Four bands, free admission and it’s Fraser Von Deathtrap’s 24th birthday… again! What more could you want from a Saturday night in your old home town?

Well not a lot really, as System Reset, who are late additions to tonight’s bill, open up proceedings almost as soon as I enter the venue, and with a pint of something cold and wet in my hand we’re straight into a 30 minute set of melodic hardcore punk music drawn from their RPM approved EP/mini album ‘Epidemic’.  With two of Trigger McPoopshute within their ranks you’d be forgiven for thinking System Reset might be just more of the same backdoor rock ‘n’ roll, but no, this quartet have a sound firmly rooted in the spirit of the skate park and tracks like ‘Feminazi’’, ‘Anxiety’ and set closer ‘PTSD’ could all have featured on the ‘Punk-O-Rama’ compilation series, something that should see them playing with the big boys at a venue near you very soon.

A couple of years on from their Dolls House debut the Deathtraps of 2019 are a much different beast to the one I first witnessed. Kickstarting proceedings with the lead track from their stonking ‘Gotta Get Some’ album, ‘Automatic Thrill’ sounds not so much like a direct lift from Gluecifer as a song spawned from a contract inked with Lucifer himself, and if newbie ‘Fuck The Cool Kids’ is anything to go by then Deathtraps really do have all the best songs just waiting to be unleashed on us. Taking us right back to the early shows though ‘Too Fast To Last’, and ‘Another Great Day’ sound almost reborn, and even if the suitably refreshed birthday boy forgets his basslines during ‘Hellbound’ it’s all dealt with in the flick of a wrist. Closing with the aptly titled ‘Fucked Up And Furious’ a song that does exactly what it says on the tin Deathtraps make a whole host new friends here tonight and you best make sure you catch them opening for The Hip Priests at various shows this spring.

With Trigger having been (by their standards at least) a bit quiet recently following the impromptu departure of Pix from behind the kit, it appears to have been their long overdue addition to the line up of this year’s Rebellion Festival that’s given Abertillery’s filthiest sons the much needed impetus to get back onstage, and most importantly write some new material. Bam from System Reset is the man they’ve recruited to drop his sticks during old faves like ‘Headfuck’, ‘Race Card’ and the fan requested ‘American Manc’ plus ‘Fish Or Bird’ once again sees the audience having their very own Only Connect moment.  Of the aforementioned new tracks you can take your pick from ‘Wank Palace’, ‘Self Righteous’ and ‘Shitfinger’ as to which one offends you most… but I can’t help smiling, no, laughing, at each of them. Sounding more like the bastard sons of Venom and The Macc Lads than ever before Trigger McPoopshute are on a mission to make life seem a little bit brighter, because as their set closing dedication to some recently lost friends (immediately before ‘Charity Snatch’) proves, for some of us it can be all over far too quickly.

Returning to the Dolls House for (what if my memory serves me correctly is) the fourth time, German satanic punkers Christmas are back in the UK promoting their white-hot 3rd album ‘Scum As You Are’ and I for one was not going to miss this. Kicking things off with the opening one-two salvo from said album – ‘Army of Losers’ and ‘The Old Man Tells’ – the band literally explodes in my face via this 3 minute (plastic) bomb of punk rock, before I’m instantly whisked right back to 2014 via the title track from their ferocious ‘Appetite For Selfdestruction’ debut. Granted only frontman Max Motherfucker remains from that line up but as the band has evolved and shed personnel, I feel it has only made them a leaner, hungrier beast, one that can write songs as tight and exciting as ‘You Bore Me’, ‘Good Times, High Fives’ and the Motorheadtastic ‘Sex Sells’ all of which are aired here tonight.

‘Skate All Night’, ‘Cracksong’ and ‘Moonshine Love’ all remain in the set from the band’s perhaps overlooked ‘Lose Your Illusion’ sophomore album whilst ‘No More Tears’, ‘Nothing But A Handjob’ and ‘Wolfpack’ from the aforementioned debut all take me back in fiery fashion to why I fell in love with the band in the first place.

The last time I saw Max live was on the massive Empire Ballroom stage at Rebellion fronting Reagan Youth where he couldn’t really practice his full contact audience participation routine, here tonight however he more than makes up for this, cajoling complete strangers into singing along to songs they have never heard before whilst scaring the diehards into not getting the lyrics wrong as his microphone is promptly shared around the audience front row like a punk rock hot potato. This is what makes Christmas so special and I guess its also why Max comes back to the Dolls House time and time again. Special mention too to the band’s stand-in drummer Jan who after just two rehearsals turns in a faultless performance hammering home each and every track like he’d been on the road with the band for months.

Nothing beats the true punk rock spirit of Christmas I tell ya… nothing.

Author: Johnny Hayward

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