‘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

GBH Streaming New Album

GBHLong running UK punk act GBH has premiered a premiered a full stream of their freshly dropped album, Momentum, which drops today, November 17, 2017, via Hellcat Records.  Order the album here.

Listen to the full disc below.

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GBH – Blue Sky Thinking

GBHLong running UK punk act GBH has premiered a new song.  The track is titled “Blue Sky Thinking” and is from their upcoming album, Momentum, which is set to drop on November 17, 2017 via Hellcat Records. Pre-order the album here.

Listen to the song below.

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GBH – Birmingham Smiles

GBHLong running UK punk act GBH has premiered a new song.  The track is titled “Birmingham Smiles” and is from their upcoming album, Momentum, which is set to drop on November 17, 2017 via Hellcat Records. Pre-order the album here.

Listen to the song below.

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GBH Announce New Album; Stream First Track

GBHLong running hardcore punk act GBH have announced that they will be releasing their next album later this year.   The disc will be titled Momentum and is set to drop on November 17, 2018 via Hellcat Records.

The first new song “Momentum” can be heard below.

The band will be touring in support of the album.  Dates are below.

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Me First And The Gimme Gimmes Added To ‘It’s Not Dead 2’

It's Not Dead 2017Me First And The Gimme Gimmes have been added to the already stacked lineup for It’s Not Dead 2, one of the America’s largest punk rock festivals. It’s Not Dead is returning to Southern California’s Glen Helen Amphitheater on August 26th after a two-year break. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes join previously announced co-headliners Rancid and Dropkick Murphys, plus A Wilhelm Scream, Buzzcocks, Channel 3, The Casualties, Down By Law, The Exploited, The Flatliners, GBH, Good Riddance, Guttermouth, The Interrupters, Kevin Seconds, Mad Caddies, Off!, Runaway Kids, The Selecter, The Toasters, Wraths, U.S. Bombs, Voodoo Glow Skulls and many more

Tickets for It’s Not Dead 2 can be purchased here

It’s Not Dead Festival Returns To California For 2017

It's Not Dead 2017Old and new-school punk rock fans demanded it, and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman has delivered, It’s Not Dead, one of the country’s largest punk rock festivals, is returning to Southern California this summer, after a two-year break. It’s Not Dead will once again invade the Glen Helen Amphitheater Festival Grounds on Saturday, August 26, with another massive line-up of bands on four stages.

Tickets for It’s Not Dead will be available from 9am on Monday 20th March here

Details of the line-up for It’s Not Dead can be viewed below Read More…

Rebellion 2016

Rebellion Festival (Saturday)

Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK

6th August 2016

Rating: 5/5




For Saturday the sun has continued to shine and another full day of punk rock beckons, whilst waiting for the Winter Gardens to open it’s doors I enjoy a coffee whilst sat next to a lifesize mannequin of Elvis Presley and watch some morris dancers, who resemble nothing less than a pack of dysfunctional crows, this is pretty much the epitomy of Blackpool’s tackiness. Thankfully the Rebellion Festival offers a welcome alternative to the town’s traditional attractions. The only problem is that there is so much on over the weekend that you will continually be stuck with difficult choices throughout the event, immediately I am confronted with a choice between The Pukes and STP Records legends, Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions. I opt for the former purely on the basis that I caught Spunk Volcano at Manchester’s North West Calling festival earlier this year.

The Pukes are holding a ‘pop up’ event where the audience are encouraged to join the band to form a punk ukulele orchestra, word has clearly spread as a healthy crowd turns up. The workshop culminates in a bizarre cover of The Exploited‘s Sex And Violence, presumably chosen as it contains three chords and three words. I can happily declare I am now officially a part time puke and can claim to have played the Rebellion Festival, this marked a slightly surreal but highly enjoyable start to the day. The first band that I’m not a part of that I catch are Choking Susan, they provide a blistering hardcore barrage and possess a visually captivating vocalist. Hands Off Gretel, who are playing the Introducing Stage, have attracted a sizeable crowd and treat their audience to a raucous set that sounds like it’s informed by the riot grrrl movement and the finer female fronted punk bands. Their set leaves me wanting to hear more by them and I’d be surprised if they aren’t playing to a bigger crowd the next time they play the Rebellion Festival.

Interrobang play a set that combines ska and old school punk rock, uniquely with no bass player, that is a contemporary hybrid of punk styles to produces an intriguing sound that brings something unique to the weekend. Then it’s over the outdoor Tower Stage for something far more predictable, Gimp Fist are veterans of the punk festival scene, they play their rousing set of street punk with it’s infectious choruses that is very well received by a beer fuelled crowd who are enjoying the warm sunny afternoon. I return inside as I’ve been meaning to catch the Hi-Fi Spitfires ever since I heard Backfire, my favourite song from their sophomore album Nightraid, and they don’t disappoint. They deliver a set that mainlines the first wave of British punk, they play to a respectable crowd and down the front there is collection of hardcore fans pogoing for all they are worth. Hi-Fi Spitfires frontman, Steve Straughan seems to be an ever present over the course of the weekend, this is his second appearance after playing with Loaded 44 yesterday and he will be making his final appearance of the weekend when he appear with the UK Subs later today.

Rebellion 2016 bar stool preachers by dod morrison photographyBarstool Preachers are another band I’ve been meaning to see live since I reviewed their excellent debut album, Blatant Propaganda. Their ska fuelled set is played to a capacity crowd in a packed and sweaty Pavillion Stage. Inflatable footballs make their first appearance of the weekend and are frantically being batted round the stage by the ebullient crowd. Much to my surprise Barstool Preachers are actually better live than they are on record and I’d seriously recommend catching them live if you get the chance.

Rebellion 2016 Jilted John by Dod Morrison PhotographyJilted John, best known for their eponymous hit single, are playing the Empress Ballroom and I presume most of the crowd are here on the strength of hearing that live. They tease the audience by opening with the instantly recognisable riff before stopping dead, and heading into a set of lovelorn poppy punk,  which inevitably ends with their classic single. Vince Ray And The Boneshakers are paying their mutated take on rock ‘n roll, the distorted guitar riffs blend rockabilly with a jagged punk edge and inject a little rock ‘n roll into the weekend.

Louise Distras is playing the Almost Acoustic Stage, the first of her two sets this weekend, the and the venue is rammed front to back, she plays her heartfelt songs with her customary passion. She plays songs that is centred around alienation, unity and defiance that can only come straight from the heart, each number receives a deservedly rousing reception. I return outdoors to the Tower Stage to catch GBH playing a highly charged set of their UK82 hardcore that warms the audience up nicely for tonight’s headline act. The Damned occupy the prestigious Saturday night headline slot. In this 40th anniversary of punk who better than the band who released the first punk single and album, were the first to split up, the first to reform and now they are one of the few from the first wave of punk who are still in existence.

Rebellion 2016 The Damned by Dod Morrison PhotographyThe current line up of The Damned, the most stable in their turbulent forty year history, are better live than they’ve ever been and the stars have aligned for their appearance at Rebellion Festival. Tonight’s show for me was even more impressive than their triumphant fortieth anniversary show at the Royal Albert Hall. They play an energetic set culled largely from their first five albums, and although there are no songs from their eagerly anticipated new album, no one is complaining. Their deliver an energetic crowd pleasing set, the sound is perfect, the weather is perfect and even after all this time they clearly love playing together.

By now I’m limping quite badly so my decision for one of the later sets is made, Jello Biafra is being interviewed by John Robb, well I say interviewed, he rarely gets a word in as Jello Biafra is an animated and entertaining speaker. Of course politics are discussed, the candidacy of Donald Trump was never going to be the elephant in the room, but there also insights into origins of the American Punk scene and the early days of the Dead Kennedys. This is the end of the Saturday for me, although there are still events going on late into the night. My planned early night goes west as my taxi driver turns out to be an old punk and we spend a good thirty minutes outside the hotel discussing our favourite bands and songs, it’s been the kind of weekend.

The Punk Site review of the Friday at Rebellion Festival can be found here

Photography by Dod Morrison

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)

balsall heathens

Balsall Heathens

Life's Too Short EP

Violated Records

Rating: 2.5 stars/5




Balsall Heathens are an acoustic duo from Balsall Heath in Birmingham, England comprising Colin ‘Jock’ Blythe on guitar, who is better known for being the guitarist for English UK82 legends GBH, and Sam Uendo on vocals and fiddle, who currently plays in Contempt, Alcohol Licks and Screamin’ Abdabz, So it’s clear Balsall Heathens have a hefty punk pedigree behind them. They describe themselves as “gypsy pirate punk” and this release fits nicely into the burgeoning folk punk scene, although I’ll admit that “gypsy pirate punk” sounds like a lot more fun.

This five track EP was recorded in Birmingham, England and will be released via Violated Records and as you’d expect from an acoustic duo this is a minimalist release but it does maintain a punk rock attitude on the majority of it’s tracks. The opening track, Whisky In The Giro, is a spirited folk punk tinged reworking of the Thin Lizzy classic Whisky in The Jar and there are four more tracks of folk punk jiggery contained on the EP. Though this is a perfectly decent release it’s not covering any ground that hasn’t previously been trodden by numerous Celtic and folk punk bands before them and I imagine Balsall Heathens are a band best experienced live, preferably with a glass of something alcoholic clutched in your hand.


GBH - Perfume and Piss


Perfume and Piss

Hellcat Records

Rating: 3.5/5




GBH is the group your older brother was blasting when you were just discovering Blink 182.  The UK street punk legends first picked up the street punk flag in 1978, and have been waving it proudly every since.  They’ve been remarkably non-commercial for the majority of their career, sticking close to the sound responsible for winning over their career-defining core.  But for those of us who were nothing more than an idea when GBH first hit the streets, the band seems to be entering a late career resurgence, returning from a six year dormant state and signing with Hellcat Records for their eleventh studio album,Perfume and Piss.

Perfume and Piss is the perfect point to jump on the bandwagon for those like myself who were curios about the band’s legacy, but didn’t know where to start.  Partnering with a high profile punk label likeHellcat was a perfect scenario for GBH, the Epitaph imprint allowed the band to keep it’s coarse exterior, but throwing enough production behind the disc to let their personality shine through.  Think of GBHas an English Rancid – right down to the healthy respect for rockabilly (check out “Cadillac One”).

Clean but sufficiently ragged, Perfume and Piss is loaded with classic club-filling anthems – or should I say anti-anthems.  Opener “Unique” blasts listeners with a healthy dose of reality, as front man Coli Abrahall shouts “you’re not unique” from the onset in his energetic but gravelly tone.  The title track keeps the societal critiques from the street blunt, calling out “self serving servants” and politicians alike, and “This Is Not The Real World” is as blunt as it’s title implies.  The band has never been terribly eloquent, but their bluntness bleeds authenticity.

Unlike a lot of groups out there today, GBH doesn’t hesitate to rock out regularly.  Their 70’s lineage makes for a far more aggressive display than many of today’s young acts, and it works well for the group.  For instance, the punchy solos on “San Jose Wind” land with an aged rock n’ roll swagger that can only result from years of punk rock solidarity.  Likewise, guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth’s messy guitar licks on “Invisible Gun” drench the quartet in a healthy dose of distortion-filled attitude.

When all is said and done, Perfume and Piss is constant but never exhaustive, and exerts all the balance of a band that’s been around the block more than a few times.  Granted, in security wades predictability, but that shouldn’t be confused with anything detrimentally exhaustive.  A few lyrical hiccups do interrupt album flow – the obvious being the over trodden ground of “Absolute Power” (with the obvious tagline “absolute power absolutely corrupts”).  But GBH has been around forever, and a late career resurgence like Perfume and Piss proves that these old timers still have what it takes to stick around for a long while more.

Watch Garageland On Aux TV

GaragelandThe first episode of the recently expanded 30-minute version of Garageland is now online for streaming. The punk tv show is produced in joint-partnership between Aux TV Exclaim! magazine. The first episode features interviews and live footage from A Wilhelm Scream, The Menzingers and GBH

Click here to watch.

GBH Live At Fuel TV

GBHLegendary UK punks GBH recently recorded two live tracks at the Fuel TV studios from their latest Hell-Cat Records release, Perfume & Piss. They performed the songs Kids Get Down and Unique – both of which can be seen below.

Perfume & Piss was released in April and is the first album from the band since 2004’s Cruel and Unusual.

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GBH Heading On Summer Tour

GBHLong running hardcore punk act GBH will be launching a North American tour this summer in support of their recently released, Piss & Purfume.  Stops will include a hand full of Vans Warped Tour Dates in California, and select shows in Eastern Canada.

Check out the tour dates below.
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Examiner Interviews GBH

GBHPunk rock mainstays GBH recently sat down with for an interview about their recently released album, Perfume & Piss.  The band talks about topics ranging from their decision to sign with Hellcat Records, to their outlook on the state of punk rock and future plans.

The interview can be read here.

Stream GBH's New Album, Perfume and Piss

GBHLong running UK punk band GBH has launched a stream of their brand new album on Exclaim. The record is called Perfume and Piss and will be released by Hellcat Records on April 6th, 2010.

The album can be streamed here until April 5th.

GBH Releases Eleventh Studio Album, Post New Song

Hell-Cat RecordsEnglish hardcore band GBH has announced plans to release their eleventh studio album, Perfume and Piss, via Hellcat Records on April 6.  They have posted a new song, Kids Get Down on the Hellcat MySpace page.

The band describes Perfume and Piss as “best album we’ve done in a long, long time.”  The album was created in fits and starts (two weeks on, two weeks off) which allowed them to fine-tune the material and compose a more complete feeling album.