Tag Archives: Punk


2016 saw Rebellion Festival celebrate its 20th year alongside the 40th anniversary of punk with a spectacular sold-out event. Over four days at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, iconic bands from every aspect of punk across the world shared stages with new and emerging talent. And Rebellion 2017 already looks set to be no different.  Returning to Winter Gardens in Blackpool from  the 3rd to the 6th of August, the line-up is already shaping up to be another punk genre defining event.

LA punk legends Bad Religion are now confirmed to return to the festival for the first time in seven years, bringing their addictively melodic, politically-charged, high energy punk rock to the seaside punk event.

“Rebellion is by far the best punk festival on the planet,” enthuses Bad Religion (and Dag Nasty/Minor Threat) guitarist Brian Baker. “I went last year; it was so nice I saw Cock Sparrer twice! And this year you can see Bad Religion and Pennywise and the UK Subs, Sham 69, Skids, Angelic Upstarts and tons more. This is a great festival and i love playing it and I hope to see you all there.”

With every passing day, more bands are being added to the prestigious line-up that already includes such luminaries as mentioned by Brain Baker above who join the likes of The Vapors, Kent duo Slaves, The Skids, DOA, Alternative TV, Neville Staples Band,  Good Riddance, Scream (who once featured Dave Grohl), Toyah, Richie Ramone, Leftover Crack, Ruts DC and many many more.

Day tickets are now available at £60 per day and there is also the opportunity to buy weekend tickets in instalments with a deposit.

More bands, running-order and stage times still to be announced.

Rebellion Festival is an ALL AGES, family friendly event and children under 12 are admitted free of charge (accompanied by an adult). More information and tickets are available at:

Website: www.rebellionfestivals.com 

Twitter: @rebellionfest 

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/RebellionPunkMuskFestival


Daily Prompt – Teen Idol

Todays daily prompt asks who did you idolize as a teenager?

Sadly I don’t often find the time to participate in Daily post prompts these day but I couldn’t miss out on this one.

I was born in 1961.  My dad was a cabaret singer and I grew up with the music of Neil Diamond, dads favourite artist.  I love Neil’s music to this day but it was the early 1970’s that saw we stretch my musical wings.

The first album I ever bought was David Bowie‘s Aladdin Sane, it was my introduction to alternative music, a love that lives with me to this day.  I still have that LP, carefully preserved in my collection of vinyl.

It was however the late 1970’s that threw up my real idols.  bands I love to this day include the Clash, the Ramones, Sex pistols and a host of other punk bands.  It was however Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers who actually changed my life.

I grew up in Northern Ireland during the height of “the troubles.”  It was Stiff Little Fingers that helped me to see that there was another, better way of life.  The bands breakthrough record “Alternative Ulster” is to this day the best song I ever heard.

Frank Carter And the Rattlesnakes – [Photos]

Those of you outside the UK may not have come across Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Frank Carter is one of the last of a breed, a true punk rock wild man.  Carter’s energy and aggression onstage has to be seen to be believed and when I say aggression that is exactly what I mean.  Frank has been known to punch members of the audience is they piss him off.

I caught Frank’s set at this years Reading Festival where he turned in an incredible performance.  On this occasion Frank even showed us that he has a softer side too 🙂

Those of you outside the UK may not have come across Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Frank is one of the last of a breed, a true punk rock wild man.  Frank energy and aggression has to be seen to be believed and when I say aggression that is exactly what I mean.  Frank has been known to punch members of the audience is they piss him off.

I caught Frank’s set at this years Reading festival and Frank even showed us that he has a softer side too 🙂

New Years Day

New Years Day New Album ‘Malevolence’ Available To Stream

Post Hardcore band New Years Day were one of my picks of this years Download Festival.  I was thrilled by their performance and have been eagerly looking forward to their new album ‘Malevolence’ which was released through Another Century on 3rd October.

Malevolence was produced by Erik Ron (The Word Alive, Motionless In White) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records.

New Years Day took the unusual step of streaming the album in it’s entirety on YouTube before it was released.

Check it out here.

Ash Costello (vocals) states, “Malevolence is the most personal album we have ever written to date. More than ever you can really feel the blood and tears in these lyrics. It wasn’t an easy process because it was so emotional but what came from it is honest and real. It’s therapeutic and angry but still shows vulnerability.

“Our producer Erik Ron will always start an album by asking me ‘what are you feeling right now?’ to which I replied ‘pissed off.’ I think anyone that has suffered through loss, betrayal, insecurity and abandonment will absolutely relate to it. For me, it felt so good to get everything I had been bottling up out and hopefully it helps others in the process.”

2015 has been a monstrously significant year for the band, it saw New Years Day dominate this year’s Vans Warped Tour, as well as frontwoman Ash Costello hosting the Alternative Press Music Awards Red Carpet and taking an active role as a spokesperson for PETA (see below).

PETA “Pet Adoption” Campaign 


NEW YEARS DAY – “Kill or Be Killed” Official Music Video


New Years Day will be back in the UK for a run of gigs supporting Motionless in White & Chelsea Grin in late November/early December. See below for a list of dates.

NEW YEARS DAY live:  with Motionless In White & Chelsea Grin

23 NOV Belfast, IRE – Mandela Hall

24 NOV Dublin, IRE – Academy

26 NOV Manchester, UK – Club Academy

27 NOV Leeds, UK – University Union

28 NOV Glasgow, UK – Garage

29 NOV Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
01 DEC Birmingham, UK – Asylum

02 DEC Bristol, UK – The Fleece

03 DEC Southampton, UK – 1865

04 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

06 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

New Years Day are on Facebook and they Tweet as @NYDrock

New Found Glory – Reading Festival – live review and interview – Louder Than War | Louder Than War

Alan Ewart Caught up with Pop-punk pioneers New Found Glory to talk trend setting, touring and being back at Reading Festival for the fifth time

Source: New Found Glory – Reading Festival – live review and interview – Louder Than War | Louder Than War

Neck Deep

Neck Deep Back with Superb New Album: Life’s Not Out To Get You

Neck DeepBritish pop-punk outfit are back with their second album, Life’s Not Out To Get You, and I must say that after a few listens it is a pretty credible effort.  The Welsh five-piece have been around since 2012 and this album is a follow up to last years debut Wishful Thinking.

Kerrang call Life’s Not Out To Get You “incredible” and the pop-punk album of the year, all without offering even the simplest (and laziest) justification for their viewpoint.  It is perhaps articles like this that are responsible for the slow walk to death that music magazines are taking at the moment.

Sputnik music come over all fan-boy about “Life’s Not Out To Get You” but at least they present a strong rational for their 4.5/5 rating.

“Neck Deep has got the chops that has made them relevant in the punk scene that many say is fading. If these opinions have any factuality to their merit, than Neck Deep is just the band to swoop in and save the day” they say.

I have to agree that Life’s Not Out To Get You is a good album and it is very good in places.  There are lovely hooks, bags of drive and tons of energy throughout the album.  If you are a fan of bands like Green Day, All Time Low and Blink-182 you will love this album  It is clear that Neck Deep are comfortable and competent and the album keeps you engaged most of the time.

As DIY Magazine points out Life’s Not out To Get You is beautifully engineered and produced.  They describe the album as “as guiltily satisfying as you’d expect any feel-good, buoyant pop punk effort to be.”  Therein lies the problem for this old codger.  As someone old enough to have basked in the glories of the late 1970’s punk revolution I can’t help but feel that it’s all a little bit too nice.

Where is the anger, the angst and the bitterness?  Where is the shredding of guitar and the heavy bass lines that categorise the punk bands of old.  The very title of the album is a clue.  Sorry neck Deep but Life is out to get you and you better be ready to spit in it’s eye and kick it in the nuts when it does come.

Don’t get me wrong, Life’s Not Out To Get You is a long way from the safe bland and boring crap that dominates the charts at present, but I prefer my punk to be more punk than pop.  I prefer my punk to be angry and aggressive thats why Stray from The Paths Subliminal Criminal, also released yesterday is more likely to be in my headphones.

That said the new Neck Deep disc is a very enjoyable offering, a solid 7/10.  I am certain that it will win Neck Deep a lot of airplay on 6 music and expand their growing audience.  I look forward to hearing how some of the songs work out live when I see them at Reading festival in a couple of weeks time.

Slaves – Glastonbury (John Peel Stage) live review

Slaves - GlastonburySlaves are a two piece garage punk outfit from Tunbridge Wells in Kent.  Isaac Holman provides the percussion and the lions share of the vocals whilst Laurie Vincent provides the guitar and adds to the vocal ferocity.

They may be a two piece but both live and in the studio they create a sound and energy that is indicative of a much bigger band.  When this years Glastonbury Line-up was announced I was delighted to see that Slaves had a spot on the John Peel stage though I must confess I was a little bemused to see that they were performing at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.  As a result, despite having seen Slaves live a couple of months back, I wasn’t really expecting a set of the ferocity that was delivered.

We all know that Glastonbury is a hedonistic, 24-hour a day gig and by Saturday afternoon many of those who arrived on Tuesday or Wednesday are starting to fade a little.  As I made my way towards the John Peel stage I remarked to my son that a lot of people seemed to be doing the same thing, especially given that the Waterboys were playing a blinding set on the Pyramid Stage and The Stripes were in full flow on the “Other Stage.”

On arrival at the John Peel stage I saw that not only was it packed but there were thousand sat on the remains of the grass outside the tent.  I quickly took my place in the press pit whilst counting down the minutes.  As I watched more and more people crowded into the tent, there was tension in the air and you could feel the energy pulsing from the crowd as waves of energy swept the stage.

As the intro track began the crowd erupted, the noise was deafening despite my ear plugs.  You could sense that Isaac and Laurie felt it too as they emerged onto the stage in boiler suits.  As the boys swept into the opening number “Are You Satisfied” you already knew you were about to witness something special.

Glastonbury Slaves John Peel-8

Slaves have bags of attitude, they have something to say and they are going to smack you in the face until you hear just what it is.  Just listen to the Clash like “Wow, 7am” and you will get the idea.  If you were looking to draw a comparison between Slaves and an old school punk band the Clash should be your first stop.  The big bluesy guitar licks, the attitude, the punk, ska, garage rock influences all come over loud and clear, but it is the energy that really grabs you.  A Slaves gig feels like a volcano about to erupt as the energy builds, increasing track by track until it is released in an explosion of sweating, heaving, bouncing, crowd surfing madness.

By the time the Slaves hit the single release “Feed The Manta Ray,” the madness reaches a crescendo with a guy running around the stage in a Manta Ray suit before he dives into the crowd and goes crowd surfing, he is quickly followed by Laurie, crowd surfing without missing a beat on his guitar.  Huge inflatable beach balls start bouncing across the crowd juggling for space with the numerous crowd surfers, the energy plateaus during a superb version of “The Hunter” and then suddenly, after finishing with “Hey”, their first single on Virgin records, its all over.

Slaves have just taken you on an 11 song, 60 minute, rollercoaster ride that left both them and the crowd simultaneously elated and drained.  Laurie and Isaac hug each other on stage.  The crowd stare at them open mouthed, bemused, drained of emotion and exhausted.  Everyone present knows that they have just witnessed a very very special performance.

Slaves may be a young outfit but they are going places and they want to get there in a hurry.  If you have any sense you will want to go with them.  Grab hold of Slaves, they are pure gold, their music matters and maybe, just maybe they are going to shake the UK music scene out of its current safe, “vanilla pop” torpor.  We may just be witnessing the birth of something very special

Download - new Years Day

New Years Day: Download Festival – interview and live review

It seems barely believable that Californian outfit New Years Day have been around for a decade.  Alan Ewart caught up with the band after their set at Download Festival to talk about music, fashion, creativity and being part of a female fronted band.

It’s hard to categorise New Years Days sound.  They certainly cross genre’s at times and they have drawn comparison wit American pop punk outfit “Fall Out Boy.”  In fact some have even, rather unkindly, labelled them as “Fall Out Girl.”  There are certainly parallels between the bands but New Years Day definitely plough their own furrow.

Watching their Download performance I was very much reminded of the high energy performances of the likes of X-Ray Specs, The Slits and more contemporaneously of Sleater Kinney.  Vocalist Ashley Costello is a very strong, exciting and dynamic focus for the band and I have to confess I fell a little bit in love with her, please don’t tell my wife!

With her long wavy hair dyed half black and half red, her tight black PVC mini-dress and her stocking slipping down her legs Ashley looks every inch the punk princess.  Judging her on her appearance would be a huge mistake.

Costello is an ambitious, driven and determined maelstrom of creativity.  Nikki and Tyler told me after the show that “we have never worked with anyone so driven.  She is so creative, so hardworking and determined.  She sweats blood and tears for this band, she is simply incredible.”

For the rest of the band it is clear that Ashley is a leader.  When I asked the guys how it was to be working in a female fronted punk band they seemed slightly taken aback.  They told me “we don’t really see it like that.  Ash is so creative and inspirational that we don’t think of New Years Day in terms of being female fronted.  It’s just Ash.”  They did confess though that they would love to see more female fronted bands around simply because it would encourage more girls to chase their musical dreams.  “Rock needs more female role models” they say.

The band feel that the progress of New Years Day as a band has been held back by numerous changes of line-up over the years.  This has stifled development and was largely responsible for a six year gap between albums.  They were also hit by their label going to the wall but they feel that they are really in a great place now.  The band got an EP out last year and an album is planned for later this year.  As a result they feel that the line-up is now settled and that they are in a place to enable them to kick on to the next level.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing New Years Day.  They are tight, energetic and entertaining band with a great sound and a fantastic focus.  The current lineup is strong, they play pop punk tunes with passion.  Their guitar work is exemplary and the rhythm section drives their songs along at a breathtaking pace.  Without a doubt New Years Day were one of my finds of the festival.  I will watch them with interest when the new album is released later this year.


New Years Day are on the internet here.  They are on Facebook and they Tweet as @NYDrock

Download Artists Friday

Download Festival – Artists – Friday June 12 2015

It struck me today that whilst I have shared lots of photographs of music fans at Download festival I have not yet yet shared any shots of the artists so over the next few days I will share some shots of the artists at the festival.  These are from Friday 12th of June.  I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival Donington Park 12 – 15 June 2015 – review

The 13th Download Festival took place at Donington Park from 12 – 15 June 2015.  Described as Europe’s biggest and best rock and metal festival Download sets the standard for modern rock festivals.  This year I went along to see what all the fuss is about.

I love music, my taste is eclectic and I like to think that even at my age I have a decent handle on new music.  However, my first love is and always has been punk rock.  Since the heady days of the late 70’s right up to today I have loved the attitude and politics of punk music so I was intrigued to find out if a long weekend at the beating heart of rock music would convert me.

As any festival fan knows the music is only a part of any major festival, what really counts is the overall experience.  The campsites, food, beer, people and weather all have a huge impact on the experience and have a large part to play in determining how much you enjoy yourself.  Of course attending to report on the festival ease of access and press facilities are also important.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Lets get some of those aspects out of the way right now.  The facilities for the press were fantastic.  The team over at Borkowski Arts & Ents. (who handle the festival PR) are first rate, communications are great on the run up to the festival and the facilities they provide are excellent on site.  There are working areas, plenty of powerpoint, lockers and good wi-fi coverage.  There are even mini buses to run press and photographers to the second stage at the top of the hill and there are refreshments on hand.  The press area is right next to the main stage and close to the main stage.  One word sums it up.  Superb!

Despite the fact that I had to proceed to one of the box-office sites to collect my pass before getting onto the camper van field the process was incredibly slick.  I was able to drive the van to within a few minutes walk of the box office collect my passes and drive to the van field and get set up in well under an hour.  Very impressive.  The van field had ample toilets, chemical waste disposal and hot showers and I found them to be immaculate on every occasion I used them.

I didn’t have cause to use the toilets in the arena so I can’t comment on those but I did see far too many people, women as well as men, urinating against fences.  Whether this was through laziness or queues or whatever I don’t know, but it is distasteful.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

As anyone in the UK will know the weather over the weekend was hideous at times.  It was beautiful when we arrived on site, glorious on Friday morning but by the time Judas priest and Slipknot played on Friday evening the rain was torrential, it poured down all night and most of Saturday and the whole site was turned into a quagmire of mud.  being able to be on site after the crowds have left at night and before they enter in the morning allows you to see how well prepared the festival is to deal with adverse weather.  The crew at Download did a fantastic job laying mats and bark chipping in the really wet areas and spreading straw across the site to stop people slipping.  They truly did everything they possibly could to make the festival safe and enjoyable.

Download was the first major UK festival to go cashless this year.  Each ticket was allocated a ‘Dog Tag’ which you topped up with spending money before arrival.  This was obviously great from a security point of view and the fact that no-one had to mess around with change etc certainly reduced queueing time, especially at the bars.  As you would expect there were some problems.  I topped up for both myself and my son a couple of days before the festival. I had a great experience, everything worked flawlessly but the money never appeared on my sons wristband.  Luckily I was able to put some more on for him at the site but if I had not been able to afford to do this he would have been without money all weekend.  I now face a doubtless lengthy process to get the cash back!

As you would expect the line-up at Download was fantastic with the main stage playing host to the likes of Slipknot, Muse, Kiss, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Slash to name just a handful, but as any real festival fan knows the real action takes place away from the main stage.  I did of course watch at least part of each of the really big names sets, but it was on the ‘smaller’ stages that I found the real gems.

Of course Fridays headliners Slipknot were stunning as always.  Their incredible performance drew on material from all five of their studio albums and they delighted the  adoring masses with no less than five songs from their 1999 debut disc.  The power and spectacle of Slipknots performance puts them right at the head of the table in the metal world.  There were also brilliant performances from Swedish metal monsters Bombus, a stunning set from Brighton based punk outfit Gnarwolves and possibly the performance of the weekend from the brilliant Beartooth.  Add to that a surprise guest appearance from Japanese metal – J-Pop crossovers during Dragonforce‘s set and the Maverick stage was undoubtably the place to be on Friday.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Creditable shout outs must also go to British veterans Judas Priest who arrived onstage on a motorcycle and went back as far as 1980’s British Steel for their setlist. British newcomers AllUsOnDrugs played a superb set on the fourth stage and I suspect they will become festival favourites as the years progress.

Saturdays headliners Muse drew a massive crowd to their headline set and the vast majority seemed to enjoy being introduced to their recent release Drones.  I must confess I have never quite ‘got’ Muse so after checking out their impressive stage show for 20 minutes or so I took my pleasures elsewhere.  Chicago based punk hardcore outfit Rise Against won my prize for the pick of the Main Stage bands on the day.  I loved their energy and hey I did say I love punk.

Elsewhere Aussie metal core band In Hearts Wake were stunning and punk outfits Creeper, Love Zombies and New Years Day were all great.  The performance of the day though had to be from Black Veil Brides.  Their stage show alone was worth the price of admission.  It is no surprise that they just won the Kerrang award for best live act.

Download - Black Veil Brides

Download – Black Veil Brides

Sunday was a day for nostalgia on the main stage with Motley Crue bidding farewell to the UK festival scene with a fantastic set which included their version of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK.  They will be sadly missed.  I didn’t get to see much of Kiss’s set but the pyrotechnics, fireworks and shooting along zip lines was certainly spectacular.  I missed most of their set because I was watching Enter Shikari, a band I now consider to be unmissable.  It was wonderful to see a young British act have the opportunity to headline the second stage and to bring their full production to a major festival.  Their performance was simply brilliant despite the fact that front man Rou Reynolds had been hospitalised on Friday as a result of an adverse reaction to hay fever medication.  As a result the band had to cancel a planned show in Bristol.

September Mourning, Evil Scarecrow and Butcher Babies were all excellent on Sunday on the smaller stages but the second stage line up of L7, In Flames, Lamb Of God and Enter Shikari was simply stunning and a fantastic way to wrap up a brilliant festival.

So, did Download turn me away from my punk roots and convert me to metal?  Well yes and no.  There was enough punk on the bill to keep me very happy.  I enjoyed every band I saw over the weekend with one exception.  Most importantly I loved the Download experience.  Both my 17-year-old son and I have decided that Download is a festival not to be missed.

I look forward to the surprises next year will bring.