Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In August

Festival season is upon us! Time to drink warm cans in a field full of grubby strangers and enjoy a well-deserved break from the real world.

There are so many high-calibre punk shows this month it’s going to be hard to keep up.

For me, August is going to be ruled by a week in Slovenia for Punk Rock Holiday. I’ve wanted to attend for years, but this is the first time I’ve managed to secure tickets. Never before have I had the opportunity to combine bands, beers and beaches – I can barely contain my excitement.

Headliners this year include Propa-fucking-gandhi, Good Riddance and The Offspring, plus heavyweights like Snuff, Face to Face and Teenage Bottlerocket. Of the less-obvious bands on the Beach Stage, I strongly recommend checking out Not On Tour, BONO! and Sombulance. I’m concerned that I may not survive 5 straight days of beer and heatstroke but I’m gonna give it a bloody good try.

PRH Lineup

I also recommend visiting Boomtown Fair for their unparalleled array of partying options. As usual Last Gang in Town’s selections for the Devil Kicks Dancehall stage are sterling: King Prawn, The Filaments, Wonk Unit, Inner Terrestrials, Pizzatramp, The JB Conspiracy to name a handful… Check out the full line-up, there isn’t a bad apple on the whole list.

The weekend before is Rebellion up in Blackpool: a social experiment to determine whether punks can survive constant exposure to loud noises, solely with the help of lager, chips and fry ups. The annual punk extravaganza always pulls in big names from across the scene, including many of the same bands as Punk Rock Holiday, plus hundreds of others like Bad Religion, Sham 69, Slaves and many of the smaller UK punk regulars.

I should also be making my annual pilgrimage to Devon for Beautiful Days – a chilled-out grassroots festival run by Levellers. It sells out every year based only on word of mouth: there’s no advertising, no sponsorship and no bullshit whatsoever. This year’s line-up includes Stiff Little Fingers, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Hepcat, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Ferocious Dog, Therapy? and Songhoy Blues. If you’re heading down there, make sure you have a cold pint down The Bimble Inn for me!

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Enjoying the Bimble Inn slightly too much in 2015.

For those of you less inclined to spend £100s getting drunk, sunburned and rained-on in a muddy field, there are plenty of tent-free shows worth going to. Read on for my top picks in August. Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In August”

BONO! : You’ve Got To Hear This [Band Profile]

Pit-inducing, aggressive East Anglian hardcore for fans of Bones Brigade, Darko and Spermbirds.

Bono No escape

BONO! are a 5-piece hardcore band from sunny Norwich, who are intriguingly named after the world’s most famous turd.  Founded on anger, frustration and an apparent distrust for songs lasting longer than 90 seconds, they deliver frantically aggressive pit-smashing live shows.

I caught them supporting Matilda’s Scoundrels about a week after moving to Ipswich, and spent at least 15-minutes drunkenly babbling at them, telling them how much fun they were in a teeny tiny room above an Irish pub. They have also inspired one of the glorious YouTube comments I’ve ever read, on their video for new track No Escape:

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Their first release was an awesome a 5-minute self-titled EP in March 2016, which followed it this year with new EP No Escape!  It’s a dark and energetic selection of songs, bound to tear a hole in any live audience. Continue reading “BONO! : You’ve Got To Hear This [Band Profile]”

Grand Collapse: You’ve Got To Hear This [Band Profile]

Intense, technical hardcore for fans of Trash Talk, Propaghandi and face-melting thrash punk.

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When I first saw Grand Collapse they completely blew me away.  Their unrelentingly fast thrash is fuelled by aggression and frustration, and underpinned by impressive musicianship. Listening to Grand Collapse is the musical equivalent of jumping over the edge of a giant waterfall and tumbling into the unknown: a frantic mix of adrenaline, shock and awe.

Live they are savagely intense, likely to inspire either mosh pit chaos or the end of the world. The last performance I saw was in the basement of Sound Control at this year’s Manchester Punk Festival, where at least one of my friends spent the whole set standing slack-jawed in awe of what they were witnessing.

After the astounding assault of their live shows their records do not disappoint.  Their first album Far From The Callous Crowd is a firm favourite of mine, and recent follow up Along The Dew is 29 minutes and 49 seconds of raw energy. Both are tightly produced, allowing you to appreciate the intricate intrumental layering, outstanding guitar work and heavy double-kick annihilation. Calvin Sewell’s hoarse vocal adds a percussive punch, threatening to fall apart at any moment. Live or on record they are to be enjoyed extremely loud and overwhelmingly fast; every bar is a joyous assault on the senses.

I have the distinct pleasure of seeing Grand Collapse at Punx Inna Jungle later today (if I survive until 1am), but you can check them out at Common Ground Festival and around the country later in the year.

Along The Dew was released on TNS Records earlier this year. If you’re a fan of face-meltingly fast, technically excellent hardcore you’d be a fool not to buy it.

You can stream, download or buy a copy here:
TNS RECORDS (UK) http://bit.ly/2qQFsA0
RUIN NATION (EU) http://bit.ly/2qy0thw
BANDCAMP http://bit.ly/2pgtfjC
YOUTUBE http://bit.ly/2qUqysn

Gig Review: The Grabowskis @ The Smokehouse (03/06/2017)

Plus barn-stormers The Minor Discomfort Band and geekgrind from Chestburster.

On a swelteringly sunny day in June, there’s nothing quite like cramming into a windowless shoebox of a venue to watch three frantically good punk bands.

The Smokehouse starts to pack out around 8.30pm, just in time for Chestburster to take the stage. The band do a fantastic job of revving up the crowd. Each of their songs is themed around a different horror movie and, if that’s not great enough, they serve it up in 40 second blasts of heavy grind.

They try and fool us by introducing themselves as a shit thrash metal band, but I’m totally overjoyed watching them. They sound like waking up to 17 cups of coffees being thrown in your face; every moment is hilarious, enlivening and face-meltingly fast.

Continue reading “Gig Review: The Grabowskis @ The Smokehouse (03/06/2017)”

Gig Review: Descendents @ Kentish Town Forum (04/06/2017)

Thank you for playing the way you play: Descendents charge through 30+ songs and 2 encores in London.

The opportunity to see Descendents live in the UK is not one that you miss.

This is the second date of their Hypercaffium Spazzinate Euro Tour, and their only UK show. Descendents are forefathers of pop-punk and melodic hardcore. They formed in California in 1977, they’ve had 9 different members, 7 albums, 5 record labels and 4 long-term hiatuses. Their Milo caricature is ubiquitous on t-shirts and a popular tattoo, and yet it is still recognised as an emblem of good taste.

As a band who once said that they ‘couldn’t sell out a telephone booth’, they’ve single-handedly packed 2,300 people into Kentish Town Forum this Sunday night. I’m expecting punks from far and wide: die-hards who first heard them in 1982, Fat Wreck-era fans obsessed with Everything Sucks, newbies who’ve heard they’re legendary, and plenty of lucky boyfriends and girlfriends who have been dragged along. Continue reading “Gig Review: Descendents @ Kentish Town Forum (04/06/2017)”