To be honest Penrith isn’t a place you normally associate with a thriving music scene. As far as I know until recently the only connection Penrith had with music was that Fish from Marrillion went to Agricultural College there. That changed recently when The Scabs formed and although based in Penrith they have been making major inroads into the Northern Punk scene over the last 6 months or so.

So no surprises that when Penrith finally opens it’s doors to a punk night (30 years late, but never mind) THE SCABS are on the bill along with ASEZAWALLAS from Workington and Lancaster’s THE GUILTY PLEASURES.
Early signs were that the England match on telly would maybe keep people from coming out and it certainly meant that there would be no pre gig soundcheck as the bands were set up in front of the large screen telly which was showing that very match to a small but enthusiastic group of footy fans.

Match over and the Asezawallas leapt into action in front of a rapidly growing crowd. They look like a band you wouldn’t mess with, big lads they are with a girl on drums, but they’re gentle giants and they certainly know their punk. Enthusiastically playing about 40 minutes of loud, fast, thrashy punk songs they had the crowd going in no time. If these guys lived in Manchester they would be working every night and would be a force to be reckoned with. Living in Workington they are a hidden gem and need to be given exposure at some gigs in larger towns or maybe a slot on the 2008 Spit and Sawdust tour. Favourite song for me was Bury It Deep.

Next up was The Scabs. Whenever you see The Scabs it is clear that they follow that old rule of “if you do what you enjoy, you’ll enjoy what you do” and enjoy themselves they certainly do, especially tonight. Ste Scab loves to wander out among the crowd, usually he looks menacing but tonight he could barely keep the big grin off his face as one song after another brought a riotous response from the home crowd eager to see their local punk heroes. All the favourites were played, Gutter Scum, Bully Boy, Blades Beat Fists and, my own favourite, Generation Terrorism. The Scabs could easily have played all night and once or twice I thought they were going to but eventually their time was up and they left the floor to a mighty applause.

The two weeks before this gig had been a troubled time for The Guilty Pleasures. Their drummer announced that he would be unable to do this gig and would not be able to do the tour starting just a few days later. This put the band in something of a turmoil but luckily good friend Chris said that he would be able to do the gig and tour. So ten days of rehearsing every night had brought the band up to Penrith. Would it work out? Well, it had to really.

Only young lads but now with two years and almost 100 gigs behind them they have worked really hard to build a reputation as a solid performing band and tonight would add to that reputation. There were a fair few young people in tonight and these were just the people TGP want to play to. Going through most of the tracks from their two CD’s they performed a set filled with the fast paced, melodic, political songs they have become known for, finishing with their current anthem Goodbye to the UK. The crowd hadn’t had enough though and so TGP performed an encore before leaving the floor relieved and very happy.
The crowd still wanted more though so Asezawalls borrowed TGP’s guitars and amps and performed another short set before Sean the Viking did a short solo set followed by a guy from the crowd doing a song! Wow, Penrith knows how to Party and that’s official!

A brilliant night, not a huge crowd but bigger than you’ll see at some much bigger venues and this was only the first of these events. Word has obviously got out as the next band is coming all the way from Japan!! DREX supported by Boredom AD and One Man Stand, all bands with years of playing behind them, play the Grey Bull on April 15th. Don’t miss it!

review by Grumpy Old Man.(1 April 2007)