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Undercover Festival To Return To Margate Dreamland In April

Undercover Festival Jan 18The Undercover Festival is returning in April to the unique setting of Margate Dreamland, a venue and experience that defies all conventions and festival templates. The Undercover Festival boasts an impressive line up, including Eddie And The Hot Rods, Sham 69, Chelsea, Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons, Kirk Brandon and Menace, but it also offers retro rides and amusements that can all be experienced in an indoor environment safe from the unpredictable UK climate. The Undercover Festival is one that prides itself on taking an independent grassroots approach, and is always determined to be different from mainstream events.

The Undercover Festival‘s website can be found here

Sham 69 Confirmed For Great British Alternative Music Festival

Sham 69 GBAMFPunk legends the Sham 69, with a line up featuring original members Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and Dave Tregunna, have been confirmed to appear at the 2018 Great British Alternative Music Festival along with UK Subs, Bad Manners, Rezillos, The Boomtown Rats and The Blockheads, with many more acts still to be announced. The Great British Alternative Music Festival takes place in Skegness between the 5th and 8th October 2018 in heated indoor venues with onsite accommodation.

The Sham 69‘s Facebook page can be found here

Tickets for The Great British Alternative Music Festival can be ordered 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

North West calling 2016

North West Calling 2016

The Ritz, Manchester, England

4th June 2016
By

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)

Polyfest 3 Details Lineup, X-Ray Spex Covers LP

715BkynYJ1L._SL1000_The third annual Polyfest takes place on 30th April at The Half Moon, Putney. Polyfest has become an annual celebration of the life and music of the much missed Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex. The day features a truly eclectic line up and features a host of musicians and performers playing in memory of Poly Styrene and Diane Charlemagne, featuring The Special’s Roddy Radiation, Republica’s Saffron Sprackling, Doctor and the Medics, Angie Brown, JC Carroll of The Members, The Vapors, Sarah Dee, Spizzology and many more it promises to be a memorable event

A CD is available featuring cover versions of some of X-Ray Spex‘s best known songs by a surprising variety of artists (Sham 69 with veteran English actress Anita Harris being a personal highlight) and also features live recordings from the inaugural Polyfest.  It is available from Amazon for purchase and a limited number will be on sale at Polyfest

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Sham 69 Drops From Punk Rock Bowling, Cockney Rejects Replace

Punk Rock BowlingThe legendary Sham 69 have been forced to cancel their upcoming trip to the United States to play Punk Rock Bowling on May 27th in Las Vegas as singer Jimmy Pursey must deal with some pressing family issues. He released the following statement:

“In March my father was diagnosed with asbestosis lung cancer. Since then, the situation for my family has got worse and my fathers prognosis is not good as it has just  become apparent that he has the most aggressive form. We have just been told that he now only has weeks to live and indeed his condition is already deteriorating. My family has only recently lost my mother so this makes it very difficult for me not to be here for my father and family. You will have to forgive me but I have to tell you now so you can at least have time to inform all fans.  I am so sorry for this situation.” 

Filling in for Sham 69 on the Punk Rock Bowling show with Rancid will be The Cockney Rejects.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy and his family at this time.