Sauna Youth, London, Oct 2016

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We had to fight through the saturday night life of Shoreditch to get there,
past the moody bouncers, and down concrete stairs,
to a friendly grey basement with a bar and a stage.

Sauna Youth gave 30 minutes of high-energy repetitive-beat punk-rock.
We were compelled to 30 minutes of non-stop head-nod, bruise-collecting arm-flailing, and size 9 docs thrashing scarily above my head as crowd surfers got too close for comfort.

There was no encore, Sauna Youth gave us their all, and I loved every song.

Sauna Youth

Slowcoaches

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The Moth Club August 27th 2016

Slowcoaches were the last band of the night. For the first half of their set there was a big pit of (mostly) women, dancing and good-humoured jostling. At some point the pit was taken over by aggressive men and the singer/bassist of Slowcoaches picked up her mic stand and stepped off the stage and placed her mic stand in the pit and claimed the space as hers. She was thrashing around, all the time playing like a maniac. A guy pushed her and she immediately turned to face him and gave him a don’t-fuck-with-me look. He withered. She won. Don’t mess with Slowcoaches, they own the whole bloody scene. They rule.

SLOWCOACHES

The Parrots

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Rough Trade East, 25th August 2016

This in-store show was the debut performance of The Parrots’ new album Los Niños Sin Miedo. I love their new album, it’s up there as one of the best albums of the year. The show was early and short, but the Parrots were enthusiastic & tight as ever, and i’m itching to get to their show at the Victoria in a couple of weeks.

the Parrots illustration

 

Rebellion Festival

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Rebellion Festival at Blackpool Winter Gardens with The Pukes.

7 stages of punk bands, 13 hours a day for 4 days.

Day 1 – Thursday

We were the closing band of Thursday night on the Opera Stage.

In the backstage dressing room there are tour posters for comedians from the 80s, strip lights around the mirrors and a sign on the sink that says “no food washing – this sink is only for wigs”.

The stage is enormous.

It was massive amounts of fun to play.

We all stayed sober enough to play (even drummer Saul), we played well and to a good crowd, sold almost all of our special Rebellion Puke Bag CD/’zines, gave away loads of vodka jelly shots, made new friends, met old friends and had a fantastic night of over-excitement.

Here’s our hard working merch man Adam, selling our t-shirts and ‘zines to pay for our next album. Sitting next to the stall is Swiss Rebellion-friend Andrej Guly.

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This year’s Rebellion had a good scattering of not-all-men bands and crew. Each stage had at least a few women performing every day, and in my mind, the most impressive bands had women in the line up, so this year I drew mostly not-all-men bands.

rebellion2016_01I caught an early train and came straight from the station to catch Werecats at 2pm on the Introducing Stage. I play in The Pukes with Cil, and in Rabies Babies with Mike and it is beautiful to watch them in Werecats. Cil and Pip play off each other’s harmonies and inter-song chat, and they play fun and fantastic mid-80’s pop-punk with fuzzy guitars, smiles and fuck-you attitude, like in the days when pop-punk was great.

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I spent most of the afternoon hanging around The Pukes’ march stall, and went back to the Introducing Stage at 6.30pm for The Svetlanas, a tsunami of hair and hardcore, and at 8pm to catch The Tuts. If I was 18 and in a band then I would definitely want to be in The Tuts. They are energy, humour and fantastic pop punk tunes.

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Day 2 – Friday

On a sunny day Blackpool is a beautiful place.
I had midday drinks with friends in the bar at the end of North Pier. The organist entertained us with seaside hits and 80 year old couples waltzed.
I wished that I could waltz.

At 1.20pm Maid Of Ace played the new Tower Street Arena open-air stage. They rocked tough and fast. I bought both their albums afterwards.Maid Of Ace

 

I met up with Aston of Boss Tuneage Records at the Tower St Arena, “I’ll be easy to spot – I’m the one in the black t-shirt” he said. bloke in black shirt
The Winter Gardens felt hot and stuffy so I went back to the seafront to eat an M&S salad (thanks Karen Hag for the top-tip!), and while I was there I came across this photoshoot (with lights!) of a punk and two old ladies. Later on I bumped into the punk. His name is Andy. The photographer asked him to pose with the ladies. He didn’t even get a quid for it.

punk in blackpool photoshoot

I got sunburn after a while, so I headed back to the Winter Gardens and caught a few bits of bands, had a couple of beers, and then went to hear Brix Smith being interviewed by John Robb on the Opera House stage. I learned that Brix Smith wrote one of my favourite Fall songs, Hotel Blodel, and she told entertaining stories of music-obsession, manchester & ‘merica. She returned to the Opera stage a while later to perform an awesome set with her band. Their performance was my favourite of the festival. I LOVED every second of it. I felt the nostalgia of being a teenager in my bedroom listening to Perverted By Language, and loved the new songs they played. Brix Smith

Ramones tribute band Ramonas played the Empress Ballroom at the end of the night. This room is enormous with a sprung dance floor. Very few bands can get away with playing the Empress. The Ramonas OWNED the place. They were easily the most professional, tight and deadly band of the weekend. They didn’t pause for breath. They pretty much did ‘It’s Alive’, as the Ramones did it, but better. They are Ramones-plus. I am still in awe of the musicianship of these women.

Ramonas

Day 3 – Saturday

The day begun with The Pukes’ Blow the Roof Off Rebellion – Biggest Band of the Festival workshop. It was as fun as ever with around 30 people taking part. Two people during the festival told us that they had done our ‘Here’s 3 Chords Now Form A Band’ workshops in previous years and had gone on to form their own bands. Total Punk.

Favourites bands of the day was oi-pin-ups Hard Skin and fab M.D.C on the Pavillion Stage, and on the Introducing Stage, Shot! a multi-nationality London US-style hardcore band, and Amsterdam squat band Cracked Up.

Shot!

cracked up

Day 4 – Sunday

Highlight of the day was listening to Dave Dictor being interviewed and read from his book: MDC: Memoir From A Damaged Civilisation.
When asked about sexism/equality in the punk scene, Dave tells that on their current 40+ date European tour they have only come across one band with a woman in (Svetlana). I love Dave Dictor for noticing and caring.

Dave Dictor MDC

I had a good wander around the Punk Art, and met new favourite printmaker/artist, Zoe Girl Shit. (check out her stuff – it rocks).

My Rebellion was cut short to catch the 8pm train home, but before I left I had a couple of anarcho treats on the Arena Stage. Anthrax UK followed by the best finale imaginable – Hagar The Womb. I love this band so much. They are funnier than Hard Skin, more punk than anyone, and were possibly the only band who were drinking chocolate vodka on stage.

hagar the womb

 

Orchestra Of Spheres

Eindhoven Psych Lab June 10th – 11th 2016

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My first visit to Eindhoven Psych Lab.
The festival had 4 stages; the Main Lab, the tiny Skid Audio Plant stage, a midsize stage downstairs called The Observatory, and Modulab in the bar.

It was non-stop performances, (around 45 bands/artists over the weekend), with fantastic visuals supplied by Shelf and EPL Visuals Team. I have attempted to re-create the visuals for each band in my drawings.

We arrived on friday evening to hear the announcement that The Oscillation and Useless Eaters were stuck in traffic and couldn’t play until later. (We’d been up since 6am so we didn’t stick around late enough to find out if they did).

We saw 18 performances, and these were the favourites;

Orchestra of Spheres put on a real proper show, they filled the Main Lab Stage with fab dance moves, kookie glasses, self-made instruments, infective tunes, danceable rhythms, and a bass sound that grabs your heart and makes you fall in love with Orchestra Of Spheres. A highlight of Psych Lab.

Orchestra Of Spheres

Parquet Courts are more ‘rock’ than ‘psychedelic’, but were a good fun band for a friday night and the whole of the Main Lab was dancing. My friend Gav said that the visuals behind them made him worried that he’d left the gas cooker on.

Parquet Courts

Black Valleys meets OWOW was the first performance of saturday afternoon on the smaller Observatory Stage and they were the best smelling band of the weekend. Black Valleys are the alter ego of White Hills, and after seeing Black Valley’s set my biggest regret of the festival is missing White Hill’s set on Friday evening. Their Psych Lab performance was made using a special set of instruments made by Eindhoven based company OWOW and was definitely a highlight of the festival.

Black Valleys

Peninsula played 2 sets on the Modulab Stage, we caught the second set, on saturday evening. It was a refreshing blast of experimental noise-art/soundscapes to zone out to and be immersed in true psyched up sounds.

PeninsularThe Modulab stage is described best in the program “We work mainly with modular synthesisers. The individual parts of the modular synthesiser resemble the building blocks of sound, and eventually music. By connecting these building blocks with wires, carrying electrical signals, we can control and influence the creation and evolvement of sound into something spectacular.”

We hung around the Modular Stage and caught the 2nd set of another festival favourite, Mono-Poly. I don’t usually draw bands while I’m watching, but this seemed perfect to draw to. There was only a small handful of people watching, but all of us lucky enough to experience Mono-Poly’s set doubtless would count this as a highlight.
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The Mystery Lights were also on the Observatory Stage. Gav’s highlight of the festival. They have a proper 60s garage psychedelic sound, best singer jumps of the festival, and their set went by way too quickly.

The Mystery Lights

The Jolenes / Holly Golightly at the Lexington 12 May 2016

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It is summer at last!
Only one thing is better in summer than Holly Golightly, and that is Holly Golightly and The Jolenes playing on the same night, at the same gig!
The Jolenes have a song about the blue lines you get on pregnancy tests. It’s hilarious and clever and brilliant. The Jolenes are pure London bonafide bluegrass.
Holly didn’t have her trumpet friend, so she didn’t do my favourite song off Slowtown Now, but she had a great harmonica player come and join her instead, which was a treat. Holly Golightly at the Lexington is about as close to perfection as you can get. I love that venue and I will never ever get bored of hearing Holly sing. She is God. My only regret is that one last beer at the end of the night, I should have gone straight home instead. I paid for that beer the next day.

Otoboke Beaver May 1st 2016

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This was their first show in UK,  as part of the 3 day DIY Pop Festival at the Shacklewell Arms. I feel very honoured to have been there because Otoboke Beaver should be playing massive venues the next time they come to Britain. They have great songs, they are great musicians, they have explosive energy, and have their stage-craft down to a T. No one could not love Otoboke Beaver.

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The Smoggers at Weirdsville 30-4-16

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I was looking forwards to this gig for ages! I saw Charm Bag last year at the Monster Raving Loony Party in Spain and I have bought a few Smoggers 7″ records during the last year. Laura got a babysitter and we dusted off our dancing shoes and set off for the Fiddler’s Elbow.
The support & main bands were MFC Chicken, but for me the main attraction was The Smoggers. They played solid garage how it should be – full on energy, full on fuzz, full on fun. Plus Ana Smogger is the coolest woman ever!

the smoggers

Skinny Girl Diet at the Moth Club Hackney

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Last night I went to the Moth Club. I saw Parrots there a couple of weeks ago, it is near by, a nice atmosphere, cheap to get in (only a fiver!) and I like the gold ceiling there. Last night Ghost Car and Skinny Girl Diet played, both new bands to me. The gig was sold out and packed. Around 70% of the audience was female. I haven’t been to a gig with so many women for ages (ever?). Both bands were fantastic. Gold Car have an organ player who adds an amazing sound to the band and Skinny Girl Diet remind me of early 90s grunge-punk. An energetic pit was formed on most of the dancefloor for the whole night. I bought records from both bands afterwards. skinny girl diet

 

Rebellion Festival 2015 Saturday

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Saturday began with the Part-Time Pukes workshop – a massive play-a-long to make the biggest band of the festival, joined by Brunk brass band, a load of drummers, uke players and singers. Celebratory pints all round for the Pukes, and after lugging a dozen guitars & ukes back to the van I watched Goldblade rock the massive Empress Ballroom stage. In the afternoon I went for an ice-cream on the beach with Nipper from Hard Skin. We wanted Fabs but couldn’t find any, so we got a Nobbly Bobbly instead.

Nipper eating a Nobbly Bobbly

I came back to the Winter Gardens to catch Coitus – their first appearance at Rebellion.
Coitus

Coitus suit the Casbar stage. I stayed at the Casbah for most of Saturday night – it was like an 80s/90s squat party line-up. Culture Shock followed by Hard Skin, then I went for mushy peas & chips so I missed Chaos UK, but I got back in time for the Mob, with a tiny look in to the Empress Stage to see how appalling Boomtown Rats were. (They were doing ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, I didn’t even stay for the whole song). The Mob did one song with the singer out of Zounds, which was quite special to see, it was obvious how much the Mob love Zounds.

MDC
MDC were the last band of the night. (my drawing of Mike MDC is above) During their set a guy got on stage and asked his girlfriend to marry him. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being proposed to on stage in front of hundreds of people by a guy that had downed too many pints of shit lager. MDC singer Dave followed the proposal with dedicating the song ‘Dick For Brains’ to the happy couple, and said “I was married once” with a face that said it all. He then proceeded to tell an inappropriate story about going down on a prostitute. I laughed so much. Dave is a star. MDC rocked.

Rebellion Festival 2015 Friday

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I arrived on Friday night at Blackpool Winter Gardens in time to see Johnny Moped, who was fantastic and energetic. After that I watched Captain Hotknives, who orchestrated the best sing-off I have ever witnessed. He got the two halves of the crowd absolutely hating each other, and then declared that each half should battle the other by singing “I hate babies” the loudest. If Captain Hotknives ever decides to become a politician then we are in trouble. I have never seen such manipulation. It was stunning. All of his set, as usual, was hilarious. For some reason he had black war-paint on his face. Not sure why.
captain hotknives

After Captain Hotknives I saw a little bit of the Damned, who were quite good but I had to leave their show to go and watch the Restarts, who for me were the best band of the night. Kieran was wearing a ballet skirt, which he looked really good in, and he did a great girls-to-the-front shout-out just before the band played their tribute to Mia Zapata song.

the restarts

After the Restarts I watched a little bit of Sham 69, but I thought the sound wasn’t very good and they seemed a bit dull after the great Restarts show so I went back to my BnB for an early night.

Rabies Babies in Prague

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In July my band Rabies Babies did a couple of gigs in Czech. At the Prague show there was a guy who was a total knob-head, he even had a knob on his t-shirt. Our friend Pavel named him Super-Dick-Head because he was like a superhero with special powers of being a dickhead. There is a dickhead like this at lots of gigs, they push to the front and dance aggressively and push people around and spill drinks everywhere. If you ever need a dick-head at your gig to be annoying and be a dick-head then you can call him and he will appear. He quite often appears without being invited though. He tried to intimidate us, but we are Rabies Babies and we won’t be beaten by dick-heads, Laura put him down quite nicely. rabies babies and the knob head

Hell-o-Tiki and The Scumbugs – 29th May Weirdsville

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WEIRDSVILLE at the Fiddlers Elbow

MFC CHICKEN started off the night – their final weekend of playing shows until their frontman/saxer Spence can return from expired-visa exile in Canada. I watched a couple of songs and then a man with a loud voice and an ill-fitting hat perched on his head stood directly in front of me, totally obscuring my view. He immediately began shouting to the woman next to him how much he loved MFC Chicken. He only paid attention to the band in between songs, when he whoooped loudly and clapped as though his life depended on it.

After 3 or 4 songs I got sick of boring-loud-hat-man’s conversation so I pushed past him and went back to enjoying the gig. MFC Chicken make you feel as though you’re in ‘Happy Days’ at a School ‘Hop’. I wished I was wearing a cool 50s dress. My friend Gav stayed and listened to hat-man’s conversation. He reported to me afterwards that the main conversation was hat-man telling the woman how much he loved MFC Chicken and how he loved them so much that he was following them to their 2nd gig of the night at the Dirty Water Club. He probably talked all the way through that show too.

HELL-O-TIKI are non-stop volcanic surf, complete with voodoo skeleton suits, Mexican wrestling masks and exotic sexy dancer/party-starter/theramin & synth controller. I love them for so many reasons, probably the top 7 are these
1. They play fantastic happy surf music
2. They have skeleton suits
3. They don’t need fancy guitars to be amazing
4. They have a theremin
5. I wish I could dance like their dancer
6. They are from Belgium
7. I was in a right miserable mood all of saturday and they totally cheered me up.
Can’t wait to see them again. I bought their LP so now every day can be ‘tiki day’.

HELL-O-TIKI AT WEIRDSVILLE

THE SCUMBUGS from Norway are a riot of proper punk-rock garage-punk. The stage was a mass of jumping bugs and shape-pulling. They are so punk. I love them.
the scumbugs at weirdsville

After the bands two women DJs played excellent records for everyone to dance to.

The Julie Ruin

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Wow! this was a fantastic gig! Usually when I go to bigger shows I get annoyed with everyone taking photos of each other or talking all the way through or being aggressive and pushing, but this show was perfect! Even when the support bands, The Feature and Woolf played everyone listened and got into their music. When the Julie Ruin came on everyone went mad dancing. The atmosphere was so happy. There was pretty much every woman i know who’s in a band at this gig. If only all gigs could be like this…

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Eurovision!

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So, I was totally excited cos PKN was in Eurovision.
BUT IT WAS A LIE!
There is SEMI-FINALS for the countries who don’t buy their way into the final, and PKN didn’t get through the semi-finals. (Even though they were still by far the best band of Eurovision).

I’d already invited a load of people over to watch Eurovision, and I’d got a load of booze and pizzas in, so I’m still having the Eurovision party.

I made handy and fun SCORE CARDS for us all to fill in. I thought I’d share them in case you too need some Euro-fun.

Download them here: EUROVISION SCORECARDS

The Munster Raving Loony Party 2015 – Roda de Bará, Spain

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3 days of sun, sand, and fantastic garage-punk. The party was based in a camp site, a better location than the hotel that the party was held in last time I went 2 years ago. All the bands of the weekend were brilliant. I watched all 12 bands, and it was great to be participating, as my band The Pukes played at the pool party on Friday afternoon.

the pukes

The first band of Friday night was Las Marlenes, one of my favourites of the fiesta.

las marlenes

After Las Marlenes was Charm Bag, then the Jackets and lastly Miss Ludella Black. Afterwards we did dancing in the bar til the tiny hours, and then walked home (without even a jumper or anything! it was so hot!)

Saturday was my favourite day, starting with The Cheating Hearts playing on the bar terrace, followed by Leadfoot Tea and Fernando.

the cheating hearts

leadfoot tea and fernando
After Leadfoot Tea & Fernando there was a couple of hours break to listen to the excellent DJs, sample a few copas de cerveza and enjoy the sunshine. The Masonics kicked off saturday night, followed by Thee Jezebels, the The X-Men and a punk-rock finale of Biznaga. I absolutely loved all of the bands that played on the saturday.
Roll on next year for more Munster fun!