A week of punk

“Punk rock saved my life”, Derrick Johnston proclaimed one Monday night in the hut to an audience one could quite comfortably count with two hands and we knew exactly what he meant. My saving wasn’t on the form of punk but it certainly shaped my life. So many decisions I make on a daily basis has some basis in punk, or more specifically the free thoughts around d.i.y. and collectivism. These decisions involve purchases, food, sport, parenting and work. It is steeped in a belief that if you’ve something to complain about then you’ve something to change, and a belief in the strength of an individual being emboldened within the collective. And Derrick Johnston and Chris Snelgrove know exactly what that means.

It matters little how many people are at the gig it is the existence of the event that counts. That two people can travel from Montreal and Dundee respectively to our island and sing some songs to people that want to hear them is the vital ingredient. That they make no money in the process is secondary. We are all friends here, hoping for a better world and a fairer future.

Derrick runs make that a take records , books his aen shows and runs his ane festival. He sings his songs with passion and integrity and sings right from the heart. At times it’s uncomfortable as depression is just not a jovial topic. It’s ok though, he’s amongst friends and we care.

Chris has been playing in bands for 25+ years. Punk rock took him away from a path of succumbing to addiction and he is grateful for that.

This gig was sandwiched between ones in Belfast (smith street band) and the dublin gigs of Martha with Joyce manor and a few days later lemuria. All bands come from similar places. A love for tunes and punk rock but also an appreciation for people and a knowledge that life doesn’t revolved around the music industry.

Smith street band sang their anthems to a Belfast crowd ready to sing along with them but something felt like it was missing.

Martha seemed like they were one of the audience but when Joyce manor hit the workmans stage something seemed to be missing.

Lemuria were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their excellent Get Better lp all great songs but still something not quite right. It was not quite the Joshua Tree extravaganza of U2 but a similar feeling around it. However Lemuria share that belief that the world can be a better place and music can help us along the way. And this is a world I feel I belong in

niallhope

My Favourite Gig – Derrick Johnston

This is the eleventh in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig.

The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos  

 Pay by paypal, here

This week it is Derrick Johnston, head honcho of make that a take records

Leatherface headlining Book Yer Ane Fest V

Dundee in 2011

 

To answer a question about a favourite gig is pretty difficult; do I pick one that I’ve attended, one that I’ve played or one that we’ve put on?

 

There are loads that spring to mind; seeing At The Drive In back in 2000, Beastie Boys at T In The Park ’98, Against Me in King Tuts years ago, so many shows jump out at me; Kula Shaker at The Caird Hall in Dundee was my first “big” show way back in 1997 and I remember that I lost a shoe trying to crowd surf. That was when I figured out that hardcore and indie rock crowds didn’t necessarily mix!

Of equal importance was the gig at the now non-existent Westport Bar in Dundee on my 16th birthday when my band (Humus Kife) played with Mercury Tilt Switch, Tenesee Kait and Agent Orange (now Kaddish). That show was seminal and of great importance to me.

I’ve played some incredible shows with my various bands across the years too; from playing with some of my favourites (Off With Their Heads, The Flatliners, RVIVR; a sold out show in Edinburgh that was Uniforms’ first ever gig) to playing our first ever show in America at Pre-Fest 10 in Gainesville, Florida.

 

However, I think the greatest set I’ve ever seen with my own eyes was watching the mighty Leatherface headlining Book Yer Ane Fest V at Kage Nightclub, Dundee in 2011. I will never forget the feeling of being absolutely exhausted after playing earlier that day and running the show, which was our first three-day BYAF. I had lost my phone the previous evening and was running around demented all day. I was so nervous when Leatherface arrived as they’ve long been one of my favourite bands and to see them up “on stage” in our club at a sold-out festival was a surreal experience. We’re usually razor-sharp when it comes to timekeeping but nobody gave a shit that Leatherface were running over their set time. I mean, come on, would you go and tell Frankie Stubbs that time was up?

 

I’ll never forget that night. I believe pride can be a dangerous emotion but there are few times when I’ve felt more proud of being involved in punk rock than standing at the back watching a few hundred punks lose their minds while Leatherface blasted out classic after classic. A truly humbling and educational experience for which I shall be eternally grateful.