Undercover Festival 2016

Undercover IV 2016 – festival preview

In three weeks’ time the 4th Undercover Festival will be opening the gates at the festivals new home, Brighton Racecourse – this year’s festival is the biggest in its history with over 65 bands and performances spread over 3 stages across the two days.

Undercover Festival IV
Friday 9th – Saturday 10th September 2016
Brighton Racecourse

The Undercover Festival developed following the collapse of Guilfest in late 201, Guilfest being the home of the Vive le Rock Stage which brought the best alternative music including punk / ska / dub / reggae, and post punk to an audience more accustomed to Olly Murs and Cher Lloyd; enter Mick Moriarty who dismayed at the loss responded by curating the inaugural Undercover Festival in 2013 – since that time Micks hands on approach has seen the festival’s profile grow in stature, until after only 3 years he was forced to move the site to magnificent surroundings of Brighton Racecourse.

This year’s line-up again demonstrates Mick’s skill in selecting a broad range of bands and performers from across the wider alternative spectrum – for a full line up head to Undercover Lineup

However, we have looked ahead at some of performers and have picked our selection of those you should see;

Fri 9th September 2016

The Selecter are to headline as they continue to tour 2015’s stunning ‘Subculture’ album – their appearance follows headline slots on the Left Field Stage at this year’s Glastonbury, a forthcoming Beautiful Days performance all ahead of dates in the USA and Mexico; In these troubled post-Brexit times, with the spectre of racism rearing its ugly head on the streets yet again, The Selecter believes that spreading the 2-Tone message is more imperative now than ever. Songs like ‘Breakdown’ and ‘Babble On’ from ‘Subculture’ seem totally prescient, one year on.


Peter & The Test Tube Babies – local heroes, originally from Peacehaven; just 6 miles up the coast from Brighton…the original “Banned From The Pubs” rabble makers responsible for the legendary “Up Your Bum” which was lifted from the band’s debut album “Pissed& Proud” in 1982 – light hearted lyrics delivered razor sharp, the band continue to play to enthusiastic crowds across the UK & Europe; check out their most recent album “ For A Few Bullets More” and the ridiculous “Piss Ups” an album of (very) unlikely covers inc “Ring Of Fire”, “Hocus Pocus” and “Gay Bar” that saw release via Randale Records in 2013…

Army Of Skanks

Army Of Skanks – Coventry based punk band, who deftly combine solid riffs, cracking melodies and challenging lyrics; the 5-piece released their second album ‘La Petite Mort’ in April 2016 which Louder Than War loved; the album easily demonstrating that AOS do not confine their sound, instead they draw upon all influences, the result being a post punk smorgasbord of interwoven styles that will no doubt have the Undercover crowd fired up.

Saturday 10th September

Dreadzone – Brighton is literally going to BOUNCE, the mighty Dreadzone will close the festival with their distinct and infectious dance driven rhythms; originally formed in London back in 1993 – the name being suggested by legendary DJ Don Letts…Dreadzone tour the world delivering the songs of joy and inclusion to the masses, and showing that there is way more in their cannon past their Top 40 hit “Little Britain” and the anthem “Return Of The Dread” – check out the 2013 album “Escapades” and then make sure you get to the front for this show…


Spear Of Destiny – Kirk Brandon is particularly busy these days, not content with touring Spear Of Destiny the band released the magnificent “31” in late 2014, which captured the typically expansive sound beloved of Brandon, but brought with it a darker more sinister edge – let’s not forget the revived (and most welcome) Theatre Of Hate who have toured and are currently completing a Pledge style campaign for the forthcoming “Kinshi” album, add to this the re-energised Dead Men Walking touring project that saw Kirk share a stage with Jake Burns (SLF) and Segs and Ruffy (Ruts). I saw SOD in late 2015, and in a LTW wrote that they were “quite simply – stunning, Brandon put everything into the performance, he is contrite, he is theatrical; above he is genuine, and certainly “full of pathos and cathartic passion” …this really is not to be missed.

We would also recommend you catch The Cravats, still fronted by man-mountain The Shend and still producing weird anarcho “what the fuck?” punk mayhem – the band released a 7” “Jingo Bells / Batter House” in March 2016 via Overground Records; still drenched in sax, obliquely angry, raucous and sounding like no other band in existence they have remained faithful to the sound that made them unique. Their infrequent frantically energetic live shows are events of folklore, and following a recent Rebellion Festival performance they will be fired up for this one.


dragSTER are set to appear on the Saturday evening, now three albums into their career, their in your face blend of down-right dirty punk ‘n’ roll has seen them regularly tour the UK, and Europe and we can reveal they have US dates in 2017 to look forward to, the band are currently holed up in a studio finalising their fourth album which is to be released via Louder Than War Records; clearly we are biased, but do not miss this set – dragSTER will reaffirm your belief in no good rock ‘n’ roll!

Similarly, the intriguing Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons who will be crossing the South Downs National Park from their lair in Basingstoke to let loose their own blend of kick-ass, dirty rock ‘n’ roll…beware, Ms Pussycat will not be confined by any traditional stage set up!


The charmingly monikered Viki Vortex & The Cumshots will also be bringing their primitive bass driven Day-Glo punk to the Undercover stage on the Saturday afternoon, travelling all the way from their Spanish squat to do so as they deliver their “Splaat” debut album…

But these are just a tiny proportion of the bands appearing, try to catch Rage DC, Skaciety, Radical Dance Faction, and Sonic Boom Six, Charred Hearts, The Tuts and the wonderfully named Plutonian Fire Brigade who we know nothing about, but if the name is anything to go by they deserve to be brilliant!

Undercover Festival IV is looking to be the best one to date!

Tickets are still available, along with camping (inc camper vehicles), parking is free, the festival allows unlimited pass-outs, and what’s more all the venues are indoors!

See you down the front!!

Spear Of Destiny pic by Julie Thompson – Aberdeen Voice

Previous articleAlana Bondi: Four Walls – EP review and stunning video
Next articleWatch this! BIRTHH unveils video for single Queen of Failureland
Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here