“Crazy Arm have spread their wings so that ‘Dark Hands, Thunderbolts’ touches on Americana, country and western, hard rock, folk and even Ennio Morricone-style Spaghetti Western soundtracks. In short, this is a remarkable piece of work.”
I guess when Wayne Kramer, Iggy Pop, Johnny Thunders, Johnny Ramone and later John Lydon and Captain Sensible were first, unwittingly, laying down the blueprint for what would later become known as punk rock … they had no idea how the genre would flourish and mutate as the years progressed. Punk, since it’s humble beginnings as a hyper-charged form of rock and roll, has sent out many tendrils, grasping at other forms of music and pulling them to its bosom to become a beautiful, multi-faceted musical force. Not many bands embrace this as much as Crazy Arm.
Crazy Arm are, arguably, Plymouth’s most successful punk band, possibly one of the most successful bands full stop. Having seen them in their far more raw early stages, it is breath-taking, 16 years on, to see how they have matured into a band of immense depth and skill. The fire and passion that drove them in their earlier years remains 100% intact but musically they have spread their wings so that Dark Hands, Thunderbolts touches on Americana, country and western, hard rock, folk and even Ennio Morricone-style Spaghetti Western soundtracks. In short, this is a remarkable piece of work.
What better way to while away a long Easter weekend than an indoor music festival with all your mates? The second iteration of Umlaut Records’ Dugstock festival is a diverse three-day line-up hosted at London’s New Cross Inn. Umlaut Records is a rapidly growing independent label that are integral to the London punk scene. They’re only in their second year so, if this is the sort of line-up they can pull off now, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in future.
I’ve been to plenty of gigs at New Cross, but this is the first time I’ve committed to three whole days, staying in the hostel above the venue. As I’m likely to be doing the same for Level Up and Polite Riot festivals later this year, I’m almost as keen to test out this festival-formula as I am to see the bands.
Opening the weekend are Dirty White, a 3-piece that take influence from 90’s stoner grunge bands, although they bring the songs into a cleaner, more modern relief. The singer pulls off a Chris Cornell style that you don’t often hear. They go on to mix in some faster melodic punk songs – a gentle introduction to the weekend’s festivities.
There is already a reasonably good turnout for the Friday night, with a lot of hugs and catch-up chats exchanged. Things properly kick off with Dark Days, who provide vigorous, fun, melodic poppy punk. Guitarist, John Huffman, gets told off by the sound engineer for standing on the drum kit, so he capitulates and pulls out a high stool from the bar to stand on, before flaunting rock-star poses and writhing on the floor. Their sound contains a melee of references to current North American melodic punk bands, with an added dose of Kathleen Hanna inspired harmonies and a fuzzy, experimental guitar mess. They play a full-throttle cover of Nirvana’s Breed – the first of two Breed covers we’ll hear this weekend.
Kiss Me, Killer swagger on stage with a sexy, balls-to-the-wall riot grrl energy. Singer, Holly, steals the show somewhat as she cavorts wildly around the stage, as the band rages. She’s an excellent rock vocalist, which suits the hard-rock element in their sound It’s ferocious noise peppered with short bursts of rock ‘n’ roll guitar solos and enticingly sleazy bass lines. It’s infinitely dance-able from Rat Race to It’s Going Down (which actually sets off an alarm somewhere in the venue). As my friend eloquently shouts at me during the set, it’s also a pleasure to see, “Plentiful vaginas on stage.” Continue reading “Festival Review: Dugstock 2 @ New Cross Inn, London [30/03 – 01/04/2018]”
This stacked line-up in London has a bit of something for everyone. This is Umlaut Records now-annual celebration of all things fast and fun so , as you would expect, there’s a focus on melodic, upbeat skate-punk in keeping with their label sound.
There are plenty of Umlaut acts showcased on the bill, including Captain Trips, Coral Springs, Burnt Tapes, On A Hiding To Nothing and Strange Planes. I’m particularly excited for Coral Springs, as they’re bringing their anxious, poppy joy all the way from the Netherlands. There’s also plenty of technical melodic hardcore in the form of Fair Do’s, Almeida, Counterpunch and PMX. If you prefer things a bit more ‘punk’ there’s also riot grrls Kiss Me Killer, soon-to-be-gone noise merchants Revenge of The Psychotronic Man, Bogans, Billy Liar and Spoilers. You can even catch our favourites Nosebleed, who’ll be kicking the party into full swing on Saturday.
It is a really diverse line-up with plenty of fun for any punk rock fan. The variation in the bill means you can use this as a great opportunity to catch some new bands, or you can take a breather and grab some food if you need to. Pop in for a day or for the weekend – tickets available from Umlaut Records.
Old Town House Eastervaganza!
When: March 30th – April 1st
Where: The Old Town House, Warrington
Who: Headliners include Popes of Chillitown, Pizzatramp and In Evil Hour
The Facebook event promises that this gig will leave you, “mystified, mesmerized, terrified, exhilarated, enraptured, captivated and captured as we host a manifold carnival of some of the finest in high-octane punk rock, ska, hardcore, prog, funk and many more personalities to keep you moving, grooving, laughing, crying and lashing your heads backwards and forwards.” What more can you ask for? Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In March”