Tag Archives: The Babes

REMEMBERING MATT REN EX OF THE BABES 1978 – 2021

Matthew Raymond Renicks

16th April 1978 – 17th August 2021

What a year 2021 has been. Already several well known figures from the Celtic-Punk scene have sadly passed long before their time and to that number we can now add Matt from the London band The Babes.

We are grateful here to his bandmate Mao for writing a few words in tribute to him. 

Matt Ren EX and I met at sound engineering school. I was tired of not being able to record my music, so was he. The only break we had that day was enough to know we were connected. Of course, music was our first connection, he was a bass player and I was a bagpiper, and both of us were thinking about the same: we should play something like the Pogues, even though, we never played like the Pogues or any other band, but it was enough to start our friendship. We saw each other after a few months, I got a hold of his phone number. I used to play bagpipes in a garage when the neighbors were not around and just for a few minutes a week or so…

(A tribute video to Matt and also one of his last recordings)

I called him one day, and asked him if he wanted to start a band with me; what I didn’t know is that it was not just starting a band called The Babes: we began a wonderful relationship, indeed it was the beginning of meeting a man who influenced me in so many aspects of my life. we had too many things in common, He was a dreamer, he was a doer, he was a talented musician, writer, actor, great sense of humor, and if he cooked for you his tortilla soup, then dude, that was the real deal! Cat bless Texas!

I continued studying and began my recording engineering company, he wanted to be the “Booking agent and promoter” of Life of Strife. He wanted me to call it like that because it used to be the name of his own record label back in the USA. I added the “productions” so let’s say that it was teamwork. Along with that, and thanks to him, I also met my partner in crime, my other half, the woman I am in love with, after calling Raskass to see if he knew about booking a last-minute gig for our first tour, even though, Matt and Diala knew each other while he was touring with Total Chaos.

We toured many countries, wrote many songs together, I have heard all of his touring stories, lifetime stories, and the list goes on. We cried, we argued, albeit for a few minutes because he always had an ace up his sleeve so he used to make a joke and laugh so hard, and buddy, there’s no way you couldn’t laugh just hearing him laughing, no matter how upset you were with him.

We made our dreams together, we got high and we got low, he covered my back and I covered his, he used to listen to me for hours over the phone and I used to do the same for him. We used to support each other and even though he was a good friend of his friends, he was a good brother and I did tell him that not once, not twice, but many times.

I am happy I told him everything: “good and bad” because yes, he was not perfect, neither I am, but we were honest with each other, we could admit our mistakes, say I am sorry and carry on. He was a loyal man, and I never got a no for an answer. Thanks to Matt I also met wonderful people, and I will always be thankful to him for that.

I never saw a man suffering the way he did suffer, for so long. Life was cruel, and I am just happy he is not in pain anymore. besides that, fuck it, it hurts and it’s not easy to digest what happened.

The Babes in Dublin while touring Ireland 2019

As I never saw a man suffering the way he did suffer, I never saw anyone fighting his own body so he could achieve what he wanted. He had chemo or was extremely ill and there he was, asking me to go and record him, he just wanted to play his bass, that was the Only Life He Knew, and I am sharing it with all of you. He played like if nothing else matters at that moment, but just doing a perfect recording. What a talent, what a poet, what a fuckin’ punk rocker.

You can laugh if you want to, you guys can talk about Sid Vicious a billion times, I met the Sid Vicious of my generation, lived our dreams together, and nothing in this life will take that wonderful experience away. His name is Matt Ren EX, and I say “is” even though he passed away, he is here, and no matter where I go, his spirit and teaching will last forever in my heart. He lived his life his own way, and his legacy will last forever.

My love and condolences to Anita, David, Katia, and the rest of his family.
Life gave me a brother from another mother, and I couldn’t expect anyone better but you, Matt.
Rest In Power, Babe.
I love you, brother, and I will see you.  XXX

Matt’s family ask that those who wish to make a donation to St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, London. https://www.stjh.org.uk/support-us/make-a-donation/#give-in-mem
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The Babes  Website  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram 

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP AUGUST 2021

The football season is about to kick off over here so all is well with the world!

Time again for the London Celtic Punks monthly round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene. 

We start this month with one of my favourite band’s return to the fore. Seeing as August 1st is Yorkshire Day where better to begin than with BLACKBEARDS TEA PARTY who hail from God’s Own Country who give up a Folky/ Funky cover of American Folk classic ‘John’s Gone To Hilo’. Great stuff!

The Swamp Rabbit Accordion Festival in South Carolina at the end of the month has had to be re-branded as The Swamp Rabbit Celtic-Punk Festival after several cancellations forced the hand of TC COSTELLO. Currently whooping it up in Madrid TC will be back home soon so if you are anywhere nearby be sure to spread the news.

LIVE MUSIC IS BACK!! With more and more gigs being announced all the time we’d like to invite promoters and bands to send in your gig and tour dates. Remember though the Odds’n’Sods feature only goes to press at the end of each month and so we may not be able to fit them in. In which case we need plenty of notice.

All the FLOGGING MOLLY dates set for this month have now been re-arranged for next year. Yes 2022 I’m afraid so book your tickets now for Manchester, Birmingham and London.

POGUES fans in London might be interested to know that Richard Balls will be discussing his authorised biography of SHANE MacGOWAN at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club at Dublin Castle, Camden on the 6th October. The book, written with the co-operation of Shane, Victoria, Siobhan and Maurice, is published by Omnibus Press on 7 October, so it’s an opportunity to get a signed early copy! If you can’t make it, the book is available for pre-order via various online sites.

London bagpipes’n’punk band and all round good guys THE BABES are recording a follow up album to their debut Greetings From London. No release date yet so watch this space.

The wonderful KILMAINE SAINTS are back with a fecking bang and here’s some video from their recent set at the Celtic Fling 2021 in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Here they are playing one of my own personal favourites ‘Whiskey Blues And Faded Tattoos’.

THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS had a great Live Stream recently to celebrate their 10th anniversary and here they play a acoustic version of the lead single from their last album.

Another cracking German Celtic-Punk band BEGBIES PINT had a few songs up on You Tube from a recent gig in one hell of a lovely setting!

A bit of international Celtic-Punk now from Argentinian band MALA SUERTE. I don’t know a lot about them but here they do one hell of a decent cover of The Ramones. Word is that the boys (Bad Luck in English) have a new album out very soon.

THE CAPTAIN’S BEARD a Pirate Punk/ Celtic-Punk band from B-right-on down there on the southern coast of England are looking for a drummer. Contact on FB if you’re interested.

“We’re looking for someone of a professional skill level and who likes traditional folk music and or modern Celtic rock. Also someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously (we sing songs about beards)”
News from BRYAN McPHERSON that he’s pretty much finished the recording of his new album. Produced by the famed Ted Hutt of the Walker Roaders and aided by Marc Orell, Chris Murphy and Josh Heffernan among others it’s set to be one of his best yet. Can’t wait to hear it Bryan.

DIE STROMMS – Vinum, Et Domina Canticum (review on it’s way!)

TECOR SOCIETARIO – Caça Maior

THE McGUNKS – Going Out Early

THE GREEN HOUSE BAND – Ocotillo

TECOR SOCIETARIO – Caça Maior

THE POKES – Another Toast

This month we step back in time for a band that are still around and going from strength to strength. BLOOD OR WHISKEY come from Leixlip, County Kildare in Ireland and formed in September 1993 taking strong influence from Shane MacGowan, as well as The Pogues and The Clash. For the unitiated and have for almost 30 years now been one of the best bands in Celtic-Punk. How they are not more famous is beyond me! This recording comes from 14 years ago and arguably at their peak and is the live set from their 2007 European tour at the Arena Kleine Halle in Vienna, Austria. The free download is available in 2 parts.

DOWNLOAD1 DOWNLOAD2

New album from THE MCGUNKS. A 4-piece hi-energy Punk’n’Roll band from the Providence area that formed in 2003. Their music reflects Rockabilly, Punk, Celtic and even a bit of country. Available as a name ypur price download. 

Don’t know anything about THE CIDER FECKS except The Surfin’ Turnips said the other day on their Facebook page that they may be returning. I will do my best to find out more. Here’s their class song ‘The Dropkick Murphys Took My Baby Away’.

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Russian musicians playing Irish music for Russian set-dancers is not something you see every day! POLCA AN Rí hail from Moscow, Russia. Get the download or the CD which comes with a 4-page booklet on how the band came together. 

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Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also check out our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan would ever need!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

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The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

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A plug for some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans. Just like and join in the fun!

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If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

THE BABES RELEASE ‘LITERALLY A SINGLE’

Hardcore-Crust-Celtic-Punk-Rock!

Totally unique London band The Babes invented their own genre and there really is no other band like them. Hardcore Anarcho-Punk with bagpipes!

Celtic-Punk’s most hardcore band The Babes are  a pretty busy band so how they found the time to enter the studio I don’t know! They originally formed out of friendships made at the IMW sound engineering school in East London but a few comings and goings (it wouldn’t surprise me if they couldn’t keep up with The Babes heaving touring schedule!) including quite a long time as a 3-piece of drums, bagpipes and bass they have recruited Adriano on electric alongside Matt Ren Ex on bass, Animal on drums and Colombian born Mao Holiday on bagpipes and lead vocals. The song is called ‘Condemned’ and ‘Literally A Single’ is the name of the release and is sung almost entirely in Spanish. This will be the first of two singles The Babes will be releasing and buying the single directly from the band’s website will help them to press ‘BIG & HUGE’ their follow up album to Greetings From London from two years ago. The Babes are a DIY band and have always recorded, mixed, produced and mastered their songs themselves. In the near future the song will be made available on various platforms but we at London Celtic Punks always recommend to try and buy directly from the band. The few pennies that the likes of iTunes and Amazon let spill from their grubby little fingers won’t pay to help release the album so support the band by buying direct from them. As the boys put it 

“Thanks for your support and keep rockin’ XXX The Babes”

I AM NOT CONDEMNED
 
CONDEMNED A un pasaporte sin salida
CONDEMNED Del sagrado corazón
CONDEMNED Con sus políticos corruptos
CONDEMNED Y policías lame culos
CONDEMNED Divididos por estratos
CONDEMNED De su profundo letargo
CONDEMNED Duélale a quien le duela
CONDEMNED Son felices comiendo mierda
 
I AM NOT I’M NOT CONDEMNED
 
CONDEMNED Olvidan falsos positivos
CONDEMNED Y se halagan secando ríos
CONDEMNED El campesino olvidado
CONDEMNED Está Pidiendo paz a gritos
CONDEMNED El temor es su religión
CONDEMNED Y la guerra su grandeza
CONDEMNED Yo recuerdo carros bomba
CONDEMNED Mientras ellos generan amnesia
NO NO NO I’M NOT
NO NO NO I’M NOT
NO NO NO I’M NOT
NO NO NO I’M NOT CONDEMNED

The Babes left to right: Mao Holiday- Bagpipes, Vocals * Adriano Eretta- Drums * Alberto Kiri Pesco- Guitar * Matt Ren Ex- Bass *

As we said before in the review of their debut album Greetings From London The Babes may not be everyone’s cup of tea in the Celtic-Punk scene but for far too long we have feasted on the luscious sound of mandolins and fiddles and lilting Irish airs but sometimes you just need something to bang your head to. Their energy is boundless and infectious and proves again that just as you think the Celtic-Punk scene is all played out something comes along and pushes itself into view.
Buy Condemned (and Greetings From London)  FromTheBand
Contact The Babes  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter  Instagram

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2017!

Yes I know it only seems like five minutes since the last one but it’s that time of year again when we give you, for what it’s worth, our opinion on who made the best music in the celtic-punk scene over 2017. It’s been another outstanding year for the music that we all love and some truly fantastic records came out in the last twelve months. So read on to find out who came #1! Remember though this is only our opinion and these thirty album’s are only the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…

1. FLATFOOT 56 (Chicago)- ‘Odd Boat’  here

2. THE TOSSERS (Chicago)- ‘Smash The Windows’  here

3. THE BIBLECODE SUNDAYS (London) – ‘Walk Like Kings’  here
4. THE PEELERS (Canada)- ‘Palace Of The Fiend’ here
5. FEROCIOUS DOG (England)- ‘Red’  here

6. BLACK WATER COUNTY (England)- ‘Taking Chances’  here

7. THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS (Germany)- ‘Sign of the Fighter’  here

8. IN FOR A PENNY (USA)- ‘One More Last Hurrah’ here

9. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS (Brittany)- ‘Breizh Anok’  here

10. MATILDA’S SCOUNDRELS (England)- ‘As The Tide Turns’  here

11. KILMAINE SAINTS (USA)- ‘Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos’  here

12. ORTHODOX CELTS (Serbia)- ‘Many Mouths Shut’  here

13. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS (Italy)- ‘Handmade’  here

14. THE SILK ROAD (England)- ‘S/T’ here 

15. FLOGGING MOLLY (USA)- ‘Life Is Good’  here

16. THE LUCKY PISTOLS (USA)- ‘Where The Orioles Fly’  here

17. THE REAL McKENZIES (Canada)- ‘Two Devils Will Talk’  here

18. DRUNKEN DOLLY (Netherlands)- ‘Alcoholic Rhapsody’ here

19. CASSIDY’S BREWERY (Serbia)- ‘One Brew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’  here

20. CRAIC (USA)- ‘Sounds Of Vandemark’  here

21. THE MOORINGS (France)- ‘Unbowed’ here

22. JOLLY JACKERS (Hungary)- ‘Blood Sweat and Beer’ here

23. THE SCARLET (Hungary)- ‘Hardfolk Shanties’ here

24. THE DISTILLERY RATS (Germany)- ‘Tales From County Whiskey’ here

25. CELKILT (France)- ‘Stand’ here

26. DROPKICK MURPHYS (Boston)- ’11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory’  here

27. O’HAMSTERS (Ukraine)- ‘Где бы мы ни бывали’  here

28. SONS OF O’FLAHERTY (Brittany)- ‘The Road Not Taken’  here

29. THE BABES (London)- ‘Greetings From London’  here

30. CHEERS! (Czech Republic)- ‘Daily Bread’ here

Just bubbling under:

THE TEMPLARS OF DOOM (USA), GHOSTTOWN COMPANY (Germany) McSCALLYWAG (Netherlands)

No surprise here at all as all four admins voted #1 for Flatfoot 56 and their utterly brilliant ninth album. Not only that but we also all gave second spot to The Tossers, making it a Chicago #1 and #2! The year began with news of two new Dropkick Murphys albums coming but we only got the one and it met with, well quite a muted response to be honest. Saying that they were fantastic live and they certainly added a new dimension to these new songs when played in the flesh. The list leans heavy towards the bands from these shores it has to be said but it was always going to be with bands we get to see live regularly. It’s especially fitting to see The Bible Code Sundays in there too. In a year when every ‘big’ celtic-punk band released an album the competition was great so well done to all. Keep them coming. If you are not here then it just means we didn’t all agree or even all hear it and maybe we didn’t receive it too. The amount of debut albums from loads of these bodes well for both the scene here and internationally with a great mix of bands from thirteen countries.

BLACK WATER COUNTY- ‘Taking Chances’

This was a very hard category to fill with so many new bands arriving on the celtic-punk scene this past year. Soooo many to choose from but in the end we pumped for our very own Black Water County who just pipped Cassidy’s Brewery and In For A Penny to the title!

1. BLACK ANEMONE (Sweden)- ‘In It For Life’  here

2. RAIN IN SUMMER (Indonesia)- ‘Discordant Anthem From The Gutter’  here

3. IN FOR A PENNY (USA)- ‘Every Day Should be Saint Paddy’s Day’  here

4. THE BOTTLERS (Australia)- ‘The Bottlers’  (here)

5. BLACK RAWK DOG (Indonesia)- ‘Suburban’s Folk Stories’  here

6. BogZH CELTIC CATS! (Brittany)- ‘Kazh al Lagenn’  here

7. THE CRAZY ROGUES (Hungary)- ‘Rebels’ Shanties’  here

8. THE McMINERS (Brazil)- ‘Tales of Betrayal and Deceit’  here

9. BORN AGAIN HEATHENS (USA)- ‘Born Again Heathens’  here

10. THE DEAD MAGGIES (Australia)- ‘Wild Dogs And Flannies’  here

Stand out winner here from Sweden’s Black Anemone which none of us were sure was either a big EP or a small album so we gave it the benefit of the doubt and placed it in here. Outstanding! Two representatives of Indonesia’s fantastic celtic-punk scene made up for no album releases from there last year and one band from a Celtic nation with the BogZH Celtic Cats! The Bottlers sneak in as they only sent it to us the week before Christmas. Glad they did though.

1. DECLAN O’ROURKE- ‘Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine’  (here)

2. ShamROCKS- ‘Ye Ould Chariot’ EP  (here)

3. CRIKWATER- ‘Crikwater’  (here)

4. BEOGA- ‘Before We Change Our Mind’

5. FOLLOW THE CROWS- ‘West is East’ EP  (here)

6. PLASTIC PADDY- ‘Lucky Enough’  (here)

7. DAMIEN DEMPSEY- ‘Soulson’

8. GALLEY BEGGAR- ‘Heathen Hymns’  (here)

9. I DRAW SLOW- ‘Turn Your Face To The Sun’

10. ANTO MORRA- ‘From The Vaults’

Absolutely no question who romped home here. from the first time I ever heard Declan O’Rourke’s monumental album Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine I was simply blown away. I simply cannot recommend it enough. Go and acquire a copy now. A mix of folk and trad makes up the rest of the list with a special mention for Ukrainian band ShamROCKS who play Irish folk as if they were naturals! We would like to feature more trad and folk on these pages in the future hopefully. Also Vince Cayo had a fecking brilliant album but was neither celtic-punk nor folk. Was tempted to make a separate list just for him!

MERSEY CELT PUNKS

This use to be the Celtic Folk Punk And More Best Celtic Punk Web-Site award so often did they use to win but last year it went to the new kid on the block, our good mates over at Mersey Celt Punks. Well we were in a bit of a quandary about who would win this week but then in the last few weeks of the year the Mersey Bhoys upped their game and won a unanimous vote. They finally started to use their Web-Site (here) and published a whole host of great reviews and things like a events/gig section. You can also join in their fun and games at Twitter and Facebook and we heartily recommend you do.

So there you go. Remember we don’t pretend to be the final word on things in fact if you check the other celtic-punk media I’m sure we’ve all come up with relatively different lists. Our Best Of’s are cajoled and bullied out of the four admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The assorted scraps of paper and beer mats were then tallied up over several pints of Guinness in Mannions. Not all of us heard the same albums so like all Best Of’s ours is subjective.

CARLTON HUNT

Of course we cannot go any further without mention of the saddest news of the year. That of the passing of Carlton , the drummer of The Bible Code Sundays. A friend of London Celtic Punks and an absolute diamond stand up guy he will be forever sadly missed by all who met him. We are grateful To Ronan for penning a few words for him.

We lost Carlton on 3rd November 2017 unexpectedly and it has left a massive hole in our family. Carlton joined The BibleCode Sundays some twelve years ago when we were still called Slainte.

His work ethic was second to none, he even dragged us into the studio to record our first CD, he did a lot of pushing in the early days and the Lord knows we needed it!

He was always the first to say yes to any gig, whether it was a small Irish pub like The Old Crown in Hayes or The Shawl or whether it was some of our bigger gigs. Over the years we played some fantastic gigs and venues, such as The Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Beacon Theatre, The House of Blues in Boston, Shepherds Bush Empire, The Roundhouse, Glasgow Barrowlands, Indigo at The O2, Glastonbury Festival, Finsbury Park, London Irish, on the pitch at Twickenham Stadium and at Celtic Park (the night Celtic beat Barcelona). We’ve played with Elvis Costello, The Dropkick Murphys, The Wolfetones, John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd, the Saw Doctors and he even got to realise a dream when we shared a stage with Thin Lizzy. They were minus legends Phil Linnot and Gary Moore but this mattered not to Carlton, his hero Brian Downey was still behind the drums. Carlton got to meet his idol and even got some Thin Lizzy drumsticks as souvenir, he was like an excited little kid that night. We did TV appearances on Sky Sports, BT Sport and even a live St Patrick’s Day performance on BBC’s The One Show.

We got to travel around on trips and tours all around the UK and Ireland as well as Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA to mention a few. This was all just topping up the stamps on his passport that he had accrued in his days with Bad Manners, Feast of Fiddles and The Melody Fakers and many more as he spent so many years on the London Irish music scene.

Not many would know that he also wrote poetry and song lyrics, they are very clever with pun-tastic wordplay and generally came out sounding like Bernard Cribbins songs with titles like ‘Breakfast Epiphanies’ or the Brighton-themed song ‘All Things Brighton Beautiful’. He used to always say

“I try to be serious but the humour always takes over”

He did, however, manage to pen two of the best songs on our latest album, he was very proud of his songs ‘Disorganised Crime’ and the beautiful ‘Clouds’. Drummers writing songs?! Whatever next?! He truly was the engine room of the band, a quiet and gentle man off stage who turned into a one man wrecking ball when he was sat behind his drum kit.

Things will never be the same without him but he would want us to and we will carry on making music and playing his songs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on drums.. Mr Carlton Hunt

This is the 5th year of us making these lists so if you would like to check out out who was where in our previous Best Of’s then just click on the link below the relevant year.

We are not alone in doing these Best Of lists in fact all the major players in celtic-punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.

CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE

FOLK’N’ROCK

PADDYROCK

MERSEY CELT PUNKS

SHITE’n’ONIONS

MacSLONS IRISH RADIO

CELTICPUNK.PL

remember any views or comments we would love to hear them…

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: THE BABES- ‘Greetings From London’ (2017)

The Babes are a trio of London celtic-punk misfits that play fast and punky Poguesy type music… and with just drums, bass and bagpipes!

In a small scene such as ours over here in Blighty it’s always brilliant news to hear of another celtic-punk band joining the fold and we were over the moon earlier this year to get The Babes on board the London Celtic Punk scene. Announcing their arrival with a series of gigs around London it took a while for us to catch them live but we did sit up and take notice of a bunch of well made and edited You Tube videos that impressed us straight away so we roped them into supporting Headsticks and Under A Banner at The Water Rats. There they blew the crowd away with what can only be described as celtic-crust music! Snotty, two fingers in the air, DIY punk rock with bagpipes and a massive stage presence. Having your guitarist leave just before a big gig the easiest decision would be to cancel but The Babes said hell no and instead went on to play half an hour of fast as hell with only drums, bass and pipes!

The Babes- Matt Ren Ex: Bass, Vocals * Mao Holiday: Bagpipes, Vocals * Marvin Pedro: Drums

The guys met at the IMW sound engineering school in East London and soon via a garage in Twickenham, South West London it wasn’t long before The Babes were delivered. Bringing together Colombian, American and English backgrounds and featuring ex-members of punk legends Total Chaos and Blitz they have already played more gigs than most band who have been together much longer and have embarked on two extensive tours of Europe as well. They are literally just back from their most recent Euro tour promoting this album which took them to Brittany, France, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium and with no let up they hit the boards again in London straight after and head off again next month to Catalonia and Spain for a few dates.

Greetings From London has been self produced and funded by the band and is a real achievement for them. The physical CD comes in a rather nifty jewel case with a beautiful huge full colour booklet with lyrics and photos and all sorts of stuff. Very nice it is too. But what about the music? Well the album kicks off with ‘The Awakening’ an instrumental that starts with very much a traditional Gaelic feel to it before the band slowly join in and take it up to the end and for once are a bit restrained and the album gets off to a fantastic start. The next track, ‘Gold Star’ again begins with the pipes loud and proud and Mao’s voice and strong accent driving it along but no sign so far as yet of what The Babes are best known for. I have to say at this point so that I don’t repeat myself throughout the review after each song that the bagpipes on this album by Mao are absolutely fantastic. A native of Colombia he has certainly learnt well and the pipes are a great addition to the solid punk rock fare. By the way the band have given up ‘Gold Star’ as a free download so simply click below to get the track for free.

FOR ‘GOLD STAR’ CLICK HERE

A couple of short ninety second songs follow in ‘Down Here’ and ‘Do Something’ and the band that springs to mind here are definitely the Bristol based drunken crusty punk band Disorder, who John Peel once famously described as “sounding like Triumph Bonneville motorbikes”. I came across Disorder as a ten year old Sham 69 fan who use to spend his weekly pocket money on punk singles but was so impressed one day by the sheer number of songs on one single in particular (and the cheap price!) that he bought it without listening took it home and got shouted at my his Mam and Dad when he put it on. To say it made Sham look like the Bay City Rollers would be an understatement! Best song so far is up next and ‘Lima Limon’ has plenty of energy and fire in the belly and even when you listen to it you completely forget that there’s no electric guitar here. For a three piece band they certainly fill out the space extremely well and are all great musicians in their own right. When I saw The Babes recently play Matt the bassist explained the significance of the song ‘Song of Finola’ and it was very interesting but beer has clouded my memory and all I can remember is that it was an Irish story. The pipes drive the tune along and Matts vocals seem distant while the song floats along. A superb track and here I find myself having to say that sure I don’t think that Greetings From London will appeal to everyone in the celtic-punk scene but then this is not yer typical celtic-punk album and The Babes are not yer typical celtic-punk band either. Next up is ‘Rampton Song’ originally written by and the lead song on that EP I bought thirty odd years ago by Disorder. Fast and over in a flash of ninety three seconds and The Babes have chopped and changed the song making it their own.

Thundering bass dominates here and live I can tell you it’s bloody crowd pleaser. ‘Kids’ doesn’t last much longer before ‘Dandelion’ and Mao and Matt share vocals and lyrics in Spanish and English. Next up it’s the album’s highlight which is without doubt ‘Tomorrow Seems So Far Away’. Released as the first single from Greetings From London and on hearing it I straight away knew they were onto a winner.

Promoting ‘Tomorrow Seems So Far Away’ took them on their first tour ‘The Babes Invade Mainland Europe’ where they had the opportunity to visit France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. Positive lyrics and a killer tune with stunning piping and that thundering bass thundering away it’s a complete tune and if you like this song then you are going to fecking love the rest of them.

“Tomorrow seems so far away,

why don’t we live for today?

When yesterday is all said and done,

why don’t we just have some fun?”

We nearing up to the end now with just two songs left and the short ‘The Choice Is Up To You’ takes us through to ‘Chia Sue’ and the album ends on a high with a punk rock masterpiece taking all the things that The Babes are good at and throwing them back to us.

As you can imagine for a band that met at sound engineering school the sound here is immaculate with plenty of power and oomft without being over produced at all. A really good job by Mao who engineered, produced, mixed and mastered the whole thing ably assisted by Colin Smith, David Clark Allen and Sean Bartle. As said The Babes may not be everyone’s cup of tea as they are most firmly planted on the punk rock side of the celtic-punk scene and they aint a lot of folk music going on here after that first song! Though as an old and greying punk rock misfit myself I blooming loved it. The energy is boundless and infectious and if maybe The Babes are best experienced live they have done as good a job as could ever be done in transferring that live sound onto disc. Greetings From London is a refreshingly raw album that goes to show that their is still plenty of room in the celtic-punk scene and it’s not all played out. Just as you think the scene has got stale and there’s never going to be another band coming along that doesn’t instantly remind you of something else then one appears and this time it’s The Babes.  

Buy Greetings From London

From The Band here or here and All Ages Records in Camden.

Contact The Babes

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  • The Babes are constantly playing somewhere and have even begun to venture beyond London too so have a look on their web site or you can subscribe to their Facebook events (here) and be sent a invite every time they play near you.

INTRODUCING THE BABES. A NEW LONDON CELTIC PUNK BAND!

Tomorrow seems so far away,

why don’t we live for today?

When yesterday is all said and done,

why don’t we just have some fun?

(directed by Maciej Bąkowski & Lost Data Productions)
Its always great to hear of another London celtic-punk band popping up and when they are as good as The Babes are it’s doubly welcome. The guys met in the IMW sound engineering school in East London. A group of misfits that wanted to play Pogue’s type music that bred in a garage in Twickenham, South West Londonand before too long The Babes were delivered. They play snotty, two fingers in the air Punk Rock with bagpipes. Bringing together Colombian, American and UK backgrounds and featuring ex-members of punk legends Total Chaos and Blitz.
babes

The Babes (Left to Right): Matt Ren Ex: Bass, vocals * Mao Holiday: Bagpipe, vocals * Marvin: Drums * Saul Holden: Guitar

Contact The Band

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The Babes Invade Mainland Europe

babes-the-gunners– Feb 11 Bristol,UK @ Chelsea Inn with Disorder
– Feb 13 Paris, FR TBA
– Feb 14 Assen, Holland @ WHPP
– Feb 15 TBA
– Feb 16 Wiesbaden, Germany @ Dotzheimerstarsse 37 65185
– Feb 17 Zwijndrocht, Belgium @ De Smoutpot Cafe. Benefit Party De Vloek, with The End of Ernie, Altered State and Black Heroin
– Feb 18 The Hague, Netherlands @ Verenigging de vinger, Loosduinsekade 725 , 2571 MX
– Feb 19 Schleswig, Germany @ BM Private Party
-Feb 20 Rostock, Germany @ Squad Gig With Hammers of Misfortune, Driller Killer

The Babes also play a headline show next week at The Gunners in north London on Sunday 12th February. The full line up is yet to be finalised but it’s only £3 in and a chance to see the new celtic-punk kids on the block. The Gunners is just a short walk from Arsenal tube station or a slightly longer walk from Finsbury Park tube/rail station. We’ll see you there!

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