BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Sunday, June 25, 2006

ANARCHO PUNK CIRKUS COMES TO TOWN: Conflict and Varukars in Cardiff

I have been into punk almost since it was invented, back in the late 70s. I have leaned towards radical politics almost as long, and I always took a keen interest in bands with a political edge, but never really got into the ‘hardcore’ anarcho punk bands like Oi Poloi, Flux of Pink Indians, Icons of Filth, AOS3, Subhumans etc. I did buy much of the Crass stuff, but they really were out there on there own.

I was into the festival scene of the mid 80’s and loved crusty bands like RDF, 2000 Dirty Squatters, Culture Shock (off shoot from the aforementioned Subhumans), Gaye Bykers on Acid, Moonflowers, Ozric Tentacles, and Back to the Planet (not sure the last two realy fit into the category ‘crusty’). Then one day I came across P.A.I.N. supporting the Tofu Love Frogs, and I was totally blown away. I started to re-think my views on anarcho punk and started getting into a few of those bands, but always felt that the for many of those bands the music was a poor second place, or even a third place, to the anarchy. Many of them were just a noise.

The last 3 or 4 years I have found myself mixing with more and more anarchists… proper ones, not just punks with big ‘A’s on their back. A few of them are well into their anarcho punk and I have started listening to it again. Somehow, some of it makes more sense now than it did a few years ago. Through them I have come across bands that I might not have heard of otherwise, and have discovered a few bands that can actually play music.

After Crass, the grand daddies of anarcho punk were always Conflict. I had never really paid much attention to them until after I put on Inner Terrestrials, featuring ex-Conflict drummer Paco. I bought a few albums by them and sometimes I quite enjoy listening to them, but it has to be said there is a time and a place; you have to be in the mood for them. Inner Terrestrials are simply miles ahead of the musically.

When I found out Conflict (a reformed version) were playing Cardiff I just had to go down out of curiosity. The £10 door tax seemed a bit out of place to me, but I bit the bullet and off to Clwb Ifor Bach we headed.

Varukers fan gets interactive

The support was from the Varukers. They have been around forever, noisy hardcore anarcho punk. I must have seen a million Varukers t-shirts and posters, but I think this was the first time I had actually heard them. Despite the studs and mohicans combined with beer bellies, they were actually quite impressive, or should I make that.. not as crap as I thought they would be.

Conflict: Selling rebellion by the £10

When Conflict finally hit the stage I was actually pleased that they looked comparatively straight and had not got stuck in that 80’s punk uniform. Their set was ferocious, 90 mile an hour in your face sonic attack. I have always found it strange that bands with such a serious message to get across shout and scream so you cannot understand a word that they say.

Conflict were OK, The Varukars were OK (better than Conflict actually) and No Choice, the other support band, were OK, but combined they added up to three hours of loud shouty angry punk. I am getting too old for that; it all reminded me why I chose to put on gigs with a variety of styles on the bill.

If you want anarcho punk, you will not go far wrong with..

Inner terrestrials
This System kills
Cop Car pile Up
Smiling with Semtex

Then of course there are a lot of bands out there that are just dripping with anarchist attitude…. and have never played a punk note in their lives………..


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