Some great punk music throughout the day, another eye opener of the great bands in the underground punk scene
Hastings Punkfest 2016: Saturday – Casual Nausea plus Spoilers, The Barracks, The Drunken Ramblings, Punka, Easydread, Carl Lewis: Track & Field and Butane Regulators
Venue: Flairz Venue Bar, Hastings
Date: 26th November 2016
The first night of Hastings Punkfest got off to a good start. There were some enjoyable sets and fun vibes throughout the eveing. Day two had a lot of hype to live up to with some very popular names in the underground punk scene added to the bill.
Opening the day we had Butane Regulators, the newest punk band to the Hastings scene. The trio was ready to unleash some stripped back punk reminiscent of the likes of Dead Kennedys and Subhumans, lots of fast riffs and simplistic beats that worked effectively to back a vocal style that combines influences from Dick Lucas and Jello Biafra.
The vocals of ‘Elevator Music’ just reminds me of Biafra in ‘Police Truck’. All of this was delivered in a silly manner not too dissimilar to Snuff in terms of banter between songs. After all, frontman Doug Spiny Jr also wore a lab coat for a portion of the set because the band have a song about nuclear fission.
It was very early and the Butane regulators were the first band out of nine sets throughout the day to hit the stage. That being said it was understandable that not many people had turned up at this point. Those who did turn up found the opening set quite enjoyable and somewhat amusing.
Those who did turn up found the opening set quite enjoyable and somewhat amusing. It was a nice way to start the show. After a what felt like quite a lengthy break between bands, Carl Lewis: Track & Field hit the stage to produce a variety of punk rock styles. Mostly the trio performed a basic form of folk punk, but the niche of the band is that every few tracks the members swap instruments, thus changing the tone depending on who is playing what instrument.
Rob Luther who performed guitar with The SLM the night before, started off playing bass to the folky tracks, but when he picked up the guitar he unleashed the thrashy shreds he performs in The SLM. It was an interesting dynamic as someone had to waffle to the crowd between songs while other members swapped instruments. It was pretty entertaining but a little underwhelming at the same time. The story about how people thought they were the real olympic athlete with the same was very funny though.
London-based reggae-ska outfit, Easydread followed up with a collection of chilled out vibes and high-tempo brass melodies. It was enough to get a few people having a light skank. Easydread were another band that liked to joke around, dedicated songs to anyone who has ever got away with speeding.
The brass melodies were infectiously chirpy and the keyboard dub rhythms were so relaxed. It was completely feel good vibes. The set was delightful and probably the happiest of the day; it stood out massively amongst a lineup that was dominated gritty and angst-ridden tones.
What followed was local trio Punka, full of opinions of merch prices and DIY values. I’d seen the band a few times over the last couple of years, but this was probably the most impressive the three-piece has sounded. It was back to the stripped sound of straight-up punk-rock, no sub genres, just distorted riffs, hard hitting beats and a lot of energy.
One continuing topic that flowed through the Hastings bands was about the loss of Seany Love, a man that many of the Hastings punk scene had great admiration for. Punka songs were dedicated to the man’s life, and there were badges were being sold to help fund Love’s funeral.
Again being a local band with several friends in the room, there was a lot of banter and some of it was getting drunker as the set progressed. During the last song, Jason Stirling from Matilda’s Scoundrels walked through the crowd holding a “last song” sign with his jeans down, only to have his boxers pulled down by a fellow Scoundrels bandmate and then a member of The Barracks. It was a moment that summed up the nature of the set and the event in general, alcohol, friendship and an all out fun atmosphere.
We were only halfway through the monster lineup and The Drunken Ramblings hit the stage in fine form. Pushing more of a punchier folk-punk sound mixed with skate punk. It was a lot wilder compared to Punka, the four-piece were far more energetic too. Guitarist Victor Elzer for one was everywhere, on stage, in the crowd, moving around endlessly, it was tiring just watching him. One highlight was when both guitarists, Elzer and Sober Dave came out into the crowd to play guitar while riding on someone’s skateboard. Probably not the first time it’s happened, but I’ve never seen that before.
An ongoing joke for The Drunken Ramblings is that something always goes wrong with Sober Dave‘s guitar when members of Matilda’s Scoundrels were in the room. For the majority of the set he was fine, but at one point his guitar did cut out on him in the middle of a solo. Sober Dave joked that it’s a bit hard to play a solo when one string works. Everyone took it lightly and had a laugh. Another very enjoyable set.
“Hello, we’re The Bouncing Souls” was a comment from The Barracks‘ singer Luke in a joke response to that band’s comparison to the punk legends. The last of the local bands on the Hastings Punkfest bill had by far the biggest crowd of the weekend, and one of the most responsive. What made the set even better was that the band were pretty drunk. Bassist Mark Tanner was on a drunkness level on par with The SLM the night before and he even wore a bucket used for change as a hat for a great deal of the set.
Continuing from The Drunken Ramblings, the south coast punks had a highly energetic set and a lot of sing-along segments. I’m pretty sure the first mosh pits of the day opened during this set too. It was wild and highly entertaining to watch. This was the first time all weekend that crowd reaction was at a high, some members of the audience even took to the stage to grab the microphones to sing along. It was certainly a highlight of the whole festival.
Kent punks, Spoilers were highly anticipated by some crowd members, and even the other bands, but surprisingly the crowd thinned out. Maybe a seven-hour punk show is tiring for some people. The quartet unleashed a barrage of British punk and skate punk, emulating the likes of Snuff mixed with NOFX, it was very 90s. Spoilers packed more high-energy hooks and catchy melodies that deserved a much better response.
Singing guitarist Dan Goatham was nostalgic of Hastings and his time spent performing at the popular former basement venue, The Crypt, mentioning they were some of the best shows he’s ever played. Goatham also joked about the mirror at the back of the room, claiming it was fun to watch himself while performing. This was another highly enjoyable set, it was just a shame that the four-piece didn’t have a bigger crowd.
Little Treasure All Stars were meant to be on next, but they had to pull out at the last minute, instead what hit the stage was a two-piece made up of one member of LTAS and the other from Asbo Retards. Nobody knew what to expect, nobody even knew a name. The Ebola La’s rings a bell. What was delivered was an array of hardcore punk with a guitarist drinking Lambrini from a bottle, standing in his boxers and with one sock on. Not the craziest things I’ve seen over the years but it was unexpected and bloody hilarious.
It was energetic, extremely rowdy and the few people in the room that stayed to watch it seemed to love it. The whole set was off kilter, nobody knew what was going on, it was a lot of covers I think. Even the band didn’t know how long their set was going to be. At one point the guitarist and drummer swapped for a song. It was very interesting and I’d love to see it again.
Finally, Casual Nausea hit the stage to close the night off with a bang. The only disappointing thing was the crowd had thinned out massively, twenty or so people remained and most of them were friends of Casual Nausea in other bands. What happened there? There is a lot of great hype in the UK punk scene about these guys and I expected a stronger crowd.
That didn’t hinder the crust punk family as they delivered a rampant level of hardcore and street punk. It was like Leftover Crack with less ska influence. Relentless energy ensued as dual vocals mixed savage shouts and a more aggressive tone. The riffs were punchy and it created the wildest pits of the day, involving most of the people in the room. People jumped on each other, the vocalists were carried on top of the crowd many times and there were sever human pyramids sporadically throughout the set. To add to the party vibes, party poppers were used.
This ended the day and the festival on a high, it was messy and so fun to watch. In comparison to the festival last year, I don’t think the crowd was as big or responsive. But, it was just as enjoyable and each band put of great sets. It was another brilliant couple of days for discovery, putting new bands on people’s radars. Well done again to the people involved in making the event happen, and we hope you raised a decent amount to send to Sea Shepard. We look forward to next year.
Read the review for Hastings Punkfest 2016: Friday here.
For more of each band