Another night, another raid across the border to get our punk rock fix. As we were about to leave the news filtered through that our main draw, Grand Collapse had pulled out due to the adverse weather conditions down in their native South Wales (southern softies). This did not deter us from our mission, although it did initially dampen our spirits.


Two of tonight’s bands actually played here a year ago yesterday… One being Regicidal, although they were called Anti-Cnt then; maybe they changed their name to get more gigs..? This aside, Regicidal give us cool fast-paced punk rock with a smattering of ska. Their subject range is quite depressing, reflecting the times and situations they live and have lived in. It’s delivered through gruff vocals from John Doe who plays the tinniest guitar since Crass released ‘Feeding Of The 5000.’ Despite singing about suicidal thoughts and child abuse, the tunes are quite upbeat! We await recorded output…

Overload are from Cambridge and make music for bastards. They bob-sleighed the treacherous trip to these Northern wastelands to spread their gospel. I think they had a new (or stand-in) bassist, who was off his tits but really good… Just like the rest of the band; if they were a car they’d be F1 – finely tuned and operating at maximum efficiency. Right from the opening chord you knew they meant business and these guys are at the top of their game. An excellent sound (as always in Maguires) and Overload smashed every single decibel hard into your skull.
Vocalist, Teo was the focal point as he part-mime-artistically guided you through this relentless barrage of pure punk rock. That didn’t detract from that bass, that brutal guitar and ground shaking drums. Maguires was absolutely bouncing, there was even a human pyramid… I love moments like this, when the band and audience are in the zone… It’s no-nonsense fun and certifies our reason for being alive. I think my favourite song was God Killer with it’s regimented guitar and killer riffage that blasted you senseless…
Simply wonderful…


Now, if I was a member of Colwyn Bay’s Habits, I’d be watching Overload and thinking, ‘How the fuck do we follow that?’
Well, follow it they did… I’ve not seen them since they shedded two members after the release of their excellent ‘Falling Fluent EP’ last year. Down to one guitar and a new bassist, perhaps they had a point to prove to the crowd (and themselves) that they can rub shoulders with the elite.
They are on tour and started off a little subdued (by their standards), people are still outside, vocalist Sam looks bedraggled with his long beard, resembling a stereotypical tramp on American TV. The crowd start wandering back in from the bar, and before you know it both the venue and Habits are at full capacity and that party moshmosphere is back with us again.
Sam does his obligatory Lionel Richie impression by literally walking on the ceiling, being held aloft by the crowd as the band slam through the gears. Jim, on sole guitar has to work harder, along with Owen on drums, while new bassist (James?) is a worthy replacement. Stand out songs for me are Work, Nosebleed and Broken Glass Blues, and what I do like about Habits is they’re not afraid of doing a smash’n’grab set. It was all done in thirty minutes… They smashed it… We grabbed it…

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