‘HRH PUNK’ 02 ACADEMY, SHEFFIELD 5&6.10.19
Three of the Brighton & Hove News Music Team should have been heading north for a special weekend away to see some local Sussex bands appearing in Sheffield at the inaugural ‘HRH Punk Weekender’ two day event. However, our trip organiser Mark Kite, had to pull out at the last minute as his mother was seriously ill and she has since sadly passed away. The remaining pair, being myself (Nick Linazasoro) and Andrew Easton, had a serious discussion as to what to do and we decided that we should still attend the event and carry on with our weekend away report and so we would like to dedicate this article to Mark’s mother.
Mark has put together a paragraph (as requested by myself) about his dear mum, so that you can meet her so to speak and learn of her punk connections, so here goes……..
“Mums name is Vivien Kite (aka Vivi Section) she was the backing singer for the Funeral Directors and Toxic Youth 1979 – 1984. Born in London and a true Rocker. In the late 70’s known to most punks in Brighton as “mum” as she often went to gigs all over with us all. Mum loved the scene and has been attending gigs with me for the past 42 years. 999 were her favourite band and she met Nick Cash last year where he dedicated a song to her at the Prince Albert ‘Feelin Alright With The Crew’. Mum (also) recently met up with the legend Charlie Harper.”
Obviously a lady who enjoyed the punk ethics, which are still carried on by her son Mark, and as Charlie Harper and the UK Subs say “BARDAR” – “Born A Rocker, Die A Rocker” xxx.
We set off early by car on Saturday 5th October to Sheffield. We found our hotel which was located 2.5 miles away from the ‘HRH Punk Weekender’ venue which was located in the heart of the town. We left the car at the hotel and decided to walk part of the way and bus the rest of the way, which was easy. The other punks staying at our hotel, were gathering outside and jumping in several taxi’s to go to the show. What! Punks getting taxi’s! Whatever next? Chauffeur driven?
We got our bearing and located a nearby watering hole in order to set us up nicely for the day. On the way to the venue, we passed The Crucible, which has been the stomping ground for all of the world’s top snooker players down the years. We arrived at our venue, a giant silver box, not very attractive at all. Shame it wasn’t being held at the auspicious Sheffield City Hall up the road. Oh well.
Over the two solid days the HRH people, (incidentally, HRH stands for ‘Hard Rock Hell’, who are an organisation that runs many heavy rock and metal events) had organised quite an impressive lineup during the course of the two days, with no less than 28 concerts being staged across the two stages. The main stage being ‘Stage 1’ which was located downstairs and the much smaller ‘introducing new(ish) bands’ stage upstairs, being ‘Stage 2’. Clearly we wouldn’t have been able to see all of the artists as there was an overlap of 6.5 hours, when both Stages 1 & 2 were on the go. We had to have a plan of action and that included watching our Sussex band’s sets in full, and thank God that we did.
The ‘HRH Punk Weekender’ lineup featured the following:
Saturday 5th October:
Cockney Rejects, Anti-Nowhere League, Discharge, The Members, Dirt Box Disco, The Vibrators, Chron Gen, Ed Tudor Pole, Dragster, Healthy Junkies, Crashed Out, Little Terry, Rats Nest and Sweet Little Machine.
Sunday 6th October:
Sham 69, Penetration, Peter And The Test Tube Babies, Anti Pasti, Neck, Chelsea, Vice Squad, TV Smith, Skaciety, Face Up, Dukes Of Bordello, Sinful Maggie, Desperate Measures and a solo set by Pauline Murray of Penetration.
The bands that we managed to catch in set order on Day 1 were:
Ed Tudor Pole (3:40pm – 4:30pm)
Chron Gen (4:50pm – 5:40pm)
Dragster (5:30pm – 6:10pm)
The Members (7:10pm – 8:00pm)
Discharge (8:20pm – 9:10pm)
Anti-Nowhere League (9:30pm – 10:20pm)
My friend Andrew had really been looking forward to seeing Ed Tudor Pole (the singer of Tenpole Tudor) mainly because of his Sex Pistols connection, having starred in ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’ 1980 film and released ‘Who Killed Bambi?’, ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’ and ‘Rock Around The Clock’ as singles from the soundtrack. Others will remember him from the chartbuster ‘Swords Of A Thousand Men’ from the following year. In Sheffield it was just Ed and his guitar and during his lovably eccentric set he unexpectedly performed a cover of The Ramones 1977 ditty ‘Swallow My Pride’. Highlight…‘Who Killed Bambehhhh’?! Of course.
Next up it was Chron Gen, who I had seen back in 1981 at The Lyceum in London, whereas my mate ‘Drew’ had never seen them despite sporting a Chron Gen t-shirt. He was very impressed with their set and shortly afterwards met them in the upstairs bar when banter was exchanged! They want to play a gig in Sussex! Fingers crossed. I preferred their 1981 set though as it was raw.
We legged it upstairs after the Chron Gen set to try and catch as much as the Dragster (stylized as ‘dragSTER’) set as possible on the recommendation of our photographer friend Cris Watkins. Unfortunately we missed the first ten minutes of their set and I really honestly wish I hadn’t as for me they were the very best act across the two days. The Coventry based quintet have been on the go since 2014 and refer to themselves as “Dirty Sleazy Fast Hard Working Punk Rock Garage Band” and that my friends is exactly their sound. They performed a dozen tunes and I reckon we caught 9 or 10 of them. Check them out on Bandcamp.
We made our way back downstairs and grabbed some hot-dogs with awful crispy fried onions on from one of the two food stands and horrendous vege ‘cardboard’ wraps from the other, then we caught The Members for the very time. It’s only taken me 40 years to see them having purchased (and still got) the 7” clear vinyl hit single ‘The Sound Of The Suburbs’. They had a bit of a shaky start but eventually got going and were a tad heavier than I thought they would be. Slightly disappointing to be honest.
It was about here that the early start of driving up to Sheffield and the (too many) beers, which I hasten to add were only £3.25 per pint, started to kick in and we were noticeably flagging. Next up were hardcore punks Discharge who I had only seen twice before back in 1981 at The Lyceum on the same bill as the previous Chron Gen, Anti Pasti, Anti Nowhere League and The Exploited (who are sadly not here) and then afterwards in Brighton. They were great in 1981 and at HRH were just as good, they haven’t slowed down at all, that’s despite a foray into metal and back again and several different personnel. Highlight…’Ain’t No Feeble Bastard’.
Final band of the night were the Anti Nowhere League who I was very pleased to see perform live, as singer ‘Animal’ aka Nick had been glassed in the side of the head only a few months ago and when I recently spoke to him at The Con Club in Lewes, when the band had turned up to support Alive Gibbs, he could hardly speak. He referred to the incident at HRH and then they fittingly played ‘I Hate People’. One of Drew’s Top 3 bands of HRH. Highlight…’So What’.
We wearily made our way out of the venue to the bus stop opposite, where we secured a brief ride to the tram stop down the hill as the tram lines ‘Supertram’ (without the P at the end) ran to a stop behind our hotel. Time for bed said Dougal.
The Bands that we managed to catch in set order on Day 2 were:
Anti Pasti (3:40pm – 4:30pm)
Vice Squad (4:50pm – 5:40pm)
Chelsea (6:00pm – 6:50pm)
Peter And The Test Tube Babies (7:10pm – 8:00pm)
Neck (8:40pm – 9:20pm)
Sham 69 (9:30pm – 11:00pm)
Day 2 in South Yorkshire began with another tram ride and then we went on a culture tour of the city, taking in a stroll along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, and a visit inside the impressive Sheffield Cathedral, as well as popping into HMV which I have to say was very impressive as half of the store was filled with vinyl. We spied a decent public house that served excellent food (chicken burger bap with avocado, onion rings and large chips and a pint for a mere £8) and we were as happy as Larry (whoever he was!).
We made our way back to the drab silver box in time to catch Anti Pasti in full as they worked their way through their set. As I mentioned earlier, I had last seen these live in 1981 and they were much better then, although they did perform ‘No Government’ again this time.
It was the turn of Vice Squad who I had also seen back in the day when they performed at Xtreems aka the New Regent, which used to be down West Street in Brighton. It was a terrific venue and I saw many varied and fab acts there including Nico, Killing Joke, Blancmange, Chelsea, Discharge, The Exploited, GBH, UK Decay, The Vibrators and of course Peter And The Test Tube Babies. The first thing that you notice about Vice Squad is that singer Beki hasn’t changed from back in the day! I swear she’s been hauled up in Dr Who’s TARDIS or something. These guys were a tad borderline metal this time and weren’t exactly out and out punks as I had remembered, but they did play several early tunes from their first several EP singles, so I was happy.
Next up local Sussex/London band Chelsea who these days are Gene October, Nic Austin, Mat Sargent and Steve Grainger. I saw them back in the day and I’ve seen them a few times recently and they are simply terrific. They are everything a 1977 sound should be. Their last album was a corker too. Gene certainly has a magnetism about him and transfixed the crowd. I would also like to flag up the mohican haired Nic, who made the most of the event by checking out several other bands, even on the day before they were due to play. Drew and I agree that Chelsea were the second best act at the whole of the HRH. Highlight…’I’m On Fire’.
Next up were the ‘Peacehaven Wild Kids’, Peter And The Test Tube Babies. If you want punk entertainment with friendly mickey taking banter, then PTTB are your go to band. Having seen them about a zillion times, on the account of them supporting every large punk band that came to town in the very late 70’s and all through the 80’s, they never fail to disappoint you with Peter Bywaters wide smile, belly, and joyfully delivered vocals atop of Del Strangefish’s guitar work, and Nick Abnett’s bass along with Sam Griffin Fuller drums. Sam in fact got the biggest boo that we heard across the two days when he politely delivered “You dirty northern bastards” to the crowd, always one to get the punters onside. It was as always about 45 minutes of fun. So they were in Drew’s Top 3 bands of the weekend and my No.3. Highlight…Peter’s belly.
We ventured upstairs to witness a band that neither of us had witnessed live before, namely Neck, who describe themselves as “London-Irish ‘Psycho-Ceilídh’ – As if The Clash were born on The Emerald Isle.” I was personally rather excited to see this sextet as our photographer friend Sara-Louise Bowrey is in the band. They are a mixture of Celtic charm, punk rock, The Pogues, blarney, sea shanties and oomph! They went down very well indeed, so much so that they overran by at least 15 minutes, but I suppose no-one minded as they were Stage 2’s headline act of the night, unless of course you were a Sham 69 fan as their 90 minute set had already started downstairs!
Final band and Sunday’s headliners were Sham 69 and indeed the kids were united as far as I can remember, too many orange juices again! Oh OK £3.25 HRH pints. Sham 69 were on stage and the place was buzzing and they were certainly having it large with all the other ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’.
It was time to grab the tram back to the hotel and sleep it off, followed by a mega breakfast for the journey back to sunny Sussex.
Was it worth going? Definitely.
Would I change anything? Yes, the terrible food within the venue.
Plus they had a 100 page magazine for free, but it was packed with heavy rock and metal stuff as it was a generalised HRH mag, whereas they could have produced a souvenir programme featuring all of the bands taking part.
There was time to have even more bands appearing on Stage 2, so hopefully this will be addressed for next years event, which the organisers have announced as taking place at the same venue on 10th and 11th October 2020.
What will I remember the most? The friendliness of the people. The much cheaper prices of food and beer. The fact that Sheffield is rather nice actually. The discovery of dragSTER.
Would I go again next year? I will possibly wait to see the full lineup, but Sussex based Charlie Harper and his UK Subs have already been booked to appear, plus Department S, The Boys, The Outcasts, The Varukers and The Ramonas to name just a view
And there you have it. I’m certain that Vivien Kite (aka Vivi Section) would have enjoyed it too and next year as her fave band 999 will be appearing xxx.
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