Another day another week flys by. Here check out these for good measure. First up is this brand new one from Saint Agnes.
So another day another lineup change for The DeRellas and this time it’s for keeps. With a brand new single available check out the video right here right now!
RPM loved the album ‘Top Rock‘ if that doesn’t convince you then check out this video taken from the album. ‘Fading To Grey’ is a great way to start any week. What are you waiting for? Click it!
“Slow down Cunthead!”
I get to hear this profanity being hollered by a rather worse for wear Blackpool local just after 10am on a glorious Saturday morning and actually take it that its aimed at me as I admit I feel like death warmed up after our Fan-dabi-Friday spent in the unprecedented heat of the Winter Gardens with The Stranglers in The Empress last night possibly setting the record for the hottest gig I’d ever been in. It’s not though, the comment, it’s actually aimed at a local taxi driver who dared to pass the unhappy chappy on a pedestrianised area, but still I find it a life lesson worth taking on board as with the prospect of another full day spent in the punk rock pleasuredome ahead the last thing I really want to do is crash and burn with so many great bands still to check out.
To counter this I feel a bit of retail therapy is in order to restore some balance as I plough through the local second hand record shops looking for that ever illusive vinyl copy of Alistair Terry’s ‘Yonge At Heart’, which of course I never manage to find, but instead I come away with 10 cock rock albums that would make any grown man blush if they were ever caught in the possession of them. Let’s hope then that I don’t happen to bump into The Bar Stool Preachers on the way back to the hotel and become the brunt of some brutal ribbing for actually buying an album by a band called Dirty Blonde… oops!
With my sanity partially restored I head back into The Empress for my first band of the day at the still ungodly hour of 12:35 to catch the return of South Californian hardcore outfit Spider to Rebellion. Featuring former and current members of bands such as Channel 3, Walk Proud, Total Massacre and Bullet Treatment Spider provide a thunderous wake up call for those brave enough to leave their pits early doors. There’s a cover of Black Flag’s ‘Depression’ slotted in somewhere within their energetic blur and it’s a song which also features on the band’s new ‘Energy Gone Wrong’ EP. ‘Barcode Baby’ and ‘Metal Detector’ help them deliver some killer blows too. You know I’d pay good money to see a double denim rocker actually turn up at a show played by this lot thinking it was the 80s UK boogie band who went by the same name and get the shock of their baldy longhaired lives, I really would.
Taking a trip up to the Rebellion Punk Art show is always on my list of “must-dos” if not just to see my old mate Colin Creamcrop Scott who as always is entertaining the masses with his tales of 80s Polish hardcore bands as well as wowing them with his use of reclaimed items to deliver his stunning visuals. There’s always something that catches my eye here not least this year the ever-growing mixture of media being used but I must admit what I do miss having witnessed some right corkers over the years are the old John Robb curated literary interviews that used to take place throughout the weekend in this very venue. Still this year there’s Micky Geggus and Jordan popping up for some Q&As and signing sessions so all is not yet lost.
Heading back to the Arena just in time to catch kung fu kicking Swedish garage punks Zero Zero this bunch of mentalists leaves a lasting impression me both on and off stage with their intoxicated antics. There’s no nudity to write about this time around but bassist Felix later revealing to me and Dom that The Sick Livers are one of his all-time favourite bands was indeed a weekend defining moment.
Quickly shuffling over to the Opera House ready to catch The DeRellas playing what has become their Rebellion second home (and duly rechristened The DeRellaDome by yours truly) the immediate thing that hits me – other than the rather welcoming air conditioning – is just how packed it is down the front ready for Joe, Timmy, Luca and Billy to make their appearance, and this alone really restores my faith in the UK music scene right now as it’s great to see the guy’s continuous hard work making such a noticeable impact. Of course, delivering a set packed full of glam pop goodies like ‘Don’t Go’, ‘Rip It Up’ (where Luca channels his inner Spaceman) and the simply fantastic ‘High Rise Supersize’ is only going to help the fan devotion grow even further and a year on with Billy Chaos holding down the backbeat The DeRellas really are sounding like the band I think they’ve always dreamed of being. I once saw The Only Ones play the Opera House and they weren’t anywhere as good as The DeRellas were today. You better believe it brothers and sisters.
It’s at this point in our Rebellion Saturday that me and Dom normally find a local boozer and enjoy the first weekend of the football season unfold on a TV screen but this year Dom’s interviewing Mr Spunk Volcano for a soon to be published RPM exclusive interview so instead I tag along to listen to possibly one of the most in-depth discussions the masked man has ever given and trust me when I say this one is certainly going to make for some interesting reading.
Returning to the Winter Gardens with every intention of watching my old mate, ex- Glitterati and current Rich Ragany & The Digressions guitar dude Gaff, playing with Desperate Measures I arrive at the Arena for their allotted slot only to find the place in band changeover mode so I assume they are running a little late and get myself a drink. Then when Blitzkrieg finally do make it onto the Arena stage the penny drops and I realise I should have been in the Pavilion all along and even with a quick sprint to the correct venue I literally turn up just as the final chord is echoing out around the horseshoe. Bollocks! Sorry lads, that’s gotta be a first for me, but at least I’m man enough to admit it and hopefully raise a smile or two in the process.
Angry with myself at this band faux pas I make sure I’m in The Opera House well in advance of Alvin Gibbs and The Disobedient Servants taking to the stage and yes I do triple check my planner this time, because having see this band deliver one of my gigs of the year so far I was not about to miss out. Especially when today the core trio of Alvin, Leigh and Jamie that I saw just a few months back are being joined by the master of guitar crunch Steve Crittall and for just a couple of songs birthday boy Gizz Butt who looks positively delighted to get to shred his way through the solos on the raw power of ‘Clumsy Fingers’ and the Iggy tribute ‘Down On The Streets’ . The setlist is pretty much the same as the one I’d seen previously but with the added bite of Crittall on guitar, I can’t help but wish I’d seen this line up play these songs in a small club. Still here’s hoping for the future as with the band sounding this great the ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ album surely can’t be the end of the solo adventure for Alvin.
Moving back to the Empress Ballroom just as Italian boot boys Giuda are about to take the stage with an uproarious version of ‘Overdrive’ from their excellent if somewhat sonically different ‘E.V.A’ LP it’s the intensity of the slightly rejigged line up that immediately hits me. I admit I was half expecting them to have turned into Giuran Giuran (thanks to Jim Rowland at Uber Rock for that one) given the use of synths on the new record, but no, as they rattle through the likes of ‘Back Home’, ‘Number 10’ and ‘Get It Over’ they actually sound tougher than ever before, which with no between-song banter and this time around no cover versions makes for the almost complete version of Giuda yet. Leaving the stage with ‘Cosmic Love’ from ‘E.V.A’ blasting out of the PA was certainly a bit odd though.
At this point, I admit I could have just stayed in the Empress for the veritable smorgasbord of tasty Oi! bands that were about to follow but with the lure of Duncan Reid playing the Opera House and that venue’s rather splendid sound and air-con I decided to play it cool ahead of Cock Sparrer and catch the 1-2 of The Big Heads and then later Walter Lure before sweating out half my body weight back in the Empress.
Opting to catch Duncan Reid And The Big Heads proves very quickly to be an inspired choice of band as the quartet rattle through some of their very best songs including a poptastic ‘Baby Doll’, a huge sounding ‘Bombs Away’, along with the uplifting ‘Just Because You’re Paranoid’. It’s also guitarist/keyboardist Sophie K Powers’ birthday and that seems to add an extra bounce to the whole band tonight and as guitarist Nick Hughes takes to the microphone for a run through ‘Brickfield Nights’ and the whole band join in on ‘First Time’ (a song Duncan dedicates to the songwriting genius of Honest John Plain) the whole party atmosphere seems to engulf the front rows right through to the last chord.
Picking up a quick bag of chips to keep me going I’m soon back in the Opera House in time to catch the only remaining Heartbreaker Walter Lure and his all-star LAMF band that also features Mick Rossi on guitar, Mark Laff on drums and Nigel Mead on bass. Now the cynics out there might be thinking this has car crash written all over it, but I’d actually say after watching these guys live it felt a hell of a lot more like a real band than the last time Lure played Rebellion back in 2013 with a few (admittedly excellent) hired guns. In particular, Laff and Mead are a watertight rhythm section and Rossi has always been something of a Johnny Thunders disciple can barely hide his excitement tearing off the riffs to the likes of ‘Pirate Love’, ‘Chinese Rocks’ and ‘Born To Lose’. Lure again adds in a few Waldos numbers along the way plus this time there’s also a couple of Slaughter & The Dogs tunes sung by Rossi. What we have here ladies and gents is a highly entertaining set that once again treats the Heartbreakers legacy with the respect it deserves.
Saturday night at Rebellion 2019 is all about the return of the mighty Cock Sparrer to the Empress Ballroom, and trying to get a good vantage point from which to watch their set is proving an almost impossible task even a good 15 minutes out from the scheduled start time. Having previously watched them from the pit, from half way back by the sound desk and from when the stage was side on almost from the side, tonight I choose a balcony view from behind side stage which means I not only get to watch the band without obstruction but I also get to watch the huge crowd too. As the lights dim and the ‘Overture’ intro tape booms out the PA I can feel the beads of sweat already running down my head, heaven only knows how hot it must be onstage under those lights or down the front, as once again the opening trio of ‘Riot Squad’, ‘Watch Your Back’ and ‘Working’ send the (shock) troops into a veritable frenzy. I’ve seen Sparrer live a good few times now and tonight really is one of the very best performances I’ve seen to date (even right up there with that show stealing Hellfest slot a good few years back now) and its perhaps made all the more significant and special when mid set Colin asks Andy (the husband of Kathy Rocker) to join them onstage for a truly heart wrenching rendition of ‘Gonna Be Alright’. Elsewhere from the 2017 album ‘Forever’ we get the awesome ‘One By One’ along with the tongue twisting ‘Nothing Like You’ whilst the rest of the set is packed full of classics like ‘AU’, ‘Runnin’ Riot’ and ‘Where Are They Now?’ and never mind how many times I hear these songs live I never grow tired of them. That Sparrer play for 80 minutes and it feels like 10 minutes also shows what an immersive experience seeing them live really is, and yes, I’ll be doing it all over again when they hit the UK club circuit for one last time in 2020 along with support from Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions.
Joining back up with Dom at the Opera House for the end of The Godfathers set (and in fact as it turns out the end of that band) we ponder for a minute about going to watch another band before the night is out, but me, I need to go back to the hotel to wring out my T-Shirt as that really was the kind of day Saturday was at Rebellion 2019. (JH)
Whilst Johnny went off to lace his Doc Martins up and iron his Fred Perry I stayed in the Opera House, took five and waited for The Godfathers to take to the stage. Starting the set with ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’ seemed like a great idea as the band sounded thunderous and little did we know what was brewing. ‘This Is War’ had Steve Crittalls guitar slashing like a samurai sword through the super locked in and tight rhythm section. It was a ‘Big Bad Beautiful Noise’ and it was, a Beautiful noise that is. It was commented that the band was ripping it up and I think it’s fair to say that this was shaping up to be one of the performances of the weekend. ‘If I Only Had Time’ had never sounded so good and following that up with the flip flop of ‘Til My Heart Stops Beating’ throughout the fifteen or so songs the band played they were on fire and ending the set with ‘Defribulator’ seemed apt under the circumstances.
The band returned briefly for a romp through the Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and then they were gone. Little did we know that some days later Peter was making the public removal of the whole band on Facebook!
Sure it’s his baby and his prerogative to shake the lineup and hire and fire but Facebook? From a fan of the music and the legacy of The Band I’m gutted – shit happens, I get that but this line up was channeling some incredible MC5, Stooges, Detroit sounds which makes it all the more sad to see it unfold so publicly and after such an electrifying performance.
Alex, Steve, Tim, and Darren’s contribution should be recognised because they seriously rocked, it’s a real shame that the legacy of The Godfathers might very well be damaged (I hope not) because I was buzzing after the set and that was largely down to the band who just played, Peter included. Who said Rock and Roll was boring? (DD)
Now over to Mr. Sutton to fill in the blanks of what else went on elsewhere in The winter gardens…
Saturday is something of a tactical battle as alcohol intake has to be tempered by an impending midnight gig to be played. As a result, many intended viewings fall by the wayside. ut there’s no way I could miss the Cockney Rejects and there’s also no way you can miss the full-blown Wonk Unit set after last night’s masterclass and it’s good to see a totally packed Club Casbah agree wholeheartedly. Two blinding sets in 24 hours? Wonk Unit shit them!!! The early day logistics meant that one of the bands I missed was Informal Society but that aforementioned midnight set we had to play at a fringe gig also happened to have Informal Society playing the 2am slot, so actually catching them was a real bonus, as the LA troupe really ripped out a high energy set for their second stint of the waking day.
Authors (JH) Johnny Hayward additional words from (DD) Dom Daley and Mr. Darrel Sutton.
Pictures of Alvin Gibbs, Gizz Butt, Cock Sparrer, Cockney Rejects courtesy of Dod Morrison Photography
All others from the shakey Dark Fruit sponsored phones of Hayward & Daley
Its August and this week sees us roll with our comprehensive Rebellion Festival round-up so why not run our twent choice cuts from our perspective. We’d have listed the likes of Zero Zero and Rotten Foxes but they’re not on Spotify so we’ve gone with a solid old and new twenty plus. Check em out there has to be something for every taste in there. Remember kids don’t just stream go out and watch these bands and buy their merch and music. It keeps them making the music we love.
Saturday has always felt like the most popular day over the Rebellion weekend and this year is certainly no exception with day tickets selling out a full four weeks before the event (at the time of writing day tickets for the other three days along with full weekend tickets are still available here).
The main draw this year is without doubt the return of the legendary Cock Sparrer to a UK stage following their back to basics club tour of 2017 which they undertook to promote their awesome ‘Forever’ album, and looking at the quality undercard that is also on offer this is definitely the day to get your cherry reds out of the cupboard and buffed up ready for.
When the Saturday was first announced I did detect an excited squeal originating from within RPM towers as Editor In Chief Dom Daley saw that a band called Spider are opening the Empress Ballroom at 12:35 without first realising this four-piece are gothic-tinged punk rockers from Long Beach California and not Sniffa’s straight edge boogie metallers from the eighties. This is something of a get out of jail free card for yours truly so I’ll be raising my first Dark Fruits of the day to this Spider safe in the knowledge that they don’t sound fuck all like Status Quo. Result!
With the Introducing Stage once again showcasing a further thirteen bands over the course of the Saturday our old chums and graduates of the rock ‘n’ roll high school Brocker make a very welcome early appearance at 13:15. So if high octane rock ‘n’ roll music delivered with plenty of punk rock attitude is your bag then I suggest you add this one in your laminated gig planner too.
Returning to their second home of the lavish Opera House stage glam punkers The DeRellas are next up for me at 14:20. Last year Joey, Luca, Timmy and Billy took the capacity crowd on a non-stop Rock n RollerCoaster Ride, without even playing the song by the same name that first got me into them. This year I expect more of the same insanity with the new boys now fully gigged in across sold out European shows.
After a weekend of full force punk rock (whatever your choice of sub-genre) if you are looking for a place to chill out on a Saturday afternoon then Club Casbah from 4:20 onwards is going to be your ting as Rebellion celebrates the influence dub, reggae and ska has had on punk rock via a four hour four band line-up that kicks off with The Rhythm-ites and also includes sets by RDF, Citizen Fish and HR from Bad Brains.
The lure of Alvin Gibbs and The Disobedient Servants in The Opera House (kicking off at 5:15) where the core trio of Alvin, Leigh Heggarty and Jamie Oliver are no doubt going to be joined by a huge array of guest guitarists is always going to be enough to tempt me away from an afternoon of skanking plus when you also add the return of the mighty Giuda to the Empress Ballroom stage at 17:50 its safe to safe I’ll be doing the ‘Space Walk’ down the front ready for some ‘Ravers Rock’.
With Club Casbah celebrating all things reggae the Empress Ballroom meanwhile takes a trip down the skinhead/Oi! route with Lions Law kicking things off at 4:45 with sets following from the likes of Giuda (who I’ve already mentioned), Evil Conduct and Cockney Rejects along with a special set from The Business celebrating the life of Micky Fitz set to feature special guest vocalists (with Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys) and Roi Pearce (Last Resort) are already confirmed) all singing the songs of their fallen brother. There won’t be a dry eye in the house that’s for sure, and all of this is before Cock Sparrer hit the stage at 11pm to deliver what has become THE definitive Rebellion set of punk rock music, delivering classic tune after classic tune into the wee small hours.
Of course, if Oi! isn’t your thing then there’s still plenty to see elsewhere with Duncan Reid & The Big Heads delivering the powerpop goodies in spades over in the Opera House from 7:25 and then in the very same venue from 10pm onwards there’s the back to back awesomeness of Walter Lure’s LAMF and The Godfathers to revel in. Proper low-slung guitar punk rock ‘n’ roll just how RPM loves it, and I must admit this stage clash is one of the biggest of the weekend even extending to a third stage for me as I’d love to also be catching Wonk Unit over at Club Casbah from 21:50….and then there’s The Exploited at 11pm back to headline the Club Casbah after Wattie’s umpteenth bout of fisticuffs with the Grim Reaper, surely that alone is reason enough to raise a pint and celebrate the band’s back catalogue?
I’ll openly admit I’m really not sure how I’m going to fit all of this in folks but I’m certainly going to give it a try…ahhh you know fuck it I might just spend all day watching new bands over on the Introducing stage and say “what the hell.”
One things for sure though and that is Rebellion Festival is the place to be from the 1st to the 4th of August 2019 and you can get your tickets RIGHT HERE!!!!
Plenty of Easter eggs for RPM
It seemed normal service had resumed and the UK was no longer under thread or code red because of the weather and the armed forces were asked to stand down from the impending doom that was heading our way if the week-long snow caused the country to slide into the Atlantic. April would see the customary Record Store Day madness that had clogged up pressing plants and caused delays right across the board as the majors jumped the queue with their plethora of reissues and one direction picture discs ready for the record buying public readily camping out on high streets across America and the UK hoping to get their hand on the Bowie seven inch that would only set them back £20 but hey if we didn’t buy into this it wouldn’t happen.
I digress. April was to be the month The Damned would finally get around to unleashing their new long player on the public after something like a decade since their last long player but this time they’ve gone all out to impress with Tony Visconti taking care of the production and in my humble opinion making it more about him and his knob twiddling duties than The Damned and as a result, an album that promised so much, in reality, delivered so little and won’t feature as anyone’s album of the year even though its not without merit as there are good songs on board but where is Paul Grays signature sound thumping its way through the songs? Did I not mention Gray was back in the fold? Oh sorry, how rude of me. yup Paul Gray was back in the fold and ‘Evil Spirits’ expectations hit the roof. It is certainly one of those albums you so desperately wanted to love but couldn’t quite convince yourself it was up there with some of their back catalogue but hey ho onwards and upwards and any Damned record however bad is still better than most other bands good albums. Fact. And the live dates were as expected – superb.
As far as other records to come out in April well, there’s always the ever-reliable Wonk Unit and this time out they’re unleashing ‘Terror’ upon us all. Once again it was recorded at the Brook and producer Andy Brook brought the best out of Alex and all who sail or should that be ride on the back of this thoroughbred stallion. it featured some classic Wonk none more so than this festive banger ‘Christmas In A Crackhouse’ but remember this is April. Nice one Alex.
On the 7″ front there were a few notable entries with the top of the pile being The DeRellas with the fantastic ‘High Rise Supersize’ seeing the recording debut of their new frontman and excellent fit Joey DeRella former frontman of the excellent Breakdowns.also on the singles front The Hip Priests released an excellent split with Demons and young upstarts The Kenneths put out a really excellent single in the shape of ‘Favourite Ex’ from the E.P ‘EX’ and hopefully 2019 will see RPM hear more from this most excellent of noise makers.
Onto the live front and a few notable entries would have to be when the country went RSD nuts – south Wales upstarts and ne’re do wells otherwise answering to the name Deathtraps played at what was a marathon of live shows all over Newport which began with Mike Peters of The Alarm playing the towns best venue the rather splendid Le Pub on the Friday night. It then spread to other venues throughout the day keeping live independent music alive and well in this corner of the world.
Also on tour in April was the splendid reformation of Thee Hypnotics who impressed Ben so much he went out and picked up a copy of their box set and Dom and Johnny also parted with some folding money for copies of their documentary when they rolled through Newport south Wales to play Le Pub (once Again). April was really hotting up as some mighty fine new bands rolled into town as part of tours to promote their new records two notable bands were Cabbage who were promoting the excellent ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and Trampolene who also played Clwb Ifor Bach and both shows were sellouts and both ended in hot sweaty messes just like the best club gigs should.
The only death to report in April would be that of Jesus Christ but that for another website and not here. Keep it RPM as we roll into May…
January they blow the roof off the 100 Club with an awesome set supporting the mighty Boys and all things gearing up to the recording and release of their debut album and some summer shows where it was really going to kick off at Rebellion Europe and Blackpool and upon their return from Holland frontman Garry lost his life in the blink of an eye and proving how fragile our time on this planet is and how none of us knows when our time here is over.
Never mind the music, that can wait, he left behind him a young daughter and loving wife and three devastated bandmates and a punk community that rallied round and hopefully comforted those that really mattered at such a tough time.
I’d exchanged messages with Garry days before I flew on a family holiday and after his band’s triumphant return from Holland we were sorting out an interview upon my return where I wanted the inside scoop on the band’s debut long player and their subsequent Rebellion appearance. Sadly I found out on my arrival in America that the interview would not take place and Garry had suddenly been taken from his family and bandmates.
We’d only met briefly but I was gutted for those who knew him well and what they were no doubt about to achieve. A larger than life character Garry had an impact upon everyone who crossed his path and his wholehearted belief in the success that was about to hit his band was unwavering and people who saw the band play and had bought their singles were already in on what was going down North of the Border that was soon to break out all over the place.
Fast forward several months and whispers abound that the debut album Heavy Drapes were working on was being mastered and readied for release then out of the Blue (not into it) its here. ‘Crashing Like Stars’ is fuckin’ here!
Maybe unfinished as it was intended due to the extraordinary circumstances but its fair to say ‘Crashing Like Stars’ sounds fantastic. Ten tracks that you could hear being played across stages around the UK and further afield had been captured on tape and were now loud and proud blasting through my speakers. Now, I reviewed their previous EP and single and loved what I heard and anyone who knows me knows I love me some sleazy punk rock as played by the likes of The Lords Of The New Church, UK Subs, The Vibrators to name a few and a large part of that love is the unfussy arrangments with a lot of light between the instruments and a good ear for production and to let the music do the talking – always let the music do the talking. Well, Heavy Drapes did that.
Ten tracks all of which you would have heard live if you were lucky enough to have seen the band perform, the singles are here and opener ‘Should I Suck’ is a ball of energy from that intense bass to the backing vocals it’s a great tune to open any record with. You can also add the fantastic ‘Maladjusted’ with its clean and unfussy arrangement I love how the even having only seen the band play once some of these songs have stuck in my head and I remember them instantly and on the first play I’m singing along. Always a decent gauge to how good a record is isn’t it? Rock and Roll is about memorable tunes and Heavy Drapes had plenty of them. The vocals and backing vocals on ‘Into The Blue’ really elevate the song. Its hard to be original in music and when you play a certain style odds are it’s been done once or twice before so all you have is a melody and some catchy lyrics or a well-placed solo and you can’t reinvent the wheel its perfect as is so when a band crops up who understands this and just offers up their interpretation of the wheel you have to take notice. Here is the evidence of one of those bands Heavy Drapes had songs and plenty of them.
I love a good chorus and songs like ‘Janie’ has got one, in fact, it’s not just good it’s excellent. If you love the Steve Jones dry, clean overdriven chug then this is for you and you’re gonna love songs like ‘Hanging Like A Suicide’. Listen, I think you should have got the picture by now. If you loved records like the Neurotic Outsiders, The Lords Of The New Church, Pistols and a few dozen other great bands then this is most definitely an album you are going to love. Like Gunfire Dance before them, Heavy Drapes flame burned bright but way to briefly. I guess we should console ourselves in the fact we now have a disc full of great tunes to remember them by and I raise a glass to what might, could and should have been. Well played Garry son this is as good as you said it was going to be may you rest in peace man you left a mighty fine legacy. Bam-a-lama-fa-fa-fa!
Author: Dom Daley