Well here we go again, another year gone, another fantastic event passed by. Hats off to the organisers, the bands, the staff and even the security as the festival passed by smoothly and without any trouble. As with last years review I am only going to talk about the bands I liked – but if there is one I have not mentioned it could be that I didn’t get round to seeing them, not that I didn’t like them.
Once again me and my BIL FatBoyTim got there on the Wednesday and went to the Rose and Crown for the pre-festival gig. Unfortunately by the time we’d eaten, had a few beers and met up with some German Cock Sparrer fans we met last year, we didn’t actually go into the gig. Old and tired non-handlers I’m afraid 🙂
Thurday 1st August
The first day of the Festival brought with it a new stage – the New Band stage. The concept being that for one day only a stage would be put by for bands that are just starting on the road to fame and glory :-). What a great idea with the only problem being it started at 11.20am, which was a bit of a shame because hundreds of people weren’t even in the venue by that time.
We popped in and out of this stage all day and were happily surprised by some of the bands we saw…its great to see some young (and not so young) bands that love Punk. Stand out for me were Chemical Threat (from Southampton :-)), In Evil Hour, Science Made Us Robots and Drones…not to be confused with The Drones from back in the day. I particularly liked the way Drones guitarist played in the middle of the audience, nice touch.
I really hope this concept continues for the Festival going forwards as I am sure that those that tried it really enjoyed it…we certainly did
From the other stages I really enjoyed Roughneck Riot (Folk Punk), and Fire Exit (’77 Punks) for completely differing styles of punk. However the Filaments and Snuff in the Empress Ballroom were the absolute bollocks on the day…loved ’em both.
Friday 3rd August
Friday was Conflict day, not only the band but who to see. First up for me was Loaded 44, a band I had been dying to see since I saw Beki touring with Steve Ignorant in 2010. I was not dissapointed, good melodic Punk Rock, love it.
We then spent a couple of hours seeing 10 – 15 minutes of various bands before heading into the Bizarre Bazaar to see the Mob. They were a massive surprise to me as being a ‘depressing’ band lyrically they really nailed their set and I came away feeling rather pleased and not as suicidal as I expected 🙂
Sick on the Bus always make me smile and this was no exception, and Zero Boys did quite a good set but my next must see band was the Restarts. For the first time I was really unhappy as the acoustics in the Olympia did nothing to help what is really an excellent band…not a lot that can be done about that but it didn’t make for great listening.
The Headline band was Social Distortion and they were tight, probably the best American band of the Festival. I also enjoyed the Boys who played an excellent set and as one of my all time favourite bands they did not disappoint.
BIL really wanted to see Conflict as his band of the Festival and they were excellent. He would have gone home happy after them if he had to 🙂
Saturday 4th August
Got there early on Saturday in time to see the Fuckwits, a great start to the day and they were followed by Cyanide Pills who despite appearances (I hate white leather jackets – trivial I know) played a great set.
BIL listens to Kerrang Radio so we had to go and see Police Bastard who were 100 times better than I expected. I wanted to see a bit of Ska so we watched the Slackers then back to Punk with the Varukers via the full set from Ruts DC. I didn’t really know what to expect from them especially as they had a female vocalist but it was a great mix of Punk and Reggae and the fact the vocals were not Malcolm Owens did not detract from a great set.
But the moment of the day, and possibly the Festival for me, was the Subhumans playing all 17 minutes of From the Cradle to the Grave in the Olympia. Absolutely Fuckin Awesome…hair standing up on the back of the neck greatness.
Sunday 5th August
Today brought me the band of the festival, a band I couldn’t understand a word of but I heard the greatest noise, saw the the perfect attitude (they gave away their latest album), and exhibited tons and tons of energy…Segismundo Toxicamano. All I know about them is that they are from Spain…and I will be making it my mission to see them again. As second band in the Empress they deserved a bigger audience…hopefully they’ll get it next time. What a start to the day.
The next person you really must make some time to see is Captain Hotknives. One man and a guitar has never made me laugh so much singing about Anarchist Squat Punk bands, Benefits and Drugs….hilarious.
My third must see live band is Random Hand, Ska/Punk at its very best. But its the live experience that sets these guys apart. Robin Leitch is one of the best frontmen I’ve seen and he is the only one who’s managed to get the crowd doing a Wall of Death, a Circle and a Chicken Fight in one set. When they first came on stage and I noticed there were only two security at the front of the stage I smiled…by the first three songs this had been quadrupled. They were simply superb as a band and as a show.
Sunday also brought with it Rat City Riot, Neville Staples (plays the Specials), the UK Subs and Stiff Little Fingers. Easily the best day of the four. SLF even played Johnny Was and I’d never seen them do that before. The only downside was that we couldn’t get in to see Rancid as the venue was full but they are over again later in the year so you never know…