Day 3 dawns and it’s all beginning to catch up with me. The late nights drinking into the early hours are beginning to take its toll. The atmosphere in the pubs is really good though so you just get caught up in it all. You are having such a great time, especially as this hasn’t happened for a couple of years, you just want to savour it all.
After grabbing breakfast it’s time to take my usual walk to Club Casbah.
First up is 1983 from Miami who treated us to a set of melodic, old style punk rock that ticked all the right boxes. A great start to the day which then went downhill with the Destructors. Any half decent tunes that the Destructors had (and there weren’t that many) were totally ruined by the guitar histrionics of the guitarist. Dude, join a heavy metal band!
The Mau Maus had me somewhat confused. I thought I was going to see the Mau Maus from L.A. but instead got the Mau Maus from Sheffield, East Yorkshire! Not that I am complaining mind, they drew a mighty crowd for a 2.00pm time slot and treated us to a fine hardcore punk set.
With time to kill before the next band I ventured into the library to see an interview with Cro Mags front man Harley Flanagan.
Harley’s interview was somewhat revealing and brutally honest. He regaled us with tales of his sad, chaotic childhood, how as a 12 year old punk rocker in NYC he would hang with The Clash, Johnny Thunders and Andy Warhol. How his experiences fucked him up and made him the nasty person he became, a mean, violent person who would do horrible things to other people.
It was only later in life that he came to recognise that he suffers from PTSD because of his experiences. He sees his music as a release where he can let his anger out. He now lives a settled life and is a bit more at peace with himself and his past. A very interesting and honest interview.
Back over to the Ballroom to see The Last Resort featuring the one and only Lars Frederiksen on guitar. The Last Resort are a real old school oi band formed in 1980 in Herne Bay. The band were fantastic and had the whole crowd moving to their bootboy anthems. Lars really looked like he was enjoying himself.
This brings us to the next band The Angelic Upstarts who provided a musical tribute to their singer Mensi who passed away from Covid in December 2021. The Angelic Upstarts formed in 1977 and were early pioneers of oi music focusing on working class life.
Mensi had worked as a coal miner and was vehemently anti tory and anti nazi which showed in a lot of his songs.
Tonight a number of singers from other punk bands came together to sing with The Upstarts to pay homage to this huge punk rock icon. I defy anyone who was there to deny they had tears in their eyes as the set unfolded. The love of everyone performing for Mensi was clearly evident. This man had touched them all deeply and he will never be forgotten.
The final song ‘I’m An Upstart’ absolutely brought the house down as members of Mensi’s family joined the performers on stage to celebrate his life
Certainly a hard act to follow but the Cockney Rejects managed it with a run through of their oi punk anthems. Jeff Turner, looking like he had come straight from the gym, was dashing around stage like there was no tomorrow, this guy really does keep himself fit.
This was a truly great performance from the “classic” line up – Jeff vocals, his brother Mick Geggus on guitar and Vince Riordan on bass. Mick produces a mighty awesome sound from that guitar that drives the songs along.
Practically everything you would wish to hear from the Rejects was present and correct tonight including ‘Flares & Slippers’, ‘Cop Car’, ‘Bad man’, ‘East End’, ‘War On The Terraces’, ‘Greatest Cockney Rip Off’, ‘Headbanger’, ‘I’m Not A Fool’, ‘Join The Rejects’, ‘We Are The Firm’ and ‘Fighting In The Streets’.
The whole band was superb, putting everything they had into the performance. The crowd was well appreciative as the steady stream of crowd surfers attested. You could always tell when a band was going down well in the Ballroom as the sprung floor would bounce up and down. Tonight it was like a trampoline.
Time for one more act tonight and it’s off to the Pavillion to see The Rezillos. I always love seeing them and hearing there quirky, sci-fi songs, but tonight I thought the sound was a bit distorted which somewhat detracted from my enjoyment of the band.
They still put on a great performance though and the sound didn’t seem to bother anyone else. The crowd were going wild as they ripped through ‘Destination Venus’, ‘Flying Saucer Attack’, a superb ‘Do The Mutilation’, ‘20000 Rezillos Under The Sea’, the inevitable ‘Top Of The Pops’ before sending us home happy with ‘Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’.
I can’t believe that the last day is fast approaching and it will soon be time to go home.