This week it is Scott McLauchlan from the excellent Brassneck Records who have a full roster of great tuneful hardcore bands
All + China Drum London 1994
My favourite gig? That’s not an easy one. Lots of gigs stick out as memorable for different reasons. I’ve been going to gigs since about 1990 and even though I’ve been to hundreds of gigs over the years, it’s some of the earlier ones that have stayed with me the most. On that basis, if I had to narrow it down, it was probably seeing ALL on their Breaking Things tour @ The London Powerhaus in 93 or 94 with support from China Drum. ALL (and the Descendents) were pretty much my favourite band in the world in the early to mid 90s and I made the trip down from the North to see them.
I grew up in a little Northern town where punk gigs simply didn’t happen. I only had a small number of friends who shared similar musical interests and getting into Manchester for gigs (the nearest city with any kind of notable punk activity that I was aware of at the time) was difficult. Getting to London was even harder. So this was a big deal for me even before I got there.
With memories affected by the passage of time and the beer consumed on the evening, some of my recollections are slightly blurred. I don’t remember all the songs that were played, I don’t recall any specific onstage banter or quite what happened in the latter stages of the night but I remember it as the first time I really felt part of a “scene” in any definite way. Aside from my few local friends, I just assumed there were only a handful of people in the UK who gave a damn about the bands I loved. But here there were hundreds of them all singing along and running into each other as ALL ripped into their opening song. I spoke to loads of peo-ple that night. All strangers who loved the music I loved. I stayed in touch with some of them for a while and often saw them when I went back to London over the following years. It all sounds bit cheesy now, but I was young(ish) and naive to how big the scene was in the UK at the time. As such, it was a defining moment for me and my love of punk outside of just listening to records in my bedroom.
Additional high points included having a pre-gig coffee with Stephen Egerton and talking to Karl about our shared love of cartoons and bands like The Chemical People and The Hard-Ons. Also the inclusion of some of my favourite Descendents songs in the set and meeting a young and slightly nervous Chad Price. This was the first time they’d played the UK with Chad on vocals and, apart from the songs on the (at the time) new LP I’d ever heard him sing before so I didn’t know how well he’d handle the songs Scott and Dave sung on record. Clearly, I needn’t have worried. Chad & the band took it all in their stride and blew me away. I saw ALL play London again in 2014 and, while that show was also great fun, the first time I saw them always sticks out as one of my fondest gig memories.
Scott McLauchlan – Brassneck Records – http://brassneckrecords.bigcartel.com/
Nothing like a bit or raucous punk folk to start the day. I didn’t make it to black pitts but will catch them in Dublin soon I hope. Matilda’s Scoundrel were on the introducing stage and judging by the receptive crowd they weren’t being introduced to many. Accordion, mandolin, tin whistle with guitar, bass and drums drumming up some sing along punk anthems
Dunstan bruce has a very interesting story to tell and he is not only doing that on the literary stage he is in thee process of making a movie about it. The first phase of his Kickstarter campaign was successful but more funding is now required to get into the edit stage. Chumbabwamba played a folk set at rebellion just before their hiatus and Dunstan wasn’t around then but he is now back with his new band interrobang. Before their live set though he had a story to tell. Unfortunately johnny wah wah was asking the questions so there was little insight, it kind of feels like the questions are made up on the spot. Maybe the intention is to come across like two friends having a conversation over a drink and we did get to hear that chumbabwamba wanted to be a northern version of Crass whilst listening to the fall and the mekons.
Dunstan started interrobang as he still feels the need to be part of something that wants to change the world, be part of a movement. Their sound does hark back to that post punk era Complete with loud hauler found at your nearest protest march. We get a brief break during the set when all three start screaming “I’m mad as hell. I’m not gonna take it anymore”. Dunstan even travels through the audience while we politely applaud. Great to see the evolving sound and message of wanting to change the world still being strong 30 years after I got a reply from my first letter to hin
Shot! were on the introducing stage. Rocky punk sound. Again the new band stage is shining, no inhibitions as bands give it everything in this small room. Rooms like this is where the bands playing on the larger stages in the venue all started out. This kind of energy too
One of the bands I was most looking forward to see as part of this festival was the spoilers. They are on new band stage clashing with Carol Hodge, channel 3 and hifi spitfires. But it doesn’t matter. They are nearly worth the admission price alone (it’s a lot of money just for one band). spoilers storm this rebellion introducing stage. They pop us in and punk us out. Catchy tunes that demand you join their gang. Bizarrely enough it was the worst sound that I’ve seen in that venue but still you could reach out and touch the power
Dick Lucas has now added artist to his repertoire as he has an exhibition in the punk art and even had some sold stickers on his paintings. The time culture Shock don’t play rebellion will find the festival with a huge hole to fill. Regular entertainers with their ska tinged punk filling the outdoor tower arena
I keep hearing and reading that there is a rebellion family and it is a great opportunity for people to catch up. I’m usually pretty introverted and love saying hello to people but after that start to struggle a bit. I’ve decided to try and work on this so go up and say hi to a few I see annually but had some connection with since playing in my first band in 1984. Socialising I think you call it :). It was great to catch up with people but meant I missed out on Jfa and the wall. I did get to hear the angelic upstarts as i stood on the road chatting and searching for wifi so I could see how the dubs were progressing in their football match. There was a huge turnout for the upstarts, a larger entrance had to be opened. I first saw the band in Blackpool in 1984 and they played many songs from that night, and played them just as well.
So the next dilemma of stage time clashes!! Hard skin won out to louise distras, flat back four and the Newtown neurotics. I had to hear the between song banter of the second biggest anti fascist band playing here. I even got to hear some new skinhead anthems that hard skin have written, oh wait hang on – they weren’t new they were just written this decade. I think the north pier theatre in Blackpool are looking to book hard skin for a residency. Comic genius but an undercurrent of reality, the mark Thomas of oi..
Got three neurotic songs which was a real bonus, could have done without the effects on the vocals though
The weird and wonderful world of Spizz / Spizz energi / Spizz athletico 80 waqs next – definitely Spizz energi now and it gave me. chance to sit down, restore some energy and not worry about beer being thrown for a while. I don’t know what it is about gigs that makes people think they can just throw a glass with liquid in it up in the air. One sped past my head at hard skin and the goon that threw it just smiled and said sorry. Lucky for me I’m old and not bothered these days otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen anything other than a red mist for the rest of the night )and maybe even a+e after an inevitable defeat. Spizz took the stage in full make up, bleached blond hair and lights on his fingers and eyes. I wonder if he looks like that on his bus pass ticket? now that would be a statement. New wave music that only moved enough to make me leave so I could catch some cockney rejects before the last acoustic set of the day.
I stumbled across the end of the hobo jones acoustic set and what a sight. 350 punks singing along to sheena is a punk rocker with the lyrics changed for a little girl who requested last year they play a ramones song. It was the cutest request they ever received so they agreed to learn another one for this year. Of course they forgot until today and then charged it for Sydney. We all sang and clapped. Sydney danced and it was one of those magic rebellion momentsl, of which there are many
Henry Cluney was the original guitarist in Stiff Little Fingers, a hugely influential band. Slf are playing tomorrow night and their influence can be heard right throughout the weekend. Henry is no longer playing with the band, plying his own wares in xSLF. His acoustic set is a joy to behold as he packs the room to the rafters. Again the respect is just oozing in the room. Henry is part of a huge Irish contingent over for the festival. Not just consumers of what’s on offer, like me, but many artists here this weekend. A long list. Those Slf songs sound as good acoustically and rebellion is a perfect avenue for this but is not its about what was happening in 1976, 79,82 or whatever wave was going on. Yep some bands are still playing this songs the same way but with the songs stripped down to the bare guitar and vocals cluney has the acoustic room in his hands, hundreds singing along dreaming of that other world we all thought was possible
Ruts are another that have evolved. Death has seen to that. But wow have they evolved. We are the flock and the ruts are our pastors. Each year they play an amazing set and throw in a new song or two, The Dub element in their sound is lessening bu us still prevalent. The newer songs hark back to their original day, If Rebellion is one big happy family then the rus are the relatives everyone opes will visit.
My last band for the day are Paranoid Visions playing with Steve Ignorant. WIth Steve on board the visioins play a more straight forward punk set. It’s a packed stage, chaotic and powerful, they even sneak in a cover of a crass song at the end. Do they owe us a living? Well do they? Top class