Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In December

Skip your boring work Christmas party and get yourself down to one of these noisy nights out instead.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Christmas is coming. For many of us, December is a time of tradition, consumerism and excessive alcohol consumption. If you survive the guantlet of the office Christmas party (advice: don’t get off with anyone’s boss, especially not your own) then you still get to face the awkward questions from relatives you’ve not seen since last year. “What happened to that nice boyfriend?” Oh, the one that cheated on me three months ago? “Are you still doing that… ‘job’?” Yes, Gran, I’m still a world class fuck-up, thank you for asking.

As one of the busiest and most expensive times of year, gigs can sometimes take a back-seat. There’s no need for that as there’s plenty going on and, let’s face it, a room full of loud noises is a lot more fun than playing Cluedo with your in-laws. We’ve got all your Christmas and New Years treat wrapped up for you:

Gig Of The Month: Umlaut Records Christmas Party

  • When: December 16th
  • Where: New Cross Inn, London
  • Who: Consumed, Spoilers, Müg, No Matter, Ships Down, Launch Control, Our Lives In Cinema, Shark Party and Tape It Shut
  • Tickets HERE, Facebook event HERE

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This is such a banger. Scrap your stupid work Christmas party and all the other invites you’ve had (this is literally the busiest night of the whole month for me – there are 10+ gigs to choose from) and get your arse down to the New Cross Inn.

Consumed are legendary in the UK punk scene, having pioneered the British late 90s/early 00s skate-punk sound. They even reached the fabled heights of the Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 soundtrack. There are few bands in England that I ever get more excited about seeing, so Christmas is genuinely coming early for me with this booking.

The rest of the line up is all fast, melodic and awesome. Britain’s catchiest punks, Spoilers are on before Consumed, so get your singing voices ready. Umlaut label bosses Müg are also, in my opinion, one of the most underrated bands in London right now – plenty to rock out to. No Matter are trekking over from Ireland to give us some super-catchy pop punk. Ships Down are one of the best punk rock acts I’ve seen in 2017; they take cues from bands like Belvedere/Rise Against. Keep your ears open for Launch Control‘s Christmas song (I assume they’re doing one this year). Our Lives In Cinema are what you get if you chuck Alkaline Trio and Jeff Rosenstock in a musical blender, well worth getting down earlier for. Before them, catch Shark Party and Tape It Shut. What’s not to like?

Enjoy one of my All Time Top 5 Best Punk Songs Ever:

Anarchistic Undertones: New Years Eve Party

  • When: December 31st
  • Where: Gullivers, Manchester
  • Who: Stand Out Riot, Riggots, Revenge of The Psychotronic Man, plus more.
  • Facebook event HERE

New Year’s Eve is a consistently crashing disappointment, so I aim to keep my expectations as low as possible at all times. This gig represents a glimmer of hope in the mire of plastic champagne flutes and overpriced entry fees (seriously, one NYE I was charged £10 to get into a pub where I lived and worked). While I’m keen to maintain a cynical facade at all times, this is pretty fucking exciting!

Ska-punk heroes Stand Out Riot are reforming for this one-off show – it’s their first gig since MPF 2015. Revenge of The Psychotronic Man will no doubt play as fast as phsycially possible, hurtling you into 2018 at full speed. You can also look forward to  having spit, guitars and dischordant noises hurled at you by Riggots. If that’s not enough, there’s Wadeye, Habits and The Mighty Bossmags. Grab a ticket before they sell out – otherwise you’re going to be stuck in a shitty overpriced bar, or wanking alone on your sofa to the hollow charm of Jools Holland. Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In December”

EP Review: Tim Loud & The Psychotronic Men – Some Of These People Have Come From Stoke

Tim Loud and Revenge of The Psychotronic Man translate a drunken idea into a beautiful reality.

Review by Sarah Williams.

Tim Loud & The Psychotronic Men’s little EP Some of These People Have Come From Stoke is one of those marvellous bits of nonsense that make the DIY punk scene the best place to be.

The EP is a three-song collaboration between Revenge of The Psychotronic Man (famous for delivering ridiculously fast, fun noise) and Tim Loud (famous for fronting long-dead aggro-folks Bootscraper, and for his own antifolk solo material). Whilst on tour in April they drunkenly decided that a joint recording would be a great idea; the result is three quite different tracks, reflecting their individual tastes rather than their normal musical output. It’s a rollicking ride through punk rock mayhem, and it’ll be a great gem to look back on in years to come.

The EP opens with an Alan Partridge quote that explains the title, although it’s also a nod to Tim Loud and (drummer) Big Hands’ Stoke heritage. The first track The Queen is Dead, Long Live The King Singers is pretty classic, catchy anti-establishment punk, talking about knocking people off their pedestals. 

The second track Oh Yeah, Motorcycle is all hair metal, with a huge doom-laden build-up that’s every bit Motorhead. The song descends into some shreddery before returning to the heavy introductory riff, closing on a decrescendo of feedback and distortion. It’s masses of fun to sing-along to the lyrically profound chorus, “Ooooooohh yeeaaah, motorcycle!” although the song’s actually about what wankers motorcyclists can be. This is premium pit-fodder, and I really hope Revenge start playing this one live. 

The third and final track Sensible Party is a return to a fuzzier punk rock format, although it’s still got plenty of rock ‘n’ roll guitar licks. The clear highlights of this song are the brilliant tongue-in-cheek lyrics: “If you’re still here then grab a coffee son, the party has only just begun,” or, “If it’s too busy we’ll find a fucking book and hide.” One almost gets the impression that these guys may not be inclinded to have a ‘sensible’ party as they’re so virtuously proclaiming. This is my new favourite party anthem, and it’s been firmly lodged in my head for over a week. Continue reading “EP Review: Tim Loud & The Psychotronic Men – Some Of These People Have Come From Stoke”

Punk Rock Weddings: Kaz & Big Hands [Part 2 of 3]

Part 2: Kaz & Big Hands celebrate with two massive gigs and plenty of help from their friends.

Feature by Sarah Williams. Photos by Bev/Hold My Pint Photography.

Welcome to Part Two of our Punk Rock Weddings Weekender!

Earlier this year, Kaz and Big Hands hosted two of the biggest punk rock marriage celebrations I’ve ever heard of. Not only did they have a four-band line-up on their big day, they also managed to squeeze in an impressive ‘Hag Do’ gig at Gullivers in Manchester.

Chris Hinsley, better known as Big Hands, does data analysis by day but is the drummer in Revenge of the Psychotronic Man by night. Karen Hinsley (née Warburton, better known as Kaz) loves her job as an Animal Nursing Assistant, where (if her Facebook feed is anything to go by) she gets to care for incredibly cute puppies and kittens for a living. Together, Kaz and Big Hands are an integral part of the TNS Records family, spending their spare time packing merch and helping with new releases, as well as going to gigs and generally getting involved. They have also taken on the admirable task of running all the merch for Manchester Punk Festival.

I wanted to find out whether their experience of DIY gigs influenced their marriage choices, how two noisy punk gigs translate to a successful wedding, and whether Kaz managed to crowd-surf in a wedding dress.

Kaz and Big Hands Wedding 1

How did you both meet?

  • Big Hands: We kinda met years ago but didn’t really talk to each other – I was dressed as the Alan Partridge zombie along with Revenge. Bizarrely Andy from Revenge (and best man at the wedding) used to teach Kaz at college.
  • Kaz: I’ve known some of the guys from Faintest Idea for over 10 years now and I used to go down to Norfolk quite a lot for weekend trips. One of those times was for a Halloween gig that Revenge were playing. I was actually just getting into the punk scene at the time so I hadn’t actually heard Revenge before… and I hadn’t watched Partridge so I totally didn’t get their costume choice! I didn’t really say much to Chris at all that weekend but I remember we were at the same house party that night for a few hours.
  • Big Hands: We first properly spoke to each other at Strummer Camp 2011 as we both knew Faintest Idea, so we blame Dani for that one.
  • Kaz: We went out for a drink a week or so after that and I haven’t been able to shake him since!
  • Big Hands: It was six years the day before the wedding. I proposed on our anniversary, and we decided to get married the same weekend two years later, so with my shocking memory I only have to remember one date!

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Before we get onto the wedding in detail, tell me all about the hen / stag do.

  • Big Hands: We both have the same friends (male and female), so we decided to have a joint one: hence our ‘hag do’. It meant that A) we could all party together and B) it was really hard to choose bands to play the wedding, so it gave us a chance to put some others on. We ended up with Pizzatramp, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Casual Nausea, Rising Strike and The Lab Rats. We also managed to convince Sense of Urgency to reform for it, which was amazing. We roped in Col and Laura of MBBP fame to run it for us, so we have them to thank for that one.
  • Kaz: The hag do was also on the day of my 30th so it was a joint celebration. Col and Laura did a great job and it was such a cracking gig!
  • Big Hands: Also, to finish it off, we managed one last night in Retro Bar before that got closed down.
  • Kaz: Yeah, originally we we only going to do the hag do and not your typical hen and stag do’s, but my wonderful maid of honour, Kim, had other ideas. She planned a surprise get away to Ibiza for me and some of my close girl mates. Big Hands also had a weekend in Berlin. She called it a ‘not hen do’ and we didn’t have any of the typical hen party tat. We just went away for a long weekend and had a good time together. Also, my 63 year old mum came and got her first tattoo, in Ibiza… on her bum!

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When and where did you get married?

  • Big Hands: June 10th this year at a place called Victoria Warehouse in Salford, right next to Old Trafford. We spent ages trying to find somewhere cheap but not rubbish that would let us take our own catering in, as we wanted it to be completely vegan.
  • Kaz: Victoria Warehouse was the perfect venue really. We were one of the first couples to book a wedding there, as they had not long had their licence. When we first viewed it they were still refurbishing, so we had to use our imagination as to what the finished product would be.
  • Big Hands: Although it was still being done up, it looked like exactly what we were after: basically somewhere that looked better than a shitty venue but still had that rough look.
  • Kaz: Looking around the rest of the warehouse, we got a good idea of what they would be going for. The rest of the building is just incredible. It’s totally full of random, quirky things. I knew as soon as we walked in that was going to be the place!

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What made your wedding less traditional and more special?

  • Big Hands: I think we kept describing ours as a ‘posh gig’. We didn’t really aim for a non-traditional wedding, we just picked out the best bits of weddings and gigs and mixed them together.
  • Kaz: We just did exactly what we wanted to do instead of worrying about what we ‘should’ do or what others would expect from a wedding. We talked about other weddings we had been to and discussed what we did/didn’t enjoy. I was keen to reduce the waiting around time as much as possible. I feel some weddings are very stop start; you’re waiting for food, or for the bar to open, or for the music to start… We just wanted the whole day to flow nicely from start to finish without any lulls. We decided to just do it for us and do what we enjoy.
  • Big Hands: We basically asked for the shortest possible ceremony and made sure that the bar was open all the time. Throw into that four amazing bands and there’s not really a lot more you could want.

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Do you think your experience of organising/helping with gigs helped when it came to organising the wedding?

  • Kaz: The evening do was basically a gig, so previous experience and contacts came in handy with that. We are really lucky to have so many talented friends and family members, and so many of them who were so eager to step up and offer assistance.
  • Big Hands: Definitely, it was pretty much a complete DIY wedding. £1000 for a photographer? Nah, it’s alright – there’s about five coming anyway. Big thanks to Bev, who did amazing considering I only paid him with a Motorhead record. £500 for a cake? It’s alright, Kim can do a better one for a bottle of rum. I don’t want to know how much they normally charge for a PA and a standard sound engineer; we just paid Marios and got Francis from Stand out Riot, who’s amazing. There was no need for an expensive shit DJ when you’ve got Spotify and a 90’s dance playlist.
  • Kaz: I decided to make the invites and all the decorations with some help from my friends; we just had crafting days where we made things and drank wine. I started planning it pretty much a month after we got engaged and just did a little at a time over the 2 years.

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What musical entertainment did you have at the wedding?

  • Big Hands: We had quite a mix of music, and very little punk apart from the bands. We were lucky enough to book the mighty Wonk Unit before they became Rebellion main stagers! We also got Black Volvo for what I think ended up being their last UK gig before they split up. I hope that wasn’t our fault. We basically told Faintest Idea they had to play; they owed us that for always turning up at our house at all hours, expecting breakfast beds for the night. Stoj Snak even came over from Denmark for us.
  • Kaz: I think we were actually spot on with the music choices on the day. The bands even went down really well with family! I think my mum now secretly likes some punk. Our two nieces Emma (8) and Lily (5) got to experience the bands for the first time too and were absolutely loving it. They even got to take part in Stoj Snak’s set.
  • Big Hands: We decided not to bother with a DJ because of cost and not having full control over the music that was going to be played. Instead I did 12 months’ research with Andy and Matt, remembering and playing all the best 90’s indie and dance music in the van on the way to Revenge gigs. At the risk of sounding big headed, it was a fucking banging playlist.

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What songs did you have for your first dance / walking down the aisle?

  • Big Hands: We went for the traditional Jurassic Park theme tune for Kaz to walk down the aisle.
  • Kaz: I actually suggested the Jurassic Park theme for my entrance song as a joke originally, as there’s a bit of a thing with JP in our friendship group and I thought it would be hilarious. The more I listened to it though, the more I realised it’s actually a really nice piece of music.
  • Big Hands: We got Wonk Unit to play Nagging Wife for our first dance.
  • Kaz: I think we knew from the offset that Nagging Wife was going to be our first dance. We had asked Wonk Unit to play quite early on, and I can’t think of anything more awkward than just the two of us dancing together with everyone watching. We just asked Alex to start the set with Nagging Wife and had everyone dancing with us. Obviously there was a first dance crowd surf!

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What other entertainment did you have? Please tell me there’s a wedding-dress/human pyramid photo out there somewhere.

  • Big Hands: That was it for entertainment. We had to stop ourselves at booking four bands and that didn’t leave us with much spare time. I can’t remember if we managed a human pyramid? I know we’d been saying for ages that we needed to. Both our Mums went crowd-surfing.
  • Kaz: I’m pretty sure there was a pyramid or two. We definitely managed a decent rower, and I was getting whisked off my feet into the air every five minutes to crowd surf. As far as the wedding dress: I had an evening alternative that was better suited for the antics, which was lucky as I threw red wine down my actual dress during Stoj Snak.

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What traditional elements did you keep?

  • Big Hands: We gave each other rings and Kaz wore an amazing white dress… I think that was about it.
  • Kaz: Well, the dress was actually blush, but it was really subtle. I decided to go for a typical wedding dress, but I wanted one that had a bit of character still. When I went to the dress shop I didn’t actually pick a single dress myself; I let each person who came with me pick one for me to try. Fizzy actually chose the winning dress.

Did I see that you both got tattooed afterwards?

  • Big Hands: Yes. We didn’t do normal speeches, Andy did one and our friend Em from Bomb Ibiza wanted to do one. She invited everyone to draw a tattoo design to put into a black voting box that she pulled out, which we then got to choose from.
  • Kaz: This was actually such a good idea. I think it was actually Em’s sister, Tilly, that came up with it. When I agreed to it I actually thought we had to pick one at random and have that tattooed, so I was pretty happy when I got to pick!
  • Big Hands: I’m glad we got to choose because if not, I wouldn’t of ended up with Lord Blobby Bucket Head. I’d probably have ended up with a tattoo of Miff from Chewed Up, as there must have been twenty pieces of paper with his name on in there.
  • Kaz: Pulling out the slips I was like ‘Miff’… ‘Miff’.. .’Miff’… There were actually some amazing suggestions! I couldn’t resist the one I got though, because let’s be honest: cats are better than Big Hands.Is there anything you would do differently?             
  • Kaz: I would hand my glass of red wine to Kim when she tried to take it off me, seconds before I spilt it on myself!
  • Big Hands: I honestly don’t think so. We both had so much fun. Actually, I got put on the spot just before the vows when the registrar asked me what names we wanted to be called during the ceremony, i.e., Chris & Kaz or Christopher & Karen. I said Chris & Kaz and only thought after that I should have gone with Big Hands & Kaz.

Kaz & Big Hands Tattoo

What advice do you have for anyone else looking to incorporate a punk/DIY aspect into their wedding?

  • Big Hands: Forget about overthinking it. Think about what you don’t like about traditional weddings and just change it. That and you can pretty much do everything for cheap or free if you have awesome friends.
  • Kaz: Yeah, exactly, just do it for yourselves. It’s ok to be a little selfish in that respect – don’t worry about pleasing everyone else, just do what you want to do.What was the best thing about the whole day (apart from your betrothal!)?
  • Big Hands: It’s harder for Kaz to get rid of me now.
  • Kaz: I actually loved seeing how much everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves too. It was amazing to see my mum, mum-in-law and my glamorous cousin, Tracie, crowd-surfing. I’ve got to say: I’ve never seen someone crowd-surf as flawlessly as Tray did!

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If you enjoyed this interview, why not check out Part One: Will & Felicia and Part Three: Claire & Craig.

Feature by Sarah Williams. Photos by Bev/Hold My Pint Photography.

 

Gig Guide: Bands You Need to See in September

We’ve done the hard work for you and found the best gigs September has to offer. Get out there and support your local venues.

You’ve survived the summer. You’ve had a hectic few months of eating, drinking, socialising, spending and sunning yourself. You’re savouring the last opportunities to enjoy a pub garden after work on a weekday. Hopefully you’ve caught plenty of sweaty summer shows, some outdoor community concerts and maybe even a festival or two.

Once the August Bank Holiday weekend is over you can stop, right? You can knuckle down to the daily grind, vegetate with Netflix on your sofa and save up your pennies for Christmas. Nope! I hate to break it to you but there’s still an awful lot happening…

We’ve done the hard work and found the best of September’s gigs for you to enjoy:

Wotsit Called Festival

  • Where: The Palace, Hastings
  • When: Friday 29th and Saturday 30th September
  • Who: The Restarts, Nosebleed, Riggots, Pizzatramp…
  • Event Page HERE / Tickets £10 advance, £15 OTD

Hosted by the lovely folks in Matilda’s Scoundrels under the Toxic Wotsit moniker, Wotsit Called Fest is two days of straight-up bangers bound to get you stomping feet, throwing elbows and sinking pints with aplomb.

Nosebleed will be royally cavorting around The Palace as headliners on Friday – there are few more exciting things than their riffy punk ‘n’ roll. It’s also the launch party for Matilda’s new album As The Tide Turns, so folk-dancing with reckless abandon is mandatory.

Starting early, Saturday features London thrashers The Restarts, Wigan’s heaviest duo: Riggots, northern post-hardcore from The Fuckin’ Glorious and ska-punk comedy gold from The Crash Mats. There will be cocktails and DJs until 2am which sounds like a delightfully dangerous combination. Not to be missed!

In the meantime, enjoy their pre-fest playlist:


Kick The Crutches All Dayer

  • Where: The New Cross Inn, London
  • When: Saturday 23rd September
  • Who: Vanilla Pod, The Kimberly Steaks, Müg, On a Hiding to Nothing
  • Event Page HERE / Tickets £5 early bird

I can guarantee this is the most fun you will find for £5 this September.

Deep breath! For this princely sum you can see… Vanilla Pod, The Kimberley Steaks, Pizzatramp, Natterers, Misgivings, Müg, BROCKER, On A Hiding To Nothing, Werecats, Nietzsche Trigger Finger, Strange Planes and Fastfade. Phew!

With that many bands, I’m not sure how they’re going to fit any punters in the venue. The merch table’s going to need its own postcode. There are probably some bands you’ve heard of and some you haven’t, so why not get down early and enjoy the whole lot? It’s a great opportunity to discover someone new.

If you catch one band, make sure it’s The Kimberly Steaks. They’re everything that Greenday could have been:

Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need to See in September”