ANGELIC UPSTARTS & GBH
Friday 31st March 2017
Doors Open: 19:00
Age Restriction: 14+
Supported by Riot Squad
Angelic Upstarts are an English punk rock/Oi! band formed in South Shields in 1977. The band espoused an anti-fascist and socialist working class philosophy, and have been associated with the skinhead subculture, though Mensi maintains that the Upstarts are and always were, a Punk band. More than two decades after its release, their debut single, “The Murder Of Liddle Towers”, was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
The band’s original members were Thomas Mensforth (Mensi) on vocals, Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass guitar, and Derek “Decca” Wade on drums. The band has split and reformed a few times, and former members include Ronnie Rocker (R.I.P) and bassists Ronnie Wooden, Glyn Warren and Tony Feedback. Drummers have included Sticks Warrington (who later joined Cockney Rejects), Paul Thompson (ex-Roxy Music), Chris White, Evo (who has also played in The Blood, Major Accident and Warfare) and Max Splodge.
Current lineup is now Mensi on vocals, Mr Gaz on bass, Neil (Newts) Newton on guitar and Jonnie Halling on drums.
Charged GBH embarked on several English and mainland US tours during the early 1980s, including several gigs at the 100 Club. 1982 saw GBH’s first LP, City Baby Attacked By Rats. Lyrically, the album dealt with criticism of British and European culture, violence, morbidity (especially in reference to the song “Passenger On The Menu”, which describes in graphic detail the experiences of the passengers on the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571), atheism, nihilism and humour. Musically, the album was loud and fast, with few songs exceeding three minutes. In 1984 the band changed their name to GBH (grievous bodily harm).
They and many of their UK82 peers such as The Exploited, Picture Frame Seduction, Discharge, and The Varukers have all enjoyed resounding success among street punks in the USA. Although many of their contemporaries have evolved towards other styles over the years, GBH have remained fairly faithful to their original UK82 sound in subsequent releases. However, the band have experimented to some degree with a more speed metal-inflected sound, notably with their 1992 release Church of the Truly Warped, although they have since returned to a more purist punk sound. The band is still actively touring and maintains a strong following both in England and the rest of Europe, as well as in United States and Japan.
Riot Squad formed in 1981, with an initial line-up of Duncan “Dunk” Mason (vocals), Nigel “Nello” Nelson (guitar), and Paul “Pommi” Palmer (drums), Nelson the only one of the three with any musical experience. They were inspired by a John Peel documentary which discussed how Desperate Bicycles took a DIY approach and decided that they could do the same. Two weeks after forming the band, they played their first gig at the King Of Diamonds pub in the mining village of Shirebrook, Derbyshire Langwith Junction, followed a few weeks later by a gig at a local Working Mens Club, which had to be interrupted half way through to allow the audience to play bingo. Wayne Butler saw the band perform that night and offered to join as the band’s bass player. The band began playing further afield and with money borrowed from Dunk’s father recorded their first demo, Religion Doesn’t Mean a Thing in a basement studio in Mansfield. Dunk set up Rot Records, initially as a cassette-only label, and sold the demo at shows and via mail order to try to recoup the recording costs, eventually selling 1,500 copies. On the strength of the demo, the band were signed to Rondelet Records, who issued the band’s first single, “Fuck The Tories”, which reached number 23 on the UK Indie Chart in August 1982, and reached the top 100 of the UK Singles Chart. Nello was replaced by ‘Staz’, and Rondelet re-issued the band’s Religion… demo as their second EP. After a UK tour, Staz left the band, with Butler moving to guitar, and ‘Chedd’ recruited on bass. The Rondelet label folded, prompting Dunk to turn Rot into a proper label, releasing the next three Riot Squad singles, although he stepped down as singer, being replaced briefly by Rick Williams and then Butler’s brother Lee. In early 1984, the band released “There Ain’t No Solution”, but musical differences within the band would cause them to split that year. Dunk compiled the Rot singles and a few unreleased tracks on the No Potential Threat album, which reached number 13 on the indie chart.
Dunk continued to run Rot Records until the label’s distributor, Red Rhino went bankrupt.
The band’s records became highly collectible in the years that followed, with Anagram Records releasing a CD compilation, The Complete Punk Collection in 1995.
Riot Squad reformed in 2004.
In January 2006 drummer Paul Pommi Palmer and bassist Ched recruited two new members. Young guitarist Luke, who was 15 years their junior and a new front-man in the form of Chiz (ex Septic Psychos and Dead Meat). The new line up was well met and played a number of dates across the country as well as Europe. The new line up had a sharper edge and played faster and were much tighter. They entered the studio in November 2006 to record their first full length album in over 20 years. ‘Persecute the Weak, Control the Strong’ was released in March 2007 and was voted Punk Album of the Year 2007 by Fungal Punk.
One of the tracks ‘Violence on the Streets’ featured on US label 272 Records ‘Punk Kills Vol 1′ in late 2007.
Only 6 months after the album’s release, Ched called it a day. He was Mansfield’s Champion Plate Spinner for 5 years running and planned to go pro. This would naturally take up a great deal of time so something had to give. He was replaced by Mick, twin brother of Chiz (and also of the same previous bands). Mick soon swapped became guitarist to make way for Pete, who would take up the bass. In the interim and as a stand in for just two shows, as support to The Epoxies, Baz Barrett (Consumed, Fat Wreck Chords), not being one to turn down the chance to be part of one of his favourite bands of his teen years, joined the fold with just 2 hours of rehearsals. Baz also handled the sleeve design and layout of ‘Persecute The Weak, Control The Strong’.
The band released an international 7″ split on their own label (Suicide Circle) in 2008 with The Crack Babies (Sweden), The Undertakers (Belgium) and Human Battle (Greece). This was followed up with a gig in Athens early in January 2009. The band also helped bring The Undertakers over to the UK.
Riot Squad played their last gig at Rebellion Festival 2009.
Chiz, Mick and Pete now play in SEPTIC PSYCHOS. Pommi plays in CERTIFIED and EXTERNAL MENACE. Luke plays in THE NERKS. Ched’s plate spinning career took a turn for the worst so he’s taken up fishing instead.