They say some things never change, but in the case of these long running Rhyl gigs, something has.. After 63 years, they have a new PA..!!!! No longer do you hear total distortion as every instrument competes with each other, drowning the vocals in a pool of guitar soup. No longer do you leave saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ Nope, like the water that baptises you, it was crystal clear… However with proceedings making a 9.50pm start, and the first two bands playing far too long, I knew there was no way I’d catch the hastily assembled Ugly Fashion tonight. My days of swilling six pints with JD chasers on a school night, then driving home whilst rolling a joint are long gone; but at least some things don’t change, and gigs in Rhyl running late keeps that tradition on a long and never ending road. Thank you Jesus…
Which quite aptly brings us to the opening band; the wonderfully named Ambassadors of Shalom (pic above). Well stone the crows and fuck the pigs and pass the ammunition to Jesus, the Army of Jesus… I thought it was a pisstake at first… Brilliant Cockney Reject style yobbish music and the singer screaming, ‘Jesus said follow me’ – etc… Then I realised these guys were pretty serious, Evangelistic Punk Rock – kind of ace, despite the fact that religion is the single most cause of death, misery, pain and destruction in the history of mankind… That’s not just a statement, that’s a known fact.
‘This one’s a 200 year old hymn.’
If you view it as pie in the sky, like Hawkwind dream of positronic sex dolls and the sci-fi darkness of being a clone in space, then the Ambassadors of Shalom preach about equally fictional bollocks of a Being who came to Earth 2000 years ago to (as it turns out) wreak absolute havoc on our planet.
The songs (as songs go) up to their ‘Christmas section’ are excellent; delivered by two scruffy bastards and a clean cut, very young and very good drummer. The politics, or beliefs leave a lot to be desired from my point of view, but like they say, ‘It’s what we live for…’ and those American half-witted evangelical idiots would love ’em.
Stomping Ground UK are a Manchester poppy-hardcore band with Llysfaen connections (guitarist Scott Wright) – and this, I believe is their second time around and their seventh gig of this second coming (sorry!). They are annoyingly confident and very fucking catchy! – I say annoyingly as Rik’s bass playing eats me for breakfast!
The songs are as hooky as Blink 182 with only half the cheese and thrice as fast and hopefully, with a single and album due out soon, they can emulate the energy they sweat out on stage. Only complaint is Scott needs a distortion pedal to lube up those awful ‘dry’ solos!!
It’s thick and it’s fast; occasionally broken up with a dub ditto called Junkie (or maybe Chunky – hard to work out the accent.!) then it’s back to a spunk splattered wall of sound that drips pure punk rock… Good fun.
With the witching hour upon me, I was on the long drive home while Ugly Fashion destroyed the set. Photographer Craig Evans noted on his blog… ‘I had a little adventure over to Rhyl this Thursday just gone to see Ugly Fashion perform their first gig for some time, around 3 years I believe! In fact it was more of an adventure over to Rhyl with and to see Ugly Fashion as I gave the two of the band members a lift over to the venue in my car, the guitarist/singer Meurig Roberts and the bassist Rico Rico. One of them naming no names was a little worse for wear on the return journey ha ha…’
He continues, ‘I have to say I really enjoyed their gig and managed to get a load of great photographs. Trying to capture them effectively really tested my skills as Meurig moves about quite a lot during their performance and as you can see usually ends up on the floor afterwards! In one of the pictures I took were Meurig was heading for the floor his guitar and my camera had a very close shave! Excellent stuff though and I’m really looking forward to their next gig and getting more pictures of them.’