Situated just a stone’s throw from the city’s railway station, The Cab is Newport’s newest live music venue. Started as a community project it provides a whole lot more for the locals other than live music though, for example, the venue also acts as a warm hub/drop in providing hot meals for those needing them, something I loudly applaud them for doing. Tonight though it’s all about the second night of Grade 2’s tour in support of their recently released ‘Self Titled’ album, and what’s more it’s a sold-out show too.

Playing their second gig of the day it’s Bristol punks Split Dogs who I walk in on mid set (apologies, as I once again struggled to find a nearby parking space so ended up half way across town) and on finding a decent vantage spot in the already steaming hot venue it’s like I’m immediately transported back in time to when TJs was the go-to place in the local area. The atmosphere is friendly, the bar prices are sensible, and perhaps most importantly of all the bands are not about to be fleeced 25% of their merch money at the end of the night. Anyway, I digress (slightly) because Split Dogs are the kind of band that live off their takings on the merch table, and tonight whilst their shirts will set you back just £10, sadly there’s no music to physically buy as what I experience tonight would most certainly have had me parting with my hard earned for a CD or maybe even a piece of vinyl. The mix of gritty female vocals over hard edged old school punk rock reminding me at times of our old US buddies Chesty Malone & The Slice ‘Em Ups and in ‘Tear Down The House’ they have a mighty fine anthem in the making. A terrific start to the night.

Next up tonight are local oi!/streetpunks Fatal Blow, and the established name that they are on the local punk scene they immediately get the crowd moving en masse (in fact I suspect there’s quite a few in here tonight who’ve come to see Fatal Blow first and foremost). Proudly anti-fascist and working class, the likes of ‘Spirit of 69’ and ‘Tent City Reality’ are always going to resonate with anyone with a moral backbone and when they are delivered with the gusto of a Welsh Cock Sparrer what’s not to love? Fatal Blow are proudly old school and bloody brilliant at what they do, full stop.

If Fatal Blow are the keepers of the punk rock flame of old, then London combo (and Grade 2 tour support) Clobber are the punk rock inferno of the future. Singer Chris and his bandmates delivering short, sharp, blasts of hardcore punk that immediately see the younger members of the audience busting out their finest dancefloor moves. With The Cab all about community, Clobber are the venue’s natural house band as their songs deal head-on with subjects like toxic masculinity, capitalism, and the importance of society in the modern day, and you really aren’t going to argue with the ‘Hardcore Hive Mind’ when they are in full flow. Very much for fans of bands like The Chisel or indeed the old-school original lineup of Gallows. I’ll be looking out for what Clobber do next following this run of 17 shows as hopefully they’ll then get to capitalise on the upcoming release of their debut EP via their freshly inked deal with Venn Records (and there I was mentioning early Gallows).  Come ‘n’ ‘ave a go if you think you’re hard enough.

2023 marks the tenth anniversary of Grade 2 as a band, with the trio celebrating their special birthday by touring the arse off their recently released ‘Self Titled’ album (you can read the RPM review HERE), a record that will surely feature highly on everyone’s Albums of the Year lists come the year’s end. Sid, Jacob and Jack are not about to rest of their major label laurels though with headline club shows scheduled right across the UK and Ireland, and tonight is their very first time playing in Wales. It’s also the first time I’ve seen Grade 2 play a headline set, so the mix of old and new tunes is an instant recipe for me (along with around another hundred people) to instantly look to lose our voices singing along to the likes of ‘Brassic’ and ‘Under The Streelight’ from their awesome new record seamlessly blending with the likes of ‘Hearts Of Gold’, ‘Graveyard Island’ and ‘Bowling Green Lane’ to provide the perfect soundtrack to any discerning punk rocker’s night out.  I’ll admit that this time around in this extended headline format the band do remind me more than just a little of ‘…And Out Come The Wolves’ era Rancid than they have when I’ve seen them previously, and their feet are still well and truly planted on the ground. As evidenced when bassist/singer Sid Ryan mentions towards the end of the night that two dates into their six-week tour he’s already “feeling it”, he’s immediately put in his place with local scene legend and Drunken Marksman frontman Pig telling him to “quit moaning and get on with it”, Sid quick as a flash, joking in reply, that the job as his tour motivational coach is now Pig’s. Priceless stuff indeed.

As their first live date in Wales, I’m sure their night in The Cab will long be etched into the Grade 2 memory banks, and for all the right reasons too. That’s because Grade 2 are not only a great live band but also a great bunch of lads too, if you get the chance to see them on this tour or their upcoming UK summer shows with Rancid and The Bronx, do not hesitate to snap up the ticket.

Clobber and Split Dogs pics by Johnny Hayward

Thanks to Kevin “Scottie” Hunt for the use of his Fatal Blow and Grade 2 pics. You can catch Scottie’s excellent ‘This Ain’t No Disco Radio Show’ every Tuesday from 8 pm to 10 pm on Wolfman Radio by scanning the QR code below or going to

Author: Johnny Hayward

UK punk band Grade 2 share a rebellious new single and accompanying music video titled “Doing Time.”The straightforward thrasher is complete with an angsty shout-along hook and rhetoric condemning the mundanities of the corporate nine-to-five. Correlated to a life behind bars, the band effectively uses poignant lyrics such as “I’m just a number in the system with a lifetime parole...”

United by a love of old-school punk, ska and oi, childhood friends Sid Ryan (vocals, bass), Jacob Hull (drums) and Jack Chatfield (guitar, vocals) formed the band at 14, honing their craft playing Clash and Jam covers before refining their own sound and songs. A European tour supporting Stomper 98 brought admiration and friendship from Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen, leading to introductions and the eventual signing to Rancid cohort Tim Armstrong’s legendary Hellcat Records in 2018

Grade 2 will be playing a handful of UK shows in March 2023, please find the full list below.

March 7, 2023 – The Lexington, London

March 10, 2023 – Louisiana, Bristol

March 18, 2023 – Classic Grand, Glasgow

March 19, 2023 – Star & Garter, Manchester

Tickets are available on band’s WEBSITE.




Day three of Rebellion 2022, and just like in previous years Saturday’s bill leans perhaps a little heavier towards the Oi!/streetpunk/skinhead side of punk rock, especially in the Empress Ballroom, and that’s exactly where we start today catching the revolutionary sounds of Italian Oi! outfit Los Fastidios. A few songs in though and we’re distracted by the appearance of our old mate Gaff lead guitarist with Desperate Measures NZ and Rich Ragany & The Digressions. He’s not been to sleep since the Measures closed out the Empress in the early hours and I can’t help but think he’s never left the building following what he describes as “perhaps the band’s best show ever!” I’m ashamed to admit I missed this set, due to my lack of sleep the previous night, but as usual Gaff is cool about it all heading for the nearest bar to keep the celebrations going.

Getting things back on track we make our way to the front of the Empress for what appears to be the final gig from Devon’s finest streetpunks Arch Rivals who really are back in Blackpool for one last round. It’s an emotional affair for sure played out to a crowd who really do not want to see the quartet leave the stage. But after a set packed full of terrace anthems, leave they must, and as ‘The Crowd’ brings things to a close its easy to understand why frontman Mike Brands struggles to hold it together, such is the fantastic send off the lads are afforded by the Empress faithful. Let’s hope they can get back together soon, eh? Oi! Oi! Oi!

Next up, it’s time for some Chaotic Dischord over in Club Casbah. Now, this is the band we all aspired to be back in 1983/84 as we were all as equally as shit as they were musically with one band that my old mate Darrel Sutton put together (long before he was playing with Trigger McPoopshute and System Reset) designed specifically to have people walking out after just 2 or 3 songs. I’m pleased to say that with Chaotic Dischord nothing has changed in that respect and after just 3 songs (during which I’ll admit I’m pissing myself laughing) culminating in ‘Who Killed ET? (I Killed The Fucker!)’ it’s all over for me. Yes, it really is a joke you know….

And with that in mind we briefly pop our heads around the folding doors of the Pavilion to catch some of The Gonads set, Garry Bushell openly taunting the locals with a “Blackpool Boys We Are Here” chant that segues almost perfectly into a song our Woking Oi! correspondent was dying to hear, the legendary ‘I Lost My Love (To A UK Sub)’. Perfect half time entertainment for Charlton Athletic fans everywhere.

The reason we have to leave The Gonads set early is that the anticipated crowd for The Bar Stool Preachers second set of the weekend up in the Almost Acoustic stage in the Spanish Ballroom is probably going to test that venue’s capacity to the maximum. So, getting in early doors we manage to get a prime viewing spot for what has to one of the real highlights of the weekend. Playing with a reduced kit drummer and a keyboardist led on the floor to help get around the stage’s rules of what can be included as “Almost Acoustic”, frontman TJ McFaull plays an instant trump card by ensuring the front rows are only made up of young fans and their families. Admittedly his wise words on the realities of trickledown economics (that proceed the song of the same name) are well over the heads of his band’s latest fan club members, but that doesn’t matter one iota as the pure delight on their faces as they get to dance and sing with the band is a total joy to behold. Thankfully the band’s signature tune does get played today, and as the lads say goodbye to everyone one last time before heading off to tour Europe with The Interrupters, I’ll say it once again. “Watch these boys fly….” 

Something I wish I could do myself as due to the massive crowd up in the Spanish Ballroom I manage to miss over half of Last Resort back in the Empress Ballroom. Still, I get in in time for a new tune called ‘No Man’s Land’ followed closely by the immense ‘Never Get a Job’ before Roi and the lads rattle out the classics ‘King of the Jungle’ and ‘Violence in Our Minds’ from their legendary 1982 debut album. Look, I know they have Lars Frederiksen within their ranks these days but I still can’t help but miss the monstrous Les Paul chug that Beefy used to bring to the Last Resort sound, and I really never thought I’d be writing this…yet again.

It’s at this point in proceedings where stage clashes were always going to shape the rest of our Rebellion Saturday as up next in the Empress is the tribute to Mensi, something I would love to hang around and sing along to, but when we also have IOW skinhead all-stars Grade 2 playing over in the Pavilion at the exact same time, and their third album ‘Graveyard Island’ pretty much helped me through multiple lockdowns, there’s only one place I’m going to be. Having previously witnessed Grade 2 supporting The Interrupters, the band that bursts onto the stage at Rebellion is unrecognisable from the largely static trio that had failed to impress me in Bristol SWX a few years prior. Their tour with Social Distortion has certainly helped the lads with their stagecraft, but it’s the quality of the songs from that aforementioned album that really is the difference this time around.  ‘Tired Of It’, ‘Murder Town’ ‘Bowling Green Lane’ are all delivered with ruthless efficiency and I’ll defy anyone not to be impressed with this mob right now. Grade 2 are another one of the absolute highlights of Rebellion 2022 and along with The Bar Stool Preachers it’s reassuring to know that the future of punk rock (in all its various sub-genres) is safe in these guy’s hands.

Staying put in the Pavilion for the UK debut of Mick Rossi’s Gun St it’s great to see that we are not alone in having enjoyed Slaughter’s return the previous evening and Mick and gang have assembled a very healthy-looking crowd to entertain with songs new and old, plus the odd cover like ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ thrown in for good measure.

With an 8:30 curfew on entry to the RFest stage it’s at this point in proceedings that we leave our Woking Oi! correspondent to pick up on matters in the Empress whilst me and Dom head off to the seafront for some proper goff (double eff copyright Jimbob from Pizzatramp) action in the shape of Peter Hook & The Light and Gary Numan.

I really hadn’t been impressed with the sound at RFest when we caught up with The Undertones just 24 hours earlier, so tonight, we pick a spot nearer the stage and thankfully everything is crystal clear, Peter Hook delivering a wonderfully gloomy set on a glorious summer’s evening with Joy Division’s ‘Dead Souls’ being a particular highlight. As for Gary Numan, tonight is largely the same exceptional arena show that I witnessed on the opening night of the tour in Cardiff University back in April, albeit it’s now honed to perfection with the more recent material still taking precedence over any trip down memory lane, and the fact Numan continually mixed the set up throughout the ‘Intruder’ tour (tonight is the final night) is really why I’m here instead of watching the bands in the Empress.  Playing to within a few seconds of the strict 10:45 curfew the fact that he chooses to encore with ‘The Fall’ from 2011’s ‘Dead Son Rising’ album and not say the likes of ‘We Are Glass’ or ‘Films’ (both of which he had played in Cardiff) shows just how happy and confident Gary is within himself right now, and for me this is easily the set of the weekend. Glorious stuff!

Heading back to the Winter Gardens, it’s the first time this weekend we have to queue to get back in, but as Cock Sparrer have just finished their set in the Empress that’s totally understandable, as this new Conference Centre entrance merges straight in with the traffic from the Empress and as a result could very easily lead to overcrowding. Anyway, a short wait in the cool night air never hurt anyone, and apart from my glasses steaming up when we do pass the Empress that’s thankfully the only inconvenience I experience.

Meeting up with our Woking Oi correspondent in the Arena he’s full of stories about how emotional the Cockney Rejects set was with the band now starting to wind down on touring from this year onwards and how Cock Sparrer once again delivered a killer headline set that has perfectly set up their two fiftieth anniversary shows in London’s Roundhouse in just a few weeks’ time. Which RPM will hopefully be covering too. Bosh!

With The Chisel being one of our must-see bands of the weekend, that’s the reason we are all in the Arena, and having witnessed them deliver an explosive set just a few months earlier in Le Pub in Newport I was half expecting the dancefloor to turn into something resembling an MMA event…BUT…it just never happens. Maybe it’s the fact that where we are standing the sound is so poor that it takes me three songs to actually recognise a song, and then it’s the title track from the band’s stunning debut record ‘Retaliation’, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s chucking out time in the pubs and having been on it most of the day, many (myself included) are just so tired all they really want to do head back to the hotel for some much-needed shut-eye. Who knows? But it’s the latter we choose to do and as such forego the chance to watch Bob Vylan’s upgraded set in the Empress at around 1 am, which turns out for many to be the event of the weekend. Ho hum!

As we walk back to our hotel near Blackpool’s south pier shooting the breeze, it’s the sound issue in the Arena that makes me missing Bad Nerves’ set on Thursday not seem quite so bad, and as Sunday would soon prove this wasn’t to be an isolated incident either.

Originally announced for the Fleece this sold out in the blink of an eye so was moved to the much bigger SWX which also sold out in the blink of the other eye.  Tonight The Californians are joined in the Westcountry by opening band of punks and four siblings from Hastings that make up Made Of Ace.  Its remarkable that four siblings actually like the same music for a start because my brothers hate punk rock and I’ve got six of them and whilst the band sound like they really know what they’re doing and play well. Whether they are suffering a poor mix or what but I’m just not feeling it and they seem to lack a standout song – something to really remember them by which was a shame.

Next up was the three piece; Grade 2. Hailing from the Isle Of wight and breaking with the order of the day as none of these are related (as far as I know) anyway, again, a bit of a muddy mix for their Oi! punk rock.  Grade 2 like openers Made Of Ace had energy but didn’t have a stand out track that I would find myself humming on the way home or enough to entice me to the merch stall.  I don’t want to be negative but tonight’s headliners could never be accused of not owning a catchy tune that sticks in your head for ages something the openers don’t quite have yet anyway. 

Right, Tin hat on. The Interrupters seem to be riding the crest of a wave currently and receiving all sorts of accolades from all quarters for their most excellent new album and their live shows. Tonight a bulging – expectant crowd waited to see what these four likable Californians had to offer and over the next hour and fifteen. They duly obliged to entertain albeit in a scripted razz-matazz sort of way with the wacky encore not encore and bursts of Motley Crue, Rancid and Green Day tunes but let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.

The band took to the stage and in the first five numbers, they pretty much blew away most of the audience judging by the number of bouncing souls wedged into the club tonight. The sound was no longer muddy and in fact was crisp and crystal clear (hell, maybe too crisp and clear) and Aimee has a voice as good live as on the records. ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘By My Side’, ‘She’s Kerosene’, ‘Take Back The Power’ and ‘She Got Arrested’ were energetic but were they about to peak early blowing a stack of their finest too early? There’s no way a band can maintain this high – can they?

To be fair much like Green Day the band are very slick and rehearsed and seemingly without spontaneity as Kevin’s banter sounds like he’s said it every night of the tour just changed the town or am I being a bit unfair?  I don’t have a problem with their happy smiling faces God knows we need something to make us smile these days and The Interrupters have got a lot to smile about.  I might well be being a tad over critical because the music was excellent and you can’t help being swept along with the happiness and humbleness of the band’s approach. I guess not every band wings it and isn’t gnarly burnt out punks with a chip on their shoulder because none of those could ever be tagged on The Interrupters that’s for sure they seem to be heading to the same place as Green Day and I’m happy with that because the more bands shifting records and selling out concert halls can only be a good thing for the scene as a whole no doubt about that. (Thats not the first time No Doubt has been mentioned either tonight)

I did enjoy the Operation Ivy cover midset and ending with ‘Family’ seems genuine (Hell 3/4 of this band are related) they seem like such good, warm people; I wish them every success and having Tim Armstrongs influence and guiding hand is a masterstroke because the guy oozes talent and someone who knows how to pen a hook and chorus.

Now, if their next album has as many good tunes and an upbeat catchy feeling they will go overground and we won’t be seeing the likes of them in a venue under 2000 capacity that’s for sure. I do hope that happens because The Interrupters are onto something and about 1800 people leave SWX beaming and mumbling along to one or other of their many songs it’s why they are blowing up right now and also why they’re bossing decent size venues everywhere. They may be slick, polished and just so up and happy in times as weird as these I’ll bet on these four cracking this crazy business right open on this evidence and they’ll have worked hard and put the miles in to deserve it. Maybe its time for this cranky old hack to suck it up and just enjoy the moment and not worry about anything other than the seventy minutes the band are on stage because as far as entertainment goes The Interrupters have got it and as we look for younger bands to break through maybe these guys are going to start a fire under a scene desperate for young blood to give everyone a lift. Mr. Grumpy over and out

Buy The Interrupters Here

Author: Dom Daley