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

Its August and this week sees us roll with our comprehensive Rebellion Festival round-up so why not run our twent choice cuts from our perspective.  We’d have listed the likes of Zero Zero and Rotten Foxes but they’re not on Spotify so we’ve gone with a solid old and new twenty plus.  Check em out there has to be something for every taste in there. Remember kids don’t just stream go out and watch these bands and buy their merch and music.  It keeps them making the music we love.

 

Saturday has always felt like the most popular day over the Rebellion weekend and this year is certainly no exception with day tickets selling out a full four weeks before the event (at the time of writing day tickets for the other three days along with full weekend tickets are still available here).

The main draw this year is without doubt the return of the legendary Cock Sparrer to a UK stage following their back to basics club tour of 2017 which they undertook to promote their awesome ‘Forever’ album, and looking at the quality undercard that is also on offer this is definitely the day to get your cherry reds out of the cupboard and buffed up ready for.

When the Saturday was first announced I did detect an excited squeal originating from within RPM towers as Editor In Chief Dom Daley saw that a band called Spider are opening the Empress Ballroom at 12:35 without first realising this four-piece are gothic-tinged punk rockers from Long Beach California and not Sniffa’s straight edge boogie metallers from the eighties. This is something of a get out of jail free card for yours truly so I’ll be raising my first Dark Fruits of the day to this Spider safe in the knowledge that they don’t sound fuck all like Status Quo. Result!

With the Introducing Stage once again showcasing a further thirteen bands over the course of the Saturday our old chums and graduates of the rock ‘n’ roll high school Brocker make a very welcome early appearance at 13:15. So if high octane rock ‘n’ roll music delivered with plenty of punk rock attitude is your bag then I suggest you add this one in your laminated gig planner too.

Returning to their second home of the lavish Opera House stage glam punkers The DeRellas are next up for me at 14:20. Last year Joey, Luca, Timmy and Billy took the capacity crowd on a non-stop Rock n RollerCoaster Ride, without even playing the song by the same name that first got me into them.  This year I expect more of the same insanity with the new boys now fully gigged in across sold out European shows.

After a weekend of full force punk rock (whatever your choice of sub-genre) if you are looking for a place to chill out on a Saturday afternoon then Club Casbah from 4:20 onwards is going to be your ting as Rebellion celebrates the influence dub, reggae and ska has had on punk rock via a four hour four band line-up that kicks off with The Rhythm-ites and also includes sets by RDF, Citizen Fish and HR from Bad Brains.

The lure of Alvin Gibbs and The Disobedient Servants in The Opera House (kicking off at 5:15) where the core trio of Alvin, Leigh Heggarty and Jamie Oliver are no doubt going to be joined by a huge array of guest guitarists is always going to be enough to tempt me away from an afternoon of skanking plus when you also add the return of the mighty Giuda to the Empress Ballroom stage at 17:50 its safe to safe I’ll be doing the ‘Space Walk’ down the front ready for some ‘Ravers Rock’.

With Club Casbah celebrating all things reggae the Empress Ballroom meanwhile takes a trip down the skinhead/Oi! route with Lions Law kicking things off at 4:45 with sets following from the likes of Giuda (who I’ve already mentioned), Evil Conduct and Cockney Rejects along with a special set from The Business celebrating the life of Micky Fitz set to feature special guest vocalists (with Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys) and Roi Pearce (Last Resort) are already confirmed) all singing the songs of their fallen brother. There won’t be a dry eye in the house that’s for sure, and all of this is before Cock Sparrer hit the stage at 11pm to deliver what has become THE definitive Rebellion set of punk rock music, delivering classic tune after classic tune into the wee small hours.

Of course, if Oi! isn’t your thing then there’s still plenty to see elsewhere with Duncan Reid & The Big Heads delivering the powerpop goodies in spades over in the Opera House from 7:25 and then in the very same venue from 10pm onwards there’s the back to back awesomeness of Walter Lure’s LAMF and The Godfathers to revel in. Proper low-slung guitar punk rock ‘n’ roll just how RPM loves it, and I must admit this stage clash is one of the biggest of the weekend even extending to a third stage for me as I’d love to also be catching Wonk Unit over at Club Casbah from 21:50….and then there’s The Exploited at 11pm back to headline the Club Casbah after Wattie’s umpteenth bout of fisticuffs with the Grim Reaper, surely that alone is reason enough to raise a pint and celebrate the band’s back catalogue?

I’ll openly admit I’m really not sure how I’m going to fit all of this in folks but I’m certainly going to give it a try…ahhh you know fuck it I might just spend all day watching new bands over on the Introducing stage and say “what the hell.”

One things for sure though and that is Rebellion Festival is the place to be from the 1st to the 4th of August 2019 and you can get your tickets RIGHT HERE!!!!

 

 

WONK UNIT @ Skate-aid 6
14 band benefit gig in Stamford, Lincs

14 acts, one massive all dayer of a punk gig!  The Scary Clown Present boys Skate-aid 6 all-dayer is one of the friendly DIY Punk gigs you can go to (Wonkfest excepted!),

Enjoy the June sun as you chill with a cold drink, decent food (vegan bbq by Resist!), great company, and 11 full bands, with 4 acoustic sessions.

Probably a specially brewed beer again,  possibly a few stalls too – and all in aid of Skate-aid charity, raising funds to put skate-parks in some of the worlds most deprived areas of the world.

 TICKETS ARE £15 for 14 acts – a quid a band is fantastic value for money!!

 

evening session…

WONK UNIT
The Crippens
The Menstrual Cramps
The Siknotes
The Long Game (aka Skaciety)
Swan Prince
The Deadites

acoustic session …

Mark Murphy (Croc Gods/No Marks)
Sam Maloney (Mixtape Saints)
Christian Smith
Arms and Hearts  

early session (12.30)…

Not for You
Punch Drunk
Sprainer

GET TICKETS HERE

WONKFEST 7

Time to get excited.. and a ticket!

IT’S WONKFEST, it’s the funnest, craziest day in the punk rock calendar. The best in music, the best in atmosphere, the best in people.

LINE-UP ANNOUNCED SO FAR:

WONK UNIT
HARDSKIN
GUNS AND WANKERS
FRANKIE STUBBS
GET DEAD
MAID OF ACE
YOUTH KILLED IT
THE DUB RIGHTERS
GOOBER PATROL
SECRET GUESTS NUMBER 1
SECRET GUESTS NUMBER 2
SECRET GUESTS NUMBER 3
GOOBER PATROL
AERIAL SALAD
THE MURDERBURGERS
PIZZATRAMP
THE HUMAN PROJECT
LASERCHRIST
BURNOUT
EASTFIELD
THE BARRACKS
PROJECT MORK
BEVERLEY KILLS
2 PEAS FROM THE POD

plus loads more xxx

We’ve got new bands, we’ve got buffet, T-shirt screening, badge making, BBQ, all included in the price of a ticket.

Please grab advance tickets ASAP. It really does help with the financial worry of staging an event like Wonkfest. Doors 11.15am – come for breakfast

On 1st March we are releasing a new album and live DVD, WONK UNIT – LOVE IN CHAPAN.  You can pre-order this to ensure you get a copy.  Pre-orders will be shipped as soon as stock arrives.

Filmed by Mark Richards and recorded at Wonkfest 2017. This was pretty much the perfect Wonk gig. Stoked we captured it for posterity.

Available as a CD and DVD, or a limited edition (200 copies) green vinyl and DVD.   CD version £15 + p&p, Vinyl version £20 + p&p.

SEE THE BACK COVER BELOW FOR TRACK LISTING

Order your copy in Here.

 

At the tail end of last year Wonk Unit sneaked out an all acoustic live performance recorded at the Brook in Wallington which to those who don’t know is also the place where the band recorded their last couple of albums with Andy Brook which funnily enough is what the venue attached to the studio is called no not Andy Brook but The Brook. Even though it’s now relocated this was thought lost until now that is.  Wonk Unit electric are an eclectic collective so acoustic I wasn’t quite sure what would come out of Alex’s mind for this one but by the time you are halfway through you forget it’s unplugged anyway such is the quality of the songs and the performance and after Alex introduces the tunes there’s nothing like sitting back and giggling to yourself as to where ‘Lewisham’ came from and what inspired the majestic ‘Kings Road Sporting Heroes’ (one of the finest tunes penned by anyone in the last decade) The band have been busy as fuck since this was recorded and I can’t fathom why they’ve not done this more often because quite simply its a blinder. The songs lend themselves to this format and style as each one takes on a new spin and from ‘Tortured Genius’ through ‘Horses’ it’s worth it for the spoken intros from Alex alone.  ‘Je Mappelle Alex’ is blindingly good but then you knew that didn’t you.

The song selection is most excellent tracks like the somber ‘Bin Him’ are dark as fuck but work superbly well acoustically and one of my favourite Wonk songs ‘Go Easy’ is another dark tune but again sounds great and I have to chuckle as Alex gees the band on to ‘lock-in as they absolutely kill it. The ‘Guts’ intro is brilliant if this punk rock lark didn’t work anymore for Alex I guess there’s a career on the stand-up circuit his stories are compelling and relatable but his music is top notch and who would have thought ‘Guts’ would have worked in this format? not me for one but boy it works like a dream.

There is a slight drop in the mix on the intro of ‘Kings Road’ but that’s a small distraction and it takes nothing away from this performance from Wonk unit. Electric or acoustic they are a force of nature and your life is a darker place without them in it that my friends is a fact. Go check it out pronto!

 

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Author: Dom Daley

What with the madness that is the end of the year there were some EP’s and some pretty good singles that hit us late on that we didn’t want to ignore and so we are here with a little extra crimbo treats for you good people who still believe in Rock n Roll. So as 2018 fades into the distance and we all look forward to 2019 we leave this neat little pile under the tree for your listening and viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Darrell Bath & Los Tupper – Rocking The Streets (Sunthunder Records) Alright let the festive season begin.  Sneaking in at the last knock of 2018 this cheeky three-track CD single hit the doormat just in time. Featuring Los Tupper &  Mr Bath recorded in Spain it’s exactly what it says on the tin – ‘Rocking the street’. it’s just a very handsome 12 bar rock ‘n’ roll number done with style and a touch of class which we’d expect nothing less from Bath and Los Tupper.

Some lovely slide walking right over this bit of boogie it’s what every Crimbo party needs. It’s loose and sleazy and an excellent tune. Whilst ‘Hand Of Mercy’ is a different beast altogether, a more laid back track with Bath crooning on top of some lovely swirling Hammond courtesy of the Tupper boys.  I wouldn’t want to give Mr Bath a big head but this could easily have fallen off a Ronnie Wood record when he was at his peak and be one of the standout tracks for that matter. Then tucked up nicely is ‘Hold Me Close’ is loose and a lovely tip of the hat to the one and only Mr David Essex.  What a cool record glad it got to me in time. Cheers me dears! it’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll but I do like it. www.sunthunder.net

Lester Greenowski – let’s Get Fucked Up (Tornado Ride Records) songwriter Lester Greenowski, he of The Crybabys and Honest John Plains band is coming out with a brand new single “Let’s Get Fucked Up” on the 25th of December 2018. The single will be available on all the major web stores and precedes the release of his second solo effort “Out of Tune, Out of Key” out in 2019 on Tornado Ride Records. You know its gonna rock you know it’s gonna roll you know you want it so when you’ve finished stuffin’ the bird go online and click the links to pick up this festive cracker.

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The Rizzos / Top Nachos – Split (King Pizza Records) Of course they’re from Brooklyn NY.  They ply their rock n roll trade on the mean streets of the big apple and turn in a melodic garage slab of rock n roll where the amps are set to howl and the vocals courtesy of Meg are sugar sweet and lull you into a false sense of security before the noise breaks through.  Two tracks are on offer from The Rizzos and pretty damn good they are too. ‘Bless This Mess’ leading the way with a thumping bass line and a neat tempo – pick of the pack for me right there.

As for Top Nachos contribution, well, ‘Fast’ is um, fast.  It’s tuneful and rapid and LoFi and then it’s gone. Noisy and punk as fuck. I like it. The pick of the two is ‘Getcha’ with its Misfits like melody and a top tune it is too.  rounding off a really good split EP and another two bands we’ll put into our little black book to remember to check out over the coming months and weeks to see if they have anything else released and we feel you should follow suit.

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The Night Screams – Stuck EP (King Pizza Records) Wow another day another new band hits the RPM death decks and this time The Night Screams also on King Pizza Records and also from Brooklyn NY are down and dirty scuzzing around in the whole garage punk action rock scene and writing some really impressive tunes. Five song EP in less than ten pulsating minutes we absolutely endorse that and from the moment ‘The Road I Run’ crashes in we nod our approval. The sound is like these were recorded in a garage from the primal stomp of ‘That Look’it’s not about a slick production job its all about the tunes and there are five of them to band against your eardrum right here. ‘Big Picture’ sounds like the Hives without the sharp suits and the closing song ‘Freedom Of Choice’ is the longest and possibly the pick of the bunch here as it drives past some Devo meets Iggy and ends up with some duelling guitars through the feedback its a really good song and the more I play it the better it gets so why not take a chance and check out The Night Screams I’m glad I did.

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Demons – ‘Bad Neighbourhood’ (Lux Noise) Wow another we didn’t see coming.  Hot on the heels of their collaboration with RPM fav Jeff Dahl Demons knock out two new songs on our favourite Swiss label. Its a strong song that leads the way and packs a pretty mean punch from the barking guitars on the riff to the solo that leads into the gang vocals on the chorus its street punk rock and its an excellent single.  The B side is a bastardised classic ‘I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls’ and we like that – of course its good, its sloppy rock n roll kids and it’s gone.  Two songs one single just pick it up folks you know you want to! its only rock n roll and we like it!

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PELLE MILJOONA OY – Anna Soihtusi Palaa (Stupido Records) I apologise in advance as my Finish isn’t as good as it should be and neither is my translator anyway, there are a couple of names connected to this that made us sit up and take notice and we think therefore its only fair that we should tell you good folks out there all about Andy McCoy and Sami Yaffa playing on some excellent new songs together.  the lead track ‘Anna Soihtusi Palaa’ is a banger – we kid you not. McCoy’s guitar noodlings are all over this and it sounds fantastic.  I haven’t a clue what its about but rock n roll doesn’t have barriers with language because we should all be singing off the same page and this lead track is most excellent.

‘Hei Hei Hei’ has a familiar feel to its opening riff that will be music to many peoples ears and the song has a bag of energy all the way to its rocking chorus. On closer inspection of the CD I did ask myself wow, could I pull off those strides Andy is wearing? I came to the conclusion that apart from Andy and possibly Ali ba ba nobody outside of Alladin could and that’s what makes him so special. The closing song ‘Olen Unessa’ is a fine way to finish a curious EP that I rather enjoyed to be fair despite the language barrier.  Check it out folks.

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OK seeing as its Christmas we thought we’d treat you all to a couple of festive related videos that have just been released for the Holiday season.  We begin this visual wormhole with Mad Caddie and their seasonal offering out on ‘Fat Wreck Chord –

wonk unit – Christmas in a crack house (Cadiz Music) it doesn’t really need an explanation does it? its Alex Wonk and the rest of his unit with their seasonal offering from the most excellent ‘Terror’ album seasons greetings to you all and as a gift from them to us to you here is the rather soppy video for their limited edition red vinyl single ‘Christmas In a crackhouse’ don’t do it, kids, they did it so we don’t have to’

Buy the single here

 

How about as its the season of giving we point you in the direction of some Free music?  Yeah! can I get a Hell Yeah? well click the link and pay the Rum Bar a visit and let Lou introduce you to some of the excellent bands he has signed up on his rather splendid label.  this free track is Nat Freedberg and the track ‘Devil Rockin Man’ you know it makes sense and it’s going to be good so what are you waiting for?

RumBar Records, Bandcamp – Free Rock n Roll

 

Kris Rodgers & The Dirty Gems – Every Little Crack (Wicked Cool Records) some of you will be familiar with Kris when he toured the UK as part of Scott Sorry awesome band and he also helped tinkle the ivories with Rich Rags on some Role Models tunes and also his album released on rum Bar records. Well, Kris is back in the hood with this spellbinding slab of rock and roll complete with some Stones like riffage and horn stabs that lift this belter into the realms of if the house party needs spicing up this Christmas then put this on and let’s trash the place.  Its only rock n roll folks but boy do I like it. flip this bad boy over and those ivories get tinkled as Kris dishes out some mighty fine Rock n Roll in the shape of ‘All I Wanna Do’.  Hey, Rodgers, we salute you-you rock my friend and this is a big as possible smiling slab of good time music that makes you glad to be alive.

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Midnight Towers – All The Songs (self Release) Well this one slipped through the cracks released back at the end of  October it will interest quite a few of you readers I guess if we mentioned Ex-members of The Black Halos, The Spitfires, Darlings of Chelsea, Kill Cheerleader, Die Mannequin, Wasted Again, Electric Blood, CJ Sleez, Red Hot Lovers, and more. you might be sitting up right now. well, this is a four-track EP full to bursting with plenty of Action Rock and Roll and right from the opener ‘Heartbreaker’ you know what you’re getting here.  Zero bullshit just straight up punk attitude rock and roll. ‘Ride WithMe’ is a departure, Nah, it’s not, of course, it’s not.  It’s more on the money riff-a-rama rock with added one-fingered piano tonking that would make Iggy and The Stooges blush seeing as they invented it. They even turn up the heat on ‘Crazy For You’ this would be the dogs danglies live I bet.  Beefed up 12 bar riff all the way to the chorus and then you’re done. Oh, they do cram in a brief breakdown before the soaring solo – wickedly good rock n roll folks trust me. Just click the link and make the purchase they even saved the best til last as ‘Stuck In My Brain’ comes out swinging. Love it!

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To finish off the singles and EPs of 2018 we thought we’d leave you with this lovely slice of punk.

Rat Cage – Night Of The Rat (Kids Of The Lughole)  Every now and then its good to cleanse the soul with a slab of hardcore that just kills it dead.  No fucking about just blunt trauma force that hits you square on the head and doesn’t relent for its short lifespan. Well, Rat Cage will certainly fit that bill two tracks on this single ok so they’re no Pizzatramp potentially prog in length compared but they more than make up for it with their attitude and delivery as they absolutely pulverise you with punk rock hardcore.  Fucking champion stuff. ‘Night Of The Rat’ lulls you in then Bang! we’re off! just pick it up its angry – shouty and fantfuckintastic.

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It would also be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t give you the new video from Jayne County to round up an awesome 2018 so as one year ends we sign off with ‘IgenderTy’ and look forward to what 2019 will offer in the 45rpm catagory and what great videos will also get delivered. Chow for now

Plenty of Easter eggs for RPM

It seemed normal service had resumed and the UK was no longer under thread or code red because of the weather and the armed forces were asked to stand down from the impending doom that was heading our way if the week-long snow caused the country to slide into the Atlantic. April would see the customary Record Store Day madness that had clogged up pressing plants and caused delays right across the board as the majors jumped the queue with their plethora of reissues and one direction picture discs ready for the record buying public readily camping out on high streets across America and the UK hoping to get their hand on the Bowie seven inch that would only set them back £20 but hey if we didn’t buy into this it wouldn’t happen. 

 

I digress. April was to be the month The Damned would finally get around to unleashing their new long player on the public after something like a decade since their last long player but this time they’ve gone all out to impress with Tony Visconti taking care of the production and in my humble opinion making it more about him and his knob twiddling duties than The Damned and as a result, an album that promised so much, in reality, delivered so little and won’t feature as anyone’s album of the year even though its not without merit as there are good songs on board but where is Paul Grays signature sound thumping its way through the songs? Did I not mention Gray was back in the fold? Oh sorry, how rude of me.  yup Paul Gray was back in the fold and ‘Evil Spirits’ expectations hit the roof. It is certainly one of those albums you so desperately wanted to love but couldn’t quite convince yourself it was up there with some of their back catalogue but hey ho onwards and upwards and any Damned record however bad is still better than most other bands good albums. Fact. And the live dates were as expected – superb.

As far as other records to come out in April well, there’s always the ever-reliable Wonk Unit and this time out they’re unleashing ‘Terror’ upon us all. Once again it was recorded at the Brook and producer Andy Brook brought the best out of Alex and all who sail or should that be ride on the back of this thoroughbred stallion. it featured some classic Wonk none more so than this festive banger ‘Christmas In A Crackhouse’ but remember this is April.  Nice one Alex.

other worthy mentions have to go to the bonkers Cavemen who wanted to ‘Nuke Earth’ whilst Sarah Shook & The Disarmers impressed Ben with the album ‘Years’

On the 7″ front there were a few notable entries with the top of the pile being The DeRellas with the fantastic ‘High Rise Supersize’ seeing the recording debut of their new frontman and excellent fit Joey DeRella former frontman of the excellent Breakdowns.also on the singles front The Hip Priests released an excellent split with Demons and young upstarts The Kenneths put out a really excellent single in the shape of ‘Favourite Ex’ from the E.P ‘EX’ and hopefully 2019 will see RPM hear more from this most excellent of noise makers.

Onto the live front and a few notable entries would have to be when the country went RSD nuts – south Wales upstarts and ne’re do wells otherwise answering to the name Deathtraps played at what was a marathon of live shows all over Newport which began with Mike Peters of The Alarm playing the towns best venue the rather splendid Le Pub on the Friday night. It then spread to other venues throughout the day keeping live independent music alive and well in this corner of the world.

 

Also on tour in April was the splendid reformation of Thee Hypnotics who impressed Ben so much he went out and picked up a copy of their box set and Dom and Johnny also parted with some folding money for copies of their documentary when they rolled through Newport south Wales to play Le Pub (once Again). April was really hotting up as some mighty fine new bands rolled into town as part of tours to promote their new records two notable bands were Cabbage who were promoting the excellent ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and Trampolene who also played Clwb Ifor Bach and both shows were sellouts and both ended in hot sweaty messes just like the best club gigs should.

The only death to report in April would be that of Jesus Christ but that for another website and not here. Keep it RPM as we roll into May…