Rebellion 2017 April

Rebellion Festival (Friday)

Blackpool Winter Gardens, UK

Friday 4th August 2017

Rating: 5/5



Rebellion 17 Heavy DrapesA meander from my hotel with twanging hamstrings and aching calves takes me through Blackpool’s faded glamour and back to the Winter Gardens where an enormous queue has formed to get in for Saturday’s impressive line up which means I’ve already missed Aerial Salad by the time I finally get in. My Friday opens with the Kenneths who blow away the cobwebs after last night excess on a sundrenched Casbah Stage, their set of high energy punk rock starts Friday off perfectly. The Heavy Drapes have made the leap from the introducing stage last year to the Empress Ballroom, and you can see why, they deliver an anthemic set of pulverising old school punk rock, that means Friday has kicked into gear early.
Rebellion 17 SvetlanasI catch the end of Sensa Yuma‘s heavyweight set as we head back outside to catch Maid Of Ace rocking the Casbah Stage, and they don’t disappoint the as the hyperactive all female quartet deliver a full tilt set of raucous punk rock, that I sadly have to cut short as Svetlanas are playing the Pavillion Stage, they are a must see as they have just released what looks like being my favourite album of 2017. Svetlanas are something to behold, carrying the energy of early Dead Kennedys and the Dwarves best recordings. Svetlanas lead singer Olga prowls the stage and the dance floor like a caged animal, her intense stage presence is matched by a frantic hardcore edged soundtrack, and all the expectations from their incredible new album, This Is Moscow Not LA, are exceeded. This is a band you need to see live as I doubt I’ll encounter a better live ever act this weekend, or this year, and I have to buy a new t shirt afterwards as the one I was wearing is now soaked as I was down the front throughout Svetlanas incredible set.
As I wander outside for a cigarette I catch John Robb, one of Manchester’s punk mainstays, playing an impressive set with The Membranes complete with a full choir, had it not clashed with Svetlanas this is something I’d have made a point of catching. Tagada Jones follow with a blast of hard edged Gallic street punk, to me bands like this are one of the joys of the Rebellion Festival. I would never have encountered these in my local punk scene, but the Rebellion Festival unites cultures and scenes in the punk community like no other festival, and along with Svetlanas I have encountered two incredible bands from mainland Europe. Behind me a moshpit forms of their hardcore fans who have made the journey across the channel and Tagada Jones are for me one of the best discoveries of the Rebellion Festival, and I recommend you investigate this band who prove that punk rock travels beyond the usual English and American borders.
Rebellion 17 TV SmithSeeing TV Smith is an essential part of rebellion, the former lead singer of The Adverts was there at the start and to see him playing with a full band,  The Bored Teenagers, is a temptation that is too good to resist. Tonight’s set with the Bored Teenagers is focused upon his post adverts solo material, and songs such as the Good Times Are Back and My String Will Snap sound as relevant as the day the day the day were written, if not more so. Further wandering finds another of punks old school, Vice Squad, sounding re-energised for the Rebellion Festival, and alongside their extensive back catalogue they close with the Motorhead classic, Ace Of Spades. A brief  break precedes a return to the Casbah Stage where The Real McKenzies are bringing their Celtic punk rock to Blackpool and they are celebrating 25 years together, another band I’ve intended to see for a number of years and however good you may think they are on record, live is where they are at their beer fuelled best and they bring a party atmosphere to the Friday night at the Rebellion Festival.
I’ve intended to see DOA ever since I bought 13 Flavours Of Doom a long long time ago, several farewell tours have meant that I thought it would never happen, but Friday night at the Rebellion Festival brings the legendary Canadian outfit to the Casbah Stage. There is nothing I can say about these Canadian punk legends that hasn’t already been said, but I’m going to say it anyway, the politically charged punk band deserves every accolade that’s thrown at them, they have been around for four decades and it’s been worth the wait to finally see them. Tonight the Casbah Stage has had a distinctly Northern exposure and when DOA play Already Dead, the first song I ever heard by them, I think I’ve peaked, but add to this songs such as General Strike, that’s dedicated to Theresa May, and Race Riot, then my day is utterly made. DOA return for an encore of Full Metal Jackoff, from their amazing album recorded with Jello Biafra, Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbours, and the inevitable ending of Fucked Up Donald, this marks an incredible end to an amazing day that has mainly been spent on the Casbah Stage, they leave with the words “together we can, together we will, make the world a better place’.
Sometimes the Rebellion Festival holds secrets, such as F.I.L.F., which turns out to be an unheralded and unpublicised Macc Lads reunion, with original members Stez Styx, Mutley McLadd, The Beater and Chorley The Hord, with new addition Bammy, who between them were banned from more venues than any other British punk band, in fact probably more than the rest of them put together. Tonight they are mainly covering classic punk songs and the band are clearly enjoying being back together, but they close with a final encore of the Macc Lads obscene classic Blackpool, and what else would they choose for the Rebellion Festival, that’s thrown in for good measure the venue erupts, and this is the welcome return of another band I never thought I would see again.
The review of the Saturday at the Rebellion Festival 2017 will follow shortly on The Punk Site.
The Rebellion Festival wesbsite is here
Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy and Eloise Coone
You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images

Tours: The Real McKenzies (Europe)

the-real-mckenziesLong running Celtic punk greats The Real McKenzies will be heading out for a European tour this Summer.  The band continues to support their new album, Two Devils Will Talk, which dropped back in March via Fat Wreck Chords (US) and Stomp Records (CAN).

Tour dates are below.

Read More…

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

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 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 Friday 4th August can be viewed below Read More…


The Real McKenzies

Two Devils Will Talk

STOMP Records (CAN) / Fat Wreck Chords (US)

Rating: 3.5/5




What can I say about The Real McKenzies that hasn’t been said before?  The roughneck Vancouver-based crew of Celtic misfits have been an undeniable force in the global punk scene since the early 90’s and continue to build on their legacy with each passing album and release.  Their latest full length, Two Devils Will Talk, continues the brash bagpipe-meets-punk-rock formula that the band remains best known for.

Paul McKenzie’s unmistakable vocal presence sounds as weathered and energetic as ever, enhanced by a rasp bestowed by a lengthy career and the passage of time.  “We’ll march and we’ll never falter, side by side we’ll sing our song, let’s have a cheer for our fallen brethren, through us they will never die,” belts the band in a whiskey-drenched choral cry, reflecting The Real McKenzies’ stubborn, undying drive.  “Due West” launches into a quick-landing tempo that persists through the lion’s share of Two Devils Will Talk’s.  Make no mistake, Two Devils Will Talk is a quick and rambunctious beast, seldom pausing to catch its breath.  “Weyburn” and “One Day” further join in on the excitement, hammering through chorus and verse with a quick-paced melodic drive that is every bit as singable as it is sonically agile.  Later offerings like “Pedal,” “The Town” and “The Comeback” follow suit, with the latter trumpeting some seriously speedy riffs embodying the track’s message of resistance and longevity.  In terms of outright style, the disc feels markedly more Flatfoot 56 than Flogging Molly.  In other words, this time around, there is an undeniable punk-rock presence leading at the helm.

It isn’t until the hearty, wayward tune “Seafarers” that the boys embark on a mid-tempo adventure onto the high seas.  A classic Real McKenzies excursion chronicling a crew narrowly defying disaster.   Likewise, the nostalgic Stan Rogers Canadian acepella classic “Northwest Passage” marks a rare and powerful vocal-exclusive moment reminiscent of The Dreadnoughts, before transforming the colonial tale of “discovery” into a full-on punk tune.  It’s a great rendition of the song, even if the track’s romanticized view of colonial history has long since been challenged by historical scholarship.

As always, The Real McKenzies deliver a prime example of the fun to be had in the raucous world of Celtic punk.  Two Devils Will Talk reinforces that the sands of time have done little to dull The Real Mckenzies sharp edge.  While the album doesn’t necessarily differentiate itself from the band’s discography, Two Devils Will Talk is a case where more of the same is more than welcome when the product is so well founded.  Another worthwhile and entertaining offering by one of Celtic punk’s finest.

The Real McKenzies Streaming New Album In Full

the-real-mckenziesLong running Celtic punk greats The Real McKenzies have premiered a full stream of their new album, Two Devils Will Talk, which is set for release on March 3, 2017 via Fat Wreck Chords (US) and Stomp Records (CAN).

Listen to the disc here courtesy Brooklyn Vegan.

The Real McKenzies – Due West

the-real-mckenziesLong running Celtic punk greats The Real McKenzies have premiered a new song from their next full length.  The track is titled “Due West” and the disc will be titled Two Devils Will Talk, which is set for release on March 3, 2017 via Fat Wreck Chords (US) and Stomp Records (CAN).

Listen to the song below.

Read More…

The Real McKenzies Announce New LP;

the-real-mckenziesLong running Celtic punk greats The Real McKenzies have announced details for their next full length.  The disc will be titled Two Devils Will Talk, is set for release on March 3, 2017 via Fat Wreck Chords (US) and Stomp Records (CAN).  The band comments:

“On the 25th Anniversary of The Real McKenzies, we remain true to our Scottish-Canadian Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll roots. We wrote an album about perseverance, determination, and staying true to our beliefs. The band has never hung up its hat even at the toughest of times and this album shows we are more relevant now than ever before.”

Pre-orders will launch in the near future.

Video: The Real McKenzies – Yes

therealmckenzies-2015Vancouver based Irish punks The Real McKenzies have posted a video for their track “Yes”The song features on the band’s latest full length, Rats in the Burlap, released earlier this year via Fat Wreck Chords (USA) / Stomp Records (Canada). 

Check out the video below.

Read More…

Video: The Real McKenzies – ‘Catch Me’

therealmckenzies-2015Vancouver based Irish punks The Real McKenzies have posted a video for their track Catch Me. The song features on the band’s latest full length, Rats in the Burlap, released earlier this month via Fat Wreck Chords. 

Check out the video below.

Read More…

Video: The Real McKenzies – Catch Me

Real McKenzies Rats in the Burlap Cover ArtThe Real McKenzies have debuted the brand new music video for the song “Catch Me” from their latest full length, Rats In The Burlap, out now via Stomp Records.

Listen to the song below.

Read More…

Real McKenzies Rats in the Burlap Cover Art

The Real McKenzies

Rats In The Burlap

STOMP Records (CAN) / Fat Wreck Chords (US)

Rating: 3.5/5




It’s been many a pint and countless wardrobes of traditional tartan garb, but Vancouver bagpipe punks The Real McKenzies have hit their twenty third year and ninth studio album milestone with Rats In The Burlap.  From modern takes on traditional celtic folk tunes to raucous punk-show boot stompers, the Canadian quintet’s pioneering attitude has kept these bonny lads feeling fresh in what many would consider a very restrictive niche.  While the album doesn’t veer far from the tried and true tricks fans have come to love, the boys aren’t without a few surprises up their kilts.

In classic McKenzie fashion, Rats In The Burlap sets the tone with the band’s take on a traditional Scottish piper tune.  This time around, the lads clap in time as they march to the brisk pace of “Wha Saw The 42nd,” made all the more authentic by Paul McKenzie’s unmistakably weathered, gritty vocals.  The rustic track holds all the marks of an aged celtic punk band and will no doubt serve as a nostalgic and familiar homecoming for longtime fans.  In suitable contrast, followup “Upon a Motorbike” roars aggressively down the highway from Montreal to prairie fields on quick spinning punk-rock riffs and twang-threaded acoustic strums.  Bassist Troy Zak thumps along mimicking an upright 50’s style, a style that lends itself well to the punk n’ roll roadster vibe.  Like minded track “Lilacs In The Alleyway” and “Catch Me” capitalize on the light, band driven acoustic mood in inspiring and insightful ways.  

As it unfolds, Rats In The Burlap explores all sorts of nostalgic and contemporary subject matter.  As always, Scottish themes from simpler times define vibrant celtic imagery.  For instance, “The Fields Of Inverness” takes the perspective of a highland soldier forced abroad, longing to return to a life of ploughing the fields in a Scottish paradise.  “I was to be a ploughman, a farmer in the glen, back at home in the fields with my friends,” sings Paul amidst the unraveling imagery and beauty of a long since lost way of life.  The typical references to The Pogues, The Dreadnoughts and The Dropkick Murphys still very much apply.

But the bulk of Rats In The Burlap actually explores contemporary themes.  Most notably, a few social and political fist pumpers add fuel to the flames of ongoing current events.  For instance, “Yes” militantly aligns The Real McKenzies with Scottish separatists in the recent and narrowly unsuccessful referendum for national succession.  Meanwhile, “Who’d A Thought” was likely inspired by their hometown’s status as the least affordable city in in the world.  With a scathing tongue, The Real McKenzies point a finger at enterprising fat cats and proclaim, “you should be ashamed of yourselves you greedy jerks,” as they critique swelling condo prices, human displacement and the demolishing of formerly affordable housing.  Match the condemnation with a heated tempo, rabid punk rock riffs and outraged backing barks, and you have a tune that most working class Vancouverites that can readily get behind.  The tin whistle focused “You Wanna Know What” treads similar but lighter territory in celebration of a life rich in integrity at the risk of being poor in the pocket.

The band never veers far from the headstrong raucous roots and tall tales of life on the road either though.  “Spinning Wheels” roars ahead with a fast banjo meets bagpipe jaunt, akin to American labelmates Old Man Markley. “Rise up a glass to our friends, so get on the floor” shouts the band in a rowdy celebration of what they are.  “Midnight Train To Moscow” weaves a pulse pounding tale of riding “the iron horse” and encountering the Russian authorities enroute to a venue.  On the flipside, slow burner “Dead Or Alive” finishes with a more serious, reflective tone, concluding the record with humbling gratitude as the boys reminisce on fond memories, good friends, old endings and postulate new beginnings.

But Rats In The Burlap isn’t without a couple minor missteps.  For instance, a little Scottish humour goes awry with the oddly tempod “Bootsy The Haggis Eating Cat.”  Despite a few smirk worthy lines, the hoarse, jazz-like whisper and artistic lounge-house style feels more like something off of Iggy Pop’s indulgent Louis Armstrong-wannabe experiment, Préliminaires.  The jazzy beat is unique amongst the The Real McKenzies’ discography, coming up just shy of successful and instead feeling really, really forced.  Conversely, “What Have You Done” ventures too close to the realm of lyrical repetition with a vague and uninspired concept about “shoulda done” hypotheticals.

All in all though, Rats In The Burlap makes clear why fans continue to clamour to dingy dives to embrace the aged celtic-punk phenomenon known as The Real Mckenzies.  With a diverse tracklisting, The Real McKenzies uphold their reputation as one of punk’s most consistent bands, ensuring that bagpipe punk remains more than a mere novelty for years to come.

The Real McKenzies – Yes

Real McKenzies Rats in the Burlap Cover ArtWhile those outside of Canada await an international full album stream, The Real McKenzies have debuted the brand new song “Yes,” from their upcoming new album, Rats In The Burlap, which is set for release in Canada on March 24, 2015 through Stomp Records and will follow a few short weeks later in the US on Fat Wreck Chords.   The song makes known the band’s take on the recent Scottish independence referendum.

Listen to “Yes” here.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our review, which will go live later this week.  Head here to listen to the full disc (Canada only).

The Real McKenzies Full Album Stream (Canada)

Real McKenzies Rats in the Burlap Cover ArtThe Real McKenzies are streaming their brand new album, Rats In The Burlap, over on Spotify one week before it’s Canadian release date on March 24, 2015 through Stomp Records.

Head here to listen to the full disc (Canada only).

The Real McKenzies – Who’d A Thought

Real McKenzies Rats in the Burlap Cover ArtCanadian celtic punk act The Real McKenzies is streaming a brand new song.  The track is titled “Who’d a Thought” and appears on their upcoming new album, Rats in the Burlapdue out March 24, 2015 (Stomp Records) and April 7, 2015 (Fat Wreck Chords).  Frontman Paul McKenzie provides some insight:

“The Real McKenzies wrote ‘Who’d a Thought’ for the political/social climate that people just like you and I are facing today and, even more so, in the future. One of my favorite all-time bands, the MC5, were the ones who first awakened political awareness within me at a very early age. That was back when tha ‘boil’ was already infected, but just coming to a head. Now that the ‘boil’ has burst, who is expected to clean it up? Who’d a thought? Know your opponent. Here’s to the MC5 and to the awakening of all individuals in terms of worldwide political awareness. Don’t be caught with your kilt up.”

Give the new song a first listen below.

Read More…

Tours: The Real Mckenzies (Canada)

RealMcKenziesVancouver based Irish punks, The Real McKenzies have announced a series of shows across Canada in March. They are out on the road in support of their upcoming full length, Rats In The Burlap, due out in the spring via Epitaph Records and Stomp Records (Canada).

Check out the full list of dates below.

Read More…

The Real McKenzies - West Winds

The Real McKenzies


Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




When it comes to Vancouver’s longest running Scottish punk act The Real McKenzies, I’ve come to expect nothing less than the impressive showmanship of their latest full length, WestWinds.  Their eighth full-length is a statement to the marked enthusiasm sustaining the sextet’s twenty-year career, and reassured follow-up to their 2008 standout, Off The Leash (let’s just forget that disappointing acoustic album, Shine Not Burn).

The Tempest” frames the album with an inspirational slow march opened by the lamenting bagpipes of Gord Taylor and the weighted thumping of drummer Sean Sellers, setting a proud anthem for washed-up, pub-dwelling drifters everywhere.  Paul McKenzie breaks the vocal calm with the confident rally cry “we are all born free, but forever live in chains, and we battle to existence on and on/we’ll take whatever comes to be while keeping hopeful melody, and we’ll cruise through the darkness until the warmth of dawn.”  Even with the setting transpiring aboard the seafaring and track-titled prison, the hopeful message extends an arm to its audience from the get-go.

From here the weathered Vancourerites explode into their trademark mast waving, punk pummeling frenzy.  With a raspy authority, Paul wags his finger to his oppressors and critics in “Fool’s Road” – a shoe-in for cramped, beer-sprayed pub-shows.  “We don’t care who you think we are, and if you can’t stand up to the wind, then you better get out of the way” the band shouts at a maddening pace, heightening their presence with a tough as nails guitar bridge and energizing chorus line.  It’s the type of pulse pounding track that gets the blood rushing and fists shaking.   Other speed demons take more traditional, upbeat tones – such as the Scott-heavy “The Massacre Of Glencoe” – but never fail at engaging their audience.  Fans will also appreciate the sprinkled doses of the band’s trademark humour surfacing in tracks like “Burnout” and “Hi Lily.”

Long time fans may note that the album has its share of slow burners, and as always, many of these hold their ground as album standouts.  “I Do What I Want” takes an acoustic led approach, adhering to a smooth folk under-pining.  Those like “The Message” strong-arm their listeners with big marching anthems, while “The Bluenose” offers up a muscle torn battlecry similar in tempo to that of Off The Leash’s “Chip,” and a tone that can be traced back to 10,000 Shots.

My Head Is Filled With Music” is the type of track that you pick up a McKenzies album for.  “My head is filled with music, in my heart there’s always a song” sings Paul with the timeless wisdom of an aged musician.  Twenty years in and The Real McKenzies remain at their prime.  Sure, they haven’t changed all that dramatically over the past three albums, but only because they’ve hit their stride and continue to lead the Scottish punk scene with each new venture.  A no brainer for fans, and as good of an introduction as any for who have been living under a rock for the past twenty years.

The Real McKenzies - Shine not Burn

The Real McKenzies

Shine Not Burn

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 2.5/5




When Vancouver’s seminal Scottish punk band The Real McKenzies first announced Shine Not Burn, their acoustic live album, my ears perked.  Live albums always capture a band’s true spirit, and acoustic settings add that extra level of intimacy and audience interaction.  Combine the two and you’re sure to be in for a real treat.  Right?  Well, a few tracks in and I couldn’t help shake the feeling that something had gone horribly wrong.

For their previous studio album, Of The LeashThe Real McKenzies included a quiet little gem titled “The Maple Trees Remember.”  It was deep, contemplative, and made use of a calming tone and reduced tempo.  The acoustics were strummed with a heightened sense of nostalgia, and despite not being entirely unplugged, had all the intimate markings of an acoustic set.  The track was pretty near conceived for an album like Shine Not Burn, yet “The Maple Trees Remember,” nor its sentiment, is anywhere to be found.

Instead, the boys get lost in the heat of the moment, playing their instruments and rallying the crowd as if forgetting their unique backdrop and stripped down armaments.  On tracks like “10,000 Shots” the always-energetic Dave Gregg practically pounds his acoustic guitar into the stage with each sweeping strike – which thanks to the instrument’s chorded amplification, gives the intimate instrument a blanket sound that drowns out any and all depth.  Meanwhile on tracks like “Get Lost” and “Chip” vocalist Paul McKenzie carries on with his trademark battle cry, completely unaware of how overpowering and out of place he sounds.  Speaking of which, for many of these tracks the band also feels like they’re trying too much at once.  The Real McKenzies are typically a massive, eight-person endeavor, but in this minimalist environment it feels as though they’re trying to include too many band members at once.  In the acoustic setting, all these layers just sound messy, detracting from the big, unified class act that the McKenzies are known for.

But for all my accusations, at least the band tries.  For opener “Nessie,” Paul pulls out his harmonica, with the rest of the band bringing out violins and mandolins, aiming to ground the tracks in their folk roots.  They collectively reduce tempo and share vocal duties, but it just isn’t enough.  It’s as if they’re meeting their goal half way – locked in a tempo too slow for the original, but still too quick for their acoustic aspirations.  Not surprisingly, the tracks that work well, like “Swaney Beane Clan” (which hosts a fitting tin whistle) and “Wild Mountain Thyme,” really strip down and focus on doing a few good things right.

When all is said and done, and the band tells everyone to “bugger off” (as per their track of the same name), I’m left a little empty.  Shine Not Burn isn’t terrible, just disappointing.   Not a single track lives up to its original studio counterpart, or offers a new take that equals or surpasses the quality of the original. Shine Not Burn would have made for a killer live album, or a fantastic studio acoustic set, but combined the band achieves neither.

The Real McKenzies - Oot & Aboot

The Real McKenzies

Oot & Aboot

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 4/5




A Canadian punk rock band, with a major twist. A Scottish twist that is. These kilt wearing punkers by the name of The Real McKenzies have graced Honest Don’s Records with a 13 track Scottish punk rock album which will truly blow you away. It will never be a classic, but will always be one which you can return to at any time and truly enjoy. That in itself is something incredible. From the opening track of Cross The Ocean to the final track, an instrumental (Taylor Made), there is not one let down.

The opening track, Cross The Ocean, comes at you with a drum and guitar melody. The vocals then come blasting in and you get surprised at the talent and power of it all. It something very different from the mainstream pop you see all over the TV and radio. Paul Mckenzie, the vocalist, sings the songs with a perfect Scottish accent, which gives it a good old traditional feel. Fast paced most of the time, but able to slow it down at times to sing the catchier parts of the song, the chorus. A perfect choice to open the album with, it grabs your attention and gets you wanting to hear more.

Track 4, Get Lost, is my favorite song on the track. This time the bagpipes by Matt MacNasty are more evident, but the vocals are by far the most prominent, and once again quite catchy. The pace of the track changes from time to time always at the right moment and by the right amount. Telling someone to go, get lost, and join a punk rock band. A short song, but a perfect punk rock melody. Dance Around The Whisky, (track 7) is another track which I really like. It has a more of a “real” feeling to it. A song about drinking beer and having a fun time, but with sounds in the background (galsses banging, people talking, etc.) gives it a feel as it it really was in a pub. It also has another different feel to it as it is mostly just an acoustic track.

Shit Outta Luck, the ninth track, is my second favorite one of the whole album. A incredibly catchy chorus, and somewhat catchy verse, the Mckenzies find another new way to send across their musical talent.  A great combination of musical instruments in the background all interconnected perfectly. The bass though, is the most prominent for most of the song.  Just a good old fashion song. Other songs worthy of mention would be Lest We ForgetYe Banks And BraesThe Night The Lights Went Our In Scotland and  Drink The Way I Do.

Overall, this album will probably not be in my top 10 of 2003, but will always be one which I will be able to return to and really enjoy. It gives you a new feel and perspective on the punk world. I do recommend you pick it up if you get the chance.

The Real McKenzies - Off The Leash

The Real McKenzies

Off The Leash

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




With six albums already credited to their name, The Real McKenzies know what they’re doing. However, unlikely many acts who stay together for this long, this Celtic punk outfit doesn’t constantly release the same record over and over again with different lyrics. Instead, each release sees the band progressing a bit while still maintaining their signature style and sound. Their seventh album, Off The Leash, is no different and any fan of the band beforehand will surely devour it with glee.

Merging equal parts punk and Celtic, Off The Leash is an energetic, raw, “traditional” record. With just as many guitar licks as there are bagpipe melodies, The Real McKenzies have written thirteen songs that would get any punk crowd moving in a pit and make any old Scot raise a pint and smile. To me, the band has always been a nice mix of Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys. Taking the more traditional, slow elements of the former (with banjo, violin and extra percussion thrown in) and the more punk-oriented sound of the later, The Real McKenzies are able to pump a fiery spark of life into the Celtic instrumentality. Too Many Fingers stays in the straight forward punk rock mentality while Drink Some More is a perfect Irish drinking song. Having these mixtures of styles and sounds help keep the album – and the band’s overall sound – from becoming repetitive as each new song can contain a drastically different structure than the one beforehand.

Paul McKenzie’s accented vocals weave tales of drunken adventures, childhood mishaps, repeating patterns and life on the road; and like always it is those lyrics that help make the record because McKenzie is a story teller at heart. The Ballad of Greyfriars Bobby will bring a smile to the face of anyone who’s ever seen the famed statue in Edinburgh, The Lads Who Fought and Won is a tribute to soldiers of WW2 while Old Becomes New and Drink Some More are songs to sing with friends and will surely become live favorites. Each tells a unique story, be it about a dog destroying his lunch at school or going for a carefree drive down the autobahn, each song is a story within itself.

The only bump in the road comes halfway through on The Maple Trees Remember. The slower track is built with almost a country-twanged banjo melody and slows down the album. It disrupts the flow of the album and would be better suited capping off the album; kind of like the acoustic Guy on Stage. But by the time the power chord heavy My Mangy Hound comes on, you’ve forgotten all about it and once again happily downing a pint and singing a long.

The Real McKenzies - 10,000 Shots

The Real McKenzies

10,000 Shots

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




Do you like your punk quick, fast and full of bagpipes? If so, then The Real McKenzies are for you. The Vancouver Scottish punk band are back with their Fat Wreck Chords debut and follow up to two highly acclaimed Honest Don’s releases, 10,000 Shots. Thirteen tracks of quick, celtic punk rock songs that get your blood flowing and fist pumping with even a few traditional songs thrown in there.

Paul McKenzie’s vocals are still solid as ever with his harsh Scottish accent. The vocals are anything but polished and toned, rather they are harsh and crude and don’t mind throwing a few vulgarities your way. And while they have that great old skate punk/street punk feel to them (partly due to the worn vocals, but also due to the quick speed of the music), the use of Matt McNasty’s bagpipes add a extra flare to the songs that would be sourly missed without.

At first glance though, 10,000 Shots doesn’t seem to stack up to its predecessor Oot & Aboot. While their older album jumped out at you instantly and pulled you in, this one seemed to lack a little something to make it memorable. But the more you listen to it, the more the album grows on you and you’re soon singing along with McKenzie as he complains about his band, talks about how being a punk rocker was a poor decision, speaks of getting wasted and tells an inventive story about a tailor and his encounter with a 10 foot tall skeleton. Another spin through and the traditional songs start to crawl into your mind and out your mouth. Like the heavily bagpiped acoustic track of Bugger Off or Will Ye No Come Back Again? and Farewell To Nova Scotia.

It still seems to be missing that punch that Oot & Aboot had, but only by a fraction and while itmay not be The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly, but The Real McKenzies still know how to make a good few Scottish punk songs. It just may take a few listens before you can fully see that.

Tours: Real McKenzies (Western Canada)

Real McKenziesVancouver’s Celtic punks The Real McKenzies will embark on a Western Canadian tour this March.

Kicking off on March 7th at the Wise Hall in Vancouver, the tour will go through BC and Alberta and wrap up on the 18th in Banff; the dates are below.

The band’s currently touring in support of last year’s Westwinds.

Read More…

Tour: The Real McKenzies Tour Dates

Real McKenziesFresh off posting a free download of The Message, the first single from their forthcoming album Westwinds, here – The Real McKenzies have announced touring plans for the next few months. 

The band will be touring most of the year from late April until Mid-August through Canada, the US and Europe. Joining them will be the likes of Reverend Horton Heat, Civet and Godmam Gallows. The dates are below.

Westwinds, the band’s 7th album, will be available March 27th through Fat Wreck Chords and Stomp Records.


Read More…

The Real McKenzies – The Message

Real McKenziesVancouver celtic punks The Real McKenzies have debuted a brand new song from their upcoming full length, Westwinds, due out March 27, 2012 via Fat Wreck Chords.  The song is titled The Message, and combines both electric and acoustic elements.

Listen to the song here.

Real McKenzies Detail And Date New Album

Vancouver celtic punks The Real McKenzies have announced that they will be releasing their next full length, Westwinds, on March 27, 2012 via Fat Wreck Chords.

Release details can be found below.

Read More…

Tours: The Real McKenzies (Canada)

Vancouver’s The Real McKenzies will be touring Canada in the spring. The Celtic-punk band released a live album, Shine not Burn, last year.

The dates are below.

Read More…

Tours: The Real McKenzies (Canada)

Real McKenziesLong running Vancouver celtic punk act The Real McKenzies has announced a hefty string of dates for what will make up a sizable Canadian tour.  The band continues supporting their recent acoustic live album, Shine Not Burn, released last year on Fat Wreck Chords.

Tour dates can be found below.

Read More…

Video: The Real McKenzies – Culling The Herd

Real McKenziesVancouver’s The Real McKenzies have released a music video for their song “Culling the Herd;” the video can be seen below.

The song was released on the band’s 2008 album, “Off The Leash,” released on Fat Wreck Chords.

Read More…

Tours: The Real McKenzies Announce European Dates For 2011

The Real McKenzies will be heading over to Europe for a tour come the new year.  They continue supporting their latest release, acoustic live album, Shine Not Burn, released earlier this year on long time label Fat Wreck Chords.

Tour dates can be found below

Read More…

The Real McKenzies Streaming Shine Not Burn

The Real McKenzies are streaming their live/acoustic album Shine Not Burn over on Spinner’s weekly listening party.  The album is set for release this week on June 22, 2010 through Fat Wreck Chords.

Stream the album here.

The Real McKenzies Preview Video From Shine Not Burn

Vancouver celtic punk outfit The Real McKenzies has released a new video of their classic track “Chip,” from their upcoming live and unplugged album, Shine Not Burn, due out June 22, 2010 on Fat Wreck Chords.  The track was recorded in live from Berlin, Germany.

Check out the video below.

Read More…

New Interview with Real McKenzies, Announce Live CD/DVD

Real McKenziesDwayne recently caught up with Dave Gregg, guitarist for Celtic punk band The Real McKenzies to discuss their recent tours, their relationship with Fat, the best way to record a studio album and, most notably, their plans for the upcoming year.

Gregg went into some detail regarding an upcoming live CD/DVD:

Recorded in Berlin last August. We did 3 nights at a club called the Wild at Heart and recorded all of it. It’s taken a while sifting through it trying to find the best stuff. I think the CD is 20 songs. We played 35 songs a night, so we had 105 songs to sort through. I can’t say we put a lot of time into mixing it because it’s a live record, it is what it is. We didn’t go into the studio with a big bottle of turd polish and try to make it something that it wasn’t. You still have to listen to all the versions and pick the right one and then narrow it down to 20; pick the best of the best. Whatever makes a good record.

We are releasing a DVD of those shows as well which I think are 29 songs. That’s going to be a limited edition. I think we are going to make 1000 in the European format and maybe 200 in the North American format and we will sell those on the road and perhaps sell them online. Once they are gone though they are gone.

Read the full interview here.