tonight’s set closer ‘Hex On Me’ is perhaps the trio’s defining moment and for the sake of your  own sanity I’d suggest you either go check it out on Bandcamp right now or perhaps better still go see The Violent Hearts and hear it live. Tell them RPM sent you.

The Bob Dylan-esque image I had in my head of Daniel Romano from the cover of his excellent 2015 album ‘If I’ve Only One Time Askin’’ is a far cry from the guy strutting around Le Pub tonight. Gone is the neckerchief wearing, cigarette smoking bequiffed folk rock muse and in his place stands a preening ice cool rock god clad in denim and sporting mandatory sunglasses indoors. He appears by his very nature equal parts Kory Clarke and David Johansen. Quite why he’s also decided to top this image off with a ludicrous blonde mullet wig is beyond me though, but then again when you’re a sucker for detail like Romano then I guess you’ll do whatever it takes to get the mood right, and here he plays the part of rock star frontman to perfection and here along with the four other musicians that make up the touring line up of Ancient Shapes they create a seismic force of pure rock ‘n’ roll energy designed to produce sweaty mosh pits wherever they play.

Influence-wise they display these very openly when just two songs in they deliver a stunning cover of The Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain’, but for me it’s the spirit of New York that burns brightest during the powerpop punk rock blasts of ‘I Wanna Put My Tears Back In’, ‘Hurricane Lady’ and the band’s signature tune ’Ancient Shapes’ which coincidently is also the longest of their songs clocking in at around the two and a half minute mark just because it has a Tom Petty-like midsection breakdown before it once again speeds off faster than ‘United Blood’ era Agnostic Front.

From the band’s just released second album ‘Silent Rave’ ‘Mental Slavery (We Can’t Quit) is amongst the most immediate of the tracks I’d not heard before, and I can honestly think of no better way of ending proceedings than by blasting through the infectious and ridiculous ‘Giant Comma’ a truly fantastic song that somehow makes me wonder what those short educational films on Sesame Street might sound like if it were soundtracked by The Hives.

At the start of this review, I stated that Le Pub had been home for five of the best gigs I’ve witnessed in 2018, well you better make that six because tonight was everything that is great about rock music right now. The only thing missing was the Sold Out sign at the door.

 

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