It’s nearly time for all the old punks – and a few younger ones too – to come out to play at North East Calling, the region’s very own all-day punk festival.
Saturday, 28 September 2019 sees the latest edition of the North East’s own mini-Rebellion Festival, with 12 bands playing in one day in one venue.
What started out as Durham Punk Festival in 2005 moved to Newcastle in 2013, and after a year at the O2 Academy, it has now found a home from home at Northumbria University.
This year’s line-up features the usual mix of old favourites and newer acts, but there’s one in particular that promoter Jon Connor of JS Promotions is happy will be playing.
Biker-punks Anti-Nowhere League have done NEC before, but their appearance was cast into doubt when singer Animal was glassed in the side of the head a few weeks ago.
He was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery twice to remove the glass from his face and neck. One large piece missed his main artery by millimetres, and he was told he’s very lucky to be alive.
Thankfully, Animal (real name Nick Culmer) has recovered enough to be able to perform, and played his comeback gig last weekend.
The band said on their official Facebook page: “Animal’s voice isn’t at 100%, but he/we as a band, feel confident things will be fine. So we’re pleased to say as it stands we will NOT be cancelling any shows.
“Our sets are slightly restricted, as there are certain songs we simply can’t play due to Nick’s restricted vocal range, and thus will likely be a little shorter than we normally do. But we’ll be there giving it all we’ve got!”
Doors at the Uni open at noon, and things kick off with Peterlee band Uproar at 12.25pm. They released an album and three well-received EPs in their early 80s heyday, before splitting in 1985, but reformed a couple of years ago and recently released a new 10in EP.
Up next are Cyanide Pills, a five-piece from Yorkshire who have released a whole raft of singles and three albums – the most recent being 2017’s Sliced And Diced, which made No 6 in Vive Le Rock magazine’s end-of-year album poll. This is their first North East Calling.
Kid Klumsy will be a new name to many, but they’re the band which singer Weab.I.Am was in before he joined Dirt Box Disco. They’re nothing like DBD, and now he’s concentrating his efforts on this band, who have an EP out on STP Records. They’re starting to make quite a name for themselves.
The De Rellas, a four-piece from London, bring their sleazy punk ‘n’ roll to North East Calling for the first time. With three albums and a slew of singles under their belt, they have plenty of glam-tinged tunes to choose from to charm the early arrivals.
This year’s anarcho-punk offering comes from Zounds, a Reading band who were part of the cassette culture and squatting and free festival scene of the ‘80s. Original singer Steve Lake and the latest line-up impressed so much on their NEC debut a couple of years ago that they’ve been asked back,
Dirt Box Disco, one of the most popular up and coming bands on the scene, are back for the fifth year in a row, but their first appearance with Spunk Volcano as lead vocalist, after the departure of Weab.I.Am. Try not to laugh as you’re singing along with feelgood anthems like I Just Wanna Be A Girl and Joyce’s Voices.
Gimp Fist, from Bishop Auckland, need little introduction to North East audiences. They’re one of the leading bands in the thriving streetpunk/oi! scene, and recently released their seventh album, Blood. It’s full of new anthems which sit nicely alongside old faves like Here I Stand and Heart Full Of Pride.
Argy Bargy are a streetpunk band from Watford whose NEC appearance is just one of a handful of gigs they’re playing this year. Expect a set full of hard-hitting, heart-on-the-sleeve anthems like Looking For Glory, No Regrets and One More Drink from the four-piece, who include Cock Sparrer’s Daryl Smith on guitar.
GBH are a UK82 band who get asked back time after time, and fans know what to expect – hard, fast punk rock tunes like No Survivors, Slit Your Own Throat and Big Women. Oh, and vocalist Colin still has one of the best haircuts in punk rock.
The aforementioned Anti-Nowhere League are best known for their excellent 1982 debut album We Are…The League, featuring such classics as Can’t Stand Rock ‘N’Roll and I Hate People. And don’t forget So What, the obscenity-laden B-side which saw their single Streets Of London banned, and was covered by Metallica!
This year’s second headliners are clockwork punks The Adicts, from Ipswich, who haven’t played the all-dayer in quite a few years. Hopefully they’ll bring their whole show – more theatre than punk rock – as they wheel out classics like Joker In The Pack, Smart Alex and Viva La Revolution.
The headliners Cockney Rejects need no introduction to any punk fan, as they are 40-year veterans of the scene. The East End boys have never sounded better, and anyone who saw them at Rebellion Festival at Blackpool in August will know they are on fire. Here They Come Again!
Tickets for North East Calling 2018 are £28 (plus fees) from Reflex record shop in Newcastle and Hot Rats in Sunderland, or online from www.gigbox.co.uk or www.seetickets.com. They’ll also be available on the door.