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My Favourite Gig – Miles Hackett, Dry Heave Records

This is the sixth in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

This week it is Miles Hackett from Dry Heave Records

 

Dry heave are taking old skater and thrash bands and reminding the kids that these bands once shredded.  Usually limited run and usually full on power

dryheave

Miles Hackett – Dry Heave Records

NAPALM DEATH, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, BOLT THROWER, CARCASS & INTENSE DEGREE

LONDON, ULU  1989

 

You’d be forgiven for glancing at this line-up and thinking you’d picked up an extreme metal zine by mistake, but way back in ’89 this gig, aptly named ‘A Night Of Rock N’Roll Armageddon’ was the one of the pinnacles of the, then furtive UK hardcore punk scene.  Unlike its US counterpart the UK scene had been born from the legacy of UK 82, anarcho and crust bands that moved in Crass and Discharge circles and pushed their musical power and lyrics to the very point of decimation. Sure there was a slight thrash metal influence (most of the bands on tonight’s bill are firmly entrenched in metal circles these days) but back then this was the largest gathering the UK hardcore scene had witnessed. This scene was, in all its glorious extremity, finding support in the most unusual of places,

John Peel acting as its chief ambassador.  He’d been playing and inviting in for sessions many of these bands for the last couple of years and championing their socio-political, sonic terrorism across the nation’s airwaves on his nightly BBC show. This in turn had caught the eye of the of the music broad sheets who had been devoting more and more column inches to this underground phenomena of the extreme, dubbing it Britcore. Which all ended up at this gig and its public broadcast on national television. Anyone remember Snub TV? It was the mildly alternative music show that boasted a weekly tea time slot on BBC2 and was the brain child of the unintelligible Frenchman from Eurotrash, Antoine De Caunes. The show devoted a whole episode to UK hardcore and was centred around this gig. What they filmed wasn’t pretty….

 

Five bands for a meagre £3.50 was a snip even back in the late 80’s so, expectedly tonight’s show at London’s ULU is a sell out and punks, thrashers, crusties and indie kids alike are shoe horned in to the confines of this 600 capacity venue to witness the band on everyone’s lips, Napalm Death and their all grinding, supporting cast. Earache records, who were born of and at the forefront of this movement had laid on this showcase of the extreme and the expectation was high in the air. Mansfield’s Intense Degree were up first and capitalising on their 1988 debut ‘War In My Head’ and a Peel session of March that same year are the least metallic band on the bill tonight. Their superfast hardcore more in the vein of stalwarts Heresy proving the perfect, adrenalin kick of warm up this gig needed.   Up next were another band fresh from their dropping their debut album and being taken to John Peel’s bosom, Liverpool’s Carcass. 1988’s crudely produced ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ had already been heralded an underground classic with its blitzcore grind and medical textbook lyrics, they even shared a guitarist with headliners Napalm Death in Bill Steer. Dreadlocked frontman Jeff Walker growled and snarled like the deaths he sang about were his own, as songs like ‘Genital Grinder’ saw the first stage divers of the night leap like lemming s into the assembled throng.

 

Carcass are the most ‘metallic’ band on tonight’s soiree, their riffing and lyrical subject matter pegging them into a pioneering seat in the brave new world of ‘grindcore’, they are rewarded with an ever increasingly violent pit. Next up were the Games Workshop inspired, Coventry crust- thrashers Bolt Thrower. Their debut ‘In Battle There is No Law’ hadn’t been an Earache affair but had been released the previous year on Vinyl Solution records after they were once again championed by none other than John Peel. With a sound that was as much Discharge and Crass as it was Slayer, their raw guitars and stupidly fast rhythm section was also moving into grindcore territory. Also, like Intense Degree they boasted a female bassist, something of a rarity in the testosterone fuelled world of extreme music but a door which the punk mentality of their collective backgrounds had opened.

 

Unlike Carcass before them who were a wall of intense speed, Bolt Thrower’s sludgy crust-metal breaks offered respite from the blast beats. The crowd by now was at capacity, the squashing horde offering ample support to the occasional stage divers leaping for victory. Main support tonight were positive veterans of the UK scene, Extreme Noise Terror. This Ipswich quintet were conceived in 1985 and boasted two vocalists for that added harsh vitriol and are widely considered the forefathers of this genre and its subgenre crust-grind. Their roots are unashamedly crust-punk but having evolved and veering toward grindcore with their short sharp, political ragers that became a blueprint for the movement in its formative years.  With all this in mind ULU starts to turn to mayhem at this point and there are practically queues at stage left and right for divers to launch themselves into the increasingly chaotic pit. Cameramen are now starting to look over their shoulders as moshers barge towards them as they try to document the unconventional image of ENT and the crowd reaction alike.

 

However, nothing could prepare the Snub TV crew, security guards, venue staff and to an extent the crowd for who were fast becoming one of the most infamous bands in the UK, Napalm Death. Their 28 track debut album ‘Scum’ had propelled them into folklore, where people not even remotely associated with punk or metal had their curiosity aroused by the band dubbed the ‘fastest band in the world’.  Their debut may have dropped two years previous but the media hype on Napalm Death was growing feverishly. As soon as they hit the stage maelstrom erupted, the orderly stage side queue of divers looked for new launch pads and the PA was scaled on each side, three or four people atop at any point, then swan diving into the vortex of bodies below. Fire hoses were sprayed upwards, trying to topple the lemmings. Chaos was reigning while Napalm Death’s soundtrack to oblivion played as its backdrop. The whole night began to feel like a Boeing 747 hurtling, out of control towards the ground as chunks of the PA fell beneath the climbers, crashing onto the heads of the sardine packed crowd below.  The Death managed to maintain course during the carnage around and after it was all over everyone spilled out into the crisp February night.

 

This show was arguably the pinnacle and end of a scene.  Vocalist Lee Dorian left Napalm Death not long after and they elevated into the metalsphere along with Carcass and Bolt Thrower who would become death metal behemoth’s in their own right (and still are to this day). Intense Degree faded into obscurity and the lone hardcore punk survivors Extreme Noise Terror would lose vocalist Phil Vane when he untimely died in 2011. But for this evening, as documented by the BBC, Britcore lived, roared, conquered and became extinct in a blaze of primeval glory.

 

Miles Hackett

 

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Hope Show 109 – the lowdown

Hope Show 109 – the lowdown

Playlist
1. Youth Of Today – No More
2. Quicksand – Delusional
3. Custody – Stitches are all we have
4. The No Marks – Coming Around
5. World Be Free – Breakout or Busted
6. Allo’ Darlin’ – Silver Dollars
7. June Brides – Every Conversation
8. June Brides – A January Moon
9. No Ditching- If you hate cats you die
10. Vanilla Pod – Restore Factory Settings
11. Freebase – P.N.D.
12. Sacrilege – Star Wars
13. Fit Of Anger – The Oppressed
14. Down To Nothing – Life On The James
15. The Walking Targets- Here’s to the thoughts we hold
16. Maxwells dead – Would you go out with me
17. Down and Out’s – Iron
18. All – Until I say so

Tonight’s show feature People from record labels who have contributed to the latest Hope fanzine. The same question was asked of over 70 contributors, “What was your favorite gig?” and answers were as wide, varied and mixed up as you’d expect. It was all done in good spirits as the zine is a benefit for pikpa lesvos refugee centre. You can buy the fanzine here Buy Now Button

We start off tonight’s show with some US Hardcore music from Youth Of Today, just wanted to make sure you were awake. Youth of Today were on Revelation Records who were leading the way in the 90’s pushing the New York Hardcore scene. Some of the bands members have been in many other bands including Quicksand.

Custody brought out a 7″ on Brassneck Records last year. Brassneck is based in Cardiff and have been releasing records since 2010. The latest release is a split between No Marks and the Spoilers and is out in a week or so.

World Be Free are on Revelation Records, and are pretty much a super group of the new york hardcore scene from the early 90’s

I saw Allo’ Darlin in London a few years ago and was numb with shivers rushing through my body when they played this song. So much of the positive things about being in a band came through that night and the music is just pur pop majestic. Out on slumberland records.

A band that finished their illustrous career on slumberland is the June Brides, I had to play two songs panning that career. My introduction was Every Conversation from the NME c86 era, and they continued with style right throughout.

No Ditching are part of an expanding Durham, Newcastle, scene of diy pop. They have an ep available from Drunken Sailor now

Dry heave records is an interesting label. Set up to remind people of great music from times gone by when thrasher magazine was read by many in the punkk scene with check shirts and baseball caps. Vanilla Pod are a bit of a surprise for the label as their songs, whilst still retaining the speed, are more tuneful. Freebase get ready to thrash out, for sure. This is from their 4 way split

Freddy Alva has a very interesting story. Read the previous link to find out. His Wardance label captured some great new york bands, much like Revelation. Sacrilege are one of these, Fit of anger are on his New Breed Tape Compilation.

Down to nothing ahve that classic Revelation sound

I’ve mentioned make that a take records many times on this show and keep playing the Scotish label bands. I love the title Here’s to the thoughts we hold from the walking targets and how true that is.

Years ago there was a pop punk band, crocodile god, on Skimmer Records. their music lives on for many and there’s a tribute compilation to them. Down and Outs are a punk band from Liverpool and their take of Iron is on this.

Finally All were listed as the favourite gig for Scott from Brassneck Records and I love tenuous links and a reason to play All.

niallhope

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Vanilla Pod – Seeing Out The Sunshine

Vanilla Pod
Seeing Out the Sunshine
TNS / Dry Heave

In 1995 Vanilla Pod started pushing their brand of hardcore on to the masses. That included a trip to ireland as they tried to woo audiences with that fast US influenced sound, harking back to New York. They seemed to pop up on so many line-ups which goes to detail how involved the band were collectively in the dit music scene in the UK in the 90’s. 5 albums later over different time spans and we ow have a new offering. Whilst the real world has played a part in each individuals life it has meant less time for touring and sleeping on floors however time has been found for Seeing Out The Sunshine and we are lucky it has.

The hardcore influence is there as strong as ever. No need to tinker too much around the edges, plenty of power and passion. 7 tuneful blasts of hardcore. Here’s to the next 20 years

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Down By Law – Revolution Time

Down By Law – Revolution Time
Dry Heave Records

down by law

I have a fear of dentists. it all stems back to me as a 10 year old boy being terrified of a tall man in a white suit with sharp instruments in his hand. I can’t begin to explain this irrational phobia. But there hasn’t been much sympathy for it in the proceeding 35 years. Even typing this my hands are starting to get a bit clammy and lumps appear in my throat. Listening to this album is its musical equivalent. Plainly speaking it is disappointing.

I remember when down by law played Dublin in the 1990s. We were so excited that a stalwart of the dc music scene was coming to play our city. The excitment was palpable as we discussed prior to Smalley and co’s arrival that there was no need for heroes. It was a lifetime ago and for some of us young punks in Dublin there was real buzz of anticipation in the air. We had no real perception of the outside world as our education was through records and fanzines interspersed with protest marches and leaflets from radical organisations. We had no feeling of Dublin being something to be proud of as we grew up here and most of us wanted to get out, those who didn’t have to leave to find employment of course. So when Americans came over and exclaimed how proud they were to be Irish we got ready to swap identities even for one night. Most bands that played over here felt some connection with the country and our cynicism needed to be left outside many venues. I will never forget down by laws introduction to barnstormers. They were so impressed with a Phil lynnott picture on the wall and wanted to talk about thin lizzy. To the young punk in me thin lizzy and their ilk were the enemy, pin them up against the wall with blue oyster cult or whatever they were called. They played a pretty energetic set though and whilst I have mellowed through the years I still haven’t felt a need to listen to “the lizzy” though but I appreciate that Dave Smalley was just a fan like we were of his band.

This is their 9th album and it starts with some note ‘New Autonomy’, ‘The future is good’ and ‘riot riot’ give a little insight into the potential that was once there. It has that melodic punk rock feel that you’d get from Stiff Little Fingers but more of the Go For It era when we all wished they would play Suspect Device instead. ‘Rebel conformist’ could have been good if it didn’t feel like they were just trying too hard. “Truth is you’re not a rebel at all. You hate all those who don’t think like you” is the line there but whilst Tte sentiment sounds good but it just doesn’t seem real. Whether that is dave smalleys self proclaimed celebration of capitalism I don’t know. I don’t call myself a rebel but I don’t appreciate American Republicanism, Smalley had a brief flirtation with it publicly and I find it extremely hard to let that go.

And then there’s the (filler) acoustics covers of elvis Costello and slf> They are the teeth extraction moments, painful. Acoustic sets are great, I’m found in rebellion at the acoustic stage as much as anyone else and love the feeling of a song being stripped bare and sung with real passion. The energy of one person and a guitar can be immensely powerful. But these are so weak in comparison. It’s no tim barry or chuck ragan, I really want it to be

Sorry but no

niallhope

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