During the weeks in which the BoomTown district lineups are announced, I spend my time poring through as many albums and EPs as I can from the artists announced, in the hope of discovering a new favourite. And I always do. First up is Chinatown, the home of ska, punk, and ska-punk, otherwise known as the first 3 genres that I fell in love with all thanks to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. With each district I’m gonna limit myself to 5 key picks, that were my favourite discoveries/rediscoveries from the batch, and as before, there’s a full Mixcloud show available, and a Spotify playlist.
If you want proof that punk rock need never die, look no further than Subhumans. Formed in 1980, they’ve taken occasional breaks, but haven’t lost an ounce of anger or energy in over 35 years. Dick Lucas is a perfect punk lyricist, and barks so clearly that there’s never any mystery about what’s pissed him off this time. Straight from the heyday to the Devil Kicks Dancehall, Subhumans are one of my top picks for this year.
Surprisingly, one of the world’s greatest pirate punk bands comes from the meek land of Vancouver, Canada. They’re unbelievably tight, quick, proficient, and funny, with a great range of styles and tempos. Out of all the bands I’ve listened to over the past week, Dreadnoughts rank among the best for their balance of musical professionalism with sheer rowdiness. Grab yer rum and I’ll see ya down the front!
Cardiff natives Astroid Boys have taken more shit for doing what they do than any band ever should, so it’s real humbling to see how far they’ve come. Why exactly they’ve received so much stick for their highly original hybrid of grime and metal is pretty difficult to understand, and I think it’s immense that they’ve successfully bridged 2 genres that are so far apart. We welcome them back to BoomTown with open arms.
The loudest and angriest band on the lineup so far are another South Wales powerhouse, and describe themselves as a three piece, three chord thrash punk band. If you think long songs are a waste of time, and need to hear something full of rage, you won’t do much better than Pizza Tramp. I predict some pretty brutal circle pits.
Now this is my favourite discovery of Chinatown week. Take the Sex Pistols and The Prodigy, and combine them with the darkest humour on the internet. Then get darker. Right down the bottom of the poster, performing in the teeny tiny Freak Boutique, Petrol Bastard are fucking hilarious, as well as being everything that a comedy musical act ought to be. The venue’s probably only big enough to hold about 50 or 60 people, but they’re gonna have a fantastic time.