Wow, time flies. BAYSIXTY6 Skate Park are celebrating 20 years in the game today and reminiscing on two decades of scene support, events and sessions since opening their doors for the very first time on the morning of Saturday, 24th of May 1997.
As most of you who have followed Crossfire over the last 16 years know, we hold a special relationship with this park following the events we hosted there and assisting with sponsorship and funding. It was a honour to have been there from the beginning too, as a skater, rolling on the initial layers of tarmac when only a couple of quarter pipes were sat in the middle of the now-known street course. It’s gone through so many changes and they have fought so hard to keep it alive and won. Owner, Paul McDermott and the many characters behind the scenes should be applauded for their commitment. We asked Paul this week what he thought on this achievement:
“What an amazing 20 years. 21 if you include the year of preparation before we opened. We’ve endured struggle, mistakes, a fire, hard work and fights for survival but it’s all been worth it! An enormous amount of incredible characters have passed through these gates, several generations of great skaters have come through here too. It’s been a great opportunity for British skaters to see most of the very best skaters in the world at one time or another, not to mention that it’s been a second home for many of London’s skaters, a place of constant mentoring for young people and a kind of super youth club where youth from all backgrounds come together on equal terms here in Ladbroke Grove.”
To celebrate this feat the park will host a special Wednesday night session, known as a legendary night at this park for so many years, on the evening of Wednesday 28th June where many of the heads that have graced this special spot will reunite for a night of reminiscing. On the walls will be a Xerox gallery show of your memories, so send photos for inclusion via email to 20Years@BAYSIXTY6.com or post your photos and footage on social media with the hashtag #20YearsatBAYSIXTY6
We will see you there but until then, spread the good word by sending this post to friends who have skated the park and enjoy these old images from when it all first started. Congrats to everyone involved!
BAYSIXTY6 Skate Park can be found after 20 years of service still at its same address:
Bay 66, Acklam Rd, Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5YU. Telephone 020 8969 4669.
Respect. That’s the key word here. Respect to Flag for choosing to spread their London debut over two nights at the Underworld rather than spending one night in a larger venue with half the required atmosphere. And respect to the members of Flag for pretty much inventing this thing we call hardcore punk rock, and so much more.
You’re in the presence of true legends here. No, it’s not Black Flag. That’s Greg Ginn’s band. He pissed all over his legacy a couple of years back with that dreadful new album and appalling live shows. I know, I witnessed it at Ieperfest in Belgium three years back – slow, sluggish, terrible rhythm section. Awful. Flag, however, (that’s Keith, Dez, Stephen, Chuck and Bill) play the music right, with energy, passion and power. You’re watching true legends at work here. All of the people involved, minus Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton who replaces Ginn, lived, breathed, wrote and performed this legendary material and when the band come out onstage tonight and Keith whispers into the mic…”it’s not my imagination,” before bellowing. “I’VE GOT A GUN IN MY BACK!!” and the whole band lurch into ‘Revenge’, the years melt away and the true power of the music is unleashed, knocking the crowd sideways.
And from that moment on, they fire off bolt after bolt of perfect hardcore punk rock. It’s a total joy to watch these true masters of the art. The way Chuck Dukowski screws up his face and hammers at the strings on this bass like his totally despises all four of them. The way Keith’s unmistakable vocals are both pitch perfect, snotty, sarcastic and drawling. The way he holds his space on the stage, his small frame shielding off endless stage dives and attempts to steal his microphone and scream along with the songs (he does not like this). The way Bill plays with precision and power, lagging on the beat so the songs never run away with themselves. The way both Dez and Stephen’s guitars manage to summon up the undeniable genius of Ginn’s original vision and noise. It’s perfect.
There’s no need to list all of the songs they played. They performed everything that was important, going as far as ‘My War’ (written by Chuck) and although you can feel the band tiring a little towards the end (‘I’ve Heard it Before’ isn’t quite as intense as it should be), the stamina they hold until that point is totally impressive. These are not young guys. These are people that started it all. Show them some fucking respect.
There’s heavy and then there’s none more HEAVY. Tonight is a chest-beating display of heavy as bravado. Heavy as punishment. Volume so loud and intense you can feel your skull rattle and vibrate and your guts clench to withstand the impact. So good it hurts.
Liverpool doom merchants Conan get things off to a suitably oppressive start. They describe themselves as being as ‘heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth’, a fact that is hard to dispute when faced with the sonic sludge oozing from the stage. All you can do is submit and nod. Their job is done and the stage and crowd are perfectly in the zone to greet tonight’s headliners, Californian stoned doom legends Sleep.
Described as ‘the ultimate stoner rock band’, Sleep’s legendary status is well deserved. Having originally disbanded in ’95 when London Records, their major label paymasters at the time, refused to release their now legendary hour-long-one-song-drone workout ‘Dopesmoker’, their reputation continued to grow in their absence as guitarist Matt Pike concentrated on High On Fire. However, when the band reformed in 2009 to play an ATP Festival, they stepped effortlessly back into their towering doom boots as if no time had passed at all and tonight, the noise that they make is utterly earth shattering. Opening with two tracks from their legendary ‘Holy Mountain’ album – ‘Draugonaut’ and the title track, Pike, shirtless and wild, unleashes wave after wave of power in-front of a massive wall of amps, obviously enjoying every second of the colossal noise being created. The sound is incredible. Normally a heavy band’s sound can suffer in a venue this size, often reduced to a dull thud but not tonight, Sleep have more than enough power and amplification behind them to destroy.
Playing the first twenty minutes of their epic ‘Dopemoker’ track, the air fills with the pungent stench of weed as the crowd take their cue to fire up their pipes and spliffs and a few hundred stoners get deep within the zone as Sleep continue to pulverise and groove.
An epic gig. We’re lucky to have them back. Long may they continue to abuse our hearing.
Adam And The Ants
Kings Of The Wild Frontier at Brixton Academy
Friday 10th June
I was ten years old when Adam Ant mania first swept across the nation in 1980. Girls loved him, boys loved him, he was beautiful, a dandy man, a pirate, an original punk. I loved him because I was completely captivated by those Burundi Drums; the ferocious tribal rhythms that propelled Adam And The Ants’ second album ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ into the world’s pop consciousness. My dad had a small African drum that I endlessly tapped and whacked, imagining I was part of the ants tribe. I so badly wanted to play drums. And that all started with Adam And The Ants.
The first time I saw them live was on The Prince Charming Revue tour in 1982 at the Hammersmith Odeon. My parents took me and it totally blew my mind. He had a huge pirate ship onstage and those tribal drums and the whole spectacle electrified me (my mum less so, she stood up in the interval and tried to go home thinking it was the end of the show. She now says she wasn’t bored, she was just gagging for a smoke).
Fast forward thirty-four years and I’m standing at Brixton Academy once again waiting for Adam Ant to arrive onstage and do it all over again, playing ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ in its glorious entirety. I’ve seen Adam Ant a few times in the last few years since he returned to the stage. Whilst at those gigs he’s mainly focused on his incredible punk-era material, reinstating his position as one of the original punks, he’s only dipped his toes into the sparkling waters of his mainstream pop years. Now, however, it’s time to revisit the record that for a brief moment in the early 80s, made Adam one of the most iconic and recognisable names in pop.
With two drummers perched high on two risers, Adam strutted to the front of the stage, looking every bit the star he was back then (if he doesn’t take off his hat he looks much the same) and as the band kick into the album’s opening track ‘Dog Eat Dog’ the whole venue detonates in a rush of adrenalized nostalgia that melts away the years and resonates with every individual who was touched by this glorious sound. The sound is fantastic, the impact huge and before we’ve even had a chance to draw breath here comes ‘Ant Music’, another huge hit from the album that has the entire crowd chanting along with every word (“cut off its head, legs come looking for you!”).
As the album plays out and Adam throws himself into every word, note and beat, for such a huge mainstream selling record at the time, it becomes clear how strange and unsettling much of the album is. Although written with an entirely different band to Adam’s debut ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’, ‘Kings…’ was crafted with punk still beating in its heart, a long way from the pop sheen of ‘Prince Charming’ and what came after. ‘Ants Invasion’ particularly, sounds utterly menacing tonight; that creeping riff crawling across the venue, biting all in its path, Likewise ‘Killer In The Home’ is moody, bleak and immensely powerful.
With that sophomore played in full, a few short breaths to recover, the band are back to plough through a selection of tracks that cover Adam’s entire career. Early punk era-tracks like ‘Beat My Guest’, ‘Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face’ and ‘Cartrouble’, despite their age, still sound utterly contemporary, such is their influence and the forward thinking nature of their writer. These, mixed with moments from his mainstream pop years (‘Prince Charming’, ‘Goody Two Shoes’, ‘Stand And Deliver’) make for a joyfully electric set that should give Adam the respect he deserves. His wilderness years behind him, it’s great to have the ant army back.
As an extra bonus, enjoy these scrap book Ant raps from when I was a child. :)
Flowers of Flesh & Blood
Thames Beach (Gabriel’s Wharf)
London – 26/9/15
When last week rumours began circulating of a proposed gathering of punks somewhere along the Thames near the Southbank and Waterloo that was to be hosted by comedian, presenter and political satirist Mark Thomas and included live sets by Scottish Oi/Punk/anarcho legends Oi Polloi and London punx, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood, it was debatable whether this would be allowed to happen in one of the busiest tourist areas of South London.
Yet, sure enough, come the day the event had been revealed as ‘Trespass – Oi Polloi On The Beach Of The Thames’ and as we walked down to Gabriel’s Wharf, next to Oxo Tower, onto that small beach area where I had previously built sandcastles with my kids (up the punx), a huge hardcore punk roar was already rising from the beach area up onto the bank and Flowers Of Flesh And Blood were housed on a small stage in the sand, surrounded by two hundred or so punx as the band carved through a tight set of metallic anarcho thrash to bemused and amused looks from the tourists looking down on the beach.
We quickly headed down and joined the crowd, bumping into many friends equally bemused by the surreal situation as Flowers kicked into a Minor Threat medley of ‘Filler’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Hear It’ as the sand-mosh-pit exploded. There’s a small girl on the beach building a sandcastle, she flattens it with her shovel. Up on the bank two young kids with giant teddy bears make them pogo in time to the music. An old fella looks down onto the crowd of punks falling over in the sand, laughing and grinning from ear to ear. The atmosphere is great, pure fun. There are no police here yet, no trouble. The organisers had the foresight to hand out a few yellow ‘official’ looking security vests to give the appearance of some kind of official organisation, which amazingly, works.
But there is a point to all of this. As Mark Thomas takes to the mic, among many jokes about gammon nonce David Cameron, he talks about how it’s people, not buildings and corporations that make cities and we have every right to reclaim public areas for protest and events to cheers from the crowd as Oi Polloi take to the sand and kick into ‘Resist The Atomic Menace’ from the first single back in 1986. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Oi Polloi (probably not since the early 90s), but they’re as good as they ever were. Frontman Deek is irrepressible, funny, charming, energetic yet still railing against the world.
As ‘Punks Picnic’ bellows from the PA, there’s still no sign of any police to break up the party and as the sun starts to descend and the booze is flowing, Oi Polloi inspire bedlam in the sand as the pit reaches fever point and the crowd piles in, singing along to every word, punching the air as the tourists above take photos and film what they can to take back home to their friends and family…”you’ll never believe what we saw in London today”.
Then later that evening, the so called ‘Fuck Parade’ organised by Class War, kicked off in Shoreditch. A supposed protest against the gentrification of London, it saw an angry mob of so-called anarchists target an independent business and scare, frighten and intimidate people. A total contrast to the positive, fun vibes felt earlier in the day by the river where the message was delivered in a good and uplifting way, educating the public and making them think. ‘Fuck Parade’ was an ugly event that achieved nothing but to terrify the public by acting like thugs. A sad end to a righteous day of protest and music but the fun memories will remain for those that rocked on the beach that day and the public that stumbled across it.
March’s sophomore album release Golem saw Los Angeles-based Wand state their claim as a face-slapping psychedelic force to be reckoned with, inviting you on a juvenile joyride to bold, head-melting dimensions unknown across nine treacherous tracks.
Fast-forward six months and Wand are still skidding through the grimy back-streets of sludge rock and doom with gusto, yet this time around there’s even more on offer. To investigate the trio’s new-found Crazy Horse-indebted groove, we sent Yasmyn Charles down to Brighton to catch up frontman Cory Hanson and find out how, exactly, their new album 1000 Days became reality.
What was the formative process of Wand and how did it come into being?
Well, the three of us went to art school together and after we all graduated we all had a bunch of different projects and I just kind of asked everyone if they wanted to play music together… so we did. It’s a pretty unremarkable story! [Laughing]
Did you have any idea of the sound direction you wanted to take?
I was listening to a lot of 70’s German, kind of krauty music at the time and I’d been playing in a lot of Rock n Roll bands and then decided I wanted to start a more ‘arty’ rock-driven project I guess.
Do you feel you’ve kind of achieved that with Wand?
Yeah, I mean it was maybe a good choice because there are a lot of musical directions you can take at any given time. So it makes it easier to be inspired than maybe working within a more succinct genre of music that’s more defined by the traditions it’s partaking in.
Would you say that residing in LA has had a positive influence on your sound due its current and past musical history or has it had no effect at all?
Well I’m from LA and I’ve never lived anywhere else so I think it has had a huge effect on me in terms of growing up there and sort of seeing the way things have changed. LA’s an interesting city because it has these really intense moments of scene proliferation, it’s an explosion of bands then it will kind of eat itself and then it has to start over from scratch. Then there’ll be moments where LA seems so attractive then huge lulls where it’s a very unattractive place to be and everybody hates it. And right now for some reason there’s like a really big light shining on the place that I’ve lived forever and everyone is transplanting themselves into the city and it’s kind of bizarre to me.
Golem sounded far more acerbic and abrasive than Ganglion Reef and this was supposedly down to a shift in songwriting away from you to greater inclusion of the rest of the band. Has this been the same for 1000 Days?
I feel like our process is constantly evolving because we’re always trying new ideas and configurations of writing songs. With 1000 days, it was within the sort of framework for which we wanted to make the album in terms of it being a lot larger and more about having the space to make mistakes and experiment with things. Both Golem and 1000 days are very performance intensive. We spent a lot of time in a rehearsal space for like hours and hours and hours just reconfiguring songs, breaking them apart and trying to find every possible outcome that we could. The only rule that we had for 1000 days was that every single part of the process for writing a song, the song had to change dramatically. It had to be altered from one moment to the next; it could never be played the same way twice.
Is this something you recreate live as well?
Yeah, we try. I mean it’s interesting because we don’t really like to play the songs the way they are on our records. For us the records are these things we spent a lot of time making and in order to stay true to the writing process and the kind of spirit of the songs, they have to change within the structure of a performance. It’s a very different space than a recording space.
You’ve said that Golem was recorded at “not an upbeat time”. Has the atmosphere affected the output on 1000 Days the way it did with Golem?
We’ve gone through a lot of changes as a band. And personally through a lot of highs and lows in our short career that have totally influenced the way that the records are shaped and the kind of themes that get brought into the songwriting and the recordings and the way that we treat the recordings. We definitely have no intentions of making a happy record or a sad record but rather something that’s a little more true to the time we spend in the band and out of the band.
There’s definitely a sense of that on the albums. There’s no emotional guidance, you form your own emotive ideas about the music.
Yeah, I mean, we don’t really have a compass for those kinds of things or a trajectory… in most ways [Laughs].
It’s been said that the influences for your past material have been Final Fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons, what have been the influences for 1000 Days?
Hmmn. Let’s see… We were listening to a lot of Crass and a lot of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle. A lot more Industrial and Anarcho-Punk bands.
There’s maybe a slightly more electronic slant on 1000 Days, is that something bore of listening to these industrial acts?
Yeah, we all have a previous relationship to these kinds of bands but the influences seemed to take on more of a character during the recording of 1000 Days. I mean we’ve had synthesizers on every record and on every record we process all of the guitars through a lot of synths. They’re very much studio records in the sense that everything is being massaged and processed and treated in a certain way. So it’s sort of an accumulation of experiences in the studio that resulted in the records sound.
So you’ve followed a very natural process with the recording sound but also appear to have a deliberate ‘mystical’ aesthetic both visually and as part of your sound. Is this intentional?
Yeah, I mean there is a curiosity/relationship to fantasy or esoteric themes but I feel that a lot of the space that’s occupied is not that. Like, if that’s the kind of outer… ‘trappings’ of the music, then the things going on inside are pretty real. [Laughs] In the sense of us being human beings it’s kind of inescapable that we’re going to have a relationship to the music that’s really intense.
Do you think that that’s essentially the nature of psychedelic music in the sense that’s it’s something both real and a form of escapism?
Well…I wouldn’t say the music’s escapist, though it may flirt with those ideas, I think that in the most positive sense, escapism is a way of finding a moment of removal from the present or whatever surface problems that are accumulating in order to better understand what’s happening. It’s so that you can re-interpolate into reality or the present and become better equipped to deal with shit.
If you had to describe 1000 Days in one sentence, what would it be?
[There’s a long silence] I don’t know… I feel that the title is pretty indicative of what’s on the record. To me it feels massively contained. It’s a lot of information and a lot of music that’s selected and curated in way that despite it being the shortest record we’ve made, it feels like the biggest. And it is, for us, our biggest… kind of…
Not our magnum opus but up to this point the truest that we feel about music and about playing and making records. It’s just a more ambitious version of what we have been doing.
Even though that wasn’t a sentence it was still a pretty good answer! Has there been any anxiety with trying to follow up the success of Golem.
I have a lot of anxiety about those things! We basically started writing 1000 Days as soon as Golem was mixed and mastered and the artwork was at the plant. We were like, let’s make another record before this one comes out and we did it with the last one too. The real hurdle we’re going to have to overcome at some point is that, now we have these records and the stuff that’s been happening, we need a little time to process all of this in order to make the next one.
Would you say that all your past projects have taken a complete backseat along with your solo work?
With Pangea I haven’t been in that band for 3 years and Meatbodies 2. As for all of my other projects, they’re now just kind of happening in the leftover space… there’s no real point of even talking about them because they’re in the spectrum of ideas that are maybe materialising in some way or another.
So Wand’s your main output for material you’re truly happy with?
Yeah, at this point. I’d love to be happy with some other projects really soon, and hopefully that’ll be the case. But for now Wand is the main vehicle for my songwriting at least.
What’s next for Wand?
After this tour the record comes out then we have a US tour. Then after that we’ll start recording and writing again. We’ve established this sort of cycle of touring and recording.
There appears to be this idea of ‘if a shark stops swimming it dies’ – where you always have to be creating?
Yeah we don’t feel very comfortable taking time off because we’re not in a position where we’re making enough money to! [Laughs]. We’re still kind of struggling to make a living as musicians and artists and so there is a sense of urgency. It’s also important for us not to get ensnared in the kind of cycle that most bands get trapped in. Where you make a record…it takes 6-8 months to comes out… then you tour the record for half the year then it takes a year and a half to produce another record. We’re definitely not interested in that kind of structure, and we can’t do that because we have to keep making records.
Support Wand in their mission to keep playing and making music by ordering their new album on Drag City out on September 25th from here or order it from your local record shop. It’s a damn good one, you will not be disappointed.
Promo photos: Romain Peutat
Words and instant camera shots: Yasmyn Charles
James Harris hit the road to various places around the UK from Bristol to London with a crew and came back with footage of Luke Kindon, Andy Coleman, Jed Cullen, Adam Keys, Dave Snaddon, Charlie Munro, Channon Wallace, Welsh Tommy, Justin Sydenham, Nicky Howells and some blondes.
Poison Idea have history right in the centre of London. All of their 90s appearances in the capital exploded in the centre; from that first incendiary performance with the Hard Ons at ULU in ’91, to the legendary Marquee and Astoria gigs, tonight Poison Idea returned to hit the centre dead-on again at The Borderline. With pretty much all of the rock n’ roll now flattened and demolished in Central London, the heart ripped out of it, it’s fitting to have Jerry A and his kings of punk return to the ruins and re-charge it once again with their vital metallically-charged hardcore punk.
As we climb down the stairs into the pit of punks crammed in to The Borderline, the first thing that hits you is the stench of puke and sweat, the deathly aroma of punk. The room is buzzing (and gagging on the smell) with anticipation for the return of Portland’s legendary Poison Idea who are very much back. Their new album ‘Confuse & Conquer’ is the best they’ve recorded since 1992’s ‘Blank Blackout Vacant’ and Jerry finally has a line-up that is committed, settled and does the music justice. Currently three-quarters through the longest and most gruelling tour they’ve done in many years, Jerry’s punished voice may be raw and ripped but from the moment the band hit the stage, they are bone-tight and packed full of power. With ’87 era-guitarist Eric ‘The Vegetable’ Olsen back in the band and stick-thin drummer Nathan Richardson pounding the skins with more power than his appearance might suggest, Poison Idea kill it tonight.
Yes, it takes a few songs for Jerry’s voice to settle in but once it does, it’s as snarled and powerful as it ever was. “This one’s for Nigel Farage,” he says as the band steam into ‘Discontent’ (“listen Nazi, never again,”) and the entire room detonates into a flurry of limbs and sweat. And the hits just keep on coming. They play pretty much every essential song you could want to hear – ‘Just To Get Away’, ‘Getting The Fear’, ‘Punish Me’, ‘Taken By Surprise’ and ‘Give It Up’ , all of which square up well with the sprinkling of new ‘Confuse & Conquer’ tracks the band play tonight.
At the end a woman’s boot is thrown onstage. Jerry picks it up, empties half a bottle of cider into the bottom of it and swills the contents into his mouth. “Tastes like a size 6,” his says before the band wind the set up with a double stab of Johnny Thunders and Avengers covers. A perfect punk rock night. We’re so fucking glad Poison Idea are still here.
Let’s kick this off by saying that the hype surrounding this film before it aired at the Prince Charles cinema in London was completely justified. It’s an incredible production that has zero filler and parts that will leave your jaw on the floor. Greg Hunt obviously worked his socks off to get this completed at the highest level and left no stones unturned. It’s so damn good that it feels like everyone has the ender.
At the world premiere, Geoff Rowley mentioned that Propeller “is a raw video, like one you grew up with” and he’s spot on. Doused in fast moving rock n’roll, each section is peppered with incredible skateboarding, packing gnar and tech from a crew who broke bones to make it special. Let’s hope that those skaters who grow up with Propeller see full length production as the norm, and bring back the full length as a priority over web clips in the future. It’s night’s like these where you wished the internet never existed.
The premiere itself was packed to the gills and over subscribed with people who had travelled from all over the UK. There were no seats for us, so we were asked to watch it upstairs where we joined Sidewalk’s Horse, Henry from Grey Mag and about 10 others and watched it with a Rob Smith introduction instead of the full cast. I’m sure the atmosphere downstairs was electric though, as each part just takes the piss. No spoilers of course as you will have to downnload it and watch it on iTunes on May 5th when it drops worldwide, but it’s a ridiculously impressive skateboard video and one to keep.
Plenty of booze was consumed at the House of Vans afterwards, where Steve Van Doren made burgers for everyone and was joined by Lutheran, Zorilla, Hunt, Rowley, Trujillo and more of the pro team. At 1am, Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi decided it was time for a bowl sesh. Enjoy this drunk cam footage and snaps from the phone. Go get Propeller as soon as you can.