Got in a bit too late tonight to catch Raw Bones open up, for which I can only apologise. From the bit I caught and what heard from the other punters I certainly need to pull my socks up next time they’re on. 

What I would like to say before continuing my review, in relation to a different night’s event. What an amazing venue Outpost is. Tonight’s event is a prime example of it’s smooth running and how it’s a beacon for DIY touring bands. This place was my last gig before we went into Lockdown and my first one back when we came out of (one of the many) Lockdown(s). Fiercely independent and very welcoming. It’s a challenging time for all places of hospitality right across the board. No one needs spurious and childish retorts online that can hamper a business. Please treat staff and facilities with respect. Keep our venues busy. Keep our venues open. Thanks.

Birkenhead stalwarts the Dry Retch, take us through their usual tour de force, throwing heavy artillery our way and lobbing the occasional grenade of quips and wordplay. Treating us to favourites such as ‘12,000 miles from new’ and the truely pulsating ‘hate the young’. We’re also treated to a new track, that is absolute seismic garage terror. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Human Toys hit the stage and introduce us to their brand of theremin infused Parisian punk rock fury. Excellent guitar chops married with energetic and chaotic mic work. This duo engage with the crowd at all opportunities and show nothing but enthusiasm throughout. In a couple of years these pair could have the potential to be a cult live act that everyone will seek out, such as Bob Log III, Messer Chups and the Courettes. But they’re not quite there yet, at times, coupled with unnecessary feedback it can be a little all over the place. Perhaps I caught these guys on a bad night, but it definitely hasn’t put me off in the future. Judging by their new 45 that has just dropped, ‘go go alco’/’generation shit’, the material is only getting better.

Author: Dan Kasm

Always great to be back at the Manchester Ritz. No matter the sponsor attached to the venue you know always in for a special night in splendid surroundings. 

The Gulps
A riotous performance landing somewhere between the Rapture and the Icarus Line or perhaps a domesticated Mooney Suzuki. Either way it’s very fitting on night celebrating the year 2001. There is a bit of a flat start but once the sound engineer warms up their guitars we start hearing all the raw power they can muster. Definitely living up to all the praise these guys are receiving. I enjoyed it and so will you! 
The songs being played tonight soundtrack my formative teenage years. More often than not when I look back on my happier memories of watching a band on a main stage of a festival, it’s a warm summer’s day and Ash are playing with Charlotte in their number with the most enviable greatest hits set and absolutely killing it!

We are here tonight celebrating the album by the once quartet that made an indelible mark on the early 21st century and stabbed through the heart of the unstoppable beast that was Nu Metal. With a blade of sugary, sunshine, indie rock and distorted pop goodness. Long before the Strokes and the White Stripes, Ash brought guitar rock back to the teenagers bedroom. No turntables were in sight and it never sounded so good!

The evening is kicked off with the inevitable double stomp to the face of ‘walking barefoot’, it may be mid September but I can smell the freshly cut grass and all that good shit that comes with a nostalgic summer memory. I’m not always a fan of the “classic album revisited” setlists but tonight it doesn’t feel wooden. It feels honest and earnest.
From then on we blaze through the classics. ‘shining light’, ‘burn baby burn’, sadly ‘candy’ becomes the inevitable casualty where those in attendance need a piss/fag/drink or all of the above. Tbf every track from the album is a memorable number and gets a great showing tonight.

When face to face with a classic album with so many memorable singles it’s easy to overlook the album tracks. No issues in that department tonight, the long converted throng of the crowd is eating up track after track. Honorable mentions to ‘someday’ and ‘Nicole’. 

As if all 13 tracks of Free All Angels were not enough, here in Manchester we are treated to a most enviable encore. The classics are well represented, obviously to get all the hits in and the whole studio you would need a Springsteen length set and of course it is a school night. ‘numbskull’, ‘a life less ordinary’, ‘kung fu’ and ‘orpheus’ to name a few. Personally, I would have liked to have got a few B-sides from the era in (‘gabriel’ etc) but you can’t win them all. The night is finished off nicely with the always welcome ‘girl from Mars’ and gets the love from the crowd it so deserves. 
It’s been a cracking night to launch the vinyl reissue (don’t forget 1977 is also available!) and it’s always great to have Charlotte back with the lads even if only for a couple of gigs. Another great evening to go alongside all my other classic Ash memories. Nostalgia and satisfaction guaranteed.

Ash Website

Buy Ash records Here

Author: Dan Kasm

While it appears most of the north-western world is rocking out to My Chemical Romance in Warrington tonight, we few in the know are being treated to a stellar evening of Punk Rock meets wrestling gimmicks and theatrics. The guys at Future Yard, Society of Losers Records and TNT Extreme Wrestling have come together to provide this extremely special spectacle of transforming the venue into a wrestling arena. Complete with a ring, an announcer, a commentator’s booth and worked over the top entrances.

First up on the bill we have the throbbing self styled Grunge of Mr Ted. Collectively looking like a roadside group of prisoners completing general highway housekeeping. The only crime the lads have committed tonight is not playing longer. Combining all the best bits of the dirtier sides of alternative rock, the band are far more formidable in the flesh than on record. I’ll certainly be checking them out live again in the future. 

And ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here we have the main event. The reigning world’s champion, of Widnes. Salt the Snail! This show certainly does have it all. Not only are we being treated to an intense Punk Rock show in a squared circle, but we are given gimmick after gimmick which really pops the crowd. Ever seen the front man go out and crowd surf on a giant inflatable pizza slice lilo? Me neither, and I’ve never seen Jello Biafra do it either. Just saying. And if that’s not enough for brazenly mocking mortality, the crowd is constantly ‘serenaded’ from atop of step ladder. As you do. Then the audience is generously given some covid safe, free pizza to help keep the energy up. Marvellous. 

The show had it all tonight. Slips, trips and falls, but also extreme highs. A great Friday in anybodys book. Keep your eyes peeled for more Snail antics. Maybe next time they’ll break out the thumbtacks. 

Author: Dan Kasm

Kicking off the release with track ‘get ya on’ with the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” punk rock formula. Ensuing pogoing is guaranteed! Things turn dramatically by the next number, ‘baby’. Almost as if we have taken a shortcut down a dark alley in the wrong side of town. Creepy and haunting in all the right ways. This first recording is a great testament to the group.

What I love about this EP is that it seems to get more and more aggressive with each passing track without losing any of their style and mystique. The ladies seemingly have the ability to be intimidating without losing any character and credibility and leaving the listener wanting more. 

This five track release is nothing if not consistent, every track is a stomper and leaves you unable to isolate any track as a stand out. Repeat listening is a natural side effect and the material keeps it strength every time. There is a run of the mill tradition when reviewing powerful releases from those of the feminine persuasion, to play some sort of “riot grrl bingo”. Name checking artists, whether they are actually all that similar to our subjects. I don’t want to go down that route as it’s over travelled already. All I will say is if you like Punk Rock and Alternative Rock from the past 40 years, check out this release because these three individuals rock the fuck out! 

I’m pleased to say that the first lot of physical copies of Greatest Tits has sold out already. A great achievement and the band has announced that they will try and get some more copies reissued soon. Keep an eye on their social media and their Bandcamp and also check out the live dates that are coming through for 2022. 

Buy Here

Author: Dan Kasm

I’m fortunate enough tonight to be back at the exquisite Albert Hall in Manchester, a beautiful venue lacking almost all commercial trappings that become all too customary these days. I’m catching the Jesus and Mary Chain performing the classic album Darklands in full. 

Inevitably delayed like most tours and outings, finally it has arrived in the calendar. Making their way on the stage, the distance between the brothers is almost comical and feeds into the legend of indifference and distrust between the Reid siblings. 

The band is to put it simply, effortless yet commanding, casual but also captivating. They have complete control and excellent delivery in regards to the late 80s Goth/Indie tinged Darklands sound, and with almost no visual change over of guitars perform the more Alternative Rock 90s material without missing a beat.

Launching into opening track and title track ‘Darklands’, it’s a euphoric moment for everyone here who has been waiting for these dates to be rescheduled and perhaps haven’t been to a live show for a long period of time. The euphoria doesn’t stop there, the crowd is at fever pitch throughout the first half of the record, reminding you how strong the album tracks are right up to classic single ‘happy when it rains’ and the equally tempestuous ‘nine million rainy days’. 

The storm hasn’t quite passed yet, as the band treat us to the epic and incendiary ‘April skies’ and onwards completing the album retrospective. After the little obligatory break we are treated to a ‘best of the rest’ set, touching primarily on mid and late 90s material but with some Darklands era B-sides thrown in to boot. There is a real lack of singles in the set but for the hardcore audience, this must be the obsessive completist’s wet dream. Stand out tracks have to be ‘Moe Tucker’ from Munki and fan favourite B-side ‘kill surf city’. The night is finished off with ‘never understand’ delivered in full with the feedback it deserves, sadly the only taste of Psychocandy we get tonight. 

Overall it was well worth traipsing out on a cold, wet Wednesday evening. Being the first time I’ve seen the Mary Chain I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get certain tracks from my personal wishlist but certainly not put off. The only way to remedy this is to see them again at the earliest opportunity.

Author: Dan Kasm

Sonny Vincent, perhaps the ultimate Punk Rock’n’Roll survivor. He may not be a household name or even show up on your atypical ‘punk’ Spotify algorithm playlist, but he has led a life and acquired a CV that cannot be overlooked or dismissed. Having worked with an array of different musicians deep inside the pop culture subconscious from the Stooges to the Damned, from the Velvets to the Replacements, and seemingly everyone in between.
With all this and his countless solo offerings, you would be knee-deep for months trying to do an inventory of his Discogs page in order to ascertain what number we are at with the current release ‘Snake Pit Therapy’. Kicking off with a couple of solid alt-rock and garage punk-tinged tracks, it’s the third song on this record, ‘The End Of The Light’, that really picks you up and starts brawling off of the speakers. Bob Mould esque in all the right places (this guy really truly knows how to get the right guitar sound). Minneapolis certainly rubbed off on this guy. And the same can be said straight after on ‘The Rain Is Black Again’, less of a brawler and more of a fun, upbeat anthem drenched in Californian or Frisco sunshine. Catchy as hell.
It’s hard not to admire Sonny’s honest, weather-worn lyrics. Songs like ‘Never Tired’ hitting you full throttle, revealing to the listener what it’s like walking in his shoes on a seemingly endless journey, yet showing us almost endless optimism in the next breath. Listening to the lines in ‘Another Land’; not looking back because of the hurt but still dusting yourself off and moving forward. ‘Ruby Diamond’ is a freight train hitting a borrowed riff of ‘Train Kept A Rolling’ but amped up and spat out.  Sonny may never be nominated to be poet laureate but what he says is beautiful yet rough around every last edge, like a rock’n’roll Mickey Rourke.
A great attribute for this record is that it’s a good starting point for those, like me, who are uninitiated with the majority of Sonny’s work. The record itself is an all-rounder for showing off his wears but builds a fire inside and a desire to seek out the rest. We all know too often how intimidating it can be to break into an artist’s substantial body of work. You needn’t worry in this case, ‘Snake Pit Therapy’ will slip into your record collection, as comfy as an old pair of Converse offering the listener the best jumping-off point to deep dive further.
Sonny is the legend in your lifetime with a heart as big as a bass drum pounding out tunes with relentless quality and craft, grab it now rather than reading up on it 30+ years from now full of envy for the past.
Buy Here
Author: Dan Kasm

My first live music as a punter since March 2020 and back to the scene of the crime at Liverpool’s best DIY venue Outpost! If you aren’t acquainted with this establishment, please do check them out.

First up on tonight’s bill are the mysterious Zetra. Blending elements of Goth, Shoegaze and savage parts of Black Metal in it’s nucleus. The sound isn’t perfect at times but the riffs, the synths and the vocals certainly shine through. Sabbath throbbing guitar chops with an 80s keyboard dirge overload with an almost beautiful feedback crescendo hooking the set together. The vocals are sometimes painful, but in a good way; at times leading into a meld with the guitar effects akin to early era deftones.
The headliners of this two band lineup hit the stage with vigour. A much missed sweaty throng. 14 months of frustration, let out in an incredible force. These lads deliver an impressive performance tonight, one that will hold them in great company at Bloodstock 2021 and on European stages when given the chance. On record they showcase their love of John Carpenter esque synths, samples and b-movie love, but live, it is all about the riffs…. riff after blood curdling riff! Please make sure to check them out on their upcoming winter tour!
It’s good to be back at live gigs again, feeling hopeful about the future and this can be maintained and be safe for everyone going forward. If you can, get vaxed, get loaded and check out these bands!
Author: Dan Kasm

There is a lot to be angry with in the world today, particularly the last 14 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days…… But hey! Who’s counting? Although, saying that, sometimes the things that you really want might actually be there if you just reach out and grab them (no this isn’t pyramided selling). Do you want Raw Power? You got it! Do you want something Young, Loud & Snotty? You got it! Do you need something raging with the strength of a bag of amphetimin to keep you up with Lemmy on a weekend binge? You got that too! If Iron Lizards are ‘Hungry For Action’, all I can say is that it must be a pandemic in itself as I too have picked the metallic reptile’s insatiable appetite.

The record kicks off with lead single ‘It’s About Time’; I don’t know what the speed limit is in France but the pace of the tracklisting is relentless and I am here for every breakneck second of it! The seamless, relentless, and hi-octane from song to song with powerful garage punk laced riffs, the pneumatic rhythm section, all combined with the vocal delivery of James William Oesterburg giving a sermon on the mount. This rock’n’roll Jim, but not as we know it.
Four songs in we’re finally given the chance to catch our collective breath in the form of the incendiary breakdown towards the end of the ironically titled ‘no escape’. Effortlessly guiding us into the next track ‘obey/annihilate’; the band really displays its chops here in the form of their songwriting sensibilities, showing the fire and intensity of previous material but with an overall more grandiose setting and effects. From this, we’re lead even further down the genre rabbit hole with ‘death ride’, Cramped to the rafters with Lux Interior swagger.
‘Confusion blues’ takes us back on the straight and narrow of speed laced Punk’n’Roll, barely giving the punters a chance to recoup their cognitive thoughts of a world that doesn’t beat to the drum of Iron Lizard’s brutal yet beautiful onslaught.
You may have gathered whilst reading that I’m quite fond of this record, do yourselves, your friends, and your family a favour; buy this record, keep your eye on potential tour dates, and basically spend your time and money on this band. They definitely deserve it.
Buy Here
Connect with Iron Lizards: Facebook / Instagram
Author: Dan Kasm
Checking out what feels like the my first listen of an AFI album in over fifteen years, it seems this Warped Tour caterpillar has come out of the cocoon a full on goth death’s head moth with layers of lush 80s pop to boot. Finally completing the inevitable metamorphosis they began at the turn of this century.
AFI always seem to have a bit of a mixed legacy, somewhat down to their Hardcore roots and their association with Dexter Holland’s Nitro label. The band has come a long way since then and doesn’t get the credit which is due to them a lot of the time. The group has a strong stakehold in the dark 80s revival of the early noughties, making waves long before Emo raised it’s fringed head. Perhaps a classic problem for this bands place in the world: Too young and fresh for the original Misfits fiends and too much like the old guard for the younger Emotionally Melodic Hardcore ones.
Album number 11 kicks off with Banshees tinged number ‘twisted tongues’ with everything from the urgent drum beats to the stirring guitar lines, setting up the listener for this tour de force of goth emblazoned post punk. If there were any trepidation in the groups genuineness, track two completely kicks the doors down. Sounding like a forgotten relic from the Modern English back catalogue coupled with the irresistible singalong vocal delivery of frontman Davey Havok.

The band manages to dip it’s toe into more mainstream waters whilst maintaining their integrity, particularly with some cleaner production and electronic beats. Imagine the Killers during their more respectable runs had a creative epiphany when listening to a shit load of Bauhaus.
The main takeaway from this record is that the band has clearly shown growth without losing identity. The album is accessible without compromise and the band has shown different angles of their sound without falling into pitfalls or being pigeonholed. The strength of songs such as ‘no eyes’ and ‘looking tragic’, the brooding of tracks ‘back from the flesh’ and ‘tied to a tree’ show the potential to reach a whole new audience who may have put AFI in a box a long time ago without considering the groups ability to adapt within their skill set.
I for one have been pleasantly surprised by Bodies and cannot wait to coerce my friends into rolling the dice on this not so hidden gem. Give it a listen and surprise yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Buy Here
Author: Dan Kasm

I came across the band purely by accident on one of your typical ‘social media’ conglomerates. Merely described as a “straightforward punk number”, normally I would move on with such an uninspiring description but decided to give it a click all the same. Being so impressed with the track ‘headlong’ I quickly discovered that this is the first track off their debut album and I am yet to be dissatisfied taking a chance on the ominous description. A very mature sounding punk record, Bob Mould Husker Du era guitars with stark post-punk vocals.

It would appear that the Melbourne 5 piece are the latest Antipodean arrival of enviable punk/alt-rock to hit our shores. And a most welcome addition. Sonically the guitars lean towards the heavier end of eighties college rock, not looking out of place on the classic rosters of Sub Pop or SST. Title track ‘cheers for the future’ even hits brain bleeding Sonic Youth levels of noise but still managing to sound really accessible for the listener.
The album is a well thought out release, just when you think you have it all figured out and can place it in a box, it steps sideways adding synths, electronic beats and even throwing in feminine backing vocals as you make your way through the record. All adding different layers and textures without taking anything away from the overall product. Blending dirgey guitar lines with more divine sounding Dinosaur Jr harmonic fuzz.
Available to buy on Bandcamp and to stream on Spotify, make Zombeaches your band of 2021!
Buy ‘Cheers To The Future’ Here