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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Boxing The English Beat With Dave Wakeling

The late ‘70s and early ‘80s were a boom time for bands blending New Wave’s urgency and energy with the Jamaican rhythms of ska and reggae. The biggest-selling exponents of that musical merger were The Police and Men At Work, but a whole ska-rock subculture developed in England around a handful of bands working under the Two Tone banner. Two Tone was first and foremost a label, with a roster that at one time or another included The Beat, Bad Manners, The Bodysnatchers, Madness, The Selecter, and The Specials, among others, but it also evolved into a genre tag, partly due to the label’s black-and-white logo and iconography, and partly because of the groups’ commitment to actively opposing the racism that was prevalent in England at the time, through songs, benefits, and activism. The Beat (who became known in the U.S. as The English Beat due to another band’s claim on the name) were Two Tone’s poster boys, as much for their unity-boosting lyrics as for their integrated lineup, and they eventually had the biggest impact in America of any Two Tone act. Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Boxing The English Beat With Dave Wakeling’

Blur to Headline 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony

According to Rolling Stone, British icons Blur are set to be the headliners of this year’s Olympic closing ceremony, which will take place at London’s Hyde Park later this summer. The band, who split up in 2003 and eventually reunited in 2009, says that this performance for the BT London Live shall be even better than their reunion show. What’s more, they shall be receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the BRIT awards tonight.

Other bands scheduled to join Blur at the closing ceremonies are New Order and the Specials, making the event an iconic night for British music.


Punk On The Rocks: Summer Festivals

Last week, “Punk On The Rocks” told you which artists would be heading to your hometown this summer. This week, we’re highlighting some awesome punk festivals happening around the US and around the world. For those of you who would like a change of scenery this summer but haven’t decided where to go, your punk rock roadtrip planning begins now.

West Coast Riot – Gothenburg, Sweden (June 17)

West Coast Riot takes advantage of Sweden’s long midsummer days and fills one up with a veritable who’s who of punk: Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Dillinger Escape Plan, Jello Biafra and The Guantanamo School of Medicine, The Specials and more. While most of the bands are from the US, Sweden is represented by Sista Sekunden, Invaisonen, Bruket and everyone’s favorite Swedes in suits The Hives.

Show us your tats! The 2010 Interpunk American Skate Fest

Show us your tats! The 2010 Interpunk American Skate Fest

The 2010 Interpunk American Skate Fest – Rutland, OH (June 25 – June 26)

This year’s American Skate fest will be the first event held at the new Amity Whitelight Amphitheatre at Rutland, Ohio’s legendary skate park Skatopia. The event will feature pro skaters, demos and more bands than you can shake a stick at including headliners Fishbone and GWAR as well as 7 Seconds, Youth Brigade, Gregg Ginn & The Taylor Texas Corrugators, Murphy’s Law, CJ Ramone, Mustard Plug and Agent Orange.

Insubordination Fest – Baltimore,MD (June 25 – June 26)

The first Insubordination Fest was held in 2006 and acted as a 10 year anniversary showcase for local Baltimore, MD label Insubordination Records. The event was so popular that Insubordination Records has organized the festival every summer since. This year’s lineup will feature Insubordination Records artists Be My Doppleganger, Beatnik Termites, Leftovers & Shutouts as well as national acts like Less Than Jake, Smoking Popes and The Queers. The festival will be taking over all 3 rooms at Baltimore’s Sonar. There will also be a pre-show party at Ottobar on June 24th featuring MC Chris.

BFF 4 LYFE! Best Friends Day 2009

Best Friends Day -  Richmond, VA (August 19 – August 22)

What started as 40 kids celebrating their friendship and the end of summer at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, VA has grown into a 4-day extravaganza of epic proportions. Past years have included Lucha libre wrestling, roller skating, scavenger hunts, a bmx jumping contest over the world’s largest plate of nachos and, of course, bands galore. This year’s 9th annual Best Friends Day will feature performances by Propagandhi, Municipal Waste, Off with Their Heads, Lemuria, The Dopamines, Cloak/Dagger and more bands to be announced soon.

What punk rock festivals are you looking forward to hitting this summer? Let us know in the comments!



Welcome to the inaugural post of “Punk on the Rocks,” a new weekly column focusing on all things punk. But what is punk? Some people say the genre started in New York with the Ramones  creating a stripped down, raw antithesis of bloated 70s rock radio. Others insist it started in the UK with the Sex Pistols gobbing at the audience, embodying the discontent of the British youth. Both are right. Punk music developed almost simultaneously in the US and the UK and spread quickly. While the different scenes boasted varying styles, both music-wise and fashion-wise, the common thread was the frustration with the status quo felt by musicians and fans. Punk is as much an attitude as a genre of music. You might have the power chords and the “woah-ohs,” but if you don’t have the heart, then it’s not punk. Punk is not about making it big, it’s about making yourself heard. Punk is stating your opinion, whether the subject is your girlfriend or the President. Punk is about not caring what other people think.

Punk music can be as hard to describe as the ideology behind it. There are punk bands like the Dead Kennedys with distorted guitars and political agendas and there are punk bands like Atom & His Package with songs about the metric system written and performed on electronic music sequencers. There are punk bands with bagpipes, violins and standup basses. There is New York Punk, UK punk, California punk, political punk, pop-punk, hardcore, emo, ska-punk, punkabilly riot grrrl, dance punk, skate punk, acoustic punk and latin punk. This column will include all of these things and more.

To kick off this column, lets start at the beginning. Contrary to what some people would have you believe, punk is not dead. In addition to the continued success of 90s punk revival bands like Green Day and NOFX and punk festivals like the Vans Warped Tour, many of punk’s founding bands are still together and touring like it’s 1977. Here is a sampling of the groups currently on tour along with my picks for OurStage bands who would best rock each tour’s opening slot:

blondieBlondie – Although they’re best known for their international disco hit “Heart of Glass,” Blondie cut their teeth in the late 70s New York punk scene. This summer, the band teamed up with Pat “Love Is A Battlefield” Benetar and The Donnas for the Call Me Invincible tour. This celebration of three decades of hard rocking ladies will be crisscrossing the US through the beginning of September.

OS fantasy opener: Debbie is representing the 70’s, Pat’s the queen of the 80s and The Donnas have the late 90s so who should rock the aughties? My vote goes to Tip The Van. Fronted by sisters Simone and Nicole Oliva, this CT ska/punk/pop outfit knows how to put on a show.

immaginehd1244994214h4a351aa627995The Dickies – One of California’s first punk bands, The Dickies are still alive and kicking, playing dates on this summer’s Warped Tour along with fellow Cali punk legends Bad Religion. The band will be swinging through Europe in August 2009.

OS fantasy opener: The Dickies are know for their campy, humorous lyrics and fun covers of non-punk songs, like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence,” The Moody Blues “Nights In White Satin” and the Christmas classic “Silent Night.” Ontario’s The Stiff Wires are in on the joke with lyrics like “There’s a party in my brain/And you’re not invited,” and a tongue in cheek anti-war tirade titled “Take Me Away To Afghanistan.”

6a00e5518ed3f78834010536a533a0970c-800wiThe Specials – Two Tone Records ska pioneers The Specials have spent 2009 on a European reunion tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of band’s 1979 self-titled debut record. While the absence of Two Tone Records founder and The Specials main songwriter Jerry Dammers from the tour has caused some controversy, it has mostly been eclipsed by the fan’s excitement to hear “Gangsters” and “A Message To You Rudy” live.

OS fantasy opener: MTV Tr3s VMA Best Breakout LA nominees South Central Skankers would be a perfect complement to The Specials’ raucous blend of Jamaican rhythms and punk attitude. South Central Skankers’ frantic ska/punk/latin/metal music embodies the Two Tone message of unity, encouraging people of all ages, races and primary languages to get together and skank.

Check out the OS fantasy openers in the playlist below!

Which 70s punk band do you wish you could see live? Who are your favourite OurStage Punks? Comment away!


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