Wow is this really the sixth album from Sweden’s Sir Reg? They still seem like the spunky new guys on the block. Maybe it’s because they are still hammering out Celtic-punk at a neck-breaking speed with no sign of slowing down or ‘maturing’, just playing like that proverbial underdog’s bollox. The Underdogs is all everything we know and love Sir Reg for; the aforementioned fast as feck yet melodic Celtic-punk but also a lyrical wit so shape it could kick the eye out of a maggot that only a true Dub could produce.
Hard Time In The Country is a return to early form for The Langer’s Ball after the full band excursions of their most recent releases. Like the first couple of releases by TLB, Hard Time In The Country is a guy (Michael Strum) and girl (Hannah Rediske) acoustic duo doing contemporary interpretations of Irish folk, Americana, protest folk and Motorhead (really!).
Hard Time In The Country is a richly and beautifully performed album where each song seems to effortlessly gel together whether it’s a Billy Bragg cover (Constitution Hill), or an original (Hoist Your Cup High), or a traditional standard (Parting Glass) or even Motorhead’s 1916 (which really, really works a folk song)
LDR is a testament to the unrelenting spirit of Finny McConnell and The Mahones. Life sucks at times – health fails, relationships end, loved ones die, and all you can do is pick yourself up and keep going. Though sometimes moving forward involves revisiting the past as The Mahones have musically done on Love + Death + Redemption , moving back towards the classic Mahones sound of the mid 2000s and before i.e. not as punky as as The Hunger and The Fight (though stuff like, Win Some, Lose Some, show the Mahones can still pogo with the best of ‘em). Love + Death + Redemption is is the Mahones moving forward and hey it’s gonna be alright.
I’ve been a long time fan of Chicago’s (and formally Nashville’s) Pete Berwick’s bad attitude and cheap beer cowpunk. Island, Berwick’s sixth full length solo album in an almost 40 year career, backed by The Mugshot Saints, to these ears sounds like Pete has mellowed a wee bit. The Island is less cowpunk and more traditional outlaw country – Cash, Jennings and Haggard or even Steve Earle. While Pete’s previous albums could be described as the musical equivalent of a brawl at some rundown rural roadhouse, Island is more the older guy sitting on the porch, drinking that cheap beer and reminiscing of a life well live and battles well fought with not a single damn regret.
The Arlington Arts centre is in the wilds of rural Berkshire, southern England. Not the most easily accessible of venues but one with great sound, lovely staff and one that isn’t shy of booking eclectic bands. Tonight was no exception; the Neil Brophy Band and Sweden’s finest, Sir Reg- both on the final night of their 11 date UK tour.
We’d taken our eleven year old son. He’s a veteran of the Celtic music scene for one so young; having seen Dropkick Murphys at Brixton Academy, Christy Moore, Tidelines and Ferocious Dog as well as having the Biblecode Sundays and the Lagan play in his living room! I mention this because he hates support acts. Hates ‘em. Just wants them to go away so the main act can hit the stage. He made an exception for the Neil Brophy Band who opened with Nice to Know, a tale of an emigre English troubadour returning to his home town after years abroad. Other stand outs from this Copenhagen based band included tales of Viking ghost ships, London boozers and the joys of being a musical gypsy. Drums, bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, whistles and pipes all made for a full sound married to catchy lyrics and infectious enthusiasm. A great opening act and one which we will try to catch in the future. Their new album, True Stories is definitely worth seeking out.
Sir Reg hit the stage with their trademark high energy- a full-on Celtic punk assault which might have un-nerved some of the more folksy patrons of Arlington Arts. But you can’t not love Sir Reg. Sing along choruses, a perfect mix of fast punky tunes like new track The Underdogs sitting alongside quiet, slower more heartfelt numbers such as the brilliant All Saints Day. It’s always interesting to see a band who have a new album to promote as sometimes the gig can be a load of songs with which the audience are unfamiliar. Sir Reg got the balance right. New tracks were given an airing, like instrumental Cairbre, an ode to the MGN lion but older tracks like Emigrate were also thrown into the mix. The band were also very tolerant of fans like us shouting song requests at them- a request that resulted in a spirited rendition of Drinking like a Dane. They even managed to get the crowd singing along to The Wrong Bar- their brilliant cautionary tale of being so smashed that you confuse a church for a pub that saw Sir Reg joined on stage by the Neil Brophy band.
All in all, a top night. Great songs from two great bands. Looking forward to seeing them both again in the near future.
Big Bad Bollocks – Big Bad Bollocks (Night On The Tiles)
Sons of O’Flaherty – Dead and Gone (The Road Not Taken)
The Muckers – Let’s All Go To The Bar (One More Stout)
1916 – Tear the Pub Down (Last Call For Heros)
Catgut Mary – Melbourne Tram Song (The Mahones Vs Catgut Mary)
Hudson Falcons – Monahan’s (Desperation and Revolution)
The Rumjacks – Les Darcy (Sleepin’ Rough)
Bleeding Hearts – The Devil’s Mosh (‘The Rules of Division)
The Pourmen – Whaling City (Too Old To Die Young)
Matilda’s Scoundrels – Burn It Down (As The Tide Turns)
James McGrath – Race To The Bottom (Live At The Shed)
Reformed North of England folk punks legends The Whisky Priests have lined up a short tour of the UK and Europe in October / November of this year. More dates TBA.
To tie in with the tour, Whippet Records is reissuing the entire Whisky Priests back catalogue as a 12-disc box set, together with a limited edition companion-piece book
The Whisky Priests tour dates:
SAT 13 OCTOBER – The Forum Music Centre – Darlington, UK
FRI 19 OCTOBER – The Borderline – London, UK
SUN 21 OCTOBER – Musicport 2018 – Whitby, UK
TUE 30 OCTOBER – Chelsea – Vienna, Austria
WED 31 OCTOBER – Kik – Ried Im Innkreis, Austria
FRI 2 NOVEMBER – Musiktheater Piano – Dortmund, Germany
SAT 3 NOVEMBER – Monkeys Music Club – Hamburg, Germany
New Bedford based sea shanty scallywags, Sharks Come Cruisin have a new album, When I Get Home From Across the Sea, out on June 22nd.
Sharks Come Cruisin, known for their energetic arrangements of traditional sea shanties, have released their 2nd full-length record When I Get Home From Across the Sea.
A follow-up to their 2011 release A Past We Forget, the new album is a collection of 11 traditional sea shanties arranged and performed with the SCC intensity their fans have come to expect.
To record the new full-length, the band traveled to Dirt Floor studios in Chester, CT. Over a multi-day recording session, the band recorded the album in a rustic log cabin studio overlooking the Connecticut River. “We tracked the majority of the record live, with everyone playing in the living room, it was a great, low-stress way to make a record” says singer/guitarist Mark Lambert. “Getting away from our day to day routine to hang out and make music played a big part in the overall ease that comes through on the recording.”
For the record’s release, The band will be performing at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on June 22nd in New Bedford, MA, and then the following night, June 23rd, at The Collaborative in Warren, RI. Back in their hometown of Providence, RI, Sharks Come Cruisin will celebrate the record’s release at the PVD Shanty Sing, a monthly event that the band hosts on the 2nd Friday of every month at the Parlour, 1119 North Main St. Providence, RI.
June 22, 2018 (Vinyl, CD, Download) Self Released
Listen to more from When I Get Home From Across the Sea: https://sharkscomecruisin.com/when-i-get-home
Download When I Get Home From Across the Sea https://sharkscomecruisin.com/music
The Mahones hit the road shortly for serious of Canadian dates and a extensive European tour including spot on The Levellers Beautiful Days Festival
June 01 – O’Reilly’s – St. John’s, Canada
June 02 – O’Reilly’s – St. John’s, Canada
June 16 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, Canada
June 23 – Blu Martini – Kingston, Canada
June 30 – House Of Targ – Ottawa, Canada
July 05 – Warehouse – St. Catherine’s, Canada
July 13 – Shamrock Castle Festival – Bammmersdorf, Germany
July 14 – Stadfest – Lindau, Germany
July 15 – Mighty Sounds Festival – Tabor, Czech Republic
July 17. – Zdunska Wola – Pub Variete, Poland
July 18 – Trinkteufel – Berlin, Germany
July 19 – Špilberk Castle – Brno, Czech Republik
July 20 – Rock auf Dem Berg – Marienberg, Germany
July 21 – Cafe Central – Weinheim, Germany
July 23 – Free & Easy Festival – Munich, Germany
July 26.03 – K3 – Hameln, Germany
July 27 – Nord Open Air – Essen, Germany
July 29 – Chez Narcisse – Le Val D’Ajol, France
July 30 – Le Dropkick – Reims, France
July 31 – Le Ferraille – Nantes, France
August 02 – Sesto San Giovanni (MI) – Carroponte Italy
August 03 – Montelago Celtic Festival – Maccerata, Italy
August 10 – Meisterschwanden – Drunken Sailors, Switzerland
August 17 – Beautiful Days Festival, England
I wanted to give a shout out to Garry Miller of The Whisky Priests new project; Mad Martins – a hugely ambitious 50-track triple CD and 104-page deluxe book as well as a live show and a three act theatrical performance.
A review to follow shortly.