Gloucester's Guildhall was invaded last Saturday by hordes of Punks, Zombies, Borg and, er, Smurfs as It's Only Punk Promotions' latest Punk All-Dayer brought the Halloween vibe to town.
Headliners UK Subs were on fine form, blasting out old favourites like Warhead, Tomorrow's Girls and CID to an appreciative crowd. Punk legend Charlie Harper showed us whipper-snappers ( love that word! ) that you're never too old to be a rebel, or indeed a down-to-earth star as he hung out in the bar with fans before the show. Bass player Alvin Gibbs was also very friendly and even had time to chat backstage with inebriated 40-something bloggers...
The other "name" band of the night were John Robb's mighty Goldblade, a turbo-charged speed machine of pure Punk 'n' Roll mayhem.
John Robb is surely one of the greatest, but most unsung, frontmen in Rock. An energetic, totally committed Rock 'n' Roll evangelist, John's message is "We're all in this together" and you know he means it, maaaan.
Also on the bill were Hooligan ( above ), all the way from Dublin, and Meat ( not pictured ) - two pretty decent Punk bands who I've seen go down really well in dodgy little pubs like Gloucester's late, lamented Pig Inn The City, but seemed lost in a larger venue. And the less said about curtain-raisers, Hacksaw, the better. Nice guys but the music's dire.
Local legends Demob ( above ) have reformed again and added their shouty street-Punk to the mix. Sharing a frontman ( Andy K ) and hard-working drummer ( Marcus aka Elmer Thudd ) with the seemingly-dissolved Noise Agents, Demob are a powerful, brutal presence on stage.
( And, in fact, their stage presence was almost totally devalued when I got up with them to yell along to Oi! classic No Room For You. My voice is still knackered... )
And no local gathering of the Punks is complete without an appearance by the fantastic Chinese Burn. Ben and the boys were on fine form, whether crowd-pleasing with old faves like Bullets, unveiling great new songs like Deleted, Depleted And Almost Defeated, or kicking our collective heads in with their berserk cover of Beat On The Brat. Many people new to the band in the audience were mightily impressed, including Sir John Of Robb, who gave them a glowing write-up on his blog, Louder Than War. The big time beckons, guys...
One of the highlights of the day were Dun2Def, a very tight, exciting band who also benefit from the kick-ass drumming of Mr. Sticks For Hire, Marcus. And any band with vampires and Smurfs in their lineup can't be bad...
Two cool T-shirts! I just happened to be talking to a fellow veteran of the Punk Wars, Jamie E, who asked me what band I used to play in. When I replied "Death Planet Commandos", he said "What, like him?" And, standing behind me was the mighty Mark, ex-DPC guitarist, wearing a very familiar T-shirt. ( Some of my finest lettering! ) Alright Mark, where's mine...?
Meanwhile, the real action was, as ever, backstage. Here's Ed from the Burn struggling to get at the free beer :-)
...and here's me, looking a prat in the crowd. ( Still, good photo, Carol! )
After almost 10 hours of Punk Rock debauchery, Glenn and I retreated to Gloucester's Cafe Rene, where we spent yet more time getting merry and chatting with Drumming Man Marcus and some Polish guy called Stan. Crashed out back at Chinese Burn HQ at about 4:00am. Phew! Knackered but happy, ears and voice shot to Hell. Let's do it again sometime!
( Well, next week actually,'cos we're going to see The Damned in Bristol. Yay! )