Never Trust a Hippy
TV Smith - Maidstone Fringe Festival, The Style & Winch, Maidstone 6.5.13TV Smith in Maidstone! The Maidstone Fringe Festival continues in style.
After the delights of Vince Vortex a couple of evenings before, I was definitely in the mood and ready for this one. In addition to me and Steve, we had Ian joining us again, he seems to be really getting into the gig thing!
We arrived in plenty of time and drifted out to the beer garden which was next to the single storey building being used for the bands to play. We met up with another guy we had seen at Menace and also had time for a quick chat with Nobby from Vince Vortex. Things were running a bit late, but finally TV Smith appeared on stage ready to enthrall us.
I do like TV Smith as he does his acoustic set with a mix of his own stuff plus Adverts tracks but it does take a bit of getting used to, however we have seen him at Rebellion backed by the Valentines and that was really good. That said, he was still excellent here, doing a number of his own solo stuff but mixed in were a number of Adverts tracks like 'The Great British Mistake', 'No Time to be 21', 'Bored Teenagers', 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' and finished with a rousing version of 'One Chord Wonders'.
An excellent evening, really enjoyable, and so good to see the likes of TV Smith playing in Maidstone. Hopefully next year's fringe festival will maybe see some more Punk bands on the line-up .... we'll see.
Vince Vortex & the Cucumbers - Maidstone Fringe Festival, Earls, Maidstone 4.5.13We're back at Earls again to see Vince Vortex, this time we are mob handed!
So the Maidstone Fringe Festival was well under way as we headed down to Earls for an evening of fun and music. Melinda had already been to see Glen Tillbrook the night before and really enjoyed it and now she was accompanying me to see the covers band, Vince Vortex & the Cucumbers! She wasn't the only one either. Ian joined us along with his daughter plus Tom and Carolina and last but not least was Steve and Carol ... quite a gathering!
Bands had been playing most of the afternoon and evening and having passed by them a couple of times you could see that a couple had quite an audience especially as the evening progressed. Unfortunately Tom and Caroline had to leave early, but that still left a good group of us when finally Vince Vortex & the Cucumbers took to the stage.
By now the place was rammed, with people standing on tables at the back to catch a glimpse of the action. Vince Vortex did not disappoint and blasted straight into the their set with so many well known covers from the likes of the Sex Pistols, Clash, Ruts .. and even 'Park Life' from Blur!
The evening just got better and better, especially with covers like 'Bodies' and 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'. The crowd were loving it, and even lapping up the abuse thrown at them between each of the tracks.
A great evening, it was good to see Nobby Snide (bass) again as well. Next up is TV Smith at the Style & Winch, another part of the Maidstone Fringe Festival.
Menace - Earls, Maidstone, Kent 25.4.13Wow, Menace are actually playing in our home town!
Steve and I arrived at Earls in plenty of time to be greeted by Daz, Melv and a couple of Halfwits sitting outside delicately sipping their beers ... so we joined them. Ian had come along too and got to meet some of the people he had seen pictures of in the past.
First up for the evening were Sheppey band, Criminal Brainstorm who we had seen a few times in the past. They were really excellent old school punk and got the evening off to a superb start. There were not as many people as I had expected but still this didn't make much difference as Criminal Brainstorm seemed to be having great time on stage and got those watching into the swing of things. It seemed a shame when they finally finished and left the stage, I could have quite happily listened to more from them.
Next up were Insult who we had seen once before last year down in Margate. I was not completely impressed with them before as they seemed too thrash and strode up and down the stage with mic like a young rap band. I was hoping this time we would see a better side of them, but I was a bit disappointed as they seemed the same as in Margate .. again too much thrash and striding! That said, they are a young band and have the raw energy that many have lost, let's hope they keep that.
So, headline band for the night was Menace and WOW ... they were so good! A small venue, not a lot of people and a band that really seemed to go for it .. it was '77 all over again!
Menace were all raw power and ran through their set with 'Insane Society', 'Screwed Up', 'C & A', 'Party Animal', 'I'm Civilised, 'Too Many Punks are Dead', 'Carry No Banners', 'G.L.C.' and 'Last Years Youth', they finished with a version of 'Monkey Man'.
Menace were brilliant, rough and raw, the small crowd that were there really got into it as well, especially the old favourites G.L.C, Screwed Up and Last Years Youth. I enjoyed myself so much I bought their latest CD 'Too Many Punks are Dead' and a reissue of 'G.L.C.'
Well, amazing evening being blown away by Menace and Criminal Brainstorm, real '77 style Punk Rock. Next up .... it's the Maidstone Fringe Festival as Vince Vortex and TV Smith are both playing over the weekend.
These Guilty Men / The Furry Love Lickers - Bar Chocolate, Maidstone, Kent 21.4.13A bit of a novelty here, a friend of a friends band playing in Maidstone ...
Now, this is definately not my type of music, however when it's people you know playing locally you just have to go along and support them and maybe take a few photos. In addition my wife was away which meant I had some time to myself anyway. So I ambled down to Bar Chocolate (what a bloody awful name!) in Maidstone to take a look and see what things were like.
Unfortunately the place was almost deserted, which I suppose would be the case for 8pm on a Sunday evening, that said it's these small bands that should be getting the punters in, otherwise all we are left with is the talentless fucking X-Factor type shit beamed across the country. It may not be my type of music but it's LIVE MUSIC!
Anyway, the first band to hit the stage were The Only Sun, a three piece who at best were ok. There didn't seem to be much life in any of them, however the music itself was listenable, but not memorable.
Next up were The Furry Love Lickers, just the name was excellent start. These guys do a sort of Indie/Rock/New Wave mix and are very good at it. Of the few people who were standing around, they managed to some of them dancing. The music was toe-tapping and I found myself quite enjoying their sound. One member of the band is in another more Punk orientated band called Swampstomper, whereas another is an ex-member of the same band.
The headline act were These Guilty Men, they, as The Only Sun, were ok, but really not my cup of tea. Two members looked like more seasoned musicians and did make a pleasing sound, and got some the watchers toe-tapping, but that was it really.
Well, it was good to meet and chat with the guys from The Furry Love Lickers and I would be happy to see them again, however the other two I could probably give a miss to. Highlight of the evening was the guitarist from These Guilty Men admiring my Warriors t-shirt and saying 'I love that film' ... he was very surprised when I told him they were a band! So i educated him ....
Next up ... Menace! in Maidstone, even better!
Hard Skin / The Warriors - The Three Tuns, Canterbury, Kent 6.4.13After too long a wait for one of Davee's gigs we were finally back at the Three Tuns in Canterbury with a cracking line-up of Hard Skin and The Warriors.
As usual we arrived very early which gave us a chance to catch up with Andy, Russ and Chris from the Warriors and also a rather pissed Daz. After this it was off for a quick bite then back ready for the start (and to take some embarrasing pictures of Daz).
First up were The Warriors who wasted no time in blasting into their set. As usual they were excellent and the crowd immediately got into the swing of things as well. There was no Dave for this gig but that didn't seem to make any difference as they powered their way through 'Bankrupt Britain', 'S.N.A.F.U.', 'Marlon Brando', 'Never Forgive, Never Forget', 'Violence in our Minds', 'Predator', 'Internet Bullies', 'Horror Show', 'Woman Beater' and 'King of the Jungle'.
Headliners for the evening were Hard Skin who seemed really popular as they place was now packed to seams. We had seen them once before at the Maidens Head in 2011 when they played with the Warriors and Bottlejob and really liked them then.
Hard Skin ploughed into their tongue-in-cheek Oi set and sent the crowd wild, and as the venue is not that big you had a crowd that rocked back and forth and seemed to bounce off the walls each time. Although the crowd were really up for the Warriors, this was even more packed and they went down an absolute storm. By the end of the set the place was steaming ... but very happy.
We dropped back Melvin and also Daz as he had missed his last train home. After that it was back to Maidstone and the obligatory Kebab before home.
Excellent evening, I liked Hard Skin a lot, but the Warriors, for me, came out on top.
Next up we are back to Earl's in Maidstone to see Menace, Insult and Criminal Brainstorm, this should be a good one.
Vince Vortex & the Cucumbers - Earls, Maidstone, Kent 17.3.13A short trip into town to see a covers band, Vince Vortex and the Cucumbers ... now that's a name!
We had seen this advertised as Nobby Snide (formerly of Snide) is in the band has posted it all over Facebook, and we thought, as it's close to home it may be a bit of a laugh to pop down for the evening.
We were also joined by Ian as he was in town and fancied an evening of music. I was first to arrive and had a hunt round o check where the band would be before the guys arrived ready for the evening to start.
Vince Vortex & the Cucumbers took to the stage quite early as there was no support for the evening. The lead singer had decided to paint his face as though he had died a few days earlier, under the lights it looked quite effective! Their set consisted of covers from right across the Punk spectrum from Clash, Buzzcocks and Pistols and many more.
Were they good? Well, yes ... they were very good! The only downside was that the place didn't get very full so the atmosphere was not there, but then this was a Sunday night in Maidstone, so I suppose you can't ask for much. Still they made the most of it and certainly went down well the with the people that were there.
Well we thoroughly enjoyed the evening and will be seeing them again next time they play. It was also really good to get to meet Paul Brightman after discovering we had a few close friends in common.
Next up? It will hopefully be Hard Skin and the Warriors at the Three Tuns, this will be excellent as we've not been back there for quite a while.
Electric River - The Rattlesnake, Angel, London 2.3.13A new venue for me, The Rattlesnake, to see Electric River
I was on my own for this gig as the bands on how were not to Steve's liking, plus I had been invited by a Rock writer to do some photos to go with her interview of the headline act.
I arrived in plenty of time and sat around with a beer, watching the wildlife until the first band came on. First up was a guy called Jaemi, on his own with his guitar (and later a couple of drums) and a laptop to provide a backing track. He called himself I Will Capture the Castle. At this point I must say that apart from the main band, this is not really my kind of music, however I'm open to all kinds of music and will stay objective about the bands that I saw. I Will Capture the Castle were very off-the-wall diverse music, however as there were only a couple of people who had the decency to turn out for the support bands, there was not much atmosphere. Still he did his set and got the applause for his efforts. Why is it that people only seem to turn up for the headline acts? Some of these supporting acts put so much effort into their slot for only a handful to watch ... not good! Next up were a band called Spill 16 and although (as I've said) they were not my kind of music, they did seem rather good and had a small following with them. They pumped out their tracks and the crowd seemed pleased with them.
Third band for the evening were Colt 45, a three piece who weren't bad either, they played some good rock tracks and seemed quite popular with the now expanding audience that was arriving. By the end of their set I was quite enjoying the sound. Maybe I will see them again some time? Who knows.
Next up were Blasted who just shrieked their way through their whole set, unfortunately the only highlight of which was when the lead singer fell over backwards into his kit .. hilarious! These log haired rockers were not my cup of tea at all and it came as quite a relief when they finally left the stage. I have no idea why they were so far up the listing as both Colt 45 and Spill 16 were far far better.
Last up were the band I had come to see, Electric River and they were as good as when I first saw them last year. A really excellent band whose influence seems to be Punk, New Wave and Rock all rolled into one. They really did blow the rest of the bands away, they put in a very slick performance and it was appreciated by the large crowd that had now filled the Rattlesnake venue. Unfortunately due to the time of my last train home I reluctantly had to leave early and miss the end of their set, but by that point I had seen enough to reinforce my previous view that this a great little rock/punk band and one to definitely watch. In addition it looks like they are are now on the bill for Rebellion! Great stuff, another chance to see them.
Me and Steve are off to a local gig at Earl's in Maidstone next, that should be a bit of fun!
Another Winter of Discontent - The Boston Arms, London 28.2.13We went to AWOD last year and thoroughly enjoyed it .. hopefully this year would be even better!
Last year we attended one day of the four days that is Another Winter of Discontent .. this year we did the same again. This time it was the opening night we went on and were quite looking forward to seeing a couple of bands we hadn't seen before in amongst the line-up.
We arrived at the venue and bumped into a few known faces before the evening took off. And took off in style it did! First up were Violation 69, these are a newish band composed of a group of friends from the Woking/Reading area and they really do look the Punk part! Their sound is very raw and as Steve pointed out, they still seem to be finding their feet as a band and can only improve with each performance. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing them for the first time and I expect we will see and hear much much more of this band. Next up were a favourite band of mine Blatoidea, made up of three Italians and an English drummer. As with Violation 69 they really look the part, but as they have been together for quite a while they were more at ease on stage and this really showed as they thrashed around the stage and really whipped up the audience. I really like these guys and like their sound too, so it was good to see them again.
Third up were Defcon Zero. We had seen them a while back at the Maidens Head and liked them then. They were good again this time but seemed to lack the energy of the two previous outfits and so didn't quite hit the spot for me.
Penultimate band were The Enemy, no not the current indie band, these are the excellent UK82 outfit who reformed a year or so ago and who we saw at Rebellion last year and really enjoyed. They didn't disappoint this time either, blasting out their tracks. They seemed to go down really well and the crowd were now getting into full flow ready for the headline band. I hope we see these guys again as they were excellent.
Last up were the headliners, Broken Bones. These are another band I have never seen before. Most of the band seemed original due to age and stomach size .. however the lead singer being young, American and wearing a baseball cap the wrong way around, was not! That didn't matter, they were really good! Loud, fast and heavy just what we needed to end the evening. Unfortunately we missed the end of their set as we had to get back for our last train, but what we saw certainly made us want for more, so hopefully they will be another band we will see again some time.
So, AWOD .. good? Oh yes, brilliant! Hopefully next year we will do more than one day. All the bands were really really good. For me, Blatoidea stood out as top band, followed closely by Broken Bones and The Enemy. So, what's next? Well there is a local gig in Maidstone next month, but before then I will be up in Angel to see Electric River again.
Peter & the Test Tube Babies - The Furnace, Swindon, 16.2.13It was a fair old drive to Swindon, but worth it for Peter & the Test Tube Babies and Charred Hearts and it was Fuller's birthday.
We arrived in Swindon with plenty of time and managed to get a parking space behind the venue. It was then a drink, meet the guys and off for a bite to eat. We managed to find the venue again, even though I managed to almost get us lost and take the long route back! Once back we met up with Dale and Sue plus a few of the other guys before making our way downstairs for the fun to begin.
First up were Strength in Blunders who were on their debut gig! They are a 3 piece which includes Sam Fuller (Charred Hearts) on drums and they weren't half good! If this is what they produce on their first outing then I can't wait to see them after a few gigs under their belts. Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to and really set the scene for the evening.
Next up were the Charred Hearts with poor old Sam doing drums again! The Charred Hearts never fail to impress and this was no exception. They launched into 'Changing into Something' followed by 'Everybody'. This got the crowd into the mood and so they continued with 'You're Bringing Me Down, 'Persecute Me', 'Crash', 'Nowhere Town', 'Ronald Regan', 'Throwaway Society', 'Always Beside Me' and 'Fucked'. In addition they had time to do an excellent cover of 'Born to Lose'. As they left the stage you couldn't help but feel the crowd would have let them carry on all night!
The headline band for the evening (and the band Steve had been waiting for) were Peter & the Test Tube Babies who came on to rapturous applause. They kicked off with 'Moped Lads', 'Run Like Hell', and 'Jinx'. Unfortunately it was becoming clear that the place was not as packed as we expected and the crowd, apart from a handful, just didn't seem to want to come forward and let loose which was frustrating the band no end. Still they carried on with 'Shitstirer', 'Up Yer Bum', 'Keith Moon', 'Transvestite', 'Banned from the Pubs', 'Blown Out' and 'Maniac'. They did eventually do an encore but it took some effort to get the crowd cheering for more, a shame really as the Test Tube Babies were really excellent and deserved a better reception.
The trip home was again very long (as if it would've changed?) and particularly uneventful .. apart from Steve falling asleep every few minutes!
Ok, next up? It's Another Winter of Discontent at the Boston Arms! Broken Bones are headlining the night we are there, can't wait!
The Commited - The Sports Bar, Sittingbourne, Kent 26.1.13Fist gig of the new year and Steve and I travelled up to Sittingbourne for some local Punk Rock.
We should have been at the 12 Bar for Charred Hearts, but events conspired against us, so we found ourselves closer to home. The Sports Bar was a new venue for us and was put on by he guys from Ted DiBiase, so it all went well there may be more, which would be quite good as it is quite close. We arrived with plenty of time and had a beer and a bite in the Wetherspoons under the venue before making a move upstairs ready for the bands.
First up for the evening were The Halfwits, they are always up for a good time and this was no exception. If was starting to fill up at this point as they roared through their set to the obvious appreciation from the crowd.
Second up were Ted DiBiase & the Million Dollar Punk Band and they took no time getting the crowd going. These are local boys and were the ones who set up and organised the gig. They did their usual white powder and dollars strewn all over the place, which is all god fun .. as long as the camera is well protected!.
After Ted DiBiase's set we had Daz and The Commited. These guys have only been back together for a year or so, but you wouldn't believe it! They were brilliant as usual and the crowd was really getting into it now so the place was well packed. They played a good long set and really set the highlight for the whole evening as we had been treated to three really energetic Kent Punk bands.
Last up was Kunt & the Gang, a lot of people like him and think he is very funny .. I'm not one of these. I think he can be funny with his banter between songs, but once you've heard one song, you've heard them all. It's a bit like a small kid who gets a reaction from saying something rude, so they keep saying it! .. he keeps singing the same rude words again and again. Still, it takes all sorts, and as I said he seems very popular, so as long as he brings the crowds in to see the other local boys I'm not complaining. That said we lasted a couple of tracks and then left! On the way home we stopped for a bite .. the kebab was far better!
An excellent evening, local bands, good music and food all made it worthwhile. Next up are the Charred Hearts in Swindon who are playing host to Peter & the Test Tube Babies ... Steve can't wait!
The Warriors - Studio Sessions, Perry Vale Studios 20.1.13The New Year has got underway in a very unusual style!
It was off to the Perry Vale Studios with the Warriors to watch them record some new tracks! I never expected this, but after getting a request to join them it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Having never been into a recording studio before this looked to be a rather exciting day. However the day before, disaster struck in the shape of the weather! Snow, snow and more snow!.It looked as though it would all be off.
I woke up to a light blanket of snow and more still falling, so by 10am it was really quite heavy and had been settling everywhere. I contacted Russ who said it was off and he was definately not going. I was a little disappointed but at around 11:00 I checked Facebook to find the rest of the band had decided to go after all .. so it was a mad dash to get my camera gear together and packed in the car (along with Melinda's emergency supplies should I get caught in a tsunami showdrift!) and I was off.
The journey was really easy and I was soon at the studios and taking a few shots as The Warriors got into their stride.
The band were there to record three new tracks to be used for certain projects in 2013, these being 'Bank Holiday', 'Woman Beater' and 'Weekend Rockstars'.
The band started with 'Bank Holiday' and did a run through before we went to have a listen. This was followed by 'Woman Beater', which was a Surgery Without Research track with a few changes, and lastly 'Weekend Rockstars' which took a couple of runs through to get it right.
The Year Gone By / The Year Ahead2012 & 2013 - Wow! the years just get better and better! What a belter of a year 2012 was, a bit sad to see it go as there were so many good gigs we attended. We saw many old favourites like the Charred Hearts, Septic Psychos, The Warriors, The Halfwits and the UK Subs along with a lot of new names. There were also the likes of Chelsea, Spear of Destiny and the newly reformed Sham 69. In addition to this we were there for some big gigs like The Buzzcocks at Brixton Academy with the return of Howard Devoto and also The Damned and The Dickies at the Roundhouse. At this point a big thank you must go out to Georgina who has got me photo passes to so many gigs throughout 2012!
Thanks also goes out to my partner in crime, Steve Wright, who accompanies me to (nearly) all the gigs and without who I don't think I would carry it on, it's been a blast mate and long may it continue! Finally I have to say I'm very surprised to have had my long-suffering wife also come along with me to a gig and who also wants to come along to a couple next year! Blimey!
On another note, we attended Russ (The Warriors) and Lisa's wedding reception down in Margate, a great evening was had by all, and the best of luck to you both!
As usual we attended the Rebellion festival in Blackpool, and this time we saw more smaller bands, it never fails to surprise me how many young bands are coming out of the woodwork! The Kent Punk scene is flourishing, as was proved by the 2 day event held in Margate late in the year, this was headlined by the UK Subs and the Anti-Nowhere League and for me was one of 2012's highlights.
The photography is still blossoming (with the help of Georgina's photo passes and Steve's bag-holding) and has really taken over from the web building, so as a result I have re-branded GutterPunk as GutterPunk Concert Photography. What have we in store for 2013 I hear you ask? Well, so far it looks like there is the Charred Hearts & Peter & the Test Tube Babies in Swindon, the BBA one-day event in Northern Ireland, AWOD in North London, The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks, The Commited and of course Rebellion in August. I'm sure there are more just waiting to be announced and hopefully we will see you at one or two of them.