There was a three band ‘punk’ influenced event at The Phoenix Bar, High Wycombe on Easter Sunday 21st April 2019 featuring Healthy Junkies, The Ragged Charms and Public Service Announcement.
Entry was a bargain £5 for the chance to see live three bands with differing influences but all with a passion for live music – as always, I urge you to support your local live music venues in High Wycombe and the surrounding areas.
Headliners Healthy Junkies are a London based band with a punk/garage sound. They have been on the live circuit for close to eight years and appeared at The Phoenix in March 2018. Their relentless hard-work has also seen them deliver a wealth of recorded output – including four albums – the most recent ‘Delirious Dream’, released in October 2018.
The band consist of Nina Courson (vocals), Phil-Honey-Jones (guitar), Dave Whitmore (bass) and Pumpy (drums) and provide an energetic mix of punk, metal and pop.
Looking for a reference point for influences, their sound has been compared to the likes of Sonic Youth through to Transvision Vamp, with perhaps an underlying nod to Nirvana. Don’t expect anything but pure on-stage energy and a slick delivery in the process.
Here’s a taste of what expect
Opening the evening were Public Service Announcement. They are no strangers to The Phoenix, having first played there in 2017 and most recently, a headline slot on 15th March 2019. The band consists of John Fleming (vocals), Pete Colverd (guitar) Dan Comben (bass) and Al Lane (drums). John and Pete are former members of High Wycombe post-punk outfit Basta Roc and played their first gig as Public Service Announcement in April 2017 during a charity event in memory of Gareth Jones.
Nearly two years on and the March 2019 gig marked the release of their debut EP – a five track beauty called ‘The Beginning’. The band originally started out playing a mixture of covers and re-works of Basta Roc songs. However, the writing bug appears to have kicked-in and the EP boasts tracks to be proud of.
The five tracks are: ‘What’s Happening’, ‘Come Back To Me’, ‘Five Years’, ‘When We Were Young’ and ‘Magnificent One’. Catchy tunes that stick in your ahead and with subject matter related to all ages. I urge you, at the very least, to take a listen to ‘Come Back to Me’ – written about struggling to cope with relatives and friends with dementia related illness. I was genuinely blown away when I first heard this played live at The Red Lion in Chinnor in August 2018.
On stage in the lead up to The Healthy Junkies were The Ragged Charms – a band making their first live appearance in High Wycombe but with a number of connections to the historically musical town.
The band were formed a year or so back through a collaboration between lead vocalist Ali Jones and guitarists Carlton Mounsher and Johnny Crees. The trio had previously worked with The Deadbeat Apostles but branched out to form their own sound and eventually added Andy Chalk and Neil Peters on bass and drums respectively to complete the rhythm section of the band. The five-piece made their live debut in January 2019 at The Isis River Farmhouse near Oxford.
And so to the connections with High Wycombe: Carlton Mounsher went to school in High Wycombe and was in what is considered to the first punk band from the town, Deathwish. Deathwish first gigged in October 1976 and famously/infamously (delete as appropriate) supported Generation X at The Nag’s Head in March 1977.
Andy Chalk also has a history of playing bass in 1980’s High Wycombe based punk/new wave bands but has more recently launched the Punkarolla radio show on Wycombe Sound in November 2016 and briefly played bass for High Wycombe punk originals, The Xtraverts, during 2017.
Drummer Neil Peters comes from a slightly more recent local pedigree – playing with Straylight Interstate in the late 1990’s and then Subrosa5 as we moved into the 21st century. Neil is no stranger to gigs in High Wycombe having played the Phoenix under its original ‘Roundabout’ name, plus outings at The Antelope and The White Horse.
All this adds up to a version of The Ragged Charms that include an eclectic mix of sounds with influences drawn from Black American music through to traditional blues and straight forward rock ‘n’ roll. Ali’s vocals perhaps give their sound a sub-conscious comparison to PJ Harvey but they have enough variety in their output to let you make your own mind-up.
Band info links
The Ragged Charms
Public Service Announcement