Christmas .what does it mean to you?. Time off work? Too much booze?? Sitting in front of the TV watching The Great Escape and eating Quality Street???
Well yes, I can see the attraction in all of those, but one of the pleasures that seemed sadly to have passed into history was punk bands knocking out of the cuff festive numbers. Who can ever forget the irreverent Greedy Bastards A Merry Jingle or the frankly obscene Yobs Christmas Album. But now all we seem to get is Simon Cowells latest singing puppets clogging up the charts at Xmas. Well, this year things might have taken a turn for the better with 3 bona fide punk bands offering songs, not only for your listening pleasure, but all for free download:
First up are those perennial favourites SHAG NASTY with their song PUNK ANTHEM 77.
For those of you unaware this band has been around since the halcyon early days of punk in the late 70s and in their time shared a stage with the likes of the Clash, Menace and X Ray Spex. If this is anything to go by their recent reduction to a 3 piece and has not affected the band in the slightest as they still retain their big old-school punk/Oi sound. The song rattles along at a fair old pace with a good solid backbeat and a lyrical content that reminisces about the early punk scene. The band name-check long gone punk landmarks such as the Roxy and Vortex, mention the Pistols on the Bill Grundy TV show , Pogo dancing and Sniffin Glue fanzine but most of all question what happened to all the dedicated followers of fashion, that briefly attached themselves to the movement. So if you want to hear what punk sounded like before Green Day and the Offspring log on to their Myspace page and fill your boots:
Anyway I digress. The band has actually recorded two versions of SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN although only the censored version is available for free download. Having said that I dont think it would take Roger Mellies Profanisaurus to fill in the blanks. The track is resplendent with Beckis gravel vocals, guitar solos and even has seasonal tubular bells, Not only that, it finishes with a splendid double-entendre from Santa who wants to know if youd like to see whats in my big hairy sack. Carry on Christmas anyone?
Last, but not least, we have THE BRIGGS a band that I knew little of until this summer and now have rather taken to my heart. Certainly their last CD Come On All You Madmen was a cracker and well worth a place in any self respecting punks record collection. And to add to the festive fun theyve recorded a slow burning, but ultimately manic rendition of SILENT NIGHT. For those of you old enough to remember the afore-mentioned Yobs this is not that dissimilar to their version (other than the Hitler intro and the irreverent swearing obviously!).
The Briggs start their cover with an acoustic run through of the first verse, that somehow reminded me of Mull of Kintyre, but thankfully it leads to a proper shouty type blast through the remainder of this well known carol. The drums are clattering away ten to the dozen and the guitars give this a proper rock feel and Im sure that Songs of Praise would get more viewers if they gave this treatment to all their hymns...
A very Happy Christmas to all R*E*P*E*A*T readers (except for those who support Swansea City!)