Dirt Box Disco Announce Pre-Orders For New Album ‘Immortals’

Dirt Box Disco ImmortalsSTP Records have revealed that the brand new 2018 Dirt Box Disco album will be titled Immortals. The CD of Immortals will be released on Sunday April 29th at the launch show in Manchester at Rebellion Bar and the vinyl will be released on Saturday July 28th at the launch show in Sheffield at Corporation. Both of these options are available to pre-order right now at STP Records, and there are a few bonus gifts for any pre-orders placed before January 1st, as are tickets for both of these STP Records shows.

Immortals can be pre-ordered via STP Records here

Lagwagon & Bad Cop/Bad Cop Confirmed For Rebellion Festival

Rebellion 18 - Nov 17Fat Wreck Chords Label mates Lagwagon and Bad Cop / Bad Cop have been added to the line up for the 2018 Rebellion Festival, the two bands will join the likes of Peter Hook And The Light, Ruts DC, UK Subs, Dirt Box Disco, Ramonas, Hands Off Gretel, Aerial Salad, The Queers, The Adolescents, DRI, Svetlanas and Chaos 8 at the Blackpool Winter Gardens between the 2nd and 5th August 2018.

The full line up for the 2018 Rebellion Festival can be viewed here

Tickets for the 2018 Rebellion Festival can be purchased here

‘North West Calling’ All Day Punk Festival Confirms 2018 Line Up

North West Calling 18All day punk festival North West Calling returns to Ritz in Manchester, UK on the 30th June 2018 for one of the most unmissable dates in the punk calendar. The all day event provides a chance to catch both old school and more recent punk bands in their element, and spend the day celebrating all things punk. The 2018 North West Calling festival features an array of legendary punk bands including Sham 69, The Adicts, Angelic Upstarts, GBH and Ruts DC, who will play alongside the likes of Dirt Box Disco, Wonk Unit, Slaughter 2, Duncan Reid & The Big Heads, In Evil Hour and Heavy Drapes.

North West Calling tickets can be purchased here

Kid Klumsy To Release Debut Album Via STP Records

Kid Klumsy Nov 17Kid Klumsy have announced that they will be releasing their debut album, Spit Ya Dummy Out, on May 27th 2018, the band, that includes Dirt Box Disco frontman Weab, will be out playing a series of shows early next year ahead of the release of the album. Spit Ya Dummy Out is now available to pre-order from STP Records, all pre-orders placed before March 1st 2018 will receive an exclusive one off Kid Klumsy patch.

Kid Klumsy‘s Facebook page can be found here

Spit Ya Dummy Out can be pre-ordered from STP Records here

Dirt Box Disco Release ‘Imaginary Friend’ Video

Dirt Box Disco PoppycockDirt Box Disco have released a video for Imaginary Friend, a track from their fifth studio album, Poppycock, that was released in April on STP Records. Dirt Box Disco have already started recording their sixth full length and there’s a live album in the offing that is being recorded at Manchester’s legendary Star And Garter venue next month. Poppycock, and Dirt Box Disco‘s previous four releases, can be ordered via STP Records here

The Punk Site review of Poppycock can be read here

You can view the video for Imaginary Friend, and Dirt Box Disco‘s tour dates, below Read More…

Rebellion 2017 April

Rebellion Festival (Sunday)

Blackpool Winter Gardens

Sunday 6th August 2017

Rating: 5/5




The final day of this years Rebellion Festival is upon us, and as with last year the Sunday sees the summery conditions of the last three days give way to more typically British damp weather conditions. There are several victims of the weather, and it’s not just a few wilted mohicans as whilst watching Propaghandi on the Casbah Stage my phone fell victim to the weather, losing all my notes, music and most of my photos, so the review of the final day is done from memory, thankfully the final day of the 2017 Rebellion Festival was another memorable day. The Headstone Horrors are opening on the Empress Ballroom, the impressive female fronted horror punk quartet deliver a full tilt set that kicks the afternoon off in fine style. For me The Headstone Horrors fill the void left by the hiatus of two of my favourite bands, The Spookshow and The Horrorpops, and they make the perfect start to the final day of the festival.

My plan to check out the intriguingly named Scumbrians on the Introducing Stage is hampered by the fact the you can’t actually fit into the venue, the crowd is spilling out of the doorway and into the foyer of the Blackpool Winter Gardens, but from what I can hear, and the glimpses I manage to catch, they deliver an impressive bare knuckle punk rock blast. As I’m now left with a few minutes to kill I finally get to check out the Punk Art Exhibition, which is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary and has expanded this year, this includes all manner of punk related art and photography, including a somewhat surprising display by Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, his portraits of cats makes me wish I’d decided to visit this exhibition earlier so I could have picked one up for myself, at next years Rebellion Festival the Punk Art Exhibition will definitely be one of my first ports of call as it appears that pretty much everything has been sold by the final day.

Rebellion 17 The CreepshowI catch Nothington hammering out a set of their impressive gruff punk in the Empress Ballroom, then it’s outside to catch The Ramonas on the Casbah Stage, the fact that it’s pouring down adds a degree of irony to tracks like Rockaway Beach, but there’s no mistaking the fact that The Ramonas invoke the spirit of da brudders like no one else. It’s back inside to dry off and to catch The Creepshow‘s return to the Rebellion Festival in the Empress Ballroom, the Canadian psychobilly outfit deliver a charged performance that blends devil may care rock ‘n roll with punk rock to incredible effect, and adds their new album, Death At My Door, to my shopping list for September. A quick sprint across the Winter Gardens affords me the chance to reacquaint myself with Criminal Mind, which I realise is my first visit to the Arena Stage of the weekend. Criminal Mind are one of the finest hardcore outfits out there, even when there is a lighting failure part way through their set they continue playing their hard edged politically motivated punk rock in the dark until the lights burst back into life, hopefully this is a political metaphor for the coming year and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Rebellion 17 Dirt Box DiscoDirt Box Disco have become an essential part of the Rebellion Festival, and they bring the party atmosphere to the Empress Ballroom, during their set Dirt Box Disco impressively break the record for crowdsurfers at the festival, and their call to arms for the crowd to wake The Skids up, as they claimed the vintage punk band are having a nap in their tour bus, with a rousing singalong to their classic single, My Life Is Shit, is duly answered, and at the end of their set if you didn’t have a smile on your face then there is something very wrong with you. Two of the finest acts from yesterday, The Outcasts and Ruts DC, have returned to play mellower sets to an absolutely hammered Almost Acoustic Stage, and another regular act at the Rebellion Festival that I’ve meant to catch for a few years is the wonderfully eccentric Lene Lovich who is making an appearance in the Opera House. Whilst watching her captivating set I’m struck by just how many of her songs I know, and she and her band remain true to their new wave roots, but they bring something unique and undefinable to the festival that makes me glad I finally caught Lene Lovich live, and regret that I didn’t do this in previous years.

Propaghandi are closing the Casbah Stage in torrential rain, this has not deterred a healthy crowd from seeing the band on a rare visit to UK shores, and it doesn’t dampen their intense delivery either, but it’s back indoors before the end of the set to try and resurrect my phone and to close my weekend at the Rebellion Festival with The Primitves in the Opera House. I last saw The Primitives back in the late eighties when they were at the peak of their powers, and for me they’ve lost none of their sparkle, they deliver an hour long set that, despite the passing of nearly three decades from when I first saw them, seems as effortlessly effervescent as ever. The Primitives still contain the majority of their classic line up, and for me they deliver a perfect set that includes many of their much loved classics including Stop Killing Me, Through The Flowers and of course their best known single, Crash, that marks a perfect end to the Rebellion Festival.

The last four days have passed by in a blur, I’ve seen countless bands I love and discovered many to add to that ever growing list and I’ve been reunited with friends I met in previous years and made new friends. The Rebellion Festival remains one of the highlights of the year, and it will be returning to the Blackpool Winter Gardens between the 2nd and 5th August 2018, and you can guarantee that I’ll be there, as for the four days of this incredible festival there is nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. Tomorrow I return to Manchester for a few days recovery and for some much needed sleep before reality returns, although I suspect it’ll be a while longer before my feet and legs stop aching. See you next year.

The Rebellion Festival wesbsite is here 

Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy

You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images

Spunk Volcano NWUR

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions

Not Wired Up Right

STP Records

Rating: 4/5




Spunk Volcano, guitarist and prolific songwriter from punk rock legends Dirt Box Disco, branched out with his other project back in 2012 along with his backing band The Eruptions, that includes two of his fellow alumni from Dirt Box Disco, now five years later Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions have released their third album, Not Wired Up Right, that follows on from last year’s full length, Shit Generation, and the Ram Raid EP that was released earlier this year. When you consider that Dirt Box Disco have also released five albums in this time frame, then somehow describing Spunk Volcano as prolific doesn’t come close to describing the consistent output of this foul mouthed outsider.

Not Wired Up‘s title track kicks things off in brutal style and gives you the feeling that Spunk Volcano has taken things into a heavier direction with this album, every track seems to be a more muscular and pumped up than their previous releases. Tracks like Fuck This For A Game Of Soldiers are pure in your face old school punk rock that owes a debt to scum punks like the Anti Nowhere League and Dwarves, whilst You’re The Bastard and the borderline melancholy track Purely Medicinal channel the spirit of the much missed Motorhead frontman Lemmy like no one else I’ve heard since his passing. There are tracks on Not Wired Up Right that hark back to the style of his Dirt Box Disco compositions, but for the most part Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions are very much becoming their own beast.

Not Wired Up Right takes the trademark style of Dirt Box Disco and the previous releases by Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions and amplifies them, taking in influences from the likes of The Exploited and Motorhead to create their heaviest, and for me their best, album to date. Rather than just being a side project of Dirt Box Disco this album indicates that Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions have become a monstrous entity in the own right, with their own confrontational style that blends old school punk rock, hardcore and touches from the raw and ragged end of rock to create an album that, as one of the tracks on Not Wired Up Right says, will deliver a heavyweight Smack In The Teeth.

Not Wired Up Right can be pre-ordered from STP Records here

The Punk Site ‘Rebellion Festival 2017’ Preview, Part Four

Rebellion 2017 April2016 saw the Rebellion Festival celebrate its 20th year alongside the 40th anniversary of punk with a spectacular sold-out event. Over four days at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, iconic bands from every aspect of punk across the world shared stages with new and emerging talent, and the 2017 Rebellion Festival looks set to be no different. Returning to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from the 3rd to the 6th of August, the line-up is shaping up to be another punk genre defining event. The Punk Site is fortunate enough to be covering the Rebellion Festival again this year, as this is Europe’s largest punk festival and it boasts a bewildering array of bands, acts, art and temptations, we’re going to be looking ahead at what this years Rebellion Festival has to offer

The full line can be viewed here and tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival can be purchased here

The 2017 Rebellion Festival preview for Sunday 6th August can be viewed below Read More…

Loaded 44 Announce European Tour Dates

Loaded 44 May Italy TourLoaded 44 have announced their latest tour dates, including a trio of dates in Italy in May, they will also be playing a number of dates across the UK with Dirt Box Disco and will be appearing at the The Unholy Messtival and North West Calling punk festivals in addition to a series of headline dates across the UK and Ireland

Loaded 44‘s Get Ready! EP is available via their Facebook page here or their website here

The Punk Site review of the Get Ready! EP can be read here

Loaded 44‘s tour dates can be viewed below Read More…

Spunk Volcano Ram Raid

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions

Ram Raid

STP Records

Rating: 4/5




If you were expecting Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions to have mellowed then you’re going to be in for a disappointment, the Ram Raid EP is if anything even more hard edged than their sophomore album, Shit Generation, that was released last year. The self styled purveyors of spunk rock have now unleashed their first recording of 2017 and will, as usual, be bringing their profanity strewn high energy larger than life live show to venues up and down the UK, including a return to the Rebellion Festival after their unforgettable appearance last year. The Ram Raid EP is available from today, the 31st March 2017, via STP Records.

The Ram Raid EP opens with the title track and it delivers three minutes of straight up brutal punk rock that proves that Masked Intruder don’t have a monopoly on being a masked punk band with criminal intent, Stop Looking At Your Phone ups the ante with a hardcore riff that’s an angry blast against the iPhone generation. Hanging Round The Shops is a return to more catchy punk rock that populated much of their debut album, this time it’s an ode to teenagers trying to get someone to buy them booze and cigarettes. I Think Her Name Was Tracey returns to the hardcore attack of the opening duo before Snap Backbone, the EP’s finest moment, delivers the kind of song that Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions do so well, a perfect number that captures the essence of spunk rock, a catchy riff that is married to a singalong chorus, a track that i guarantee will go down a storm at their live shows.

This is a taster of what’s to come from Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions, this picks up where Shit Generation left off, it’s a mix of pop punk and UK82 hardcore, whilst that sounds like an unlikely marriage it’s what they, and lead vocalist and guitarist Spunk Volcano‘s better know act, Dirt Box Disco, do, and they do it well. If you want subtlety and political insight then this is not the band for you, however if you want a band that write catchy punk rock and hardcore, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, then Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions are band you need in your life, and if you get the chance to see them live you should, as that is where they are truly in their element.

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions Facebook presence can be found here

Dirt Box Disco Poppycock

Dirt Box Disco


STP Records

Rating: 4.5/5



 Poppycock is Dirt Box Disco‘s fifth studio album, it was supposed to be released on the 15th April 2017, via STP Records, Due to an error by the online distributor Poppycock was released a month early to online sites and not the intended release date of April 15th, the CD and online versions are now available but for those with a preference for vinyl you still have to wait until April 15th. Dirt Box Disco have been steadily building a well deserved reputation, especially live where they are in their element, with their infectious hard edged pop punk, not pop punk as we usually know it, but a band with an ear for a catchy melody with choruses that plant themselves firmly in your brain, and refuse to leave. Over the years I’ve encountered Dirt Box Disco live they’ve been on an upward trajectory, going from the early slots at the Rebellion and North West Calling festivals, heading steadily towards headlining slots, and on the basis of their latest album this trend is something that looks like continuing.
Dirt Box Disco are essentially the bastard sons of such infamous punk bands as The Anti Nowhere League and The Macc Lads, this is not a family friendly band as the opening track, The Bullshit Kids, demonstrates, this is a guaranteed live favourite up with there with their earlier crowd pleasing classics such My Life Is Shit and Let’s Get Wasted, and this continues with Fingerblast, a track which gives a knowing nod to The Damned classic, Wait For The Blackout. There are of course fist pumping old school classics such as Punk Rock Riot, Working For Wankers and Slapdash And Haphazzard, that could have been written at anytime in the last forty years that punk’s been around, these sit alongside surprisingly tender pop punkers such as Little White Lie, and it’s antithesis, the heaviest number on Poppycock, Snorting Crack Off A Girls Top Rack, whilst the closest you get to political lyrics is their song about childhood obesity, Fat Kid, subtlety is definitely not their strong point. The final trio are fine pack of tracks, Imaginary Friend and Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid are another pair of fine punk classics in the making, whilst Poppyock ends in relatively mellow style with I Hate This City, which starts with a dub influence, before the inevitable happens and everything snaps back to normal for the chorus.
if you’re looking introspection and serious political views then this won’t be for you, if however you want some energetic punk rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then come on in. This is anthemic singalonga punk that is just made for drunken nights and good times, the subject matter isn’t politically correct but it’s all delivered with a good natured knowing wink. Poppycock is an anthemic thirteen track album that spans the heavier end of pop punk to lighter end of hardcore, with elements of rock and dub thrown in for good measure, and it’s all delivered with humour and the irrepressible nature that characterises their live shows. I’d recommend picking up a copy of Poppycock, then get yourself a ticket for a live show, and I can guarantee they’ll be coming somewhere near you in 2017 if you live in the UK, and head down the front, you can thank me later.
Dirt Box Disco‘s website can be found here and STP Records web presence can be located here

Stream: Dirt Box Disco – ‘Slapdash and Haphazard’

Dirt Box Disco 2017Midlands, UK based chaotic punk rock outfit Dirt Box Disco are streaming Slapdash and Haphazard, a track taken from their latest LP Poppycock. The record dropped on March 15th via Dead Fly Recordings.

Check out the stream of Slapdash and Haphazard and the band’s upcoming UK tour dates below.

Read More…

Loaded 44 Release Video For ‘Tell Me’ From ‘Get Ready!’ EP

Loaded 44 EPLoaded 44 have released a video for the track Tell Me, this is the second video that showcases the material from their critically acclaimed Get Ready! EP. Loaded 44 have already started making plans for 2017, they will be playing a number of dates across the UK with Dirt Box Disco and will also be appearing at the North West Calling Punk Festival.

Get Ready! is available from the band via their Facebook page here or their website here

The Punk Site review of the excellent Get Ready! EP can be read here

You can view the video for Tell Me, and their tour dates for 2017, below Read More…

Rebellion 2016

Rebellion Festival (Sunday)

Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK

7th August 2016

Rating: 5/5




The final day dawns, so far I’ve been running around trying to see as much as possible, sadly my feet can’t take much more  so my plan for the final day is to see a few bands I’ve been intending to see, along with reminding myself that next year I must get comfier boots. First Wave are opening on the Empress Ballroom stage, despite the fact that you can still taste the toothpaste at this early hour, they play a set of energetic and defiant punk rock that, as their name implies, is inspired by the first wave of British punk bands. Following this, and due to further complaints from my feet, I take the opportunity to take a seat and enjoy an interview with one of the original members of The Damned, Captain Sensible. Throughout the interview the Captain is irreverent and entertaining, he provides a profanity littered insight into The Damned‘s highs and lows over the last forty years and he ends the interview with an impromptu rendition of one of his novelty pop songs, Wot. I could happily have listened to Captain Sensible for a lot longer, he remains one of punk’s true eccentrics and a unique individual, but the interview is over and more live music awaits.

Healthy Junkies are another band I’ve been meaning to catch since I reviewed their last album, Box Of Chaos. They don’t disappoint live, their set of energetic punk rock is well received, Nina Coulson delivers her vocals in her breathless and manic style that juxtaposes the crunching delivery that rest of the band deliver. Sadly I can’t stay for their full set as Louise Distras is playing her second set of the weekend, I’ve seen her live many times, but this will be the first time I have got to see her play with a full band. The transformation of her songs from the acoustic sets I’ve seen her play so often to her full band is stunning. Songs that were performed yesterday as heartfelt ballads are transformed into full blooded punk anthems, it’s a tribute to her songwriting that the material works so well in both styles. I can honestly say that this set was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Goldblade are playing their rabble rousing punk ‘n roll outside on the Tower Stage, their set coincides with an aerial display by Red Arrows aerobatic display team so you have the visual spectacle of formation jet fighters as background to their set. Despite the jet fighters a bare chested John Robb still easily wins in the volume stakes, he prowls the stage like a caged animal and as they close their set with Do You Believe In The Power of Rock ‘N Roll he leaves the stage and encourages those down the from to testify to this. From this point my plans go astray as there are so many fine bands playing simultaneously. Belfast’s The Defects play an outstanding set of full tilt punk rock in The Empress Ballroom and then it’s back outside to catch Citizen Fish playing their energetic politically sussed ska. Their infectious and energetic performance causes an outbreak of skanking towards the back of the audience despite this being the fourth day of the Rebellion Festival.

Rebellion 2016 Dirt Box Disco by Dod Morrison photographyDirt Box Disco have almost become an automatic choice to make an appearance at UK punk festivals, their set is comprised of their ever popular hard edged anthemic pop punk that is delivered with the mix of humour and visual spectacle. If they carry on as they are then it won’t be too long before you see Dirt Box Disco headlining festivals as they have filled the Tower Street stage to capacity and their is set is deliriously received. Back inside it’s time for a final lap of the stages, I catch Germany’s Bonsai Kitten  playing a set of full tilt rockabilly inspired punk rock, and the scantily clad singer Tiger Lilly Marleen delivers her vocals with a snarl whilst she prowls and shimmys across the stage.

Over on the introducing stage, the much talked about Heavy Drapes play a set of old school inspired punk rock to a packed crowd, based on the reception they receive I can see them playing to a bigger audience next year. One of the biggest disappointments of the weekend is the fact that Street Dogs have cancelled their European tour dates, but fear not as Cocksparrer have stepped into the breach to deliver their ‘hangover set’ after they headlined Saturday Night, of course their anthemic street punk stylings are as well received as you’d expect.

Rebellion 2016 Jello Biafra & the GSM by Dod Morrison photographyAt this point the blazing sunshine that has characterised the weekend gives way to the more usual British summertime and the heavens open and the wind and rain lash across Blackpool but this doesn’t deter either the crowd, or the bands. Incredible closing sets are delivered by Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School of Medicine and Belfast’s finest, Stiff Little Fingers. I start to make my way home through the wind, rain and traffic jams, and if I’m honest I’m already counting the days until next year.

Blackpool is occasionally referred to as the Vegas of the North West, whilst I presume this is said by people who have never actually been to Las Vegas, Rebellion Festival has one thing in common with sin city, it is as busy in the early hours of the morning as it is during the day. I’m personally not a fan of Blackpool as a destination, it’s faded seaside grandeur and tackiness are usually something I would avoid, but for the four days of the Rebellion Festival there is nowhere on earth that I’d rather be.

Rebellion 2016 by Dod Morrison photographyIt’s not just the music that makes this such a special weekend, everyone seems to be friendly, friendships are made and renewed throughout the weekend in what has become an international punk festival. It’s not just the bands that have come from almost all corners of the world, the Rebellion Festival is a truly multinational affair, everywhere you go there are different languages and accents, it has become a magnet for the punk community and on the basis of the turnout the punk movement is clearly still alive and well. Every review of the Rebellion Festival you read will be different, there is so much to see, hear and do that everyone’s experience will be unique.

If you can attend this four day celebration of punk then you should, as there is nothing else like it on earth.

The Punk Site reviews of the Friday and Saturday at Rebellion Festival are here (Friday) and here (Saturday)

Tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival, that takes place between the 3rd and 6th of August 2017, can be ordered here

Photography by Dod Morrison

Spunk Volcano SG

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions

Shit Generation

STP Records

Rating: 4/5




This is the full length debut from Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions, the eponymous singer is better known as the guitarist and singer in Dirt Box Disco and this is the other outlet for his prolific songwriting. There are elements of oi, street punk and good old fashioned punk rock to be heard on this release, but it’s all done with pop sensibility, albeit a quite a noisy sweary one. This is not an album for the easily offended but that should be pretty obvious given the band’s name and the album title.

From The Fall tinged opener, Massive Mistake Masterclass, there is a clear theme to the album, this is not politically correct in the slightest, in particular on the title track and DNA Failure, although it must be noted that the tongue is firmly in cheek throughout the release, although who’s cheek I’m not sure. Shit Generation doesn’t just feature the offensive, there are pop culture references, reminiscences abut random items from past, has anyone else ever written an ode to a Ford XR3 before? These sit alongside romance, relationships and even quite tender love songs, admittedly all of these themes are done noisily and without too much subtlety.

This is one of those albums that sounds even better when you’re drunk, even when sober you cant help singing along to this, although you might not want to do this in polite company. It’s anthemic sing-a-long choruses are infectious and reflect the quality of the songwriting that might be lost under the swearing and power chords. Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions serve up straight up scum rock, fans of Snuff, The Dwarves, Anti-Nowhere League and obviously Dirt Box Disco, will adore this album.

North West calling 2016

North West Calling 2016

The Ritz, Manchester, England

4th June 2016

Rating: 4.5/5




It seems appropriate that on the 40th anniversary of The Sex Pistols playing the Manchester Free Trade Hall, a concert that changed everything for Manchester’s music scene and inspired many of this town’s most beloved bands to form, the annual North West Calling festival is taking place. Now in it’s third year it showcases the diversity of the punk scene and always boasts a generation spanning line up. Sadly both The Ruts DC and The Anti Nowhere League had to pull out of this years event but there are always bands willing to step into the breach.

By noon a healthy queue has already formed outside The Ritz, on what is an unexpectedly warm sunny Saturday in Manchester,  whilst other less dedicated souls have ensconced themselves in the bars opposite the venue and are enjoying some early alcoholic refreshment. As people are still filtering into the venue Criminal Mind take the stage, the opening slot is always a difficult one as you’re playing to a sparse and sober crowd, despite this they take the stage and play like they’re headlining, their gurning acrobatic guitarist provides a visual keypoint and they play an intense set of politically informed hardcore tinged punk rock that blows away the cobwebs and provides as good a start to the day as you could wish for.

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions are a different kettle of fish, their singer is a vision in his Captain America briefs, army boots and fluffy mohican topped balaclava They play hard edged pop punk songs that reminisce about the obscure items from the past and unrequited love. Their sing-a-long choruses and banter with the burgeoning crowd builds on the fine work by opening act Criminal Mind and by now things are starting to warm up in The Ritz, both metaphorically and physically.

Crashed Out are next and play a brutal set of street punk, I’m unsure whether its the fact that it’s now approaching melting point or because the first two bands provided such an incredible start to proceedings but the crowd seems to thin out. However, the dedicated fans of this band seem to enjoy themselves and they end their set with rousing cover of punk legends The Clash which is, as you’d expect, well received.

The Restarts take the stage and this trio deliver what for me was the best set of the day, this is a return to hardcore influenced punk and they wake the crowd back up with a  politically charged set, this is the first band of the day to get a frantic mosh pit going, amongst those in the pit is Criminal Mind‘s hyperactive guitarist. This is a band I am keen to hear a lot more of and a review of their last album will be forthcoming shortly.

The first of the old school bands, Vice Squad, are next to take the stage and have the unenviable task of following the incredible set by The Restarts. Beki Bondage has obvious stage presence and given she’s been a stalwart of the punk scene since the 1970’s I can only assume there is a truly awful picture of her in an attic somewhere as she doesn’t appear to have aged. They deliver a crowd pleasing set of highlights from their extensive back catalogue.

 NWC Beki Bondage  NWC GBH  NWC Restarts

Belfast’s The Defects are next, they have been ploughing the punk furrow since 1978 and provide an uncompromising set of old school punk rock that warm the audience up nicely for Dirt Box Disco, who have become a fixture of North West Calling and have been rising steadily up the billing as word of mouth about their antics has spread. Unsurprisingly the crowd has swelled by the time they take the stage and they bring North West Calling to life and energise the sweaty crowd. They are a visual spectacle to behold and their anthemic hard edged pop punk has the audience respond and when My Life Is Shit is played they almost blow the roof off The Ritz. Their set was eagerly anticipated and they haven’t disappointed.                                                 

The UK82 legends GBH playa pummelling set but this doesn’t seem to hit the heights I’ve seem them reach in previous years and they are followed by The Angelic Upstarts. Along with Dirt Box Disco these have become a perennial feature of North West Calling. Lead singer Mensi prowls the stag with an aura of restrained fury, it’s clear they have lost none of their original anger at societies inequalites and they deliver a charged set. I’m glad to see that they have already been added to the bill for North West Calling 2017.

The Cockney Rejects and the Sham 69 close out what has been a memorable and sweaty day. The latter have reformed with three quarters of the original line up for today’s show. They play a greatest hits set to round out the day, it’s good to see Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and Dave Tregunna back together. They play a well received set  but but given the energy, creativity and commitment on display earlier their set seems to fall a bit flat.

 I can’t help feeling that the up and coming bands have stolen the thunder from the old guard and I can’t think of a better indication of how the punk scene has remained fresh and vibrant, in particular Criminal Minds and The Restarts made a distinct and lasting impression on me. On the basis of this year’s North West Calling it seems to me that tomorrow belongs to the next generation of bands, the passion and commitment on display indicates the punk scene is alive, well and relevant after it all started in Manchester forty years ago to the day.

Photography by Dean Unsworth (left to right Vice Squad, GBH and The Restarts)

Dirt Box Disco Announce UK Shows

Dirt Box DiscoMidlands, UK based chaotic punk rock outfit Dirt Box Disco have announced a series of shows in December. The band released their latest record, Bloonz back in April of this year and are releasing a holiday single, I Don’t Want Anything For Christmas on November 17th. 

Pre orders for their holiday single are available here, and you can check out the full list of tour dates below.

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Dirt Box Disco - Legends

Dirt Box Disco


Wolverine Records

Rating: 3/5




UK mutant punk rockers Dirt Box Disco make a strong case for keeping things simple and striving for the infectious energy of the classics.  There’s a little something for everyone from the mask wearing punker showpiece, Legends.  Melodic in spirit, boisterous in delivery, and intermittently poppy throughout, all thirteen tracks engage listeners as fellow partiers and not just passive listeners. 

Generally their songs fall into one of two camps – rock n’ roll tribute tunes or those that draw their inspiration from the EpiFat era classics.  The former tend to feature over the top guitar bits and weighty in your face beats.  “Rock N’ Rolla” and “I Am Rock N’ Roll” serve as exemplars of their rock star persona.   “I am rock n’ roll, you are rock n’ roll, we are rock n’ roll, this is rock n’ roll” sings front man WEAB.I.AM as he escalates into a heavy mid-song guitar solo that would fit the bill for an explosive visual stage show.  “Listen To The Radio” even goes as far as promoting tuning into the mainstream classics, dropping Ozzy Osborne and Twisted Sister by name as they sing about the merits of radio rock.  Probably the first time I’ve ever heard an underground punk act praise icons this big over their scene.

Aligning more to my preference are the quicker, more upbeat tunes that resemble melodic mid 90’s punk rock.  They’re the type that bring to mind modern European equivalents like Strawberry Blondes and classics like Millencolin.  “I Don’t Wanna Go Out Without You” hops along with a casual confidence and comfortable ease, making for a safe and familiar listen.  Without much to call their own though, these tracks can drift into passive territory.   Furthermore, lyrics certainly aren’t Dirt Box Disco’s strong point, which oddly makes the most stylistically in-tune tracks some of the most dragging thanks to some shallow, repetitive loops.

Dirt Box Disco is more than just a cheap costume wearing stage gimmick.  Legends introduces the band’s audience to an energetic freak show of punk rock promiscuity.  Admittedly, the rock n’ roll party mentality does grow thin with repeat listens, but there’s enough melodic glue binding the disc together to cushion the wear over time.  But as a starting point, Legends lands Dirt Box Disco firmly on the map.