50thirdand3rd

Medway punk legends Armitage Shanks set to play London show

There was a time before Liam Watson had a Grammy and The Delmonas and Fabienne Delsol could be heard soundtracking prestige telly (Killing Eve) that you could look through some records down at the record shop, and if you pulled up a cool looking record by a band you’d never heard of that was recorded by Liam Watson at a place called Toe Rag Studios, you knew even if the band was just okay, they were going to sound good.The drum sound was going to be huge.The guitar fuzz nasty and authentic.

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This was how I found Armitage Shanks. Digging the crates down at Rasputin’s in Berkeley, CA. I’d already had tea with Liam on a visit to London at this point, at Toe Rag Studios. I rang him up cuz his number was on the back of The Bristols debut, and these are the types of things we did before our brains had been completely melted by “smartphones”.

I shook my sh1t with Fabienne Delsol at the farewell Headcoats show. These were important names to a handful of people into sub underground garage punk by bands with limited pressings 500-1000 copies in total. Punk rock was the only thing I cared about, and it didn’t occur to me to be self conscious or not go meet the people that made the records I liked while I was in London.

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Back at home in the states not long after this visit, I was flipping through some LP’s and pulled up one called Armitage Shanks “Sing And Play Twenty Punk Hits Of The Seventies” and spotted Liam on the cover with those same tea cups we had drank out of, and so of course I scooped up that album.

Recorded at Toe Rag, 20 Punk Hits had a monster sound with that huge drum sound way up front in the mix and perfect tone on the guitars as they bashed their way through some well selected punk classics. This band wasn’t one of the okay bands that Liam made sound good, they were a great band that Liam (and Billy Childish) wanted to be a part of not to mention the punkest Headcoatee, Kyra.

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I can’t pretend to rattle off every single iteration and lineup in the 30+ year history of Armitage Shanks, who are still at it and playing with Virvon Varvon this Saturday 15 June at The Night Owl in Finsbury Park, North London. But Richard L. Huggins (aka Dick Scum) has fronted the band since it’s inception and this remains true today

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At this point I think it’s fair to say Armitage Shanks are legendary status, and if you’re within earshot of London this weekend, head over to The Night Owl, Finsbury Park on Saturday night to see Virvon Varvon, who are in top form as a live band, and literal legends Armitage fvcking Shanks.

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Courtney DelMar

Aside from writing about bands for 50THIRDAND3RD, CJDelMar runs the Girlsville Records imprint out of Portland, OR. Girlsville is home to bands like COACHWHIPS, HOOD RATS, TOWANDA, MR. AIRPLANE MAN, VIRVON VARVON, & THE PRISSTEENS. girlsville.bandcamp.com