DAG NASTY / DEMON SMILES – Islington Academy

DAG NASTY / DEMON SMILES Wednesday 10th August 2016 at the Academy, Islington.

Demon Smiles hail from the South Coast, Brighton to be exact, and reference skating, NOFX and pop punk rock on their bio. No decks on view tonight but a heavy than expected sound and some pretty memorable song subjects made for a more entertaining set than their write up suggested, certainly faster and with more to say than I’d been led to believe..

Cat from Demon Smiles

Demon Smiles

Demon Smiles

Demon Smiles

Dag Nasty

Dag Nasty

MDC, Flash House, Maid Of Ace – Kingston Fighting Cocks

MDC / FLASH HOUSE / MAID OF ACE Friday 12th August 2016 at the Fighting Cocks, Kingston

MDC in Kingston, with Maid Of Ace and another band – all for £7? Well that’s a no brainer then.

Having just released their second album ‘Maid In England” Hastings finest all girl all sister band (said like there could be another!) are on a string of dates in the UK and beyond with their raucous riotous sound. Tonight is a typical show with a bunch of abrasive tunes played hard with plenty of drive from Abby behind the kit and Alison, Anna and Amy relentlessly going for it up front. Things come to a juddering halt, however, courtesy of a broken string. Great to see that MDC came to the rescue with a replacement guitar giving enough time for the band to be joined on stage by Dee Skusting of A Pretty Mess on stage for ‘Empty Streets’ before the end of an all too brief set.

Maid Of Ace

Maid Of Ace

Flash House are a name new to me but I have a feeling there’s some pedigree behind this unit because they’re on it. They sound to those ears like an early Gang Green mixed in with a few more metal licks. Just like the band before them they break a string too and carry on without a second guitar until Maid Of Ace step in with one of their guitars. Instant karma. Their songs are memorable, fast and furious – great band and its well worth tracking down some of their output like Domestic Hiss on Youtube.

Flash House band

Flash House

MDC must be used to playing in halls much bigger than the Fighting Cocks but its clear they relish little gigs like these too. There’s a real old school collaborative feel about tonights gig with each band checking out and helping out the others – along with a small but enthusiastic crowd. In larger venues MDC’s sound can become a bit lost but here it’s razor sharp, loud  and urgent – it’s easily the best I’ve ever seen them. They play a bunch of classics of course. Included are ‘John Wayne Was a Nazi’, ‘Chicken Squawk’, ‘Corporate Death Burger’ and ‘My Family Is A Little Weird’ all knocked out with the kind of energy that you only get with such a small venue. At the end vocalist Dave Dictor has a massive smile on his face, it looked like he’d had a lot of fun!

MDC

MDC at the Fighting Cocks, Kingston

 

BOUNCING SOULS / PEARS at Stereo, Glasgow

BOUNCING SOULS / PEARS Wednesday 3rd August 2016 at Stereo Glasgow

Pears the Band

Pears (the band at Stereo, Glasgow)

Work took me to Glasgow for the week. A quick perusal of the listings revealed only one remotely punk gig on during my time there – the tuneful sounds of Bouncing Souls juxtaposed against the hardcore of Pears and so I headed underground into Stereo’s basement straight after the days work was done.

Pears are running on 100% from the very first chord. Gesticulating wildly, racing round the place vocalist Zach Quinn is engaging despite me not really getting a word he is singing. Maybe that’s the fault of the sound which is a bit off as they cavort and career around their set and the stage. I really liked these, wish I could’ve seen them somewhere else on their UK tour.

Right from the first note Bouncing Souls sound is bang on. Louder, clearer and more melodic they are really the band 90% of the crowd have come to see. But I just don’t get them. Too many ‘wooh’s” in their songs, too little aggression I feel like I’m in a very small minority as just about everyone is absolutely loving them. Down the front are the die hard fans with signed Bouncing Souls shirts from years ago having the time of their lives singing along to every word. It’s clear the lyrics mean a lot to many in the crowd but I just don’t get it. It’s all too nice as the singer shimmies one way and the other and holds his mic like a crooner in a bar. Sorry, but not for me.

Bouncing Souls

Bouncing Souls – at Stereo, Glasgow

On the way out the singer from Pears is sitting by the stairs, just passing the time and chatting to people as they leave. I love that, great non pretentious stuff. Don’t ever lose it Pears.

 

 

THE WONDER BEERS / PLUS 10 DAMAGE / AND NOW WE’RE EVEN at The Cave, Addlestone

THE WONDER BEERS / PLUS 10 DAMAGE / AND NOW WE’RE EVEN, Thursday 30th June 2016 at The Cave, Addlestone

A stripped down And Now We’re Even started the night with a lot of humour and a set of acoustic led songs. Really quite a gentle introduction to proceedings but great fun. Made me wonder how they’d sound as a full band.

And Now We're Even

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GARBAGE – The Troxy London, Live review

GARBAGE / THE PEARL HARTS Monday 13th June 2016 at The Troxy, London

It was as recently as December that Garbage were in London headlining a show so tonight, just six months later, was a taking something of a punt for them to fill the wonderful art deco grandeur of The Troxy. Arriving as the doors opened at 7pm any fears of a sparse crowd are allayed with the queue stretching all the way round the block. Inside it’s already busy as support act for Garbage’s ‘Strange Little Birds’ tour The Pearl Harts take to the stage. A duo of just guitar, drums and vocals they still kick out an almighty rock sound. Proper stomping grungy riffs and vocals they utilised guitar loops to fill out their sound and judging by the reaction at the end of their set won over a new set of fans.

The Pearl Harts

The Pearl Harts

The Pearl Harts at The Troxy

The Pearl Harts, proper slow rock grunge.

Appearing out of the darkness Garbage arrive on stage with the bare minimum of light and barely move for their opener ‘Sometimes’ – the first cut off their recently released sixth album ‘Strange Little Birds”. Stripped down and bare it’s full of atmosphere and followed up by ‘Empty’ as it is on the album before the band go right back to the beginning for ‘Stupid Girl”. Shirley, Duke and Steve (sadly Butch could not make the gig tonight for medical reasons) carefully and deliberately crank up the gears. From here onwards it’s a set full of their best known standards until “Even Though Our Love is Doomed’ kicks off the encore. Shirley has much to say tonight from explaining how nervous she gets every tine she plays London (self doubt the flip side of her perceived confidence) to a heartfelt speech for the victims of the Pulse Club in Orlando. She confides in us that the band have told her she goes on too long at times but no one is complaining. It’s all from the heart and explains why the connection between the band and their fans runs so deep. It’s why they keep coming back, after a career of twenty plus years and just half a year since their last epic London performance. A blistering ‘Why Do You Love Me’ sums everything up before ‘Cherry Lips’ closes the evening with the entire Troxy theatre lit up with glitter ball style lighting. An amazing night by a band a quarter down but still at the top of their powers.

Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage closing out their set

Garbage closing out their set

Another triumphant performance garnered the band rave reviews

Another triumphant performance garnered the band universal rave reviews

OI POLLOI / FLOWERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD / ACTIVE SLAUGHTER – Tchances

OI POLLOI / FLOWERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD / ACTIVE SLAUGHTER – Friday June 10th, T-Chances, Tottenham

Last year comedian Mark Thomas along with Flowers Of Flesh and Blood and Oi Polloi pulled off a pretty audacious gig on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of Central London. Trespass on the Beach highlighted the trend to privatise public spaces, restricting access that was once free and determining what can happen in any given location. Through a combination of cheek, the authority of a hi-vis jacket and a great deal of behind the scenes hard work and organisation a straight up punk gig was played out to those in the know and a bunch of bemused but open minded Saturday South Bank strollers. A second gig along similar lines is planned and tonight was set up to organise funds to help with the costs of the next event.

Active Slaughter, London based Anti Fascist Vegan punks, split up back in 2010 having been around for most of the previous decade. It’s been a full six years since their last gig but they’re back now and they’re still angry at the same subjects. HLS may be rebranding as Envigo following their merger but changing the name won’t hide the abuse of animals that they carry out. It’s good to see Active Slaughter back and actively calling it as it is with a bunch of hard hitting songs about an array of causes.

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Flowers of Flesh and Blood hit the stage with a no nonsense straight up thrash out. All rapid fire drumming, sub metal riffing and angry in your face punk vocals they get the crowd going with some violent slamming going on down the front that only quietens down when more bodies join in. The band themselves though never let up in their ferocity with a set full of hard hitters.

Flowers Of Flesh and Blood

Flowers Of Flesh and Blood

Flowers of Flesh and Blood

Flowers Of Flesh And Blood

I first got into contact with Oi Polloi and in particular Deek Allen over thirty years ago after a postal interview for my fanzine Crisispoint turned into a gig at the William Morris, and then another and then pretty much the end of me as a promoter at the Robey. One of the most outspoken bands of the time nothing has diminished Deek’s anger in the intervening years and it was great to catch up with him for a bit before they were due on stage.

Things get lively the moment they start. Every song has a direct unambiguous message from the classic ‘Nuclear Waste’ to the more recent ‘The Face (kicking you in the face)’. They dedicate ‘Let The Boots Do The Talking’ to all anti fascists whatever level they operate at whether that be delivering a swift kick from a vegan boot or designing an antifa poster. Their new album Saorsa (more of which on a later post) is raided for a slew of memorable songs – ‘Let’s Go’, ‘Metal Detector’ being a couple of stand outs. The Queen comes in for special attention, this being the date of one (!) of her birthdays. The route one chorus of “Queen Elizabeth, Fuck You” being a fitting tribute for a little old lady who’s “amazingly” managed to get to 90 by simply having the best of everything her entire  life. There’s plenty of audience participation throughout, singalongs and air guitar on stage during ‘Don’t Burn The Witch’. It’s been a great night and I can’t help feel a little disappointed that Oi Polloi are not playing the Beach when it happens again this year. Their lack of inclusion though makes perfect sense – last years gig was so special to just copy it would never be as good. Better try something a little different with a new set of bands and if it comes off again it’ll be another brilliant reminder of what is possible when you just plain ignore the rules that have been set.

Deek, Oi POlloi

Deek, Oi Polloi – using a kids book to illustrate how we’re told from a young age what our relationship with the Police should be like.

Oi Polloi Prog Oi

The power of Prog Oi even results in levitation.

Oi Polloi air guitar heroes

Oi Polloi’s air guitar stage invasion during ‘Don’t Burn The Witch, Burn The Rich’

Blank Generation Festival – Sunday

BLANK GENERATION FESTIVAL – 999 / THE OUTCASTS / THE LURKERS / THE MEMBERS / MICK OTOOLE / CANDY AND THE DEAD / DEADLOCK UK / DESPERATE MEASURES / MURDABALL Sunday 29th May at T-Chances, Tottenham

Photos from Sunday night of the Blank Generation Festival

Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures

The Members

The Members

Deadlock UK

Deadlock UK

The Lurkers

The Lurkers

Murdaball

Murdaball

Candy and the Dead

Candy & The Dead

Candy & The Dead

Candy & The Dead

The Outcasts

The Outcasts

Mick O'Toole

Mick O’Toole

999

999

RUTS DC – Psychic Attack

It’s not usual that I’d comment on a single song – well, never really – but this is a bit special. The Ruts are easily in my top 5 favourite bands and most of that is based on the bright incendiary flame they lit up until 1980. I’ve recently been impressed by Ruts DC live performances and now there is something new to get excited about. The first proper rocking track in decades – and it’s a corker. Channeling old Ruts with an updated sound, enlisting John Howard for the cover (the artist behind some of the bands early singles) it’s a real surprise and bodes well for the album ‘Music Must Destroy’.