Pretty Shitty Kjell 2016
Although it has only been several hours since my plane landed back home on Dutch soil, I am already behind my computer doing a write-up on the first, multiple-day festival of the season: Pretty Shitty Kjell 2016! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see all bands that performed over the course of three days (this includes the pre-party), but the bands I did see absolutely killed it! I am not going to review the festival from day to day, but in an alphabetical order of the bands that performed (and that I actually saw), because let’s face it…
BATTLE RUINS was the foremost reason to fly out to Stockholm in the first place! Obviously I was extremely stoked, but for a moment a last-minute cancellation crossed my mind. Fortunately a photo of the band doing a sound check surfaced on Facebook the day of the show so in the end there was nothing to worry about. Of course the expectations were high, but although they managed to not perform perhaps my favorite track “Cut Blood Line”, they fulfilled every expectation there was with an absolutely devastating set! Excluding the epic introduction, Battle Ruins performed every single track of their 7”, 12” and their contribution to the “Striving Higher” compilation, “Cold Iron Death”! No surprises here, just twelve tracks of pure mayhem and total destruction, exactly where everyone in the crowd (that came from all over the world) came for! Insane!
Another band I was extremely stoked on seeing was London’s own, CROWN COURT. So far the Crown Court boot boys impressed with hit after hit on record and it’s great to see they are spreading the English disease abroad as well! 100% no fuss, just pure impact with raucous songs such as “Trouble From London”, “3 Stretch”, “Hammer A Nail”, “No Paradise”, “Style Identified” and “We Made You”! Hopefully these lads cross the sea (or ocean, depending on where you live) more often!
Another highlight of the weekend was the performance of Maxime Smadja, aka DIGITAL OCTOPUS! Upfront the organization was a bit worried on how the audience would respond to Maxime’s Italo-disco take on classic Oi!, punk and hardcore tracks, but the crowd that stuck around absolutely loved it! And honestly, what is not to love about it? Everyone got all synth’ up on Octopus’ favorites such as “I Got Your Number”, “Can’t Tell No One”, “Anti-War”, “Voice Of A Generation”, “Hybrid Moments”, “What You Want” and, of course, “I Don’t Like You”!
Stockholm locals GREBOL had the fun, but perhaps tough job, to open up the PSK festival, but both the band and the crowd quickly seemed to enjoy themselves! Of course all tracks from last year’s promo CD “För Sverige Ur Tiden” were performed, as well as some brand new tracks that will be unleashed on 10” vinyl later this year through Pretty Shitty Town. At least I think, because even after five days of Stockholm my Swedish is still extremely poor.
With their brand new EP “Brick And Bone” in the pocket, LEGION 76 crossed the ocean for their first performance in Europe ever! If you couldn’t make the trip to Stockholm, be sure to catch these guys perform live when they return to Europe this fall for a full tour, because this band is not just on record a true powerhouse, but on stage as well! They deliver an insane amount of melody, but brought with so much strength that they definitely belong to the best of the US of Oi! volume three if you ask me! Really grateful I got the chance to see these guys live!
A band that never seems to disappoint live is Paris’ LION’S LAW! Mixing it up with songs from their debut LP “A Day Will Come”, last year’s mini-LP “Open Your Eyes” and brand new tracks from their upcoming EP on Pretty Shitty Town and their next, yet unannounced, full-length album, the set-list had a few surprises in store! Favorites are still the opening track “Knock ‘Em Out”, “For My Clan” and “Lafayete” though! Still I can’t wait to hear what their new records have in store, because live they definitely sounded meaner than their previously released music!
Although RIXE opened up on the second day of the festival, they certainly weren’t one of the least bands to perform this weekend. Instead, they delivered one of the strongest performances at the PSK festival! Their powerful sound, heavily driven by the bass, made perfectly clear that they’re an absolute force to be reckoned with and that they’re definitely surfing on the top of the new wave of French close shave! I can’t wait for their second EP to drop next month!
The fast and violent noise from the SHIPWRECKED boys absolutely ripped, but the absolute high-light of the show was when Choke entered on stage to perform Last Right’s “So Ends Our Night” with the last of the Pagans! Battle Ruins’ show was one of a kind, but this was something special as well, to me at least, since it’s one of my favorite hardcore songs, ever!
Although it’s only been exactly a month since I saw SLAPSHOT perform for the last time, I don’t mind a second round within 31 days! Since that ‘other band’ is performing the next day, the set-list includes nür Slapshot songs, delivering hit after hit after hit! From all-time favorites such as “Step On It”, “Watch Me Bleed”, “Hang Up Your Boots”, “No Friend Of Mine” and “Old Tyme Hardcore” to future classics from their latest LP like “I Told You So” and “Go Hard”, it had it all and definitely is something I could watch live every month of the year!
That ‘other band’ I was talking about in the previous paragraph is obviously STARS AND STRIPES! I only caught Slapshot perform the casual Stars And Stripes song in the past live, but never witnessed a full-on live set by one of America’s finest Oi! bands and they absolutely killed it! Mainly mixing songs of their classic debut LP “Shaved For Battle” with tracks of their superb new record “Planet Of The States”, they were on an absolute rampage with “Shaved For Battle”, “Drop The Bomb”, “Here’s One For The Lads”, “The Power And The Glory”, “American Oi!”, “Planet Of The States”, “These Colors Run”, “Keep Your Enemies Closer”, “Hang On (To Your Dreams)”, “Nowhere” and “Skinheads On The Rampage”! What a night!
Malmo’s savagery URBAN SAVAGE had the honor of opening up the pre-party on Thursday. The first time I heard these guys I became an instant fan of their raw mix of punk, Oi! and hardcore and straight from the start the crowd seemed to enjoy this powerhouse as well! I can’t blame them, because songs like “Minimum Wage – Maximum Slave”, “No Cure For A Sick Society”, “When The Day Comes” and “The End” hold their ground live as well!
Marching on straight out of the UK is VIOLENT REACTION! Without a doubt one of my favorite newer hardcore bands out there, so needless this was yet another one of the bands I was stoked on seeing at PSK! Just like on record, these guys absolutely smash it up live with a fast, energetic and violent set at the pre-party!
There you go! As said I wasn't able to see all the bands that performed so it is correct that you are missing some of the bigger names in this list, but it is how it is! All in all I had a great five days in Stockholm! Got to spend a lot of time with the misses, met a lot of great people, saw some amazing bands, scored some records, did some sight seeining, visited some museums and we were lucky with the weather as well. Until we meet again Sverige!