The Underground Revolution kicked off December, the last month of 2016 with one of our most successful shows to date featuring anarcho punk/ska legends Culture Shock and support from Atterkop, Alvin and the Angry Barrels, and the amazing Last Tree Squad who were spinning the killer Rastafarian tunes mon. We expected a barrage of devotees who not only follow Culture Shock but also Citizen Fish and the Subhumans.
Their supporters travelled miles and our locals, well, they just could’t believe it was happening. We hosted the Subhumans in November at The Booth Hall, which has the right attitude to this genre of music, and in general most genres. It takes an open mind and a deep love and understanding of music and culture to welcome some of the bands we bring to the table in any venue. Too many pub landlords have played it safe in Hereford’s scene sticking to cover bands and prudent band choices. But that is over now and we sense a pattern. Perhaps Citizen Fish could be next? We have not discussed a show with them but the possibilities are endless when you are a music dreamer and an optimist. Trust me we would never say NO.
What was special about the Culture Shock show was the vastness of generations streaming through the door, which I noticed as I placed wristbands on them. I was genuinely proud our team and the Booth Hall had made this happen. It is all Rich Lovell and I ever really wanted when we started The Underground Revolution music promotion entity – to push boundaries and pass good music down to the younger generations – to educate. It has always been that way, like an ingrained responsibility.
Great bands developed their individual tastes and found refuge in artists of a time gone by. An example, the Teddy Boy’s generation, think Morrissey. In fact there is an old Teddy Boy that lives across the street from me blasting Muse out of his car regularly. He knows what’s up. even if he is 80. Except, punk and ska has never died.
So with a few more like minded members part of our promotion group we are expanding minds, tastes and getting people of all ages in the mosh pit and on the dance floor. Rich Lovell had this to say about the crowd in attendance and the new emerging scene:
“Such diversity, people from all ages enjoyed Culture Shock, which shows just how good a band they are. There was a great atmosphere throughout – the Booth Hall was packed and it was a Thursday night!! How cool is that?”
The Subhumans night was all about the mosh pit and some pretty intense die hard punk fans. We paired them up with two of the UR’s favourite Hereford bands – Teddy’s Leg and Black Boxes. Generations apart, yet completely connected. It’s a great feeling for us as promoters when you bring these newer local bands together with legends such as the Subhumans. You have to realise it is almost the pinnacle of their careers to date. Not in career expansion but in personal experience, but hey it looks good on the ol’ CV too.
How many of us sat in our rooms listening to the Subhumans on vinyl, cassette or CD? We took in their message, they added to our vision of the world and helped mould our character. Maybe we became punks, or activists or lived in a squat because it was a time when lyrics were an important way to channel a message into society. These bands were our totem gods. Rich will tell you: two bands got into his head lyrically/ politically in his formative years – Crass & Subhumans and have influenced his thinking since.
Actually, we didn’t just pick these bands out of a hat. Atterkop were requested by Culture Shock…what an honour, and The Underground Revolution selected bands that we knew understood the movement, who are tight musically, have the right chemistry with the audience and also among themselves, and emanate electrifying vibrations that bring the audience to life, hence our latest trademark the punk mosh pit reborn.
The first time I saw Alvin and the Angry Barrels I felt they could have been spawned from a back yard party in LA, known for its garage punk, ska and rock band culture; they didn’t disappoint on the night. From the moment the music started at the Culture Shock gig with Alvin and the Angry Barrels opening, through the set of some very heavy ska based tunes from Atterkop that pretty much had everyone’s jaw on the floor and had a Rancid vibe to them, until the very last song from Punk Ska Gods Culture Shock, people were moshing, skanking and just dancing their hearts out. When the show was over we were on one heck of a high but there was an emptiness, such positive energy was hard to match when we went into the real world again.
These aren’t the only bands or genres The Underground Revolution have hosted. We have had TV Smith, Under a Banner, Dark Pop Noir band Cherryshoes who I cannot get enough of, The Hungry Ghosts, SkewWhiff, Rosebud, The Ramonas, The Youth Within and various local bands just coming onto the scene like Hate.System. Just too many to mention, honestly, it has been a very productive year for us and we have regenerated a curiosity for punk in our music community. Rich Lovell’s dying wish, but he isn’t dying so he will need a new wish now.
We also have what I like to call our house bands which basically consist of members of The Underground Revolution (our members have to be clued up about music and this is as clued up as it gets): Pablo Alto (garage psych), Freeborn Rising (political folk punk) and Terminal Rage (PUNK!) who are on the bill for Rebellion this year. So it is a good idea to join our Underground Revolution group on Facebook and get in on the dates for our shows which are mainly held at The Booth Hall. Become a revolutionary. The Booth Hall is our local CBGB-esque music community that welcomes all with big smiles and great live music of all genres. Please come along and be a part of it all.
The Underground Revolution are closing our 2016 year in music with a Promoter’s Christmas Showcase featuring Folk Punk stars Sons of Clogger supported by Orto and Harlequins. The show is being Co-hosted with local rock and indie promoter Hey Little Monster and The Booth Hall. You can only expect it will be special so don’t miss our last show until next year.
Photography by Nickie Bates for Distorted Images & Nick Vidal-Hall for Booth Hall Photography
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