The Great British Alternative Music Festival (Sunday)

  • Mark Cartwright posted
  • Reviews

The Great British Alternative Music Festival (Sunday)

Butlins Skegness UK - Sunday 6th October 2019

Once more into the fray, after a long and interesting Saturday line up, Sunday has actually arrived like some kind of long awaited friend, the frolics of the past couple of days have taken there toll on some, but absolutely not dampened the chatter about who’s is playing today and who are we going to see, so many choices!

It’s only 12:15 yet 999 are kick starting our day in Reds. Predictable? Of course. We don’t mind that. With 999 you know exactly what you’re going to get and what you get is pure punk rock from one of the greatest original bands on the scene. With all the energy of an 18 year old, Nick Cash and the whole band powered through some 40 years old songs in a way that only they can, The Biggest Prize In Sport, Feeling All Right With The Crew are always huge favourites with the 999 faithful, but then Little Red Riding Hood and Emergency are never gonna lose there way in the world when delivered with all the passion and guile of a well oiled machine! They had the audience pogoing and singing along for the whole set.  A perfect boost for a Sunday lunchtime. 

A Quick nip over to the Centre Stage, to catch some of the Verbal Warning set, which started at exactly the same time as 999.  Giving just enough time to see an array of plastic Ducks making they way across the vast expanse of the pit in front of Centre Stage. Mixing humour and politics into thier old school punk with songs that rock, they have obviously made an impression as the crowd are smiling clapping and dancing as there way through the songs we caught.  Colourful melodic and damn right happy music is what you get from a Verbal Warning gig.

Nine Below Zero up at 2pm play a decent set of rhythm and blues and, whilst not for everyone who attends a weekend such as this, are well appreciated by those who want to sit with a drink and listen to decent songs that require not too much effort to concentrate on. There’s also a sizeable number of people up against the barrier who are clearly 9BZ fans singing along to almost every number. I’ve seen this early afternoon slot almost empty in previous years but not today. This is a band with real history who are more than well respected on the R&B circuit and the numbers watching prove exactly that point.

The music just keeps rolling on through, if you get time, the bar is definitely a place that needs to at least called into at some time between shows, apparently it’s a tradition and not to be someone who shuns tradition, well you can’t can you!  The Stiffs keep the day moving along with there brand of chart Punk sing along melodic songs including “Inside Out”, playing in Reds this time, its immediately apparent that there are some long time fans waiting to hear the Professionally delivered tunes. Spotted a young couple, who may not even remember Duran Duran let alone The Stiffs singing along to every single word (maybe siblings of the band) but hey it was great to see. Goodbye My Love and Magic Roundabout also get an outing and are warmly welcomed by an afternoon crowd.

Before you even have time to say where’s my seat to rest the weary legs, take a sip of the beer you bought earlier (well maybe the bar did get another visit), it is time for the Introducing stage to showcase four more amazing new or “unheard of outside there local area” bands.

L.O.A.D get this off to a start, Punk Rock for the masses, old school pub punk with heavy bass, snarling but dutiful lyrics and some tea drinking sing alongs to get everyone up and foot tapping away.  Music played with all the experience of a band that has been at it for years. Closely followed by Litterbug a Blackpool 3 piece who hit the stage running and thrash out there wonderful version of no holds barred Punk Rock delivered at speed and precision.  With the pavilion still buzzing from a weekend of great Introducing stage music they are warmly welcomed and don’t disappoint.  Moving so quickly on to The Winner of this days fest of great music Rage DC were sadly missed by ourselves, food had to be the taken (yes we do eat) not expecting to be so long and only arriving back to hear the last few bars, it would be a disservice to give a view. Anyway we finally reach the last band to play this stage for the

weekend and bring it to a close just before all is packed away. Sweeney & The Fellas are given the honour

of handing over the the stage to Punch & Judy and many a dancing Red Coat.  4 young lads chucking out some fairy fresh Alt/Rock with a splash of Punk credibility to the mix, they blast through there set to a sadly thinning audience as the main stages open for the final bands of the weekend. Although this doesn’t in any way stop the enjoyment they show to playing this festival.

Of again to the Centre Stage, filled with many an old school punk who are always gonna be ready to hear a band that has toured and played to many a pub up and down the country for so many years, which goes right back to there roots, as this is where they cut there teeth back in the day. The Lurkers of course, as a 3 piece you would be forgiven for thinking can they get this huge auditorium bouncing, well yes is this answer, a few songs in and Pills gets a Lurkers going over, met with much love from everyone. Freak Show always another long standing set list goody.  Playing such music gives all 3 so much happiness and this is felt from all around the stage, drummer Craig Casson has joined them on a number of occasions and thumps his way as well as any punk drummer around through a full on gig to such a seat end that even Dave Kemp on Guitar has to strip off (yep the trousers did stay on), if Arturo on Bass was on his last breath you would still get a show, as he always has been full on Punk Rock, adding Shadow there first single into the ending went down a storm.

So as not to change the long running theme, moving over to the other main stage Reds just in time to catch the last half of Dave Sharp From the Alarms’ set, maybe a little bit of a strange entry into the main stages line up for the last day, brining his folk style punk ballads to an audience that if we are being honest here, are mostly getting there places set for the up coming arrival of the Stranglers.  A shame but his songs weren’t lost on everyone, a stool, a table that would not look out of place on stage with comedian Dave Allen, holding the drinking glass and set list, he strums through some easy listening story telling songs.

Centre Stage 9.45pm sees the welcome return of Theatre Of Hate. Up against The Stranglers in Reds it’s good to see a decent crowd in for a band that never disappoint. After 40 years they’re still a formidable live act. It’s a non-stop set of dark, rumbling post-punk greatness. Kirk Brandon gives everything to performing. He’s passionate, emotional, completely lost in the moment of each and every song. When not playing guitar he’s pounding his chest, so much pent up energy ready to be released. Arms waving he alternates between centre stage and moving completely to one side allowing the focus to fall on the throbbing bass playing from Stan Stammers or the haunting saxophone work from Clive Osbourne. A set full of the classics that opens with ‘Original Sin’, blasts through ‘Americanos’, ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Legion’ but also includes recent gems such as ‘Day Of The Dog’, ‘Slave’ and ‘Ukraine Girl’. Theatre Of Hate have lost none of their impact. 

And now comes the time for what seems to be the most anticipated band of the day The Stranglers who else.  The build up as at all Stranglers gig is long and dark!  Then hitting a red lit stage to the wonderful “Toiler On The Sea” sets the whole place off for a great night of bouncing souls, a mosh pit pogoing and dancing the whole night.  “Tank” gets an outing too, the ardent fans always love this!  Jean-Jacques Burnel,  Baz Warne being what is essentially the the front of the band, strutting around and helping the crowd feel like they are actually on stage with them, backed up by a keyboard and drum set up that will always give there all! “5 Minutes” “Peaches” to name a couple of original tracks they almost always love to play bring an ageing punk crowd to a frenzy.  When you get older bodies throwing themselves up to the crowd surfing and over the barrier, you do worry about aching bodies the next day, but to see a Pigeon making its way over followed by a Penguin over the barrier, you know its a great vibe. By the time the encore came about, which included “Duchess’ and “No More Heroes” what else do you need from a Stranglers set. 

After a short spell for some well needed fresh air and of course beer after a very very warm Stranglers set. 

For years the Great British Alternative Music Weekend FB page has seen a constant stream of requests for Spizzenergi to play. Probably the one band everybody wants to play at this festival. Finally, in 2019, Spizz is here. Admittedly at midnight on the final night, but at least he’s here and being given the job of essentially closing the whole weekend. 

An almost full Reds awaits the arrival of the intergalactic man himself, hitting the stage dressed like a harrier jet pilot from the planet of zaarg complete with led lighting all over his suit and a belt that spells out in lights Spizzenergi, off into 6000 Crazy mixed with Mega C.3 has you bouncing along.  Not to disappoint “Amnesia” and “Soldier Soldier” throw you right back to the very start of your youth, played with a full 4 piece band behind him Spizz has the energy of a 18 year old still!  On the subject of the band, what a band!  Full of all the moves throwing themselves around the stage, playing with full on screaming guitars hard precision bass and thumping drum beats that hold this whole set to the highest standard. Just when you think he has given you all you need from a set, “The Model” Kraftwork cover is thrown in and then Where’s Captain Kirk” is played and sung as if it were just put on the vinyl deck at home!  Oh and just wait on a minute!  We forgot about “Virginia Plain” how could that have slipped out memory? Well Spizz wasn’t letting you go without it. 

Finishing off the set and probably the audience, “I Fought The Law” sends them all off thoroughly entertained and yes totally happy they all stayed up until 1am.


Co Written by Steve White

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