North West Calling 2015
Opening the North west calling 2015 are SFGS, a 3 piece with 2 bass players. They start at half 12 and end up playing to the few diehards that have turned up this early. While they have an interesting sound but they aren’t much more than a good local pub band sadly.
Middle Finger Salute‘s pop punk style is very okay, and instantly forgettable. It's around this time that The Ritz starts to fill up, just in time for Ed Banger And The Nosebleeds who have been around in one form or another since 1977, but somehow I managed to have never heard of them. While their old school punk is entertaining its Eddie’s funny in-between song banter that stands out the most.
Control’s brand of Oi influenced street punk is the first band of the day that get the crowd moving. Starting the set not sure if they should be there, by the end both band and crowd where glad they where. Well worth checking out. For those, like me who hadn’t heard of Dirt Box Disco, their take on pop punk is not a million miles away from bands like The Offspring and Foundations Of Wayne and just as catchy. They are the Steel Panther of punk, part parody and authentic and really fun to watch. Each member dressed in their own unique costumes and with most of the audience singing along to their songs. Why aren’t these guys bigger than they are?!
I’ve always liked the single War Across The Nation, but never tracked down anything else from Chelsea, and I wasn’t missing much, but then Dirt Box where also a hard act to follow. With the venue now packed, GBH take to the stage with a disappointingly muddy sound. But no one seems to care as a pit erupts down the front. Leaning heavily on tracks from Leather Bristles and City Bay Attacked By Rats the set is littered with tracks everyone wants to hear. Thankfully the sound gets better and so do killer songs like Sick Boy, Self Destruct and Give Me Fire.
The godfather of punk Charlie Harper and UK Subs mix newer tracks with classics like the anthemic Warhead. The 45 minute set races by all too soon. Angelic Upstarts never really impressed me on record but live they are a different beast. Angelic are one of the better Oi bands from opener 2000000 Voices through Last night, Another Soldier and their patriotic England, followed by Anti-Nazi almost to point out their politicalstance to the idiots that might take England the wrong way.
The Damned play a great set, is it possible for them not to, with everything (mostly) you’d want to hear; Eloise/Love Song and thankfully ending with Smash It Up and not Happy Talk. Closing the day The Exploited rip through a 23 song set in 65 minutes, the legend that is Wattie stalking the stage like he owns it. From Lets Start A War through to Dead Cities and the stage invasion during Sex And Violence, surely The exploited are well deservedly one of the best punk bands ever and what a band to end what has been a great all dayer. Until next year.
Words: Ian Cassidy