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The Damned Announce ‘Evil Spirits’ 2018 UK Tour

Damned Evil Spirits Tour 18Punk legends The Damned have announced a UK tour in support of their forthcoming new album, their first in a decade, always the most entertaining of the original punk bands The Damned have gained a reputation as a band who always deliver an accomplished live set. The Damned continue to wave the flag for originality, stick two fingers up to mediocrity and celebrate a DIY punk ethos in the face of plastic entertainment and scripted reality.

You can still sign up to the Pledge Music campaign for The Damned‘s new album here

Tickets for the Evil Spirits Tour can be purchased here and the tour dates can be viewed below Read More…

Camden Rocks Festival Confirm Line Up And Stage Times

Camden Rocks May 17The Camden Rocks Festival have revealed full line up details for the June 3rd all day event, and announced a special Kraken Sounds Stage to be held in the Camden Market Amphitheatre, featuring acoustic performances and open to all, free of charge. Progressively expanding with each year, 2017 asserts Camden Rocks Festival as the biggest and best value multi-venue all-day music event of the UK festival calendar. Camden Rocks 2017 makes a massive statement for independent UK festivals. This year’s headliners include Feeder, The Coral, The Damned, Milburn, The Rifles, Reverend and The Makers, Carl Barat & The Jackals, Pulled Apart By Horses and many more, alongside some of the country’s finest up and coming new acts. The festival will take place across 25 of Camden Town’s legendary music venues and features 250 bands and artists.

Details of the full line up and stage times can be viewed below Read More…

The Damned To Release ‘Smashing It Up’ Book Via Pledge Music

Damned Smashing It UpThe Damned were one of the originators of British punk rock along with The Clash and The Sex Pistols, in 1976, they were a three pronged attack on the self satisfied rock elite and the inspiration to a new generation of music fans. Putting The Damned in context for the first time, Smashing It Up is the history of this important band and their original members, it’s also packed with their encounters with Marc Bolan, America, members of Pink Floyd, and their always strained relationship with the music business. Smashing It Up draws on interviews by the author with the original band members, as well as its associates and eye witnesses to their chaotic journey, and it contains previously unseen pictures from their original drummer, Rat Scabies.

You can order Smashing It Up via Pledge Music here

Feeder To Headline Camden Rocks Festival 2017

Camden Rocks Feeder Mar 17The Camden Rocks Festival 2017 has announced Feeder as the headliners of this year’s festival, alongside another thirty bands today confirmed to join the line-up on June 3rd across 25 venues through Camden Town. The impressive line up already includes such punk luminaries as The Damned, The Ruts DC, The Professionals, Love Zombies, Louise Distras, Hands Off Gretel and the Anti Nowhere League

Tickets for the Camden Rocks Festival 2017 can be purchased here

The full list of bands for the Camden Rocks Festival 2017 can be viewed below Read More…

Andy J Gallagher Boy Racer

Andy J. Gallagher

Boy Racer / I Don't Wanna Be Like You

JAC64 Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Following in the wake of the first single, Sheena’s Big Night Out, from the eagerly anticipated album, Ego, Andy J. Gallagher  has now released another double a-side single featuring the tracks Boy Racer and I Don’t Wanna Be Like You, the single has been released on JAC64 Records today, the 20th March 2017. Ego will be Andy J. Gallagher‘s sophomore album, it follows on from 2009’s Helicopter, Dolphin, Submarine, an album that is now available as a free download via Andy J. Gallagher‘s website.

Boy Racer occupies the a-side, it’s a track that channels the spirit of The Libertines with a spirited chunk of power pop fuelled indie rock, and it marks a damn fine start to the single, however for me the star of the show is the flip side. I Don’t Wanna Be Like You is a darker composition, that whilst still carrying Andy J. Gallagher‘s pop sensibility, has an element of menace and discord that possesses more of a punk rock spirit than the a-side, or the previous single.

Once more Andy J. Gallagher has teamed up with former member of The Damned and The Phantom Chords, and more recently solo artist, Roman Jugg, and their partnership is one that seems to almost effortlessly produce a heady mix of punk and power pop that maintains a sparkling pop sensibility. For me Boy Racer, and especially it’s flip side I Don’t Wanna Be Like You, is a step forward from the first impressive single, Sheena’s Big Night Out, from his forthcoming album, and it’s a one that makes Ego an even more eagerly anticipated release.

Helicopter, Dolphin, Submarine can be downloaded for free here

Boy Racer is available on limited edition CD here

Camden Rocks Festival Announces Latest Additions To Line Up

Camden Rocks Mar 17Today Camden Rocks Festival confirmed Merseyside’s indie rock legends, The Coral, Sheffield’s Reverend and The Makers will join the 2017 festival line up. Also topping the line-up this year are The Damned, who will play a very special set list exclusively for the Camden Rocks Festival. Having also recently announced The Rifles, Milburn, Carl Barat And The Jackals, Orange Goblin, Ruts DC, The King Blues & many more, this year sees Camden Rocks Festival pushing boundaries further still, set to host 250 bands and artists across 25 of Camden Town’s revered music venues on June 3rd 2017.

Tickets for the Camden Rocks Festival can be purchased here

The Full Line up of bands and venues for the festival can be found below Read More…

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The Damned Release Deluxe Reissue Of Classic Debut Album

Damned Damned DamnedThe Damned were the first British punk band to release a single, swiftly followed by the release of the first British punk album, their classic debut Damned Damned Damned, on 18th February 1977. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the bands dramatic breakthrough, a very special Art Of The Album deluxe edition has been released 40 years after its original issue. Featuring fully re-mastered audio & new sleevenotes within both the CD and LP formats that recall the story of the bands conception and the albums creation.                               

The deluxe reissue of Damned Damned Damned can be ordered on CD here and LP here

The Damned‘s official website can be found here

The Damned To Release 40th Anniversary Edition Of Debut Album

Damned Damned DamnedThe Damned have announced a Pledge Music campaign for the 40th Anniversary re-issue of their legendary debut album, Damned Damned Damned, on both CD and LP, available both signed and unsigned on each format. The album features fully re-mastered audio & new sleevenotes within both the CD & LP formats recalling the story of the band’s conception and the album’s creation. Comprehensively researched and written by legendary punk writer John Ingham, these new sleevenotes cover the story of the album & the period in which it was written & recorded, the key players in its creation, the craft and instrumentation, the impact upon release and its legacy 40 years later.

You can pre-order the 40th Anniversary reissue of Damned Damned Damned here

Camden Rocks Confirms The Damned And The Ruts DC For 2017

camden-rcoks-2017Following a sold out fifth year in June 2016, Camden Rocks Festival has today announced the first names for the 2017 line-up. Punk legends The Damned, stoner rock giants Orange Goblin, and The Ruts DC are the first to be revealed from the bill.

Set to host over 250 bands and artists across 25 of Camden Town’s revered venues this June 3rd 2017, Camden Rocks are also proud to announce that legendary Camden venue KOKO will join the 2017 festival.

Tickets for the Camden Rocks Festival are now available for £35 (subject to booking fees) here Read More…

The Damned Announce Pledge Campaign For New Live Album

damned-margateWatch out, because punk legends The Damned are coming to Margate Winter Gardens on Friday 9th December where they will perform their debut album, Damned Damned Damned, in its entirety, followed by a career spanning retrospective.

The whole concert is being recorded by the Live Here Now team for release as The 40th Anniversary Live In Margate on double CD, triple coloured vinyl LP and download formats, all physical formats will include a free postcard from The Damned.

The Pledge Music campaign for The 40th Anniversary Live In Margate can be found here

andy-j-gallagher-sheena

Andy J. Gallagher

Sheena's Big Night Out

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Remember the AA side single? back in the day there were singles that didn’t feature a remix or a live track on the reverse side, just two equally matched studio tracks, either of which could front the release. This has largely been a dying format, but Andy J. Gallagher is here to remind you of just how good they could be. Sheena’s Big Night Out and it’s double a side, Because We Are, are the first shots across the bows from his forthcoming new album, Ego. This single, and the forthcoming album, is produced by long time collaborator, and former guitarist of The Damned and The Phantom Chords, Roman Jugg.

The A side, Sheena’s Big Night Out, is a slice of the catchy new wave inspired power pop, and a damn fine one it is at that, however, it’s on the chorus it comes into it’s own, a perfect sing along bouncy number that grabs you before it comes to an abrupt halt. The AA side, Because We Are, starts with an off key vocal into taken straight from The Beatles song book before it breaks into a fast paced indie number, Because We Are would happily sit alongside anything from the Arctic Monkeys first album, and it’s as lyrically and musically sharp as anything by that band.

Andy J Gallagher‘s material always wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve, you can hear Buzzcocks in the guitar lines, alongside the aforementioned influences, lyrically the single displays Andy J. Gallagher‘s biting social commentary which features his trademark sardonic lyrical touch. To complete the package you can hear Roman Jugg‘s influence seeping through into the track, he’s done a perfect job of mixing the two tracks that make up Sheena’s Big Night Out, there’s a delicious rough edge to the single that suits the material perfectly. The combination of these elements form a strong single that whets your appetite for his forthcoming album nicely.

The limited edition CD of Sheena’s Big Night Out can be ordered here

the-damned-40th-anniversary-tour

The Damned / Penetration

Academy, Leeds, UK

17th November 2016
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

It’s been a long time since I ventured over the Pennines to see a band in Leeds, but the double bill of The Damned and Penetration at the Academy is something that’s worth making the journey for, especially when you consider that both of these bands were amongst my personal highlights from the Rebellion Festival earlier this year. 2016 is the fortieth anniversary of punk rock, fittingly both of tonight’s bands were formed in punk’s year zero and have come together for a few dates on this tour, the support seems to be constantly changing across The Damned‘s sprawling fortieth anniversary tour but for me Penetration are the pick of the bunch.

The crowd for tonight’s show at the Leeds Academy is one that’s as varied as The Damned‘s back catalogue, it seems to cover everything from young converts in their teens up to those in advancing years who have been amongst the faithful since the early days, rockers sporting pristine quiff’s mingle with punks and goths, all of whom have one unifying reason to be here, to see two of the last bands standing from the first wave of punk. The music that precedes the appearance of Penetration is an odd choice, some authentic growled blues from straight outta the delta, which seems somewhat at odds with the bands playing tonight

Penetration arrive on the stage with no fanfare, they saunter onstage, plug in, and after a brief tune up they launch into Just Drifting, they sound even better than they did when I saw them earlier this year at the Rebellion Festival, in particular Pauline Murray‘s unique and striking vocal style sounds better than ever. Aguila, Betrayed! and Beat Goes On build on the promising start, the tracks all feature soaring choruses and build up the intensity of the set nicely. It’s a tribute to the strength of the material on their 2015 comeback album, Resolution, that so far their set hasn’t featured a single track from either of their classic Moving Targets or Coming Up For Air albums.

Of course you couldn’t have a 40th anniversary of punk tour without Penetration revisiting their glory days, Pauline Murray announces that they’re now going to play the “old stuff” and what this signifies is a run through some of the bands best know material, the Buzzcocks classic Nostalgia is faithfully delivered, which is a song that Manchester’s finest often neglect from their set list and is one that Penetration have made their own, this is followed by Come Into The Open and, what is largely regarded as their classic single, Don’t Dictate. This perfect three minutes from the dawn of punk is their best known track, and it’s defiant refrain seems to defrost the Leeds crowd.

Penetration close their set with another of their best loved singles, Danger Signs, tonight their set was markedly split between their new material and that which is drawn from their original early albums. Their comeback album was such a strong return to form that I’d bet that if you were unfamiliar with the band I doubt you’d have been unable to tell where the join between the two elements of the set were. I’d have quite happily paid to see Penetration on their own, and they deservedly received a genuinely warm reception from The Damned‘s faithful, and their set marked a perfect start to an evening that is celebrating punk hitting it’s 40th anniversary

As good as Penetration were let’s make no mistake why the majority of people are here tonight, The Damned were the first of the punk bands to do just about everything, first to release a single and album, tour the USA, split up and reform, and it seems ironic that the band who did everything first are now the last men standing. Prior to The Damned taking the stage the prog rock strains of Emerson, Lake and Palmer‘s Fanfare For The Common Man belt’s out of the PA for a few minutes, the reason for this becomes clear as Captain Sensible takes to the stage and bellows “turn that shit off” and promptly goes into a lengthy diatribe against the self indulgent rock bands of the 1970’s, and in particular against Phil Collins.

Tonight’s show opens with their second single, Neat Neat Neat, and The Damned are kicking things off tonight’s with a faithful run through of the majority of tracks from their debut album, Damned Damned Damned. As much as the well known tracks and singles from the album sound as good as the day they were recorded, including the very first punk single, New Rose, it’s the lesser known and often neglected tracks that are the highlight for me. Songs such as Born To Kill, Feel The Pain, Fish and So Messed Up all get a welcome and rare outing, although Stab Your Back is sadly neglected, and it’s hearing these tracks that makes the run though of this classic album so welcome.

The Damned‘s keyboard player, Monty Oxymoron, has little to do during the opening full throttle run through of their debut album, instead he contents himself with acting out the songs and bouncing around behind his keyboards. The Damned have never had a unified or co-ordinated image, as many of their peers did, and tonight is no exception, you have the dual lunacy of the aforementioned keyboardist and Captain Sensible, the restrained cool of bassist Stu West, the Vegas chic of drummer Pinch and tonight Dave Vanian is exuding preacher cool. The run through of the opening set ends with a truly bezerk rendition of The Stooges proto punk classic I Feel Alright.

The Damned don’t leave the stage as many band’s do in shows of this type, Dave Vanian announces that they’re now going to be “peeling back the pages of the diary” and they launch into Street Of Dreams from 1985’s Phantasmagoria, from this point on we’re in for a somewhat haphazard retrospective run through their extensive back catalogue. Nasty, the song that introduced me to the band when they appeared on the anarachic sitcom The Young Ones, gets a welcome airing as does Amen, from the much underrated 2001 album Grave Disorder, this marks the end of the later material as we head back into a riotous sprint of some of their best loved material.

After some entertaining exchanges about now infamous celebrities of the 1970’s they launch into a frantic rendition of the lead track from 1981’s Friday 13th EP, Disco Man, which is followed by their sole top ten single, 1986’s Eloise. They dip into 1982’s Strawberries album with a raucous Ignite which is complimented by two of the more introspective tracks from that release, Under The Floor Again and Life Goes On, the latter of which won a vote amongst the audience as to which track featuring Captain Sensible on vocals should be played. I’m just grateful we didn’t end up with his 1982 novelty hit, Happy Talk, which he happily admits he did for the money “I was a toilet cleaner from Croyden, what do you expect me to do if someone offers me forty grand”

You get the impression The Damned are enjoying themselves immensely tonight, this, and the fact there’s finally a new album in the pipeline, indicates they are entering into something of a renaissance. Their psychedelic punk masterpiece, 1980’s The Black Album, is only briefly touched upon with Wait For The Blackout before we hit the material from the legendary Machine Gun Etiquette album, Love Song, Anti Pope, I Just Can’t Be Happy Today, which was dedicated to the people of the USA in light of recent events, the superb Plan 9 Channel 7 and finally, and inevitably, Smash It Up signals the end of the set and sets the mosh pit alight.

They return for a further encore, although we don’t get the expected delivery of the majestic Curtain Call, that has been the encore for the majority of the shows this year, and was written on the set list. Instead we get their unique rendition of Jefferson Airplane‘s White Rabbit, a one off single from 1980. The set list has now gone out of the window and we get rousing versions of Melody Lee and Noise Noise Noise, both from Machine Gun Etiquette, to finally close what has been a triumphant set that has spanned four decades in a little over two hours, the venue’s curfew was ignored and it seems that The Damned are well and truly back in business.

Tonight was a fine retrospective of the bands career, a few of their albums were overlooked, 1977’s Music For Pleasure, 1986’s Anything, 1995’s Not Of This Earth and 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid, but the quality of material on display from their classic albums more than makes up for the absences, the only thing missing was some new material, but with a new album in the pipeline it would appear that The Damned have no intention of going quietly into the night just yet, on the basis of tonight’s show you really should try and catch this flashback from one of the most creative and consistent bands born of punk’s first wave.

The Damned‘s tour dates for the UK, Spain and the USA can be found here

You can pre-order The Damned’s new album via Pledge Music here

Penetration‘s Facebook page can be found here

Photography by Steve White and you visit his Flickr site here

you can click on any of Steve White’s photos to view a slide show of the images

Andy J. Gallagher Makes Debut LP Available As A Free Download

andy-j-gallagher-sheenaAndy J. Gallagher‘s forthcoming single, Sheena’s Big Night Out, and it’s double a side Because We Are, is the first taste of what’s to come from his eagerly anticipated sophomore album, Ego. He has resumed his collaboration with former guitarist of The Damned and The Phantom Chords, Roman Jugg, who plays guitar on a few tracks, as well as producing and mixing the album. To celebrate the release of the new album and single Andy J. Gallagher has made his debut full length, Helicopter Dolphin Submarine, available as a free download.

The limited edition CD of Sheena’s Big Night Out can be ordered here

Helicopter Dolphin Submarine can be downloaded for free here

The Damned Announce 40th Anniversary UK Tour

damned-tour-2016Punk legends The Damned have announced a huge UK tour taking in more than twenty towns and cities across the UK, and have revealed they are currently working on a brand new album for 2017. Celebrated as the most entertaining of the original punk bands, The Damned were the very first British band to release a punk single, New Rose, the first to release an album, Damned Damned Damned, and also the first to tour America. From the very first moment they started playing live in tiny punk clubs in 1976, The Damned quickly gained a reputation as a band who would always deliver an accomplished live set. The Damned continue to wave the flag for originality, stick two fingers up to mediocrity and celebrate a DIY punk ethos in the face of plastic entertainment and scripted reality.

Details of The Damned‘s forthcoming tour and the new album can be viewed below Read More…

Andy J. Gallagher Releases New Single ‘Sheena’s Big Night Out’

andy-j-gallagher-sheenaSheena’s Big Night Out and it’s double a side, Because We Are, are the first shots across the bows from Andy J. Gallagher‘s blistering new album, Ego. Produced by legendary guitarist of The Damned and The Phantom Chords, Roman Jugg, Ego feels the influences from David Bowie, Buzzcocks, Lou Reed and Edwyn Collins. The first single bears the torch of that long standing legacy of biting social commentary played out through wry, arch lyrics and infectious melodies, Sheena’s Big Night Out is like the grainy black and white snapshot the adorns the single, gritty, witty, and very real.

The limited edition CD of Sheena’s Big Night Out can be ordered here

the-mutants-ydmm

The Mutants

Your Desert My Mind

Killer Tracls
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

The Mutants are a constantly changing all star musical collective with a core trio of Chris Constantinou, best known for his work with Marco Pirroni in The Wolfmen and with Adam Ant, The Damned‘s legendary drummer Rat Scabies and Paul Frazer, from heavyweight electronic acts Black Futures and Subsource. This time they have brought in a disreputable set of American artists to appear on Your Desert My Mind, including members of The Eagles of Death Metal, Masters of Reality, Mojave Lords and the Dandy Warhols. This is The Mutants third album, it follows on from The Rhythm and Punk Review, which featured an all star cast of UK ska and punk musicians, and Tokyo Nights, that assembled the cream of Japan’s underground bands, this time it appears they have headed off into the Californian desert for this latest release.

The journey into the desert has steered The Mutants off the highway and into yet another drastically different musical direction, this is a more of a heavy bluesy affair, with heavy traces of mescaline and the American alternative scene in it’s DNA, these elements sit happily alongside the influences and style that the core trio of The Mutants bring to the album. From the opening chords that kick off this journey in fine style, this is largely a dark intoxicated trip into the Mojave desert, my personal favourites are the title track and superb Machismo Postura, but for me Your Desert My Mind isn’t an album that’s about individual tracks, it’s best appreciated as a complete work. This is an album that takes you on a dark and mind expanding trip through the desert, and believe me you want to be along for the ride.

If you were expecting The Mutants to resemble an amalgamation of their core members past glories then you’ll be in for a surprise, The Mutants are not happy to tread water and live off their collective back catalogue, that would certainly be a tempting and easier option, but they have made the decision to make a drastically different album from anything any of them has previously created. Every album from this band has a different musical flavour that reflects the territory, and the style of the musicians that contributed to the album, and Your Desert My Mind is no exception to this pattern. Rancho De La Luna, where this album was recorded, seems to exert an influence on those that record there, if you are in any way a fan of the bands that have graced this album, or of the numerous bands that have recorded at this remote outpost, then you’ll want to explore Your Desert My Mind.

Your Desert My Mind is an album that is definitely a product of it’s environment, this is certainly not the album you’d expect from the combination of Chris Constantinou, Rat Scabies and Paul Frazer, it’ so much better than that. I can’t wait to see where The Mutants are headed for their next album, based on their three offerings to date it will undoubtedly be something that will head off into previously unexplored musical territory, and hopefully I’ll be hitching a ride.

Your Desert My Mind will be released on the 14th October and can be pre-ordered from iTunes

Ruts DC MMD

Ruts DC

Music Must Destroy

Westworld Recordings
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

The Ruts DC, formerly known as The Ruts, were one of the original bands that were born out of the original UK punk explosion of the seventies. They were one of the original bands that incorporated reggae, ska and dub into their music alongside the punk aggression, it was this hybrid of styles that produced such classic singles as Babylon’s Burning and Staring At The Rude Boys. They became know as The Ruts DC following the death of their singer Malcolm Owen in 1980, they released two albums, Animal Now and Rhythm Collision Volume One, before calling it a day in 1982, and that might have been the end of matters. However The Ruts DC were reborn out of further tragedy, guitarist Paul Fox was diagnosed with lung cancer and the band reformed to perform a benefit show for their comrade, with lifelong fan Henry Rollins taking over vocal duties for the night. Sadly Paul Fox lost his battle with cancer later the same year but The Ruts DC were reunited once more and they recorded a dub album with the Mad Professor entitled Rhythm Collision Volume Two.

The Ruts DC are now stripped back down to a three piece comprised of original members John ‘Segs’ Jennings, bass and vocals, and Dave Ruffy, drums, along with Leigh Heggarty on guitar. This album shows that The Ruts DC and not content to just be another band riding the nostalgia bandwagon, in Music Must Destroy they have created an album that shows that they are still a force to be reckoned with. The opening aggressive blast of Psychic Attack sets down a marker that few will match this year, this was the first single from the album and it remains one of my favourite singles from 2016. The album is as varied as you’d expect from The Ruts DC, the title track is a menacing number with a stamping relentless beat, both Surprise and Kill The Lights won’t sound out of place alongside the material from their classic debut album. But it’s not all meance and punk attitude, there are softer moments on the album such as Soft City Lights, Peace Bomb and Tears On Fire and the album closes with Golden Boy, which is the most laid back track on the album and is a fitting and haunting tribute their fallen lead singer.

In making Music Must Destroy The Ruts DC have made a triumphant return to recording, this isn’t just a great comeback album, it’s a great album. There isn’t a singe track on this album that I would object to hearing live alongside their classic material, for me this is the best album The Ruts have made since their debut, The Crack, back in 1979. If you aren’t familiar with The Ruts DC then I’d recommend picking up this album, and their debut album, as The Ruts are a band that despite personal tragedy striking them several times are still here, and sounding as good as they ever have. In addition to their core members The Ruts DC have been aided and abetted on Music Must Destroy by a veritable who’s who of punk and alternative artists including Morrissey‘s Baz Boorer, The Damned‘s Captain Sensible, Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns, Spear Of Destiny‘s Kirk Brandon and of course their most famous fan, Henry Rollins. Many bands at this stage of their career are resting on the back catalogue and playing greatest hits tours, this would have been easy enough for The Ruts DC to do, instead they have made one of the best albums of the career.

The Ruts DC will play a special album release show at The Underworld, London on September 16 and tickets are available here

Music Must Destroy will be released on September 16th on Westworld Recordings

You can order Music Must Destroy on CD here and on double vinyl album here

 

Rebellion 2016

Rebellion Festival (Saturday)

Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK

6th August 2016
By

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

The Damned Announce Pledge Music Campaign For New LP

Damned PledgeIt’s been eight long years since The Damned released their last album, 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid. For me they were always the most entertaining, and the best, of the original UK punk bands, forty years later they are the last band standing from those original bands. In their fortieth anniversary year The Damned have announced details of a new Pledge Music campaign to release their, as yet untitled, eleventh studio album.

You can sign up to The Damned‘s Pledge Music campaign here

Brian James To Play 40th Anniversary Gig At The 100 Club

Brian James TAWBrian James, the original guitarist with The Damned, has announced a one off show at London’s legendary 100 Club to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Damned‘s first concert, supporting the Sex Pistols, at the very same venue back in 1976. The show has been called The Anniversary Waltz and will take place today, the 6th of July. Brian James is also releasing a new EP, also called The Anniversary Waltz, and the concert will also serve as a launch party for his new EP.

The Anniversary Waltz EP can be ordered here

Tickets for the show at the 100 Club can be ordered here

 

Damned RAH

The Damned

Royal Albert Hall, London, England

20th May 2016
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

Against all the odds The Damned have somehow made it 40, the band who have lived by the slogan anarchy, chaos and destruction for the last four decades are thankfully still with us. They still retain two of their original members, Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible, who together with Stu West and Pinch, both formerly of English Dogs, and Monty Oxymoron, who I presume originated in his own private universe, have now been together for about twelve years, given The Damned‘s history, there have over twenty members since they formed, this represents an unprecedented period of stability in their history

The audience for tonight has travelled from all over the world for today’s concert, a multinational collection of disciples has descended upon London and prior to the gig the local pubs are packed to capacity with the faithful, friendships are renewed and made prior to gathering within the grandeur of the Royal Albert HallThe Damned were previously barred from performing at this prestigious theatre, the management of the venue at the time didn’t consider them to be the kind of the band that should be gracing it’s hallowed halls, forty years later attitudes have thankfully changed and they have finally been allowed to tread the boards in this impressive historic setting.

Since tonight’s concert was announced the band had promised that this would be a unique concert, and they have been as good as their word as we get a backwards chronology played over two sets spanning almost three hours. The only album’s that are bypassed completely are 1995’s Not Of This Earth and 1977’s Music For Pleasure.

They open with Nature’s Dark Passion, from 2008’s So Who’s Paranoid, and with a splendid sense of theatricality Dave Vanian arrives on the balcony above the stage dressed as the phantom of the opera, from there it’s a marathon down memory lane as they launch into a quartet from 2001’s Grave Disorder. Both of these albums have been somewhat neglected on recent tours and it’s good to hear them played live again. Their most commercial, and successful, era is well represented with Along Again Or from 1986’s Anything getting an airing, and then a fine tetrad of songs from 1985’s Phantasmagoria and an obligatory appearance for their biggest hit Eloise.

The First set closes with four tracks from 1982’s Strawberries and after a much needed half hour beak the second set opens with Life Goes On from this underrated album. Up to now the crowd has been enthusiastic but somewhat subdued, all this changes as Disco Man, from 1981’s Friday 13th EP, kicks in bringing the mosh pit to life, there’s no respite from this point. 1980’s experimental classic The Black Album is well represented and then it’s onward into the punk classics Machine Gun Etiquette and Damned Damned Damned before the we finally arrive back where it all began back in 1976 with a frantic New Rose.

They return to the stage for a final encore and treat the crowd to a stunning version of the epic Curtain Call featuring Dave Vanian and his daughter, Emily Vanian, both sporting dark wings for this 17 minute epic to bring what has been an unforgettable evening to a close and the crowd pour out into the London night. Forty years has been crammed into three hours and my feet may never recover but there are no regrets. The Damned have been a constant in my life since first seeing them on tv performing Nasty, which sadly didn’t get an airing tonight, on the anarchic sitcom The Young Ones back in 1984, tonight has reaffirmed everything that I love about this band and I hope I’m able to attend their 45th anniversary in 2021.

The Damned are continuing with their 40th anniversary celebrations throughout the year, so far they have announced extensive dates across the UK and Europe, full details of the tour dates can be found here.

Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival Announce Lineup

Punk Rock BowlingThe 15th annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival released this year’s lineup featuring bands like DEVO, The Weirdos, TurbonegroU.S. Bombs, The Casualties, FLAG, Bad Religion, The Damned, D.R.I., Lagwagon, Bouncing Souls, and many more.

Punk Rock Bowling will take place May 24-27 in downtown Las Vegas, Nev., and weekend passes are currently on sale. Get them here!

Punk Rock Bowling began in 1999 as a way to bring together the independent music scene into one big annual party. Festival organizer, and BYO Records founder and member of YOuth Brigade Shawn Stern commentedo

Being fans of music ourselves, we like to take all the things we dislike about festivals and eliminate them from our event. We want this to be a big party and we want everyone to have a great time. We offer good food with vegan and vegetarian options, and our drinks are probably half the price of most festivals. We also limit the capacity so it still sounds great and because our audience are such die hard fans of punk rock, we have little to no problems in the crowd. It’s like one big family enjoying a debauchery filled weekend in Las Vegas like any normal family! Ha!”