Do I usually write a column piece for the beginning of the year? I can’t remember and checking will be about six clicks I can’t be bothered with. If I did, what did I write about? I guess review the previous year and talk about our hopes, dreams and aspirations for the upcoming year. That seems like the appropriate thing for a column like this to cover. Off we go then, let’s try that.
As ever, I don’t want to dwell too much on the negative things that happened in 2021. We all know there were many awful things that happened all over the world and we can all do better to try and improve things for everyone in the future. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a bubble with the DIY punk community who are constantly inspiring me with their efforts in helping to make the world a better place, whether it’s raising money, offering help or educating people in matters of importance. It’s wonderful to see.
For Colin’s Punk Rock World we continued to plod along as best we could. We mostly wrote album reviews but as the winter finished and spring began I lost all motivation to write album reviews anymore. It was partly because I was struggling to find anything I was particularly excited to write about and partly because album reviews were the only thing I was writing and I missed writing about gigs. I made the hard decision to put CPRW on a hiatus until gigs could return properly and I could write about them as well. I’ve always said that the thing I most enjoy about CPRW is writing gig and festival reviews.
You might be wondering what I got up to in the hiatus. We did record some podcasts and had a lot of fun doing them but the thing I spent the majority of my time doing was making my way through a massive playlist of bands that were playing The Fest in Gainesville (a festival we had hoped to go to this year but unfortunately could not) whilst also playing Football Manager. I’ve got back into playing Football Manager in a big way during the duration of this pesky pandemic and I spent the summer taking Braintree Town FC from the National League South to winning the Champions League and it was a wonderful time. If you want, ask me about the big save I’m attempting on Football Manager 2022. I’m sure Emma would rather I talk about it with someone else other than her.
In August of 2021 gigs were allowed to return, for Emma and I this meant a return to our beloved New Cross Inn. Our first gig back was King Punch supported by 3dBs Down and Last Edition. I could not think of a better way for live music to return. Watching three upbeat and fun bands inside my favourite four walls with loads of friends that we hadn’t be able to see for 18 months was a great feeling. We were lucky enough to get to 13 gigs in total and I quickly realised that, as much as I had missed live music, what I had missed the most was spending time with friends and just being in the positive atmosphere that generates when the DIY scene comes together. I’ve often said that we start going to gigs for the music but we continue to go for the people. Till The Fest was a perfect example of this, I missed so many bands I had planned on seeing just because I was having a lovely time catching up with so many great people.
Speaking of gigs, in previous years I have written about my ten favourite sets of the year. I just wanted to list a few of my favourite sets of the year.
3dBS Down at New Cross Inn, London
Call Me Malcolm (Album Launch) at New Cross Inn, London
Popes Of Chillitown at Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield
A at Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield
Out Of Love (First Ever Show) at Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Slug Puppie at The Exchange, Bristol
Triple Sundae at Amersham Arms, London
Party Boss at Matchstick Piehouse, London
Apologies, I Have None at New Cross Inn, London
Lightyear at New Cross Inn, London
Roshambo at New Cross Inn, London
Andy B and the World, New Cross Inn, London
Triple Sundae at Old Blue Last, London
Burnt Tapes at Old Blue Last, London
Alldeepends at New Cross Inn, London
Faintest Idea at Camden Underworld, London
Plot 32 at Bread Shed, Manchester
Call Me Malcolm at Bread Shed, Manchester
Popes Of Chillitown at Bread Shed, Manchester
As I said, I was lucky enough to get to 13 gigs between August and the end of the year. Sadly that pesky pandemic decided to ruin folks plans again so the gig year didn’t end in a way that anyone had wanted. Hopefully it doesn’t cause too much chaos for promoters and venues in the new year and we can get back to attending gigs as safely as possible early in the new year.
I don’t think we have tickets for too many gigs for 2022 yet, the main one that comes to mind is when Alkaline Trio and Taking Back Sunday come to London in March. But we are also planning on attending Fishstock, Manchester Punk Festival, Slam Dunk, Bristol and Hamburg Booze Cruises, Level Up Festival, Punk Rock Holiday, Till The Fest, The Fest and Book Yer Ane Fest in 2022 – all going to plan. I hope I won’t be tempting fate for the year but I will be writing a preview of the punk festival calendar in 2022 soon. Fingers crossed they can all go ahead.
With gigs starting again that meant CPRW returned and with our come back came soome excellent additions to our team of writers. We were fortunate enough to add four more writers to our team which added some renewed motivation for everyone. It was fun to do CPRW again. The expansion of our team meant we added some more diversity to what we’re reviewing due to our different tastes and I believe that’s added a great new element to CPRW for our beautiful readers. It was also fun seeing everyone’s end of year lists. In total we featured 82 different albums on our lists – really showcasing what a strong year for punk music 2021 turned out to be despite all the hurdles we had to overcome.
I feel like the CPRW Podcast continued to improve. I think that my hosting skills have come on a long way and I’m getting much more comfortable behind the microphone. I’ve enjoyed the group chats among the CPRW gang as well as welcoming special guests (mostly friends I’ve made in the DIY scene) and I’ve even conducted some interviews, something I never expected to be able to do on the podcast. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to watch and listen or even appear on the podcast. It’s been a fun thing which we plan to keep on doing in 2022.
CPRW Records had a quiet year but we did manage to release two compilations and our good friend Wayfairer’s debut full length, if you’ve not checked that our yet then please do so here. I have a Zoom meeting scheduled soon (perhaps it’s already happened when you’re reading this) for our first release of 2022, more will be revealed when we have more details but make sure you follow the CPRW Records Facebook and Bandcamp pages to stay up to date.
We’re looking forward to plenty of our favourite bands releasing new music and discovering lots of new favourite bands in 2022. Obviously, we’ll be covering as many as we can on CPRW. As with all small, DIY punk endeavours we rely heavily on word of mouth to help the blog grow. Social media algorithms are not our friend and all the help we can get to spread our words is more helpful than you can possibly imagine. Every like, share, comment, retweet etc. is really helpful in ensuring that our posts find their way to everyone’s newsfeeds. If you read a review and discover a new favourite band, please tell us in the comments – it makes us very happy. One of my happiest moments last year (aside from Braintree winning the Champions League) was when I learnt that a someone had signed a band I reviewed based partly on a review I wrote. It really helped validate the amount of time I spend doing CPRW.
I think this post is long enough now and I want to make some lunch and get back to my Football Manager save. Thanks as always for checking us out and being really nice to us. Sometimes I get really awkward when people come and say nice things to me in person but I’m going to try and be better at that.
Best wishes to you all and hopefully we can have many fun times with great music and amazing people this year.
This column was written by Colin Clark.