With The Camden Rocks Festival this weekend coming it seems only fair for RPM to look at a few more of the bands to watch over the weekend.  with Camden still clinging onto its identity as a varied and embracing community and this festival growing year on year as a unique festival that embraces all genres of music from Rock to punk to indie to grunge to power pop to Action rock and beyond.

 

We’ve looked at the bands over the two days and Nev gave a list of his ones to watch over the two days.  Here I’d like to throw a few more bands into the mix some will clash and others are headlining but they all rock so I’ll start on Saturday and the Dublin Castle.

First up how about trying Sick Love hailing from Dublin this four-piece kick off at 14.00  with their loud guitar-based rock they’re in good company playing alongside the likes of The Hip Priests I’m sure songs like ‘Soccer Mum’ will go down a storm 

Also playing The Dublin Castle at 17.00 are Pet Needs who’s video we showed last week.  Alternative punks based in Colchester (what where?) With a bunch of highly energetic songs in their Arsenal The Dublin Castle seems like it’s going to take some stopping as it stakes its claim as the place to be let’s just hope they have the air conditioning on they might just need it.

As Nev wrote about The Hip Priests in his briefing we won’t mention them again except to say we recently saw their set in Newport and they were devastating so if its Explosive uncompromising Garage Rock and Fucking Roll you crave then 19.00 is the time – The Dublin Castle is the place and The Hip Priests are the band.

 

Moving over to Kolis at the lounge you have a choice to make.  Rich Ragany And The Digressions will be shaking it up and playing songs from their excellent ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’  but like the Hip Priests, Nev recommended them previously. Rags and his Digressions hit the Kolis stage at 19.00 but following them at 20.00 are the East Coast rockers The Sweet Things Having just released their debut long player we reviewed last week (Here) Such a cool timeless slice of Rock and Roll, these cats are laying down tunes in the time-honoured style of Primal Scream -that Black Crowes debut and a dash of the Stones for sure,  Hell, they borrow from the good and great and one listen to ‘Borrowed Shoes’ you’ll draw your own comparisons but you won’t deny that they have a slice of magic under their belts. It will be great to hear what they do live and I’m sure the joint will be jumping when they perform. One not to miss me thinks.

 

Heading over to the Monarch there are a couple of sets we think you might like to catch firstly at 14.00 in the afternoon The Wild Things will be doing their thing. their thing being rock and roll with plenty of hooks as played out on their debut album ‘You’re Really Something’ which travels through the acoustic pop of ‘Better Off Alone’ the upbeat title track the power pop of ‘Loaded Gun’ this guitar band offer something different and in Sydney Rae White they have great vocals besides people might recognise her from Netflix / BBC show ‘Uncle’ but her band have variety and a bunch of great songs. 

Another band to watch I’d certainly recommend Glen Matlock headlining @ Fest not only because he has a whole bunch of great songs at his disposal and always plays a blinder but he has a fantastic band featuring Chris Musto, Earl Slick and Jim Lowe.  His album ‘Good To Go’ was one of the best albums last year and with this line up those excellent songs will come to life and I’m sure will make for a worthy headliner.

 

There are enough choices to send your head spinning on Saturday along with Nev’s recommendations this little bunch should make a mess of peoples laminated stage times and venues there are a few playing Sunday that I’d like to give a mention to. from The Underworld Headliners The Wonder Stuff who I recently caught in Cardiff now with Malc Trecce back in the line up and a new album being recorded they stormed through a greatest hits set and I’m sure there will be more of the same in store for The Underworld and hearing those classics in a tight Underworld club will sound fantastic and something not to be missed at 20.45 on Sunday night. Mark Gemini Thwaite, Malc Treece, Pete Howard, Erica Nockalls and of course Milo now make up the Wonder Stuff and with plenty off ‘Hup’, ‘eight Legged Groove Machine’ and ‘Never Loved Elvis’ making up a chunk of the set they’ve clearly still got it and worthy headliners on the Sunday.

If you’re quick you should be able to make that Wonderstuff set from the Electric Ballroom where Ash get on with their set at 19.00 and again they have a new release to promote in the shape of their 7″ singles set so expect a greatest hits performance there which will more than put you in the mood for Milo and co.

If hearing Ash perform ‘Kunk Fu’ and The Stuffies blasting out ‘On The Ropes’ isn’t your thing and you want to get down and get with some glam stomping rock and roll then the place to be will have to be The Lyttleton Arms for Last Great Dreamers who hit the stage at 20.00.  Again they have a recent album to promote and a great live band, if it’s your choice to take in some ‘Dreamers’ then I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed as ’13th Floor Renegades’ was head and shoulders their best record to date and the band have been constantly on the road this year so will be match fit and up for the challenge of tearing the house down.

A resurgent Towers of London will be shaking their collective shit from 17.30 at Fest if their showing on the recent Wildhearts tour is anything to go by then Fest is in for a treat.  Resplendent in their black boiler suits and buoyed by the feedback the band will be looking to hit the ground running and have the potential to steal the show. Expect plenty from that debut album that served them so well on the recent tour as well as some new songs that also sounded great.

16.00 at The Monarch you’ll catch The Pearl Hearts  Two women that sound like a fuckin’ bomber full of dynamite as they rain down their garage heavy blues. It only needs two to sound like a bomb gone off as ‘Different Kinda Girl’ testifies. what better way to spend tea time in Camden Town?

Before you catch the Pearl Hearts why not head over to Kolis for Youth Illusion. Mid Afternoon or 14.00 to be precise will see these London homies play their brand of punk rock on their home patch.  Melodic punk is the order and they do it rather well and Kolis will be a heaving mass of sweaty bodies I’m sure of that as the band knock out songs like ‘Better Off’.

Finally, if punk rock isn’t your thing then Dingwalls Canalside is the place to be at 14.30 to catch The Silver Bayonets and their anthemic rock proving that Camden Rock Festival is unique in its presentation and in its roster of bands with plenty of established battle hardened bands that make up the headliners in the larger venues as well as securing some big bands to play smaller venues that you might not get the chance to see them play in such surroundings ordinarily which makes for  an interesting and memorable weekend.  But the real magic will no doubt lie in discovering your new favourite band or checking out one of RPM Online recommendations and digging who we’ve thrown light on because they’ve impressed us either previously live or on record.  Let us know what you thought and spread the word especially of the lesser known bands its the lifeblood of the underground and how bands survive and grow.  Have a good one and I hope there aren’t too many clashes and if you do see any of the bands here or as part of Nev’s ones to watch let ’em know we sent you and most importantly support the bands and pick up their merch and music.  Oh and wear comfortable shoes!

 

 

When this tour was officially announced I think just about everybody connected with RPM, booked their tickets for a venue somewhere in the UK, not just for a re-invigorated Wildhearts, but to check out the late addition of Towers of London to open the proceedings.

 

As the time approached I got really excited by the thought of a night with such a variety of music on one bill!

 

It’s been a while since I caught up with the Wildhearts live, I’ve dipped in and out of them since the early days, (I remember catching them supporting a fledgling Manic Street Preachers in Cardiff University) as well as numerous festival and venue appearances, even catching Ginger on his Ghost in the Tanglewood foray into Americana. But the real kicker for me was the addition of Towers of London to this 3 band bill. I’d never managed to catch them back at the height of their notoriety, when they were being touted as Britain’s answer to G’N’R, it seemed like every week they’d hit the press with their latest outrageous incident or behavior, building to a frenzy that resulted in the group exploding, the music they created actually getting lost in the carnage.

Opening with “I’m a Rat” I think you could have picked my jaw off the floor, and I think the smile just got bigger as the gig went on. I couldn’t believe how tight and in your face the music sounded, how focused the musicianship and how much the band seemed to be enjoying things. Do you know what that enjoyment spread to an ever-increasing crowd and by the time we hit set closer “Fuck it up” the audience was well involved. To me, it seemed that the band had relaxed, stopped playing up to a tabloid image and were there for the music, for the crowd and to give things a real shot. It will be interesting to see in the future the support slots they pick up and if rumours are confirmed there’s a real biggie coming up which will connect them to an audience better suited to their brand of Punk/R’n’R. But ultimately if the new LP due hits the heights of this live performance they’ll be headlining SWX in their own right.

 

In the lull between Towers of London and Massive Wagons, I had cause to smile at a conversation between two Massive Wagons fans, noticeable by the T-Shirts about how easy it had been to get tickets for the Pink gig in Cardiff! Made me think about how diverse their audience is and how easily they could cross into the mainstream, which they seem to make a hell of a fist of doing. Now at this point I feel I have to be upfront and honest, I don’t particularly like their take on classic Rock, don’t get me wrong they are great at what they do but for me music has to have a sprinkle of stardust, something that sets it aside, an edge if you like, there is no edge to Massive Wagons.

Nothing I saw in the stage show changed my mind in any way, but I was very much in the minority, they went down a storm.

Waiting for the main Act to hit the stage thoughts drifted to what type of Wildhearts performance we were going to get, I needn’t have worried, with the p.a. turned up to 11 they hit the stage to a storming version of “Dislocated” from the new LP Renaissance men, and the drive and energy of the band hit you straight away, what an aural onslaught! Every time I catch the Wildhearts live my thoughts is always how clever the band is, how catchy the songs and how huge they should be, maybe this LP will put them right on the top of the pile.

Rolling into “Suckerpunch”, leading on to “Sick of Drugs” you could feel the paint peeling from the wall’s, this was one of those performances that made a statement. Without going into every song, I don’t think there was a weak track played or performed tonight, standouts in the main set for me? “Urge”, “Caffeine bomb” and “Love you til I don’t”.

But the band weren’t done we had a monster encore with “The Renaissance men” followed by “Someone that won’t let go”, “You took the Sunshine from New York,” “Mazel Tov Cocktail”, “My Baby is a Headfuck” and the evergreen” I Wanna go where the people go”.

The Earth definitely needs the Wildhearts/ Rock and Roll needs the Wildhearts, especially a Wildhearts, flat out, throttle down, focused and delivering an LP as consistently powerful as this newbie. Happy days!!!!!

Author: Nev Brooks

Buy ‘Renaissance Men’ HERE

 

 

 

 

 

The Wildhearts are riding on the crest of a wave right now. ‘Renaissance Men’, their first album in 10 years is an absolute monster, it’s currently at number 11 in the album charts and at least 3 of these 8 dates to promote it are already sold out.

It’s not just a good time to be a Wildheart either; it’s a good time to be a Wildhearts fan. With a sizeable chunk of the back catalogue getting re-mastered and re-issued on deluxe vinyl and the promise of plenty more dates this year, it is also an expensive time to be a Wildhearts fan, but we wouldn’t want it any other way would we? In 2019, there is more interest and more excitement about this band than I can ever remember.

Re-united and re-invigorated, the classic line-up of The Wildhearts is back, but are they back for good? Only time will tell. While this current wave of excitement could open doors and see great opportunities for a band who, let’s face it, have certainly paid their dues, I keep getting this niggling feeling that it could all go drastically tits up at any moment. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Talking of things going tits up… fuckin’ Towers Of London are back! Where the hell did that come from?  The original line-up that recorded the most excellent debut album ‘Blood, Sweat & Towers’ and then proceeded to burn out in a blaze of arrests and fisticuffs, are back together. There’s new music on the way too, they have unfinished business to attend to. What a time to be a rock ‘n’ roll fan!

Donny Tourette and the boys take to the stage with air raid sirens blaring and fire straight into ‘I’m A Rat’. It sounds fuckin’ ace! Dressed in matching black boiler suits and shorn of the gravity-defying hair of ten years ago, they may look a bit different, but with a newly reinstated The Rev delivering cool licks and a bare-chested Snell bashing seven shades of shit out of his kit, the band are on fire and looking like they really mean it.

While Donny’s nonchalant punk attitude is more Gallagher than Iggy, the delivery is still fantastic. ‘Beaujolais’ is punked-up to the max goodness, and newbie ‘Get Yourself Out Of Here’ with its chanting chorus and sleazy delivery is full of the right kind of attitude, it promises much for the new album.

A blistering version of ‘Fuck It Up’ surely silences any non-believers in the room and ends a high energy set from a band that is truly back to their best form.

While Towers Of London are not the fucked up kids of yesteryear, they have matured, learned a few things, but still have that edginess I desire from sleazy punk rock. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, no one can deny they were spot on tonight.

Whether they’ve got the new songs to rival the likes of the fantastic ‘Air Guitar’ or ‘On A Noose’ we will see, but I for one can’t wait to find out. Bring on new music, headline gigs and world domination then.

Now, if someone could please explain the appeal of Massive Wagons I would be most grateful, as I don’t get them at all. I’ve tried, but they are just not for me. A band fronted by a diminutive Game Of Thrones extra who sounds like Biff Byford, backed by a band who look like they scan your shopping in Aldi, call me fussy but…

Joking aside, in a live setting I can’t really fault them. They have energy, I’ll give them that much. Baz is an animated frontman and a loveable character, who can work a crowd and The Wildhearts crowd seems to love them. But that’s not enough. It would probably be ok if they had the songs, but for me, Massive Wagons just don’t have the songs, pure and simple.

I’ve seen them live several times now and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m afraid to say I head for the bar not long into their set. Most Massive Wagons reviews I’ve read are positive, with many citing them ‘retro’. Me, I cite them ‘dated’. And in my defence I present their closing song ‘Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum’ as evidence, the cheesiest song I’ve heard in many years, and on that note I rest my case.

In all my years of seeing Wildhearts live shows, I can honestly say I have never seen a bad one, come to think of it I have never seen even an average live performance from Ginger and co, whatever the line-up has been.

Tonight is no exception, in fact tonight is probably the best I have seen them. It’s up there with the hot and sweaty Bristol Bierkeller show of ’94, its as heavy and loud as Edinburgh and Glasgow were in 2004, and it’s even as euphoric as the Chutzpah! show in Leeds 10 years ago.

From the moment Ginger cranks out that opening riff to ‘Dislocated’, the place goes nuts. Such a great response to a new song. A relentless cacophony of riffs and melodies that has the pit bouncing as one, signaling that this brand new song is already classed as a fan favourite.

It leads perfectly into ‘Everlone’, ‘Vanilla Radio’ and ‘Suckerpunch’ all delivered in quick succession, leaving no time to talk or even breathe. Going with the theme of ‘Renaissance Men’ it is a well chosen, heavy set of songs tonight. Mixing it up nicely, there are a few surprises in amongst the usual live favourites. ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘Jackson Whites’ are especially awesome and even ‘Urge’, which I imagined would be a disjointed mess, actually sounds amazing.

Bearing in mind that most people have only had ‘Renaissance Men’ in their ears for a week, the new songs get a great response. ‘Let ‘em Go’ was always going to go down well, it’s got a stadium-sized chorus that is up there with their finest hits. But it is ’Diagnosis’ that probably gets the best response of the whole night. What a fucking tune live! The way they build that AC/DC style riff to gain momentum, before releasing that main hook on an unsuspecting crowd, who in turn go absolutely bat-shit crazy for it. It’s a great feeling being right in the middle of the chaos for the duration. Like being a teenager discovering live music for the first time, all over again.

The band seems truly invigorated and on fire. Ginger and CJ’s vocals are spot on and the pair are full of energy, bashing out riffs and jumping in unison, giving photographers every opportunity to capture that elusive jump shot.

With bassist Danny McCormack now fit enough to make it through a whole set without needing his stool is a big, big thing. The loveable Geordie with a big heart and an even bigger bass sound just brings something special to The Wildhearts and it’s a joy to see him back where he belongs.

Post encore, the band mime through a version of ‘The Renaissance Men’ which is being videoed for a commercial single release on each night of the tour. Bit weird for all concerned, but the show doesn’t suffer or lose momentum.

A five-song encore is pretty good value at any show and with the likes of ‘Mazel  Tov Cocktail’, ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’  rounding the evening off nicely, who could ask for more?

 

Where The Wildhearts go from here is anyone’s guess, but my advice is to go out of your way, sell your children or steal money if you have to, but whatever you do, do not miss The Wildhearts live right now, as they are on top of their game.

 

Buy Renaissance Men HERE

Author: Ben Hughes

Photographs: Neil Vary

20th March 2007 was the last time I saw the “classic” line up of Towers of London live, in of all places London. It was also to be one of their last headline gigs together. Fast forward 12 years and the prospect of seeing Donny, Dirk, Rev, Snell and Tommy back together on stage really is getting me all nervous. Not least because I’m due to meet up with the guys beforehand to hand over some much sought-after film footage that has been in possession all these years that the guys now need for an upcoming documentary. A film, as I was soon to find out, they want to be a true reflection of their time together back in the mid-noughties, not some cheap expose piece only looking to create headlines.  

That reckless sense of irresponsibility that drove the band first time around has very much been replaced by a more focussed and mature set of heads all looking to finally set the record straight both off and on stage, and what better way to start than by heading off on an eight date UK tour supporting The Wildhearts with Massive Wagons also along for this rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster ride too.

Unfortunately tonight I can only stick around to witness the return of  Towers Of London so I’ll leave the full gig reviews to my RPM colleagues to pick up at subsequent dates, but this is a very well-attended tour that’s for sure, with two dates sold out in advance and quite a few of the others close to capacity . This, in turn, means Towers of London get to play to full rooms and most importantly to a largely new audience, so come 7:30 sharp I’m stood a couple of rows from the barrier waiting for that infamous air raid siren intro tape to go up, before the 5 black boiler-suited Towers guys open fire with ‘I’m A Rat’ and suddenly all the years they’ve been away just seem…well….insignificant.   This is the band who I thought could be the UK’s answer to Guns N’ Roses and save for a few, ahem, “misplaced” career decisions along the way what this line up did leave us with was one of the finest debut albums of the last 40 years.

Tonight then their nine-song set is split 60/40 in favour of that ‘Blood Sweat and Towers’ album and along with the likes of ‘Beaujolais’ and ‘Air Guitar’ the newer tracks (all set to be included on their as yet untitled third album) like the stadium rocker ‘Shot In The Dark’ complete with Snell thumping the kit and Rev adding the guitar chops now come over as with much more sneer and a lot less veneer, and the more polished sound that had been creeping into the band’s musical direction really has been toughened up with the return of the old guard. ‘Kill The Popscene’ indeed, but sadly that anthem is nowhere to be seen tonight.

Finishing their 30-minute set with Donny face to face with the front rows for a stinging ‘Fuck It Up’, it’s his comment “we’ve all fucked something up” just as he lets the microphone fall to the floor that perhaps best sums up this new/old version of Towers Of London. It’s that old Drink Fight Fuck spirit but without any of that “baggage” getting in the way of you finally realising that Towers of London were never really a guilty pleasure they were always a fucking great rock ‘n’ roll band. 

Now, let’s have album number three and the highly anticipated documentary and perhaps finally we’ll get see Towers of London make it big. Who’s with me?

Author: Johnny Hayward