(good pics by diane durham red evans – shit pics by neil crud)

This is what makes us tick… I say ‘us’ as in real people who go out and watch live music, who support it and the causes involved. Today is an exception, as in, it was exceptional… What a great day!

Eleven bands, eleven great performances and several sore heads. Despite the fact that promoter Mark Watson-Jones was only made aware of the archaic 11pm closing for this Bank Holiday Sunday on the morning – a swift re-jig of stage times and even swifter changeovers ensured everyone got to play.

Red Or Dead
It all began comparatively softly with Penmachno’s
Red Or Dead knocking out their extremely catchy protest folk-punk songs, dual vocals with that great cajon drum sound. Their opening song ends with ‘Why don’t you just fuck off,’ dedicated to the Tory Party and sets the tone for the day. They finish on No One Is Innocent – a real ear worm of a song.

Joe Hovis
Joe Hovis described himself as a psychiatrist’s wet dream. The former Braxton Hicks mainstay picked up his six-string and made a welcome return home to these pleasant shores. Although, beforehand claiming to be nervous at playing his first live slot in eighteen months. Joe’s ease and quick wit had the crowd both laughing and cheering as strummed his way through his acoustic repertoire. I’d say he’s a lyrical genius who doesn’t recognise his own talent, ‘How can I trust you when you know my poker face.’ Songs like  old band tunes Never Kill Yourself and Macho Man sit well alongside his solo stuff.

Depraved State
Depraved State. Dylan sets his kit up and Ifan plugs in his guitar and turns it to #11 – our ears bleed and the usually tolerant landlady of The Comrades Club runs in, screaming ‘Turn it down!’ No one can hear her, everyone is on the floor with their hands over their ears and bits of brain oozing from their noses. Ifan obliges before there is an international incident and Depraved State quite literally rip through their set. There’s no crescendos, every song is under one minute long and stops dead.  Depraved State’s set gets shorter and shorter and betterer and betterer… Superb.

When I was a child, my dirty punk band used to play such ridiculous places like Lincoln (The Cornhill Vaults – or the Cornhole Vaults as we called it) – we were rubbish. Maybe, just maybe we left some of our DNA there and spawned
Mothcob – they are not rubbish, they are just a bit scruffy. They have banks of energy, enthusiasm and are great fun as they smashed Conwy with a faster than furious set. Loved the song about The Dalai Lama vs Carlton Palmer ha ha – zen as fuck.

Local touring heroes
Emissaries Of Syn are next; this is the final date of their three date world tour, playing in Moscow, St Petersburg and Conwy. With Aled now firmly branded as guitarist and having the logistical ability to rehearse more often, EOS are now a tight live unit and a thunderous 20 minute set stamped that very fact. I wrote in my notebook – EOS = Fuckin’ A…  Words fail me… Nuff said

Was good to see Hocky back and screaming on Welsh soil – with Wales having been a staple diet of his previous band Instant Agony.
Bite Back have developed into a better, faster version of that band. It’s very fast tight punk rock without being hardcore (if you get what I mean) – perfectly delivered; just like their excellent debut album ‘Retrohate’. These girls and guys don’t fuck about and if they were a business they’d be at the mean end for sure.

[I’ll let MWJ tell you about the next band…]

Welsh Rebel Outpost were meant to be treating us to the whole debut Anhrefn album but this legend of local punk, also John Peel endorsed, was somewhat reduced due to the non-appearance of one guitarist and me desperately trying to shave time due to the early Sunday closing.  Still, what we got was a fierce performance, maybe fired up by the circumstances and the company.  The melodic punk given a load more bite by the enthusiastic Mr Crud, with a pounding rhythm section driving things along too.  There’s still fire running in their veins, and we’re treated to Rhedeg I Paris as a closer which seems appropriate given all the Wales triumphs seen here last summer, and gets our running order back on schedule.

[back to me]

Wrexham’s Bogans provided the most energetic set of the day – featuring ex-Smackrats, they brought a lot of that Smackrat attitude with them; diving into the crowd, throwing members of the crowd around and wrestling with the crowd – all good clean fun, although the bar staff did start getting agitated when he was squatting on the bar. The antics, although great entertainment did kind of detract me from the music. A bandcamp listen offers us a raw Stuntface with a growling singer.

The Crippens
making their first live appearance since their heads exploded as Dr & The Crippens back in some dark age. The album ‘Fired From The Circus’ was a staple part of our punk rock diet in our latter teens and The Crippens showed no sign of losing that evil sense of humour after all these bitter years.
Great stage presence, and a great set full of timeless thrash-punk classics, Mr Creosote anyone? This left everyone with no option but to create plenty of mosh pit madness.

Grant Sharkey
added to that humour, albeit not quite as silly as Eat Your Wheelchair but a far more satirical and cynical look at life and how we live it. Great song about 7 billion people fucking each other. And all delivered with a double bass and buckets of charm. There’ll be more on Grant when he plays Rhyl on Tuesday after appearing live on my radio show tomorrow.

One man and his double bass left the stage to rousing applause and paved the way for seven people to get up, reap the storm and finish a brilliant day –
Bolshy, a ska-punk band with the emphasis on dub-funk and a seriously social message, backed by a seriously top notch brass section. Great entertainment live, great on record but also intelligent enough to make you sit up and listen and also stand up and dance. The ‘Time Ladies & Gentlemen Please’ bar-bell rang and it was 11pm. Everyone called for more Bolshy, even the barstaff – Bolshy obliged…

Like I said – great day.