“Easy Like a Sunday Morning” (like Fuck it is)

Three down and one to go and Sunday is a pretty big deal around RPM HQ as our mates are playing on the Introducing stage later but everywhere we look its clash city.  At one point we wanted to see four bands all playing at the same time across the complex so it literally came down to the toss of a coin where we would go and who we would see. With the venue opening at midday we needed to be in the Empress to catch a band we’ve covered a lot lately and who’ve impressed everyone whos seen and heard them.  Hands Off Gretel take the stage to a really healthy crowd considering the day and time and proceed to entertain with a really tight performance as the band really locked in like their lives depended on it and the audience was right there with them. After catching the first 30 minutes of the set we then had to cross the divide via Almost Acoustic where Ratboy was performing his magic to a full room we managed to catch him driving swords through someone’s arm and a more gentle coin trick but we couldn’t stay as all roads lead towards the Introducing stage where Trigger Mcpoopshute took the stage looking rather splendid in their religious outfits.  I even heard some punter comment that Shovel had a decent set of pins in his sheer stockings! I did turn to see what depraved human had such thoughts on the lords day. To be fair Trigger knocked out a rather impressive set of Welsh hardcore fuelled by late-night kebabs and strong cider whilst entertaining and putting a smile on peoples faces with their tales of everyday folk and cheeky charm.

Having seen the band turn in some loose sets this was a different Trigger with a much tighter sound with Bam at the drum stool.  Songs like ‘Skidmarks and Spenser’, ‘Sheep’ and ‘Drinking With The Big Boys’ were going down a storm in front of a very impressive audience and it was only 1.15pm but the only question people were now pondering was ‘Fish Or Bird’? Fuckin’ loons.  Who writes songs about penguins? Bloody entertaining though.

Right that’s three rooms already and it’s not even 2 pm so it must be time to head to Casbah to see if Dan Banger has turned up this year and low and behold he’s bloody made it and finally, Pizzatramp are in the house and what a fuckin’ beautiful noise they make live.  Regardless of if its some tiny venue in the bowels of South Wales or the cavernous Club Casbah at Rebellion Pizzatramp are on fire right now as Sammy plucks that thunderous bass and locks in with Dan they are a formidable force and their Hardcore is a beautiful thing they open with ‘CCTV’ and its brutal ‘Claire Voyant’, ‘He’s Gone Full Mitchell’ and the quite brilliant ‘Millions Of Dead Goffs’ pretty much make up the opening salvo of their set and I’m happy and it seems like half of Blackpool have gotten the memo and decided to turn up to see Pizzatramp with ‘Grand Relapse’ getting a decent airing their (Brown puckered) Star(fish) is burning brightly. We cut the set short and dash over to the Opera House for Johny Skullknuckles Kopek Millionaires who have just gone on by the time we catch our breath.

‘sometimes (Love Just Isn’t Enough)’ sounds fantastic and the change of pace from hardcore Sunday to power pop punk rock was just what I needed. I love Johnys style of writing and a lot of his material reminds me of early Hanoi Rocks and ‘Tell Me Baby’ sounded great as did ‘1981’ from ‘Dirty Beef Hands’ but the ray of sunshine in what has been a difficult time recent for Johny was his touching tribute to Kathy which touched everyone in the Opera House and got a standing ovation and the track of the set ‘Punk Girl From Another World’ an exceptional set from The Millionaires.

After recently seeing Suede Razors in Bristol Johnny and Darrel urged me to pop into the empress and catch the set so if it’s good enough for those two, of course, I was going to be there. so grabbing my spot on the barrier more for something to lean on than anything else the band duly took the stage and Darrel Wojick fresh from checking out Trigger McPoopshute takes the stage and proceeds to ram down some sweet boot boy rock and roll mixing the best of Slade with Rose Tattoo with a bovver boy take on the Four Horsemen.  ‘My city’ kicked off proceedings and for the next half an hour and some they rammed it down the Empress ‘TV175’ going down a storm and the punters flooded in. ‘Passion On The Pitch’ was dedicated to Blackpool fans and their fight for their club and it was nice to hear some Americans and a Canadian knowing their shit and fuck the Oystens would have gone down well.  ‘Bovver Boy’ was a particular high point of the set.  a band who have the chops and know-how to rock and roll and will always be welcome over here if the USA still won’t let them ply their craft.

One of the must-see bands on the introducing stage had to be Rotten Foxes who turned up looking rather splendid in their double denim, cut off nut huggers and wrestling belts. They really put on a show for those gathered in the sweatbox. As for what they played fuck knows, it was absolute pandemonium and punk as fuck with Charlie Harper whistling on the sidelines whilst members of Zero Zero, Pizzatramp and Trigger knew where the only place to be at half three on a Sunday afternoon was and that was in this very room sweating like Ian Krankie in a wardrobe. The songs came thick and fast, fuck, make that very fast as bodies flew around, Hardcore as fuck. An absolute pleasure to witness such beautiful chaos done so well. True to their single ‘Arrive Raise Hell Leave’ Rotten Foxes absolutely killed it.  I wish it had gone on longer and it would have been awesome to see these boys tear somewhere like Casbah a new one with this racket. Don’t quit it’s only just begun. Rotten Fuckin’ Foxes!

We needed to grab some food so Svetlanas were forfeited as was our planned peek at Teenage Bottlerockets (next time for sure). Dirt box Disco are up next and with a quick pint, we head for Club Casbah. Having Weab quit the band to go his own way it left Spunk Volcano to take over lead vocals and this being the first opportunity for us to see the band we first caught way back when they had no more than a couple of shows under their belt this was going to be interesting but seeing so many people turn up and stay til the end must have put wind in their sails as they knocked out classic Dirtbox after classic dirt box with ‘My Life Is Shit’ seeing a frenzied pit chanting the chorus back to Mr. volcano must have felt good that they decided to carry on post Weab. Something of a Rebellion fixture it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Empress is beginning to heat up again as CJ Ramone takes the stage and for the next hour we’re treated to a whole bunch of classic Ramones tunes and some choice cuts from CJ’s solo records all that was missing was a track or two from Bad Chopper. ‘One High One Low’ from the new album slipped in comfortably alongside classics like ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg ‘, ‘Rock n Roll High School’ and ‘Rockaway Beach’. ‘This Town’ also off the new album sounded huge but was the aperitif for Blag The Ripper who entered the fray to creepy crawl around the Empress knocking out ‘KKK Took My Baby Away’. CJ then gave a wonderful tribute to his former bandmate Steve Soto who had been performing with him and who died only little over a year ago as last year Adolescents gave a tearful tribute to Soto ‘Rock On’ was apt. the next special guest happened to be Blags bandmate Nick Oliveri.

as if the Empress wasn’t hot enough ‘Warthog’, ‘Commando’, ’53rd’, ‘Sedated’, ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ and to wrap it all up why not go over the top with a sparkling version of ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S’. Thank you and goodnight.  Fuck me that’s how to do a festival – No bullshit – no fucking around just bish bash bosh!  It reminded me of Buzzcocks who were mentioned several times over the weekend and amusing stories were regaled they were a band who got festivals and usually just blitzed it – well, CJ Ramone just did that – 29 songs in an hour, Smart!

We’re in the home straight now and it’s still pretty full-on We toyed with the idea of going into Empress for The PRofessionals but it was too hot so we went for a wander around the bizarre and dipped in to catch the start of The Skids who weren’t mucking about and once they’d put up the correct graphic giving away the fact that The Damned were indeed playing the Machine gun Etiquette set later gave the game away, oh well the rumours were true. Doh!. ‘Of One Skin’ followed by ‘Charade’ it looked like they were playing the same set they were dishing out around Europe which is fine I’ve not seen the band since they reformed and by the sounds of it they were bang on form. Knowing I had one last lap to complete the heat upstairs on the balcony was almost unbearable and it literally felt like the ‘Saints Were Coming’ if I’d have stayed up there so back to Club Casbah for a glance at Conflict and DOA then settled for a few tunes from King Kurt a band I’d not seen for over twenty years hoping to catch some ‘Destination Zulu LAnd’ but alas it wasn’t to be as I had to venture via the backstage bar for some refreshments before making my way down the front for one final hurrah.

The Damned doing ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ although I’d seen them several times on the last MGE Anniversary tour this time it was with added Paul Gray who always did justice to the Algy bass lines.

As the band took to the stage and Captain offered up the introduction of “Ladies And Gentlemen, how do?” the place seemed to be absolutely rammed and didn’t need an invitation to go nuts as the album was unfurled in sequence well,  up until ‘These Hands’ that seemed to have been left off.  Again not quite its entirety but it would have been fun to hear it for us anoraks. Man The Damned are on fire at the moment and seem to be really enjoying their time on stage. Vanian being quite animated tonight taking the lead with amusing anecdotes whilst Sensible being, dare I suggest it, quite restrained.  Maybe the Wintergardens heat was taking effect whereas we all know Vanian has spent the day relaxing in his air-conditioned crypt so would be fresh as a daisy.  Once they wound up MGE also missing ‘Liar’ as well I might add. They then proceeded to indulge a few extras like ‘Street Of Dreams’ and a rather splendid ‘Ignite’.

I guess they had to play ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’ before hitting the home straight with ‘Wait For The Blackout’ followed by the anthemic ‘New Rose’,’Neat Neat Neat’ and ending the set with ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’ and the curtain was brought down on another exception headline set from the original punk rockers and still the best there is. Don’t let Hayward and Sutton tell you otherwise 😉 (DD)

With Dom over in the Empress watching The Damned for the bazillionth time it was left to yours truly to witness rock legends The Dwarves, big dicks swinging, give Blackpool’s punk rock community the bloodiest nose of the weekend. With HeWhoCannotBeNamed back in the fold, there is that added sense of danger and anarchy about the band as they launch straight into ‘Way Out’ and the Club Casbah mosh pit goes suitably apeshit. ‘Sluts Of The USA’, ‘Devils Level’ and ‘We Only Came To Get High’ follow like repeated punches to the face and just when I thought it couldn’t get any crazier a minor drunken skirmish breaks out in front of me during ‘Speed Demon’ and the sight of a topless female pit member sends Blag and the boys off into a world where there ‘Better Be Women’ and ‘Free Cocaine’. ‘We Must Have Blood’ sees He Who and Blag demolish the drum kit, and in a shower of beer, they are gone. Wow! Band of the weekend for me and many others. Don’t agree? Go fuck yourselves. HA! (JH)

Rebellion Sundays are real hardcore as the body is usually wondering why it is being subjected to continued alcohol, dehydration and stairs, stairs and stairs. So having an unbelievable line-up makes it all worthwhile and following playing another set I shot across to the acoustic stage to catch Catlow (of the Poly Esters) set the afternoon on a great footing. A Pizzatramp, Suede Razors 1-2 gets me right in the mood to swing by the Arena to catch Birmingham’s utterly brilliant The Liarbilitys.  Their Antagonisms record sounds fantastic live and Birmingham’s Bleeding is surely one of the best punk rock songs of recent times.  I made a point of popping into the Introducing Stage at numerous points throughout the weekend, sampling some really excellent bands (that Rotten Foxes set was something else!!) but one that really stuck with me was Tequila Mockingbyrd. The female quartet were devastating and really should be checked out, as their Hanoi Rocks meets L7 swagger is infectious.  This led me nicely into catching something very familiar but no less good in the shape of Welsh stalwarts Foreign Legion. Marcus Howells might have led the band in its many forms for decades but they show no signs relenting in any way and are on top form with a set of old standards are spot-on new songs.  With the finish line in sight, I head back to join the hordes watching the Professionals before watching The Dwarves deliver the ultimate coup de grace.  What a weekend?  When can we do it again? (DS)

 

 

Rebellion 2019 was an absolute pleasure from the superb company to the many bands I met shook hands with, had conversations with to the work colleagues also covering the festival to the incredibly hard-working and always smiling staff keeping the bars stocked to make sure everything was hunky-dory.  The bouncers who did their jobs well especially the guys n gals in the Empress who did amazing jobs and always with a smile to the catering staff and stallholders to the people like Darren Russell Smith and Jeannie Russel Smith, Stu Taylor and Daryl for putting this incredible Festival together keeping the prices real. Dod and the photographers who do such an excellent job in capturing it all, the stagehands and sound and light guys for doing such an amazing job under so trying circumstances and the good people of Blackpool for being so welcoming time after time and all the band we saw turn in such awesome sets and the bands we didn’t get round to seeing maybe next year. The PR people for running such a smooth operation you all make this festival lark look like a piece of piss.  The artists upstairs along with the people who were interviewed and interviewers and finally all the punters who love alternative music and keep the scene ticking over buying the music and the merch.  I have a list of bands who should play next year who would go down a treat if anyone wants to know.

Rebellion is always a pleasure and never ever a chore. Now can I go to bed and get some sleep please?  Same time and same place next year? Fan-Fuckin-Dabi-Dozy!

Authors: Dom Daley, Johnny Hayward & Darrel Sutton

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.

 

Well, we’re almost there folks its Sunday on our preview and by now there will be sore heads, aching limbs, sunburn, and ringing ears and aching jaws from having such a good time and laughter that’s usually how Sunday pans out but not necessarily in that order. By now you will have got the hang of how to best navigate your way through the Winter Garden and how best to avoid the heat and there will be some who are only now getting into the swing of things and only just warming up.  We’ve already opened a book as to what state our friends Trigger Mcpoopshute will be in before they hit the introducing stage.  I just hope Blackpool has enough Special Vat on tap because they will find it and the Karaoke bar.  Anyway, I digress.

On with the show.  first up will no doubt be a very early start for many as Hands Off Gretel hit the Empress Stage between 12:50pm – 1:30 pm. With their recent album and live shows, they’ve had plenty of praise around these parts and it’ll be great to catch them on such a big stage and big room compared to the tight confines of Clwb Ifor Bach. But wait, get your time warp daps on because there are more clashes than outside a Swansea v Cardiff derby.  1.55 also sees our mates the wonderful Kopek Millionaires return to the festival in the Opera House and hang on those Welsh herberts Trigger McPoopshute are also kicking up a shitstorm over on the introducing stage at 1.15 and if you shout loud enough I’m sure they’ll play ‘Sheep’ and my favourite ‘Skidmarks & Spencer’.

It’s just not fair because Pizzatramp will be causing offense and singing songs about Goths at 2 pm over at Club Casbah or whinging about having their fuckin’ backs being fucked and calling Bono names but I can guarantee they will be entertaining and totally crushing the room.  Next up for me will be those filthy garage punk noise bringers Rotten Foxes again on the introducing stage where double denim hot pants will no doubt be the order of the day and songs about Danny Dyer will be belted out for the gathered masses. Around the same time, The Svetlanas will also be delivering the noise over in The Ballroom and they went down very well last year. You could stay put and chill because up next is the pop punk of Teenage Bottlerockets in the Empress. Or no doubt like many will head over to Club Casbah for your annual fix of Dirtbox Disco at 5.10 pm. If you haven’t had enough Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate will be putting on an Acoustic performance in Almost Acoustic but I’d imagine you’d have to get there early as it will be busy.

It’s still very early evening and hopefully, you should be just warming up by about now and pacing yourself.  You’ll hopefully have just taken in a bunch of new bands on your radar and awaiting some more established bands who will be along later.  There are a dozen bands playing the Introducing Stage on Sunday many of whom I’ll admit to not having heard but will always dip in because its stages like this where the future headliners might come from and who knows, your new favourite band.  Isn’t that the beating heart of what Rebellion Festival is all about?  You can stay in one venue all day long and come across a whole gambit of bands some you’ll love some you’ll know the name of but have never heard them and others will blow you away and all indoors under the same roof alongside friendly staff who make it such a special place to watch alternative music night after night after night. Anyway, I digress.

The Witchdoktors play their garage punk rock n roll just before Foreign Legion kicks in with their Oi! infused street punk.  Weaving around the stages takes some skills that you should no doubt be a Jedi master at by this point so negotiating Conflict, DOA and then King Kurt will be a piece of piss right?  Yeah right.  and if you’re still in one piece The Motherchuffin’ Dwarves are taking the Casbah stage home tonight and will no doubt devastate what’s left of the audience.  I see they’re down for a 55-minute set so it looks like they’re playing twice then kids 😉

Anyway back in the Empress the final curtain call sees CJ Ramone knock out a whole bunch of classics from 7 pm and lets face it he’s never let us down and his new solo album is a bit tasty as well so in fairness throw your laminated stage finder timetable out the window buy yourself a Dark Fruit and just follow your ears and you’ll be taken to a stage that will put a big smile on your face.  The Professionals follow CJ then The Skids follow the Professionals but its top trumps time for me because the Damned close the festival that is as long as The Dwarves haven’t raised the Winter Gardens to the ground from the Casbah at the same chuffing time!  it’ll be a flip of the coin no doubt or we will have to split review duties and by witching hour it will all be over – done and dusted.  Back to our hotels and B&B’s with our pathetic bruised and beaten carcasses dissecting our weekend – our long lost weekend down the musical wormhole that is Rebellion festival.  If you’re still in with a chance of going but can’t decide to take it from us you won’t regret it – not for a second (well that might be a lie – your legs might be saying otherwise)  There is no other festival quite like it in the UK and we love being a part of it year after year.  I’m packed and ready to rock n roll now where did I leave my kiss me quick hat?

Roll Up Roll Up tickets available Here

Our favourite purveyors of filthy Rock and Roll and 100% rock n rollers the hip Priests have knocked out a video in support of their latest single that can be found through the band’s page Here It’s their twenty-fourth single thus far and the band just get better and better.

 

They prepare for their Sjock appearance alongside their European dates with the mighty Electric Frankenstein just before they hook up with The Dwarves for a few dates (how cool is that?).  If you’ve not seen them live this is your chance. Get out there and support live music and top Rock and Roll bands – Tour dates Here 

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The Dahmers are heading out on the European roads to support The Dwarves.
As a warm-up, they bring us a brand new video!

“DEMON NIGHT…IT’S ALRIGHT!
Oh boy, check out our brand new thriller.
A stop motion nightmare of the song “Demon Night” from our latest album “Down in the Basement”.
– The Dahmers

 

Tour Dates:

2/5 – Grand – Malmö, SWE
13/6 – Kraken – Stockholm, SWE *
14/6 – Røverstaden – Oslo, NO *
15/6 – Musikens Hus – Gothenburg, SWE *
16/6 – Underwerket – Copenhagen, DK *
18/6 – Patronaat – Haarlem, NL *
19/6 – Club Vaudeville – Lindau, GER *
12/7 – Midnight Light Festival – Vilhelmina, SWE

* supporting The Dwarves

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THE DAHMERS takes their high energy horror rock n’ roll out on the European roads again, supporting US legends THE DWARVES! You can also catch them on their own at two Swedish spots.  Wow, those lucky peeps in Mainland Europe are in for a treat – I’d love to see this show hit the UK that’s for sure. Us UK mortals have to wait until Rebellion to catch The Dwarves

                                                                                 Live Dates:

2/5 – Grand – Malmö, SWE
13/6 – Slaktkyrkan – Stockholm, SWE *
14/6 – Røverstaden – Oslo, NO *
15/6 – Musikens Hus – Gothenburg, SWE *
16/6 – Underwerket – Copenhagen, DK *
18/6 – Patronaat – Haarlem, NL *
19/6 – Club Vaudeville – Lindau, GER *
12/7 – Midnight Light Festival – Vilhelmina, SWE

* supporting The Dwarves

It’s been 5 long years since The Hip Priests’ last studio album, but as some wise old sage once said “good things to those who hate”.

During that time events have certainly seen the UK become a more divisive place to live and as such ‘Stand For Nothing’ has never felt like a more perfectly timed record. It’s one the band said they’d never release but now felt compelled to, plus it’s also one that contains not a single song about the old in out … a true first in Priests terms.

But wait just a minute, because I’m getting ahead of myself here and forgetting you just might be someone discovering The Hip Priests for the very first time, sat there all comfy on your toilet (I mean where else would you read about the Hip Priests?) thinking that in those intervening 5 years the band’s core trio of bassist Lee Love, guitarist Austin Rocket and vocalist Nathan Von Cruz must have been hidden away on some tropical island paradise recording a masterpiece in studio fuckery with Muff Flange. Well, you’d of course be very wrong indeed, because during the past 5 years what The Hip Priests have actually been doing is working their arses off by relentlessly touring (with the likes of Zeke, The Dwarves and The Bitch Queens) whilst releasing a bazillion independently funded and released limited edition 7” singles. Whilst in the process of doing all this they also managed to lose 2 drummers (before arriving at current sticksman D.P. Bomber), decided to turbocharge their sound via the addition of a second guitarist (via the enigmatic Silent Mike – who has subsequently moved on to pastures new), and then came within a hair’s breadth of finally getting themselves signed to a major label. Something that would ultimately come to nothing when the A&R guy signing them was “let go” by the label.

Phew! That potted history reads like a draft film script doesn’t it, but this boys and girls is the harsh reality of being in a proper rock ‘n’ roll band, one that is driven to succeed at all costs.

So, after all that does ‘Stand For Nothing’ live up to my heady expectations as the record to propel them into 2019 as the number one independent rock band on the UK scene?

Well, it takes exactly one line of the album’s blistering opener ‘Welcome To Shit Island’ to answer this conundrum as Nathan Von Cruz venomously spits out “Small minds, dumb pricks – drop a bomb on this isle of shit” and I can immediately feel myself grinning from ear to ear whilst punching the air with absolute joy. YES! Someone is finally not afraid to speak the truth and there really is no time like right now (excuse the pun) to celebrate it. In fact, all joking aside if ever there was a sign that The Hip Priests were evolving into a much bigger and angrier sounding beast than ever before it was that 10 minute epic (which curiously doesn’t make the final track listing here) that well and truly pissed the line in the sand regarding the band’s musical ambitions.

The expansion of sound that was so evident during the horn-driven ‘No Time (Like Right Now)’ is thankfully driven headlong into this album too and the aforementioned addition of a second guitarist gives tracks like the stunning ‘Losers Of The Faith’ (which I must admit is my favourite track here) and the glorious one-finger piano-driven ‘Stand For Nothing’ an additional melodic edge, something that just might have been missing from previous Priests’ records where the band chose to simply bulldozer you into aural ecstasy.

Fear not though fellow Spasm Gangbangers because that old school Priests sound is still very much here in abundance during tracks like the caustic ‘Social Hand Grenade’, and the thundering album closer ‘Rock N Roll Leper’ plus let’s not forget the already firmly established live favourite ‘Cheers To Me’. It’s just that this time around I’m finding myself going back to the likes of the pounding ‘Deja F.U.’ and the dare I say it the “gothic sounding” ‘How Do You Get Off?’ (is that a hint of Farfisa I here in there lads?) time and time again as The Hip Priests truly spread their musical wings…sonically speaking of course.

What also really stands out on this record are the lyrics, and on the vinyl only track ‘U Okay Hun’ we get to rejoice in Lee Love’s lightning fast take on the world of the vacuous self-centred fucks that litter social media, a track which is without doubt one of his finest moments yet, and he’s written quite a few of those that’s for sure.

At the start of this review I stated that ‘Stand For Nothing’ contained no tracks about sex, which will be a total shock to any Priests fan’s moral system I know, but for those of you hankering for the ‘Saints Of Excess’ of old there’s still ‘Last Train Wrecks’ to look forward to, a glorious tale of self-destruction that comes complete with an intro from Happy Tom and actually revolves around some of the very people who will no doubt be rushing to buy their copy of this album when it goes on pre-sale on Feb 4th via the various labels involved and linked below.

Look, in ‘Stand For Nothing’ The Hip Priests have written one of, if not THE most important garage punk albums of 2019. Buy it now (via the links below) and help the band save Shit Island from forever falling into the sea of musical mediocrity.  Essential!

Spasm Gang

Buy Music Here

Author: Johnny Hayward

Along with the recent announcement that Trigger McPoopschute will  be making their festival debut, The Damned have also been added to this summers bill along with a whole list of other great bands really strengthening these years line up after the early announcement of Cock Sparrer then The Stranglers

For all the latest updates and additions to the bill like the facebook page Here or their website Here

 

Also announced today was the inclusion of The legends that are The Dwarves and also from the USA Descendents.  We’re sure you’ll agree that this years festival is really beginning to take shape now.  for tickets Here

February 2018

Foulmouthed Filthy February or something like that.

February began with a road trip to see a band who for me has been my go-to pilgrimage in North Wales for The Gathering weekend for the last quarter of a century (almost). A weekend celebrating the music of Mike Peters & The Alarm reached a high point on the Saturday night as a Four-hour performance rounded off an impressive weekend. I’ve enjoyed going for almost quarter of a century where special guests have included Billy Duffy, Craig Adams, Steve Diggle, Pete Wylie, Dave sharp, Ian McNabb, Eddie McDonald and a whole bunch of other musicians I’ve forgotten and I’ve managed to attend without missing a single year.

I must admit the thought of such a marathon performance on a Saturday night filled me with dread can any fans watch for four hours? The answer is a resounding yes! It flew by and was one of the best Saturday night shows I’ve ever seen Peters perform especially when he was joined on stage by Craig Adams for the final hour (that still doesn’t sound right – the final hour). Roll on February 2019 when I can do it all again.

 

Staying on the live front, Other RPM scribes went to some far-flung countries to catch their Rock n Roll with Craggy taking in an excellent show from Fertile Hump live at Kabinet Muz, in Brno. but a large gathering of writers took in a show or two when the Damned went around the UK this time with the added excitement of Paul Gray back in the fold for the first time in decades which was rather nice.  Seeing the Damned with a new album in tow and playing sold out shows all across the UK in decent sized venues was awesome and it has to be said so were the band.  Gray seemed to give them a right shot in the arm just in time for this stint of dates was easily the highlight of February. But with the recent news of our Brother Scott Sorry battling a serious illness the Rock and Roll community rallied and a series of benefit shows were arranged to raise funds for Scott at such a difficult time what with the American Health system being what it is  The likes of Role Models, Main Grains and  The Empty Page rocked out at The Parish to rave reviews whilst Wakefield Warehouse saw the Professionals, the Wildhearts, Massive Wagons and Sonic Boom Six take care of business and send Positive vibes across the ocean as well as money raised at these spectacular shows.

Before Feb was done The UK also saw the return of Bullets And Octane and Ben attended a memorable show in York that proved that Gene Louis had lost none of the fire he had inside his beating heart when he first toured the UK.

 

As for recordings to hit the shelves, historically early in the year, things open slowly in the music business and January being about new resolutions before finally seeing new releases hit the shelves, so, Feb saw an avalanche of really big hitters for RPM writers.  We had the release of Imperial State Electric’s Live album ‘Anywhere Loud’ as well as some garage awesomeness from the likes of the Cavemen and The Bellrays getting round to release records. 

Several writers were also impressed by the latest Buffalo Tom long player ‘Quiet And Peace’ with Craggy picking it as one of his albums of the year. February belonged to a few foul-mouthed releases, the first came in the shape of Jonesey with their self titled long player with its down n dirty sleazy punk rock n roll and song titles and lyrics that would make a sailor blush no doubt about that. But one of the years highlights hit us like a sledgehammer between the eyes has to be Motherfuckin’ Motherfuckers with ‘MFFFMF’ (I think that’s the correct amount of F’s) inspired by Supershit 666 and the idea of some friends from the most splendid Bitch Queens and Oz and Lee from the mighty Hip Priests recording a mini album packed full of songs that were written in the shortest of times. I’ll let Lee Love tell you, good people, what happened, ” Ah the dumb Lee Love story. Well, me ‘n’ Oz went To Basel for a few days to hang out with our mates from Bitch Queens and we ended up getting pissed (as you do) and I was winding them up saying I could write and get em to record a mini album in a day. So we went into the Queens studio the next day and played through everything once maybe twice and hey presto it was done”.  Creating that Copters supershit 666 vibe.

To be fair this pack of loons rose to the occasion and absolutely knocked it out of the park in fact they didn’t just knock it out of the park they followed out tied it to the back of their pick up truck dragged it around the wood then kicked any life left in it out then did it all again for shits and giggles.  An absolute giant of punk rock n fuckin roll – make no mistake about that! Motherfuckin’ Motherfucker should and one day will rightfully be seen as a classic of its genre.

 

Also, The motherfuckin’ Dwarves were taking back the night in February as well and a jolly fine record that was.  Maybe it should be renamed Fuckin’ foulmouthed February from now on.  What a month. Outstanding stuff.

 

Billed as an incredible rock ‘n’ roll freakshow there will never be any chance of Helldorado being done for false representation. With over 30 live bands, live wrestling, burlesque acts and a whole lot more besides the 40 odd Euros I shelled out for early bird tickets made me feel like I’d bagged myself one of the gig bargains of the year. But would it really live up to my expectations?

Arriving at the Klokgebouw (an arts/theatre venue in a huge multi room warehouse complex situated on an industrial park within a bicycle kick’s distance of PSV’s ground) with about half an hour to spare before the doors were due to open this gave one or two of our travelling group the chance to walk off their fragile states following the previous night’s Turbojugend meet up in the city’s Café The Jack (steady on Daley there were no retrievers in sight here) which had proven to be as colourful an introduction to the city as the Glow art event that was also taking place that same evening.

After finally making our way through the airport style security (which was done as quickly as possible by very friendly staff who seemed to be able to speak a multitude of languages all at the same time) I finally made my way into the venue and hit the main Cobra stage just as Prima Donna were launching into the 2nd song of their set.   With just 30 minutes on stage there was no time for banter or messing about so Kevin Preston and his prima donnas (ouch) just do what they do best and play a set packed full of infectious rock ‘n’ roll anthems largely drawn from their excellent ‘S/T’ album. A better sound mix (something which you’ll see becomes of a recurring theme throughout the day) might have drawn out some of the band’s poppier saxophone driven moments but at 1pm in the afternoon, warming up a largely still hungover crowd, the boys did mighty fine indeed. Now make sure you catch them on the road with Danko Jones right now!

Moving over to the adjoining Lion stage for a little bit of fun with Cirque Du Mort’s Trashy Pandas and it’s somewhat confusing to discover that after travelling all this way this UK troop’s lead hostess speaks with the broadest of Welsh accents. Alright butt. Then just as The Devils (no not the Nick Rhodes pre-Duran act) prepare  to take to their makeshift stage in the middle of a wrestling ring situated mid dancefloor one of our group (whose been on a proper walkabout around the complex) points out we best make our way over to the Tarantula stage as it’s a tad smaller than the other two stages and the buzz surrounding the arrival of The Hip Priests complete with their very own trashy panda on lead vocals might just see us left out in the cold (and boy was it cold outside) if we’re not sharpish. On our way over though we just have time to check out the doom drone of Monolord on the Cobra stage which on another day in another venue might have inspired me to throw my horns in the air, however today I’m all about the Priests. 

Getting into position a few rows behind the Spasm Gang diehards who follow The Hip Priests all over the globe the most rewarding thing for me (and I’m sure the band too) was to glance around and see the venue was indeed fully packed out. If ever there was a reason for this band to exist then there really was no time like right now to fully deliver on their musical promise. With the Fuck Cancer t-shirted Von Cruz dedicating their set to Kathy Rocker this just seemed to light their fuse as they sped off through a set littered with career defining tunes that just exploded right in our faces. The ever present ‘Instant Delinquent’ got the first proper pit of the day going whilst in ‘Zero Fucks Given’ I still say the band have the best Stooges song Iggy never wrote, and it’s not just me that thinks this as the crowd literally hollered the song’s title back at them during the extended coda outro. ‘Stand For Nothing’ might be the ironic(?) title of the band’s soon to be released fourth studio record, but for the thirty minutes spent in their company today they stand for everything, so cheers to you guys you really are muthafucking superior.

It’s almost impossible to get my bearings after such an incendiary set so I drift between Death Alley and The Rock N Roll Wrestling and then Vintage Caravan (none of them able to get anywhere near what had preceded them) and in the meantime I also manage to somehow miss The Dahmers (who talking to someone later were apparently excellent) altogether. Bollocks!

It was the lure of witnessing Nicke Andersson back behind a drum kit (for the first time since his days spent with the mighty The Solution) playing with Lucifer over on the Cobra stage that dragged me out of my stupor, and as the band unfurled its very own fringed tops take of Psych-Doom I suddenly started to have flashbacks to a few years back when a good mate of mine made me watch Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Witchcraft back to back at Hellfest and I honestly thought I’d just woken up in 1972. In many ways I feel Lucifer are perhaps not unlike an Andersson’s Night for the Scando-Doom generation, and whilst I personally don’t dig it the many people around me who headbanged constantly throughout the band’s 45 minutes set treated them like headliners in waiting. I’ll stick with my Blues Pills LPs thanks.

Price pointing their merch at 10 and 15 Euros a pop the muthafuckin’ Dwarves really were living up to their rock legends tag long before they had even played a note today. It’s simple acts of punk rock genius like this that see most people either sporting or carrying a cross-boners themed item of  merch by the time the band hit the Cobra stage, and initial dodgy sound aside Blag and his gang of reprobates simply could do no wrong as they stampeded their way through the likes of ‘Way Out’, ‘Sluts Of The USA’, ‘Back Seat Of My Car’ and ‘Devil’s Level’ leaving me with barely time to take a gulp of my beer between the classic tunes crammed into the set list this afternoon. With added human fireball, smurf and a bevvy of lovelies providing visual stimulation for a mosh pit seemingly set on self-destruct (especially during a frenzied ‘I Will Deny’) the only thing that was really missing was more tunes from the band’s superb ‘Take Back The Night’ LP. Then again when you’re as good looking as these fucks you can do whatever the fuck you want and still end up being one of the best bands of the day.

Moving back to the Lion stage for the highly anticipated return of Supersuckers, out on the road promoting the (almost) 20th anniversary of ‘Evil Powers Of Rock N Roll’, it actually took me 2 or 3 songs before I realised this was the same band that totally blew me away all those years ago. The current 3-piece version of the band seem to favour the type of flat-out wall of noise approach to gigs that Motorhead pretty much made their trademark, and to be honest it all kind of goes over my head, especially early doors. Couple this with an Eddie Spaghetti who is obviously trying to warm up and not over stretch his voice (for obvious totally understandable reasons) I simply found the whole thing very frustrating indeed. Yes of course the band still soared majestically when they aired the likes of ‘Born With A Tail’ and ‘Pretty Fucked Up’ but I’d be gobsmacked if anyone went out and bought a copy of ‘Suck It’ as a result of hearing any of the songs aired from that here this evening, and that’s a crying shame because it’s actually a very good album.

Jogging back over to the Cobra stage to find Zeke were just about to into ‘All The Way’ from their ‘Hellbender’ LP the packed out room then proceeded to just totally lose it. This being my third time of seeing the band on this tour meant I knew what was about to come and the odd beer shower was an almost welcome relief from the already oppressive heat being generated by the Olympic sized pit moving at pace stage front and centre. With side stage also packed full of other bands all keen to experience the Zeke-effect it was reassuring to finally put to rest the urban myth that Nick Oliveri and Blind Marky Felchtone were in fact the same person, Oliveri screaming most of the band’s back catalogue from the wings like their number one fan whilst the more eagle eyed amongst us also spotted Austin Rocket from The Hip Priests revealing himself as a closet KISS fan by singing along to the Zeke-ified version of ‘Shout It Out Loud’. If you’ve seen Zeke live yourself recently, you’ll get what I mean when I say they are impossible to critique, they just are muthafuckin’ Zeke end of.

With prospect of the night turning into a progressive/psych type of affair if I hung about in the main stage areas to watch DeWolf and then Kadavar, I instead plumped for the much more sensible (and less satin flared) option of checking out Nick Oliveri – Death Electric back in the Tarantula stage. Backed by his Dwarves bandmates and dedicating his set to Todd Youth, from the opening ‘Tension Head’ to the final chords of ‘Millionaire’ what we were given tonight was a simple lesson into why Nick is so badly missed by Josh Homme in his now piss weak stadium filling version of the once great band. I could have listened to this stuff all night but with barely an hour before the first of the two!! headliners were set to take the stage it was time to finally catch my breath.

Chatting with friends old and new in the food concourse for the best part of that hour the highlight of which involved us people watching two lads trying to get a 12” record into a 10” locker that eventually ended up with said record being bent slightly in half in order to get it in (yeah I’m still cringing writing about it here) it was thankfully the sound of Rich Knox’s kick drum heralding the arrival of  Danko Jones over on the Lion stage rather than the snap of an LP that brought us back into reality with a bump.

Now having mentioned how off the mark the sound had been for a number of bands earlier in the day the immediate thing that impressed me when I took up my place on the barrier for Danko was just how clear and powerful it now was. Could the curse of Castle Donington have made its way all the way to the Netherlands? Oh, what the hell, I’d last seen the band about 5 or 6 years ago at Hellfest struggling a little bit to get a reaction from an audience only looking to throw devil horns and headbang but here at Helldorado Danko Jones (the band) really were in their element, plundering their extensive back catalogue to keep people dancing and humming their tunes long after their hour long set had ended. ‘The Twisting Knife’, ‘Had Enough’, ‘Play The Blues’ and of course ‘Sugar Chocolate’ (which took me right back to 2001 and the band’s  debut UK support slot with Backyard Babies) were all present and with Danko (the frontman) on top form banter-wise tonight really was theirs for the taking and just like with The Hip Priests earlier in the day it was absolutely fantastic to see a band with originality high on their menu (even if it’s the bits they steal from other bands) getting the reception they so justly deserve. Karma indeed!

Having released an album that has caused some pretty diametrically opposite reactions from their diehard fans the Turbonegro of 2018 have certainly come a long way since I first saw them live back in the early noughties playing a small club in Birmingham promoting their then reunion LP ‘Scandinavian Leather’. However, whilst I’m man enough to admit to quite liking ‘RockNRoll Machine’ it’s the distinct possibility of Queen covers (something they have been doing more recently) being played that found me entering into this Cobra stage headline set with more than just a bit of unease. I shouldn’t have worried though because here tonight the band blended the post-Hank and pre-Tony years into a set of high-octane stadium rock that must have had even the out and out haters of ‘RocknRoll Machine’ nodding along. I mean how can you sing along to the likes of ‘Wasted Again’, ‘All My Friends are Dead’ ‘Get It On’ and ‘Back To Dungaree High’ and then not also be drawn in by the likes of ‘Hurry Up & Die’ or the hilariously titled ‘Hot For Nietzsche’ (the pereft counterpart to the band’s love letter to Van Halen’s ‘1984’ that is ‘Chrome Ozone Creation’)?

With an encore consisting of 2 more classics from ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ (‘The Age Of Pamparius’ and ‘Selfdestructo Bust’) before the ultimate vinegar stroke of ‘I Got It Erection’ was dispatched to send some of us off into the cold night air night, I’m not entirely sure where all the anxiety I had about seeing Turbonegro in 2018 came from, they are still the same fun loving bunch, they’ve just polished the whole thing up a bit that’s all.

So as the party raged on hard well into the wee small hours back at the Klokgebouw I walked back to the hotel reflecting on the fact that with hotel, train and gig tickets plus flights, this trip worked out around £275 for each of our party. That’s for a weekend in a fantastic city we’d never been to before, the chance to meet some great new mates plus catch up with some great old ones, plus watch a shit load of superb bands in the process. I just know I’m gonna wake up feeling like I want to do it all over again next year. That’s because you gotta live life people – take some risks- because you never know what you might discover just around the corner even on an industrial park somewhere near PSV Eindhoven’s stadium.

Thank you Helldoardo for being so fucking amazing!!!!!

Author : Johnny Hayward

Helldorado