The DeRellas – ‘Inner City Rock ‘N’ Roll’ (Rockaway Records) produced at Perry Vale Studios by the legendary Pat Collier.  Set in a world of isolation, this is a frantic underworld of Trash as The DeRellas set their time machine for the Bowery and a table booked next to the Dolls and Bowie.  Its brash and the most in your face dirty punk n Roll the band has ever sounded and its a gas gas gas!  Timmy and Luca dish up an appetizing dish of Inner City Rock ‘N’ Roll its a dash of glamour in a seedy dark nighttime world thats just been set on fire and this is the soundtrack blairing across the city.  The new album ‘Something’s Got To Give’ will be out at the end of 2020. so until then this will be Available on download at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.,

 

 

Stevie R. Pearce & The Hooligans – ‘Rip It Out’ (Self Release) Rip it out for Rock and Roll! Stevie R Pearce & The Hooligans are in the house kids and they’re locked and loaded with a truck full of huuuge Riffs as this lead track set to be released later this month testify being locked up has fueled the fire of a beast of a band who are ready to Rock. Big stomping Riff with a super steady rhythm pounding away as Stevie swings from hushed vocal verses to the soaring chorus.  Rock is not dead and a global pandemic can’t stop this juggernaut.  Get ready kids its a coming!  Pissed off and ready to let you ‘ave it!

 

 

 

Volcanova – ‘Sushi Sam’ (The Sign) Volcanova released an interesting and amusing music video for the single “Sushi Sam”, the first taste of their upcoming album “Radical Waves” out August 21st.  Facebook

R.M.F.C. – ‘Reader’ (Anti Fade Records) R.M.F.C. (or Rock Music Fan Club) is the brainchild of 18-year-old Buz Clatworthy, who writes, performs and records all of the group’s output himself in his bedroom in South-east NSW.
The project began in late 2018 after showing a friend a demo, in which they encouraged a proper release.  A hypnotic rhythm rattles along, an extremely listenable tune that has a great raw guitar hanging in tune by a thread but as the Buzzcocks type tune also hums with a sweet keyboard.  Not an instant hit to be fair but worth investing in for sure.

Buy The single Here

 

 

 

Nico Bones – ‘Cheatin Heart’ (Dead Beat Records/ Wanda Records).  We occasionally miss a great release and for that, we can only beg your forgiveness.  Originally released late 2019 this Cali based bunch of punks showed up on our radar when Dead Beat picked it up and put it out in this month’s releases. Nico Bones plays a  blend of American Rock ‘n Roll influenced by the sleazy original punks like the Heartbreakers, Dead Boys, and the New York Dolls.  The first song sounds like an upbeat Ramones outtake circa 1976…  rambunctious and rockin’.  They follow it up with 3 more cheatin love songs with snotty vocals, supercharged leads, and catchy melodies that sit somewhere between Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bators, Sonny Vincent, and Jeff Dahl.  Facebook / Bandcamp

 

The Hip Priests – ‘ZFG 2020’ (Shitpark Records)  Nothing new going on you say? well, you might be half right but this is the 2020s latest line up of The Hip Priests taking to task one of their finest songs, ‘Zero Fucks Given’. What was already an absolute banger of a tune one of their finest I don’t mind admitting.  Is it possible to love a track more? possibly. This sounds huge and I mean colossal huge but not production huge. It always had that Stooges groove but I’m sure if Iggy were to hear this he’d doff his cap and prob ask if he could cover it on his next album and bow out on top. In recognition of what was built on the Stooges foundations this raw pissed off anthem is still a fuckin’ beast. On the flipside is ‘Social Hand Grenade’ taken from the bands last album ‘Stand For Nothing’ and it seems and sounds more apt with every passing day. One of the albums standout tracks (on an outstanding album it has to be said)  With a limited number of these available you have to be quick to jump on this one as the gang of believers grows with every passing day. One day they will blow up and explode on the wider public. Shit Islands finest are back in the groove. Facebook

 

Mäsh – I Don’t Want You’ (Wanda RecordsFacebook / Bandcamp Alright let’s go! a sloppy twelve-bar Quolian riff gets proceedings off to a flier and by the second verse they’re running through the Chuck Berry guitar lick 101 handbook and we’re down with that all the way.  The song fizzes like a good un and is catchy as hell.  Love the breakdown all it needed was more handclaps and possibly some cowbell and it might have become the blueprint for all future punk rock n roll sleazy singles but we also understand you don’t want to shoot your wad early doors and keeping something in reserve is cool. The B Side ‘Whisper’ is like a really good Diamond Dogs tune I’m sure Sulo would be down with these cats as they shake their shit on another top tune.  Rock and Roll can’t always be serious or dark sometimes its fun and living in the moment and Mäsh have got it going on and even double denim is cool as fuck just like this singe is.!

 

PizzaTramp / Incision – ‘Split’ (Self Release) Imagine being bludgeoned to death by a blunt weapon but quite enjoying it as long as it doesn’t hurt too much and doesn’t last more than 3 minutes.  That what this Split is like.  Repeatedly smashed on the head by a few guitars and a bass drum pedal and some throat-clearing its not painful though and it’s quick but like I say its enjoyable.  Two songs each and Pizzatramp win by virtue of being Welsh and their two songs last a progtastic four minutes but fair play to Incision ‘Jennifer Anniston’ is fuckin’ brutal.   Buy Here

 

 

 

Wonk Unit – ‘Summer Time/You’re Sick’   (Plasterer Records) Laugh I nearly went to Ethiopia.  Fair play to Alex and the gang this is a fuckin hoot. One of if not the most surreal and barmy summers ever now has a soundtrack.  Maybe inspired by the likes of Blue doing ‘Girls and Boys’.  Part dance euro-pop trash but obviously with a huge dollop of Wonkiness.  “Sexy boys sexy girls touch yourself” had me holing I have to be fair. but once it’s in yer noggin’ it’s not leaving any day soon. To cleanse the palate for many is the classic slice of Wonk with ‘You’re Sick’ bringing up the rear.  With a steady beat and familiar caustic guitar riff-a-ram Wonk Unit knock it out of the park as they say in ‘merica   Buy Here

 

Godfathers – ‘I’m Not Your Slave’ (Self Release)    The Godfathers’ brand new, double A-side – ‘I’m Not Your Slave’ & ‘Wild And Free’ Available in limited edition, clear red vinyl single & also limited edition 4 track CD that features the 2 songs, plus demo versions of both songs unavailable in any other format!!  pre-order NOW only from Here This release is for the 35th anniversary of the band’s existence. From the iconic debut to this, there has always been a recognisable sound with crisp, driving guitars and a tight rhythm section and its pleasing to say ‘I’m Not Your Slave’ has all the hallmarks of a classic Godfathers tune. The other side is a steady anthem in the shape of ‘Wild & Free’ following a healthy linage of rockers with attitude from the gang vocals in the chorus to Coyne’s spoken vocals its got groove but I tip my hat to the guitar soloing that’s on display here.  Interesting times as the next chapter of The Godfathers unfolds.

 

The Mercy Kills – ‘Alone’ (Golden Robot Records) Melbourne’s THE MERCY KILLS release their newly remastered single ‘Alone’.   The track is taken from their debut album ‘Happy To Kill You’  and has been remastered and re-released as a single for those reaching out digitally in COVID-19 isolation. The message is simple, “You can’t make it alone!” Mixing up the influences of the likes of L7 from the Grunge heyday along with something more rock such as Faster Pussycat with attitude born from the likes of The Ramones. Facebook

 

The Dust Coda – ‘Early Days – Raw & Unplugged’ (Self Release) In this almost surreal pandemic world, the band decided to brush the dust off some old recordings and release a collection of four acoustic tracks, which will give fans an intimate listening experience. This EP further unveils The Dust Coda calm soothing acoustic works. Each song as gentle as the previous with an almost Southern rock warmth akin to the lighter workings of The Black Crowes sound and style. Throughout the EP mellow guitar riffs combined with the gritty vocals are the key elements setting the scene for an intense acoustic journey. Electricity was used to power a guitar but not a lot.  Chill out in the sun and socially distance kids this retro southern rock will do the job. Facebook

 

Larkin Poe – ‘Back Down South’ (  ) Featuring guest appearance from fellow Nashville musician Tyler Bryant this is another slice of Southern Roots-Rock with some really strong vocals all round and with subtle swirling Hammond thrown into the mix it’s not just about the cotton-picking guitar licking as it approaches the crossroads from the fuzzy slide, these sisters have got it going on with a tune thats got an air of extreme confidence it never breaks out remaining laid back right to the bitter end.  Taken from the forthcoming album ‘Self Made Man’ this will only add to the expectations of the long player.

 

 

 

Onslaught – ‘Religioussuicide’ (AFM Records)  U.K. Thrashers present their new single ‘Religiousuicide’,  The song is taken from the upcoming album ‘Generation Antichrist’, which will be released in August.  ‘Religiousuicide’ marks the debut of new vocalist Dave Garnett who recently replaced long term frontman Sy Keeler. They’re not reinventing the wheel here kids its Thrash Metal as we know it and its exercised to perfection from the rumbling gutwrenching bass to the pneumatic drumming Dave Garnett settles in nicely as the guitars buzz around the speakers towards the dueling solo.  thrashtastic and you know it dives bombs rapid tapping, frantic double bass its all here present and correct and it also has the gang vocals – job done.

 

 

Dead Horse – ‘Night’  The first cut from Londoners Dead Horse EP released next month.  Dead Horse formed in 2019 when former Love Buzzard frontman Kevin Lennon (bass/vox) returned to London from Brighton, meeting up with long time bandmates (Rumour Mill/Kids From K Hole) Duncan Clark (drums) and Josh Kemp (guitar) via a mutual interest in garage rock/punk, old and new.  Facebook

Aerial Salad started as a dream, that turned into a nightmare, that thankfully worked out a dream. Conceived by frontman and guitarist Jamie Munro after he’d attended the legendary punk event The FEST in Gainesville, Florida in 2016, the young Manchester Uni student was so inspired and impressed by what he’d witnessed at the festival, he had to start a band. He HAD to play that festival.

 

“It was a very important time in my young age,” remembers Jamie. “I was like, ‘fuck me, all these people, all these bands are small punk bands, but they’re playing here and they’re all on tour, this is fucking sick this!’ Fuck uni, I hate uni, I’ll start a band. We’ll play The FEST.”

 

And while for many, those dreams would have remained a fantasy as the daily grind of real life tightened its grip, choking out those young teenage dreams, Jamie Munro did form a band with two best friends (Mike Wimbleton – bass/vocals, Matty Mills – drums) and he did play The FEST, but as is so often in life, things did not go as planned.

 

In the run-up to what is now billed in their minds as ‘The Worst Festival Set Of All Time’, the fledgling Aerial Salad recorded a couple of scrappy digital EPs, played a small handful of gigs and through sheer bluster and confidence, somehow blagged themselves onto The FEST. However, bad luck, over-indulgence, technical difficulties and unfamiliar equipment led to a catastrophic performance that made sure the band were never invited back. “The set was so bad that as soon as it finished, I had to run out of the  venue, hide around the corner and cry,” shudders Jamie.

 

Returning home with dreams momentarily shattered, the rag-tag bunch of teenagers may not have found acclaim, but they did find purpose, regrouped and forged ahead. Luck was on their side when they met former Flying Medallions frontman and Wonk Unit leader Alex Johnson who, so taken with the bands spirit and vibe, offered to mentor, manage and help put out Aerial Salad’s debut album – 2017’s ‘Roach’ – on his label Plasterer. He became ‘Daddy Wonk’ to the band and finally finding their stride in ‘Roach’, a sound and boldness started to emerge that  quickly turned heads in the UK punk scene. An album of soaring punk songs, with melody and brash, rough edges that made it fizzle with excitement. The germ of greatness was sown in ‘Roach’. Wonk Unit took them on a three-week tour (“effectively a four year training course on how to actually be a band,”) and Aerial Salad were one step closer to being ready to deliver what the world is about to hear in new album ‘Dirt Mall’.

Armed with a headful of new songs, under the guidance of Daddy Wonk and the production of UK recording legend Paul Tipler (“because he’d recorded ‘Mush’ by Leatherface, which we love,”), Aerial Salad have delivered nine songs of anthemic, driving punk rock that roars with disgust, yet equally joy, at the world around them. Released this coming March 27th  via the bands own Roach Industries, and once again with the help of Plasterer, ‘Dirt Mall’ is the sound of the once rag-tag teenagers finding their sound, feet and minds, frustrated by day jobs, brexshit and the world swirling around them.

 

“It captures everything I’ve seen working as a temp in offices and generally being in my twenties trying to work myself and the world out. With some pop songs thrown in for fun,” admits Jamie, and it is all of that and more. Bristling with energy and passion, each and every song means something. From the charging title track (“people should not have to try and survive life,”), the bass and drum groove and explosive chorus of ‘Such A Pity’ (“about being young and a fucking arsehole,”), the cathartic strut of ‘Stressed’ (“the Tories are basically trying to kill us, that’s the cut and dry,”) and first single ‘Romance?’ (“a song about wanting romance with someone who is otherwise romantically engaged,”), ‘Dirt Mall’ is an album by three best mates, experiencing this life together, and taking it on.

 

Aerial Salad is starting its most exciting chapter.

It’s time for my first gig of the “roaring twenties”, but tonight is sadly also the last one to be put on by Drew and the Cardiff Punk Rock Bowling team as they are seemingly disbanding after tonight’s event. From my experience, it’s always a mixture of joy and pain (well it is the next morning) when you see Wonk Unit live so they as returning headliners for this PRB Awards night feels like the perfect choice to see out this vibrant and close-knit community of Kingpins.

 

Kicking things off tonight at a time when most people are seemingly still enjoying their first (much cheaper) pint in one of the nearby watering holes are Chepstow’s Bottlekids. It’s six months since I last saw the trio live downstairs in this very same venue and inbetween they’ve released a debut self-titled EP to widespread critical acclaim, and here with the benefit of Ifor Bach’s main room sound system the likes of ’25 Days’ sound like stadium filling anthems for the next generation. With a string of German tour dates already ahead of them these are busy times for Bottlekids make sure you check them out.

If Bottlekids see the stadium punk of Green Day as their musical peers then Manchester’s Aerial Salad must look up to DJ Rubble from Paw Patrol. They look so young I can’t help but wonder if they are actually legally supposed in the venue at all. Don’t let their child like appearance fool you though, as once these boys get into their stride, they’ll rip your throat out.  I should perhaps admit that the last time our paths crossed I really didn’t “get” all the fuss that was being generated around the band at the time, and they just kind of felt like a harder pop/punk version of Arctic Monkeys to me. A year and a half on though and tonight I have to say Aerial Salad are nothing short of phenomenal, and I can now see the trio’s immediate appeal plastered across the smiling faces all around me. It’s kind of reassuring to know that the future of punk rock is very much safe in the hands of Jamie, Matt and Mike. Fantastic stuff!

It only feels like a few weeks ago that I was last penning a live review of Wonk Unit for RPM Online, and that’s because it was. Yet as the Wonk faithful know all too well you’ll never get tired of seeing the greatest band ever to come out of Croydon simply because there’s never two Wonk gigs alike, and with the insanity (and nudity) of their valleys shows of old missing from proceedings tonight it really is time for the music to do the talking. So, with added Véronique on keyboards coupled with the aforementioned Clwb Ifor rig I’m pleased to report that Wonk Unit really have never sounded more amazing than they do tonight in the 20 plus times I must have now seen them live.

 

As always Daddy Wonk’s ability to mix deep cuts with “the hits” is always a delight to behold as the Unit are kept well and truly on their toes with the likes of ‘Girlfriend Is A Lunatic’ (from the band’s debut ‘Flying The Japanese Flag’) and ‘Judus Betrayers’ (from the far more recent ‘Terror’) thrown into the set seemingly on a whim, but it is their upmost credit that they never once fail to rise to the challenge.

Likewise it’s great to hear curveballs like ‘Old Trains’ and ‘We Are The England’ sandwiched in alongside the ferocious ‘Depressed?’ and the pogo-tastic ‘Go Easy’ plus there’s the chaos of returning set closer ‘Johnny Rambo’, and I’ll say it again the eclectic influences at the very core of Wonk Unit is what makes them such an essential live band.

 

Clwb Ifor was packed out tonight just 24 hours after Subhumans had done just the same, remind me who was it that said punk rock was dead?

 

Well tonight it’s never been more alive, exciting, or essential… FACT!

Author: Johnny Hayward

Wonk Unit Facebook

Aerial Salad Facebook

Bottlekids Facebook

To kick off the year why not follow our recommendations on streaming services.  All the bands are either heading out on tour early 2020, released albums late 2019 or got records ready to drop which we’ve been lucky enough to hear and by lending a helping hand we’re offering you the chance to hear what we’re hearing on our players at RPM Towers.  Go fill yer boots guys n gals and let em know who sent you.

 

Recorded at their Wonkfest 2017 and released on CD & DVD its those mad bastards Wonk Unit at their beautiful best – live and unedited in front of a packed and enthusiastic home crowd.  Alex leads the masses on a crazed juggernaut of Punk Rock.

 

Wonk Unit you either give yourself over to the mind of Alex Wonk and hop on board for the ride or you are left outside scratching your head as to why all these people are wearing big fuck off grins and if you happen across a live show you’ll wonder why everyone is drenched in sweat.  Watch this video and it will become apparent or listen to the CD its fifteen full force Wonk machines of punk rock excellence you might wonder why its taken quite so long for Alex to get this out there but I’m sure Alex has also asked that question of himself but in fairness he’s been a busy boy.  They do get better and better that much is true but he’s had a baby – toured non stop – released more records. so the world kept turning but it seems it slowed down enough to get this finished. The video is a well shot (sometimes unstable) live show but it’s Wonk Unit of course the camera thats in the pit is going to be ever so slightly unstable. You will however get a good idea how bloody good these cats are at playing live music.  Anyone whose ever been to the Dome in Tufnel Park Norf Londun will know what a great room it is to see a band you get all the hits (cough cough) from the Wonk back catalogue you’ll be treated to ‘Lewisham’, ‘Go Easy’ and ‘Donkey Of The Damned’ but I did notice a flaw then as the DVD goes from ‘Je M’Apepelle Alex’  to the monster that is ‘Kings Road Sporting Heroes’ but thats fine.

Alex admitted to sitting on this for twelve months and it might not have come out at all after he wasn’t fussed about a live album but once he sat down to play the mixes he was blown away how good the desk recordings were (warts and all) so it came to pass thats why it was delayed but hearing the finished thing you’ll be glad it has seen the light of day.  The DVD has added wonkyness of commentaries as well as the bands promo videos all thrown in for VFM.

You have to love the brass and Cello on ‘Old Trains’ then to follow it up with the craziness of ‘Awful Jeans’ Tremendous stuff indeed.  If you are new to the Wonk family then treat this as something of a best of Wonk live and a good place to start then you can go pick up the jewson lot your life will be so much more enhanced when you give in.

 

Wonk Unit are a splendid example of punk rock in the 21st century and in Alex they have a genius songwriter who thinks outside the box in fact I don’t think he’s ever looked inside the box let alone be there.  Giddy up kids spend those Chrismas vouchers on something good for a change and ‘Live In Chapan’ is a jolly decent gift so go on treat yourself

Buy Live In Chapan Here

 

Wonk Unit, the unique punk phenomenon born out of the South London town of Croydon, are seeing 2019 out in style and with a smile, with a UK tour in December and a live album ‘Love In Chapan’. Recorded live at Wonkfest, the bands now legendary annual festival event at The Dome, North London on the 1st of July 2017, the album captures the very essence and heart of the Wonk Unit live experience and sound.

“I’d sat on the recording of ‘Love in Chapan’ for over a year before I listened,” explains explains frontman Alex Johnson. “Live recordings are always so bad right. It was gonna be a job to get mixed which I’d been putting off. So, from the get-go I’m blown away by just how good the desk mixes were. It’s near impossible to capture the energy of a live gig and I found myself pumped. Legit pumped. These didn’t even need mixing! Wonkfest 2017 was unique. A first for Wonk. The first time we’d got the whole band together to gig. My sister on stage, my mum was even there. Turn this up loud, it’s ferocious. We could have mixed it but that kinda defeats the object. A lot of “live” albums are bullshit. Overdubs and overplays and fake audience. We left all the mistakes in, cut a bit of my waffle and mastered it. It’s the perfect Wonk gig, captured for your living room. We even done commentaries on the dvd. No one is safe.

Nice little package this. All our videos with commentaries too. Essential Wonkness this xx

The roots of Wonk Unit stretch back to 1992 with a band called The Flying Medallions who were young, dumb and up for fun, courting chaos and controversy at a time when punk was very much dead in the UK. Wonk Unit formed in 2005 and have since created their own ever-expanding peerless world of sound, colour, art and friendship.

 

Catch Wonk Unit live at the following dates:

 

11th The Parish, Huddersfield

12th Trillians, Newcastle

13th Broadcast, Glasgow

14th Generater Live – Dundee

15th The Gaunt, Lancaster

 

Find Wonk Unit and future live dates here:

Website

Order ‘Live In Chapan’ Here:

I’ve said it many times before but I’ll say it again, there is no one else quite like Wonk Unit on the UK music scene. Their back catalogue is a cornucopia of musical delights just waiting to be discovered it really is, and it seems that right now with their popularity around the globe very much on the rise that this might be one of the last times I’ll ever be able to catch them in a venue of this size.

As silly as this might sound this is why I actually opted to watch other bands at Rebellion when Wonk were involved in multiple stage clashes back in August, it was because I knew I had this dynamite 3 band bill to look forward to and I wanted to sample every sweat-soaked second of tonight. I’m not alone here either as the Dragonffli is absolutely rammed even before the first notes from tonight’s openers blast out of the PA.

It’s great to see a still relatively unknown band like System Reset playing to such an appreciative (and large) crowd too, rip riding their way through a set of tracks largely drawn from their ‘Epidemic’ demo CD (available for just £2 from the merch stand) whilst adding in a few spiky sounding newer tunes into the mixer. Now expanded to a five-piece and featuring Trigger McPoopshute guitarist Shov on lead guitar this is the first time I’ve seen this line up playing a “proper” gig a year on since I first saw the then three-piece band opening for German hardcore metallers Tony Gorilla. The added oomph Shov along with Trigger’s Darrel Sutton on rhythm guitar brings to the band’s songs only acts to turbocharge their melodic brand of hardcore punk.

There are songs about the travesty of homelessness, a catchy number all about a former girlfriend curling one-off on the singer Stan’s chest, and there’s the slating of the UK government that is ‘May Already’ which also ends the band’s short but sweet set tonight.  System Reset made a hell of a lot of new friends here tonight and deservedly so.

A band I’d seen but 3 months ago are Cardiff four-piece Nigel (UK), a band I then compared to early Chuck Mosely fronted Faith No More, and here tonight they not only reinforce that initial impression I had but also get me scribbling down the other influences of Jane’s Addiction and most obviously Rage Against The Machine.  It’s certainly been a long time since I last saw a band open with a spoken word track, buts that’s just what guitarist Leon and bassist Alias do right here tonight. Dreadlocked singer Toby Lee looks kind of phased by this (almost) impromptu intro but as the band’s main focal point he’s very quickly transformed into part man/part blur as he tears around the limited stage/floor space afforded him tonight. Meanwhile, in drummer James Cousins, I find myself constantly looking to see if this guy has a third arm or is using a double beater bass drum pedal such is the ferocity with which he attacks his kit.  The band’s technical almost progressive take on their art certainly has a lot in common with At The Drive-In or maybe even Zen Guerrilla but playing in front of a much thinner crowd than the openers it appears it’s rather lost on some of my fellow gig-goers wanting perhaps more traditional punk rock fare.

Well more fool them I say as (band name aside – well you try Googling it and see what you get) Nigel (UK) excite the hell out of me, and whilst most UK rock musicians their age seem more than happy to don a pair of ripped jeans and a sleeveless black shirt and play watered-down versions of shite like Shinedown and Black Stone Cherry I applaud these four guys for taking a risk and pushing the envelope. Someone just needs to hook them up with their kindred spirits The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Mother Vulture and Dead Shed Jokers and get that awesome bill out on the road!

Wonk Unit too have of course been blending genres for many years now and it was, in fact, they who I last witnessed mix poetry with punk rock at a gig all the way back in 2012. Seven years on and they’re a band who still defies categorisation and as such they so remind me of what Ian Dury once used to do, mixing music hall vaudeville with ska via a healthy helping of hardcore punk with the subject matter never ever straying too far from Wonk main man Alex’s views on life in general. From opener ‘Los Angeles’ (by way of an almost 5 minute spoken word monologue where sound levels were checked and our MC for the night explained the guest request make up of the setlist) to the frantic closer of ‘She Cut Her Finger’ what you get for your money is 100% proof Wonk Unit, never predictable, and always absolutely hilarious. I’ll never grow tired of hearing the backstories to such amazing songs as ‘Lewisham’ or ‘Nan’ even if finding out that ‘Spooky House’ was entirely fictional was something of a fourth wall moment.

All the infectious classics are given a sound thrashing tonight with the likes of ‘Awful Jeans’, ‘King’s Road Sporting Heroes’, ‘Je M’Appelle Alex’ and ‘I Love My Nagging Wife’ all sending the packed crowd into a sweat-drenched frenzy. Towards the end of the night Wonk’s long term friend and System Reset guitarist Darrel Sutton takes the mic for an impromptu version of ‘Take Me Out To Dinner’ and this sees Max (Wonk’s all-new drummer) getting the chance to meet everyone first hand as he (rather tentatively at first) takes up the role of crowd surfer making way for Alex to step behind the drumkit, and with Alex seemingly loving the local Johnny Wise dance – you can but wonder how long before this “arms in the air” sensation is featured on an episode of Strictly.

Witnessing Wonk Unit in this up close and personal setting is what I love most about the band and it’s also what I’ve always loved about proper live music, it’s like everyone (including the band) is your best friend, and everyone is here just for the music…oh and Alex’s banter of course, and Wonk Unit really do channel the spirit of Paul Hollywood like no other punk rock band out there.

Priceless stuff!

Author: Johnny Hayward

 

 

 

Wonk Unit, the unique punk phenomenon born out of the South London town of Croydon, return with a new single ‘Cyclists’ that furthers the bands inimitable take on punk rock, and finds them this time taking aim at selfish cyclists.

“Last Summer on route to a festival on some country lane we were unfortunate enough to get stuck behind two cyclists, yes two abreast,” explains frontman Alex Johnson. “Did they care about the motorcade snaking behind them? Cause not! Go read the highway code – two abreast is cool but ONLY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS. DO NOT OBSTRUCT THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. It’s the rules. So, I was tapping my hands on the dashboard when the funk took hold. “Cyclists riding 2 abreast blocking traffic, blocking traffic”. Then I did some rapping (but thankfully that never made it onto the single.) After about three months the cyclists decided to fix a puncture and we made it to the festival. By then the song was already a Wonk winner in the van! We jammed it in soundcheck and was a hit in our set later that night. The end.”

The end result is just over two-minutes of uniquely additive wonk genius that once ingested, is almost impossible to get out of your system. In short, you’ll be humming this for weeks. That combined with a video that perfectly captures the songs frustrations and message, and we have another winning wonk track to add to the bands vast catalogue.

The band are now on their ninth album, curate ‘Wonkfest’, their own successful festival and are fuelled by their own super-proactive DIY ethos and individual sound, artwork and imagery.

The roots of Wonk Unit stretch back to 1992 with a band called The Flying Medallions who were young, dumb and up for fun, courting chaos and controversy at a time when punk was very much dead in the UK. Wonk Unit formed in 2005 and have since created their own ever-expanding peerless world of sound, colour, art and friendship. A creation that is inclusive to all…unless you ride two abreast in front of them when they’re trying to get to a festival, that is.

Get off the road and honk if you wonk!

Track available Here:

Find Wonk Unit and feature live dates Here:

https://wonkunit.com/tour-dates/

“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