The weekend started with the big one; Dundee United against Motherwell at Tannadice. As the gentlemen involved are of the sporting night, there was only on incident of well-intentioned gloating and the case was closed. Over the course of three legs, however, I reckon this weekend was definitely a case of a Team Cowpunk away win. It was a very important weekend for me personally so I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in making our first weekend of shows in a while a great success. We haven’t played any shows south of the border since our UK tour with Loaded 45 in March/April of last year and things have been both busy and pretty tough since then, so it felt real good to be back in the game!
The ROASTER INVASION (Part One) featuring Glasgow melodic punks Sink Alaska and we east coast cowpunks of Uniforms was kicked off on Friday night at The Roxy in Glasgow. As is the way when you discover that the van is sick the day before you depart, things started with a bit of a scramble. It wouldn’t be a roaster invasion if things went smoothly from the off. Being the zen motherfuckers that we are, we solved the problem with minimum fuss (and maximum outside assistance) and were all good to go. Massive kudos of Alshy and Jonny Daylight Savings for spending Friday sorting out the van and all the gear and to Brother Flett for driving my ass and gear from Perth to Glasgow before heading back to Perth to see Frown play their first show. Thanks a lot dudes, you are the glue that holds the ship together!
The Roxy used to be The Liquid Ship and is a quality little venue in the west end of Glasgow, just along Great Western Road from where I used to live with Beansie Grief when we moved to Glasgow after I graduated. That was ten fucking years ago. The venue is in a basement underneath the main bar/eatery and it was super cosy, especially once you got a rabble of roaster punk rockers in there. Moonshine Docks kicked things off and charmed us with their endearingly ramshackle gruff punk bluster and razor sharp banter. These dudes have been in the game a while (it’s pretty rare that we’re the youngest band on a bill!) and ken the craic. They’re definitely one of the more underrated bands in the country, that’s for sure.
I was pretty pumped and we were up next. Looking back at it now, I was more wired to the moon than pumped, having worked an 80-odd hour work week before scrambling to Glasgow, fuelled by caffeine and very little sleep. We played so fast that it felt like my head was going to pop clean off my body at several points during our set and I couldn’t hear any of the vocals too well but I think we played a pretty good show. I made a couple of booboos and was maybe a little grumpy afterwards but that was more me being an asshole than anything else. It was only our second show since BYAF and the second show that I’ve played sober, so I was full of nervous energy. Our set felt pretty intense and we definitely rattled through it. It felt good to let off some steam and get a little bit of the mania out of our systems.
Sink Alaska get better every single time I see them and they have only grown in my estimation as both a band and humans after spending three days together with them. I first heard Beauty School Dropout on some old Punk In Scotland compilation CD that Jacko put together some time in the late 90s I believe and I always thought they were incredible, definitely one of the coolest Scottish bands I remember from my “developmental” years in punk. The first time I saw The Day I Snapped was when they opened for Against Me! at King Tut’s in 2007 (I think), the same weekend as Deadfest in Edinburgh. I got to know Alshy and the dudes from the ‘snapped a few years later when we put them on in Dundee, but it’s only been across the last couple of years that friendship has developed. Sink Alaska are also an awesome band with some absolute bangers so I was excited to see them play three nights on the bounce as well as getting to spend some time getting to know each other further.
They killed it in The Roxy and seemed to have a blast doing so. Everybody was having a good time and we hawked some merch and hung out after the show. Cheers to everyone who came along and enjoyed the bands. Uniforms will be back in Glasgow on April 27th as we wrap up our weekender with Bangers at the Punk Rock Rammy half-dayer at Audio alongside Elway, Joe McMahon (Smoke or Fire), Roscoe Vacant, The Walking Targets and Andy Chainsaw.
After the show, we hung out for a little while after loading out before going our separate ways for the evening. Half of Uniforms headed out to party and half of Sink Alaska went home to their families, while the rest of us piled back to Yoker and drank tea whilst searching, with ultimate failure, to find the repeat of Friday Night Smackdown. I slept on a couch and made friends with one of Brad’s cats who spent the whole night keeping guard above my head. Thanks pal. In the morning, Brad fixed us up some quality breakfast rolls before I drank the first of a million coffees before rolling out into Glasgow to meet the rest of the troops. By around half twelve, we were all together; fed, watered and fully balmed-up, making our way towards England for our first shows south of the border in almost a year.
As is customary when we go south, we stopped at Go Burrito in Lancaster for lunch. That place is awesome and comes highly recommended to anyone who is passing as it’s definitely worth pulling off the motorway for, instead of spending a shit-ton on dissatisfaction at the roadside services. Such stops are best used exclusively for as piss, coffee and smoke breaks. Jonny New-found Realism kept Jonny Big Baws at bay this time around and he didn’t try to sink The Titanic, but he did have the first of his two burritos over the weekend. As an aside, his comparison satisfaction test failed due to a lack of universal standards; one should never base comparison on different fillings. Jonny Science Fail.
We rolled into Leeds around 6pm and immediately loaded in up the fire escape staircase into the upstairs room. We had an absolute shit-ton of gear with us and it took up pretty much the whole floor when we laid it out, but we set up quickly and got the soundchecks out of the way before spending some time chilling out on the massive sofas in the adjoining room. Andrew Cream opened the show with his Billy Bragg-esque acoustic tales before our boys in Sink Alaska took to the stage. They ripped through their set with the expected gusto and were in and out commando style in around 25 minutes. Believe me when I tell ye that “Among The Wretched” is going to be one of the bangers of 2014 when it comes to year-end lists. Leeds skate punkers Eat Defeat were up next and raced through their A Wilhelm Scream/We Are The Union-style melodic punk with buzzsaw guitars with aplomb and humour.
Then it was us and we played a full 40 minute set for the first time in quite some time. I was a lot more relaxed than I was the previous evening and even though the sound on stage wasn’t great, I personally enjoyed our set more than the previous evening as I was pretty relaxed and focussed, whereas I’d been hyper the night before. The crowd were very attentive and seemed to be into what we were doing and we rocked out, busting out some older shit as well as playing a few songs that we didn’t play in Glasgow. Thank you so much to JRA of Sound Off Promotions for putting us on and Jimmy and Louise for putting us up, as well as everyone who came out to the show and picked up some merch. After load out, we had pizza and chips before heading in our separate directions to for cups of tea and sleep. Kudos to the Leeds punk scene for the posi graffiti in the bathrooms too!
We had originally planned to spend our Sunday afternoon recording with Boothy at his studio, but unfortunately it didn’t happen as young Anthony was called into an emergency at work. However, that meant that we had plenty of time to get ourselves together and take a walk around Leeds. Filling our bellies was our first priority before we made a beeline for Jumbo Records in the St. John’s Centre. I was pretty excited as I picked up copies of Leadbelly’s “Black Betty” anthology collection on double heavyweight vinyl and the new “Corrupt Fucking Systems” LP from UK crust punk legends DOOM. I also picked up a copy of Bald Cactus fanzine, which proclaimed gleefully that it was the first post-Thatcher issue. It’s got interviews with Acid Drop, Eat Defeat and more. It was a decent read in the van on the way home and a worth the pound I paid for it.
Then it was off to Bolton to wrap up our weekender at the infamous Alma Inn. French punks Maladroit had been added to the bill at the last minute so Boothy was running a tight ship as there were now seven bands on the bill. The Doublecross (Jon Greenwood from Cardiff) kicked off the show with his acoustic alt-country/punk rock goodness before Sink Alaska took to the floor and absolutely destroyed it. The Alma gets a bit of a bad wrap sometimes but the sound both onstage and off was incredible. Sink Alaska played what I thought was their best show of the trip and they absolutely tore it up. I believe at one point during soundcheck I said something along the lines of “that makes me want to shit myself”. This was proven to be a very good thing indeed. They are a fucking great band and I’m very proud that MTAT will be helping put out their 7″ later on this year.
Manchester punks Scumface were up next and blasted through about 50 songs of ridiculous hardcore punk madness in just over 20 minutes and rocked the fuck out before A Victory At Sea brought the positivity with their posi-NYHC melodic hardcore stomp. I absolutely loved these dudes and felt invigorated afterwards. We definitely have to get them up to Scotland this year, so good. They upped the energy and I was completely pumped by the time we went on. I thought we were absolutely on it and I rocked out like I have never rocked out before; it felt like a group exorcism or meditation, a primal release of energy. Without descending into pseudo-intellectual feech, it felt good, like a cleansing lemon sorbet to clear the palette. Cheers troops!
Don Blake were up next and played a really short set as they were splitting time with Maladroit. I only caught a little bit of their set but they were tight and poppy, reminding my of something like Saves The Day. They’ll be in Dundee on Thursday 13th March supporting The Murderburgers as they kick off their 60 day European tour. We’re playing it too, the day before we go to Ireland, as are our pals Lachance who will be playing their very first full band show. I’m very much looking forward to that one.
Maladroit were last up and they were absolutely brilliant, definitely one of the highlights on my weekend. They are super tight and playing rocking melodic pop-punk, like Banner Pilot or Dear Landlord playing Ramonescore, or some such, so fucking good. They are in Glasgow tonight (Tuesday) and Edinburgh on Wednesday. Hopefully next time they are over we’ll be able to get them up in Dundee. Great band and nice dudes to boot. With that, we loaded out, pointed Sneddy in the direction of the chipper, said our goodbyes and headed back to Dani and Boothy’s, where we were hailed as Vikings as we pillaged for toast and preserves before bedding down in preparation for the early trip home in the morning. Poor Richie went straight from the van to work; not ideal!
Thank you so much to everybody who helped make Part One of the ROASTER INVASION happen. Part Two will be happening later this year so keep your eyes and ears peeled for details.