Few weeks back I took a quick 6 hour drive to the deepest darkest parts of the west country to start the festival season with the good people from Fuelled by Cider for what i believe is the forth Cursus Cider and Music Festival.

Cursus is the smaller of the weekend festivals that Fuelled by Cider run with a capacity of about 500 people each of the 3 days. (The bigger ones being Outcider in August and Incider in February, as well as a fair few day festivals)

One stage, one bar, one food stand seems like a different world to any festivals I’ve been to in the past but after seeing the line up for the weekend you would struggle to keep me away.

We arrived on site at mid day on the Friday and where apparently the first people besides the crew to get to the camping area. Parked up and walked about 100 steps which seemed far enough and set up the tent for the weekend. After a celebratory beer for getting the tent up with causing any damage to each other we wondered down to have a look at the stage which was in a decent size marquee but still a bit of a shock as the smallest festival I had been to before the had about 20,000 as a capacity. So incredible bands up close and personal. You wont hear me complaining.

The festival takes place on Canada Farm in Dorset which is owned by owned by Dorset Star Cider who produced a larger amount of the ciders available at the bar.
So to the bar we went to try the vast range of scrumpys available, not being from the west country where do you start? Dry? Medium? Sweet? Which one is like Bulmer’s? NONE OF THEM!

After settling on blackcurrent cider I think called purple haze the cider festival spirit had started. After an afternoon in the sun with a good selection of ciders whilest listen to DJ Dapper Dan from skankin delights podcast providing a great mix of reggae, ska and balkan it was time for the bands.

First up on probably the hardest set of the weekend as a lot of people where still arriving was “The Outlaw Orchestra” playing a mix of whiskey soaked southern rock and bluegrass. Not the biggest of crowds but for those who where there had a great start to the weekend and where well and truly warmed up for the weekend.

Next up was “The Intercepteurs” for those not ready to get skankin you are in the wrong place! Two tone is alive and well and located in the middle of a field on the way to Cornwall. If loads of brass and fast upstrokes on the guitar is your thing you wont go far wrong with these guys. Fans of The Beat or The Specials be smiling from ear to ear.

Third band in and finally time for some punk rock. “IDestoy” are an all female band that blew away the last of the cobwebs that had built since last festival season. Strong riff based punk that will win over even those who claim they don’t like punk music. Can not image a person in there will not be waiting for their debut album to come out.

Suitably lubricated it was time for “The Rumjacks” and the stage suddenly filled up. Smashing out the finest celtic punk money can buy, easily competing with the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. The crowd went crazy, myself including singing every word, dancing to every beat and loving every second of it. If you haven’t seen them before you are missing out. 10 year anniversary tour went on sale this week.

Friday night headliner was “Gaz Brookfield and the Company of Thieves” a set I was very excited for having seen Gaz and Ben Wein play before the idea of a full band show was something i was eager not to miss. No disappointment here! With an set just over an hour of crowd pleasing west country indie folk that seem to get the crowd going that bit more in full band form. Frank Turner watch out.

Once the music finished the djs started up again and the communal camp fire lit and it was time to talk to who ever would listen unfortunately for the good people at London Celtic Punks and Matildas Scoundrels sat within my line of sight so where my company for the rest of the night and the people I choose to blame for hangover that followed.

Day 2 started with me missing Andy Twywan due to everything being too loud so insted I sat with a cup of tea feeling sorry for myself until being handed a beer and being told to “Man up.”

My day started properly with “Sinful Maggie” a band I have been getting increasingly excited about watching since they sent me their debut album earlier this year. Any feeling sorry for myself was blasted well away as they smashed through the majority of the album with the tracks sounding even better live. If you like the idea of rancid having an accordian you will love Sinful Maggie. A massive amount of Sinful Maggie tshirts where about for a band that are still lower on the bill. Great show cant wait to see them again.

“Smiley and the Underclass” are a band I was unfimiliar with. Not knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised with a mix of dub / ska and even bit of funk thrown in. Providing the perfect sunny afternoon festival music. The only way I can think to describe them is Rage Against the Machine go reggae due to a slightly more aggressive approach to a normally very chilled out genre.

Next up was another favourite of mine “Matildas Scoundrels” whos debut album “As the tide turns” featured in our best folk punk albums of 2017. Forcing their own brand of aggro-folk up the Dorset countryside. The set was mostly from the album as well as a “sinking in their sins” which got pretty much everyone in the tent sitting in 2 imaginary rowing boats from the stage to the back of the tent while they yelled “row you bastards” it was a beautiful sight. Also if the 2 songs I didnt recognise are ready for the next album then everyone needs to start getting excited.

Again from our top albums of 2017 next up was “Black Water County.” Let me start by saying wow! The stage filled up and the crowd was absolutely buzzing even their sound check was met with a massive applause from the response they got I dont think there would have been any objections to them headlining the festival. The band where dancing as frantically and the crowd and for their final song ( cover of loch lowmond ) most of the band were in the crowd playing away. Not a sad face in the field. Band of the weekend for me.

New Town Kings had a hard act to follow but where the perfect change of pace to break up the day. As someone who is always up for a bit of ska was great to see New Town Kings for the first time since the release of their latest album “Reach Out” which filled the majority of the set and despite the songs being new to the audience still got them dancing.

Before watching “The Eskies” I was convinced that i had seen them before but couldnt remember when. Two minutes in and I was sure that if that was the case I would have remember a band that commands an audiences attention this well. Combining gypsy folk with deep south gospel melodies these guy where easily the most unique sounding band of a very eclectic weekend. Well worth checking out and they seem to always be on tour so dont miss your next opportunity.

Skinny Lister our a long standing favourite for us at Mersey Celt Punks combining sea shanty harmonies with straight up punk rock, dancing is not optional from the second they take the stage and if your not quite drunk enough they always pass the rum around, whats not to love. They dedicated “40 pound wedding” to the guy who was hassling them to play it before they started. ( Dave, you have done well ) Massive sing alongs that leave the crowd singing every word back until your voice is gone. They absolutely smashed it!

Sunday at Fuelled by Cider events is “Ladies Day,” something that we nothing about before we got there.
Naively I asked “So what does that entail? Is it like the races when everyone gets overly dressed up?” I was half right. What i didnt realise its a day of a very large percentage of the men at the festival wearing the best dresses they can find / own. It was bloody brilliant to see the effort that some of these guys had put in and some of them looking far too comfortable in clothes they claim to only wear at festivals.

Sundays music started with “The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show” who’s new ep “A snakes a snake” we reviewed last month. With that still fresh in my head I wondered down to the stage to see how the music works out live. The 9 piece made the stage look very crammed but eased away the hangover with a healthy slice of Americana that left a huge smile across my face. They really are the perfect festival band and I hope our paths cross again soon.

I unfortunately missed “Stealing Whiskey” who where on next due to these pesky west country being too friendly my inability not to try and talk to everyone at a festival. Not sure how I managed it in such a small site but I guess the local cider has some magical powers I was not prepared for.

Next on was “The Surfin Turnips” one of the most wonderfully west country bands I have ever witnessed. Some where on the musical spectum between The Wurzels and The Ramones they are a clear local favourite and a cider festival must have. Loads of fun and mild theatrics provided by their percussionist made The Surfin Turnips set was one of the more memorable of the weekend.

After a quick break it was time for “Cuba Libre” another band I was unfirmiliar with before the weekend. With incredible dual vocals mixing rap and soul over a ska soundtrack Cuba Libre are infectious and leave a lasting impression that will be stuck in your head for ages in the best of ways.

The Hawkmen I had never heard before but a man in a lovely dress highly Recommended them to me and also said that members of Skinny Lister where in the band. That was it, I wanst going to miss them. Female fronted rockabilly staight out of a seedy berlesque club. Brilliant.

The Surfin Birds bring a bit of garage rock to the proceeding and a decent change of pace and atmosphere with an old school rock and roll swagger about them and some tight heavy riff orientated rock to back it up.

The Skimmity Hitches is you not familiar with them mostly take songs and change the lyrics so that they are about cider or badgers. My favourite being “Ten pints of Thatchers” to the music of Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band. Highly entertaining and great hosts all weekend.

To close off the festival was the amazing Popes of Chillitown bring a ska punk party taking all the last reserves of energy everyone had left. They remind me of a more energetic JB Conspiracy. They played Opoom so I was made up and a lot off the new album “Work hard, play hard, see you in the Graveyard” which is incredible and highly recommended. Great way to end the festival.

Overall Cursus is a wonderful little festival, friendly and welcoming atmosphere, clean and tidy with a great selection of bands and an incredible selection of local ciders to keep you dancing. I hope to be back next year.

Thanks to Dave for agreeing to come with me and new friends Thom, Lynne, Katie, Mark, Amy, Tony and Tim for making it an incredible weekend.


Review: The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show “A Snake’s A Snake”

Id like to start with an apology to The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show because I have taken bloody ages to get around to doing this. Life rarely feels hectic, but these last few weeks have been non-stop.

Without further ado, the new 3 track e.p. from The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show’s follow up to last years album “Weeding out the Wicked” with “A Snake’s A Snake.”

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First up to avoid the confusion I have had there is more than 2 in the band, they are not all men and are quite different from the 20’s style medicine band that I was expecting from the name. In fact they seem to borrow from a whole host of genres from folk to punk to bluegrass to Americana to indie to just about anything. What I am trying to say is there is a lot of variety to enjoy even within the space of a short e.p.

We kick off with the title track of the e.p. “A Snake’s A Snake” which is a brilliant country-esk song with a bit of punk venom in the lyrics (bad pun, don’t care) saying basically a leopard can’t changes its spots. With a catchy chorus that will have you singing along by the time you get to the second one. Surely will become a fan favourite in very short amount of time. There is a great bit near the end of the track where the reverb on the vocals goes right up and for about 20 seconds turns into an Alabama 3 for a bit of that sweet country acid house music all night long.

“Flood” is an uplifting mix of brit-pop and folk rock imagine if you will Ocean Colour Scene mixed with a bit of Billy Bragg and you are heading in the right direction. A fairly chilled out song that is perfect for Sunday afternoon but still makes you want to get up and dance. I think it’s the arpeggiated chords going twice the speed of the rest of the band that is often used in house music make me think this could turn in to a country rave live with the right crowd.

“Sick and Tired” is the final track and another change of pace, change in vocalist and change in feel. This folk ballad is a great close to the e.p. which shows off the diversity of the band and ability to change the mood at the drop of a hat. Even with the sadness of the lyrics its sometimes good to hear that moving on in life can be a struggle for everyone. Just wonderful.


This multi talented folk / country / indie band have so much to offer and are surely on there way to become firm festival favourites up and down the country. With this release they are well on their may to becoming favourite in the UK folk community and beyond.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

  • Elliott (Mersey Celt Punks)


The Band



Review: Bastard Bearded Irishmen – Drinkin’ To The Dead (2018)

We’re already into May, and it’s fair to say there’s been a few really good releases this year of the celt-punk persuasion. However, you can add one more to that list, as the boys from Pittsburgh, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, have their new album out today, and coverbasically, it’s a corker.

The Steel City natives have been around for a couple of years now, having grown from a one-off tribute for a departed friend, to doing the rounds in local pubs, to three full albums and being in such prestigious company as The Rumjacks, Dropkicks, Gogol Bordello and The Mahones on tour. And, on listening to the latest release, “Drinkin’ To The Dead”, they’re certainly not out of place in comparison. 15 tracks blending folk, punk, gypsy, and balls-to-the-wall rock n’ roll guaranteed to get you singing, swaying and pogo-ing along. In a sense, the band have come full circle back to their origins, in that this album is a tribute to departed friends and family in the only way they know.


The album opens with a blasting 3-and-a-half minutes of celtic punk on “Salutations, Memoirs, Denouements”, then quickly shifts to the bouncing gypsy melodies of “No Problems, No Drama”, a track that shows off the range that these guys are capable of. From raucous sing-a-long parts to a slower mesmerising instrumental and back again, it sets the bar for the rest of the album.

“Let’s Have A Party” is a good time call-to-arms that is exactly what the title suggests, and just when you think they’ve slowed it down again with a cracking cover of “Dirty Old Town”, they then go and speed things up for the final couple of minutes. This is a band that I’d imagine would keep you on your toes live.

The celtic and gypsy folk elements continue to come through on the next couple of tracks, “Harvest” sounding like it could be a Dubliners instrumental, and “Ya Ya Ya” standing up to anything on a Gogol Bordello album. A brief intermission in the middle of the album about, you’ve guessed it, having a drink and a good time, will still have you singing along at the top of your voice after the first chorus.

“Another Bottle Of Booze” kicks off the second half of the album, and it’s a swaying, drinks in the air moment, appropriately enough, and “Green Side Of The Hill” is a slow-burning, dub infused highlight with a rip-roaring finish. “Drunken Drinkin’” is rock n’ roll folk punk at its best; “Slip (the) Jig” and “Pirates Of Three Rivers” channels their inner nautical selves, and “What A Life That Would Be” leads you into thinking it’s a ballad until it kicks you in the face with their full on folk n’ roll style.

It’s the end of the album where they save the most ambitious part for. The titular “Drinkin’ To The Dead” is in two parts: a piano-led prelude that evokes the memory of those gone but not forgotten, leading into an absolute belter of a closing track that at times has shades of the live version of “Black Friday Rule” to it. It’s a storming 7+ minutes showcasing the enormous talent the band has, and is sure to be a massive favourite at gigs.

Put simply, BBI are here to have the best time they could possibly have, and it shows with this release. Grab a beer or whiskey, put this on, and fail to be able to sit still. One of the best albums of 2018 is here.


Top tracks: “Drinkin’ To The Dead”, “No Problems, No Drama”, “Green Side Of The Hill”.


Bastard Bearded Irishmen

Get the album here:



Review: Paddy and the Rats – Riot City Outlaws (2018)

In 2017 Paddy and the Rats released their fifth album “Riot City Outlaws” to the good people of Hungry and the in April 2018 they released it to the rest of the world via Napalm Records the gap between felt like significantly longer to I am sure a lot of you.


I first heard Paddy and the Rats around 2013 when they where promoting their third album “Tales from the Docks” (2012) and was instantly invested in the idea of pirate punk and became fairly obsessed with the track “Ghost from the Barrow”.

Between then and now came the release of “Lonely Hearts’ Boulevard” (2015) which was a strong change indirection with a huge pop punk injection giving the album a kind of Green Day meets Flogging Molly feel.

Now “Riot City Outlaws” (2018) in away picks up where “Lonely Hearts Boulevard” left off as there still seem to be a lot of pop punk influence but the pirate punk has come back stronger than ever and as much as I loved the last album I for one could not be happier because not many can do it better.

With awesome pop punk riff led tracks with strong harmonies like “The way we wanna go” “Blow” and the insanely catchy “Summer Girls” will keep the newer fans happy as they are closer to the sound of Lonely Heart Boulevard.

But, if you are looking for anthems to a soundtrack to drink on the seven seas then look no further with tracks like “Sail Away”, “Where Red Paints the Ocean” and “Castaway” you can’t go wrong. These songs feel much closer to what I am sure a lot of you expect from Paddy and the Rats. Within seconds you will be raising a skull and cross bones and raiding the cupboards for all the rum you can find.

The next day when you are looking for sympathy because the life of a pirate is riddled with hangovers stick “I Wont Drink Again” on and know that you are not alone in this feeling. Followed that with “Another Life” a slower paced almost ballad that shows off more the variety of sound Paddy and the Rats have mastered. After that if you still struggling try the hair of the dog press play and start the process all over again.

Paddy and the Rats have produced a well-rounded album that blends folk influences with pop punk influences which is a great change to the harder street punk influences which are more common within the genre. Add in a pinch of piracy and get ready to enjoy.

Riot City Outlaws is out now worldwide.


Paddy and the Rats:


Join the Riot Video:

Castaway Video:

Where the red paints the Ocean Video:


Buy the Album:




Review: Sinful Maggie – S/T (2018)

So, we at Mersey Celt Punks have been waiting for an album from Sinful Maggie for what feels like an eternity even if they set out to be a band with an accordion that does not play folk, gypsy or celtic punk. That aside good music is good music so of course we are interested.

Formed in 2014 have been gradually building a fan base this 4-piece from Dorset recently seem to be getting noticed on a wider scale and this year will be playing Fuelled By Cider’s Cursus Festival and Boomtown Fair as well as shows with The Rumjacks and Matilda’s Scoundrels.

March 2018 saw the release of there long awaited self-titled album with is 11 tracks of fast fun punk rock with accordion (not folk punk). Not to say fans of folk punk wont enjoy it just that its much more punk orientated think Street Dogs instead of Dropkick Murphy and you will be heading in the right area.
The overall sound is very similar to Rancid around the time of “Lets Go!” (1994) with element of punk, ska and rock blended together to give an incredibly unique sound that will allow you to easily identify Sinful Maggie. If Sinful Maggie are following the style of Rancid then the follow up to “Lets Go!” is my favourite album of all time “…and out come the wolves” (1995) so no pressure there then.

So, there is quite a clear Rancid influence, but they are one of the biggest punk bands ever its hard not to be. It’s a whole different thing to be able to pull of a similar sound then make it your own. Well that is exactly what Sinful Maggie have done.
The sound of the accordion will always make me want to grab a cutlass and head for the seas. However, this is not your cliché pirate punk this is more like what punk would sound like if pirates invented it.

“Take Out the Sun” and “Rock and Roll Prowess” are the perfect opening kicking in full speed and showing off what each of the band bring individually to make up Sinful Maggie.

Well I was not expecting anything with a psychobilly feel to it but listening to “Long Walk Home” and “Zyklon B.” All they are missing is the slap on a double bass and they could have been on a Creepshow Album.

The album also goes a bit of ska, another good reason to pick it up. (sorry) “Mr Know It All” and “Everyone I Need” are a great change from the general pace of the album sounding like a cross between Operation Ivy and The Toasters. With fast upstrokes and the accordion taking the place of a what would normally be an organ in a lot of ska bands making it a wonderfully unique change. Hopefully Vic Ruggerio (The Slackers) will try it out one day.

My favourite track for this was a tough one because of the variety in musical styles though out the album but after a while I have settled on “Rebel Without a Cause”. It starts with a bass line that Matt Freeman would be proud of then kicks in full force and throws an undeniable passion direct to your ears.

The album finishes with “Nature of Man” a full on punk rock assault against humanity. Changing pace multiple times in a nofx-esque manner, live I am sure ready to give your final reserves of energy to the band and a fantastic way to end, no fading out all about going out screaming.

Sinful Maggie have so much variety within their music, crossing multiple genres and still managing to maintain a strong punk core. If you like punk rock in anyway there is something on this album for you. A serious must buy!

– Elliott, Mersey Celt Punks

FFO: Rancid, Street Dogs, The Briggs, Roughneck Riot

Buy the album:

Long Walk Home live video:

Sinful Maggie


Review: Krakin’ Kellys – Promised Land (2018)

So Belgium, not the first place I think of when it comes to celtic punk but now that I have heard “Promise Land” the debut album from Krakin’ Kelly I will be looking that way a lot more often.


This 6-piece describe blend skate punk seamlessly with traditional Irish inspired melodies to create a celtic punk masterpiece that sounds as tight as any of the more established bands within the genre who have worked for years / decades on honing their sound. If they are this good on their first album the second cannot come quick enough.

“Promised Land” will fit perfectly into the music collection between Dropkick Murphy’s and Paddy and the Rats. With great punk riffs, bagpipes, accordion and awesome vocals with instant sing along lyrics Krakin’ Kellys have created everything I want from a band and more.

I listened to the album knowing nothing about the Krakin’ Kellys so for the first 17 seconds of “Anarchy in the Double K” I thought I had a new trad. Celtic album on then it kicked in and went full speed ahead for the next 45 ish minutes.

Its so hard to pick favourite songs in an album this consistently good but the title track “Promised Land” must be right up there. Dropping down to just drums, bass and vocals for the verses then sounding absolutely massive when it goes back to the full band for the choruses. It maybe that the prominent accordion makes it sound a bit like “Time to Go” by Dropkick Murphy’s that it first stood out to me but, it’s the fact that it’s a great song that makes you want to dance is why it will stick.

Tracks like “United” “When I Die” and “One Way” have a strong street punk almost Oi! feel to them while still maintain a strong celtic influence creating songs that would fit in nicely into any Flatfoot 56 album.

I mentioned a similarity to Paddy and the Rats earlier based upon the pirate / sea shanty punk feel on songs like “Our Pride”, “The Journey” and “Hey Bro” just with a slightly more aggressive approach.  To quote their website The Krakin Kellys have “angry microphones and greasy bass lines meet bagpipes, flutes and accordion for a drunken party which will leave everyone pumped up!” and I couldn’t agree more. Anyone fancy a trip to Belgium? I want to join this party!

Overloaded with passion creating instant classics that make you want to sing and dance the night away. “Promised Land” should push Krakin’ Kellys to stand tall amongst some of the celtic punk legends for hopefully a long time to come.  No disappointment guarantee on this one!

The bar for best albums in 2018 has been set very high with this going to take a lot to beat it.

Elliott, Mersey Celt Punks

FFO: Dropkick Murphys, Flatfoot 56, Paddy and the Rats


Anarchy in the Double K Video:


Promised Lands Video:


One way video:



Krakin Kellys:






Review: Alternative Ulster – Pog Mo Thoin (2018)

This year sees the second album from New York 3-piece Alternative Ulster. “Pog Mo Thoin” despite line-up changes still manages to pick up from where “Rebellion” (2016) left off with 13 tracks of straight up in your face old school punk rock with bagpipes.


Alternative Ulster have a much more aggressive approach than a lot of other celtic punk bands out there, but with such a strong hardcore scene in New York it must be hard not to pick up on it a bit. Either way it makes them stand out from the crowd and forces you to pay attention.

My favourite track from the album is a close tie between “Drunk as Fuck” and “Free Beer Tomorrow”. Equal doses of cynicism, irony and humour to give create incredibly entertaining songs.

The album drops from its stomping pace twice and shows off a completely different sound for the band. The first time is for the cover of “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore” which is simply brilliant and showcase a versatility to the band. The second time is on the closing track “Sgt. McKenzie” the only track to contain only bagpipes and vocals. It has a wonderfully haunting quality that must be heard to be fully understood but if you don’t feel instantly transported on the highlands of Scotland I would suggest that you go get your ears checked.

Unfortunately, the album does not feature Alternative Ulster’s St Patricks Day Song “On St Patrick’s Day I Spilt Upon my Kilt” a tongue in cheek re working of the 12 days of Christmas but if you fancy a listen.

Short, abrasive to the point songs to drink to with your mates, just like punk rock should be! If you think Dead Kennedy’s / Adolescents with bagpipes you wont be far off. Out Now!

Well if you don’t like it “Pog Mo Thoin” Pog Mo Thoin!

  • Elliott, Mersey Celt Punks