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Sham 69 among headliners at Undercover Festival

11 January, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Sham 69 frontman Jimmy Pursey – the band are set to headline Undercover Festival

THERE’S a new festival in town and it is claiming to be one of the friendliest out there – but beware, this is strictly a hipster-free zone.

Undercover Festival has been running at various southern and coastal locations for the past six years, but its organisers have now decided to bring it inland to London – Tufnell Park to be precise – promising a raging set of headliners including Sham 69, Slaughter and the Dogs, Penetration and GBH, as well as a strong line-up of supporting acts.

Taking place at Boston Music Room and Tufnell Park Dome for three days between April 26 and 28, Undercover Festival VII is a small, independent indoor music festival of alternative, punk and post-punk music.

“Plans are in place for an even better Undercover VII,” said organiser Mick Moriarty who launched the festival in 2013 as a space for the type of alternative bands he used to put on at Guildfest before it shut down.

“We are putting the finishing touches to what we believe is a mouth-watering alternative music event, with none of that X Factor schmaltz here,” he added.

Mick said the festival’s character comes from the fact that “we are a hipster-free zone, an X Factor-free zone, thank goodness, and we have a no-nonsense approach to any pretentious musical garbage, just a great vibe and ensemble of alternative bands on such a wide range and selection that you won’t find anywhere else in London.”

“At Undercover many people arrive as strangers and leave as friends – easy to say but it’s true, such is the unique and friendly atmosphere you get at an Undercover Festival.”

After a number of years moving around various venues in the south, Mick decided to take the festival to Camden.“Moving to London, and especially the Dome in Tufnell Park, was a no-brainer, really,” he said.

“While The Dome/Boston Music Rooms is a tad smaller than what we have used before, we think the venue, location and can-do attitude of the venue is just right for what we are looking for.”

As the festival is a labour of love, Mick listens to hundreds of bands and attends countless gigs to select his line-up. His involvement comes from “a masochistic desire to spend all my free time planning and pushing this unique event and beautiful scene”, said Mick, who runs the whole event with the help of immediate family and friends.

The alternative, punk and post-punk scene is still present, although it may not be high-profile, but that’s a good thing, he insists. While the festival may initially appear to focus on older or established bands, Mick consciously books some that are relatively younger or less well known and, in his opinion, “worth the entrance money alone”. His picks of bands to look o­ut for include: Vulpynes, “a female two-piece from Dublin. Why they are not up there with Sleaford Mods and Slaves is beyond me. Given the chance, I think they can hold their own against any of their more established male counterparts,”; Mick O’Toole: “This British folk-punk band with huge Irish influences are impressive and then some, a great young party band that fit well into Undercover; Petty Phase: “Three females and one male make up this quirky four-piece band. Many will underestimate them at first sight but they have a cracking catalogue of tracks that will be difficult to forget once seen”; Diablofurs: “They are alternative and then some, but many will be raving about them afterwards”; Scandal: “I suppose you would call these guys old, but with a difference. Hailing from Romania and Brazil, they are band with a great attitude, socially aware and I am always endeared to a band that put in 110 per cent into every set with a smile where you can see they love every second they are on stage”; GYB: “An anarcho hardcore five-piece, a right bunch of endearing cheeky scallys from Surrey. One of the most disorganised bands you will come across, but one band I highly rate, fast and, with it, they must have the record for bands I have ever put on to fit in the most short, frenetic songs into one set.”

• General admission tickets are now on sale and available by post, online at or from All Ages Records in Camden, Banquet Records in Kingston, Surrey, and Sounds of the Suburbs Records in Ruislip.

The full line-up…

FRIDAY, April 26: Slaughter And The Dogs + Xslf (X Stiff Little Fingers) + The Defects + Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons + Charred Hearts + Vulpynes + Scandal + The Fanzines + Gyb + Petty Phase + Sarah Pink + Guest.

SATURDAY, April 27: Sham 69 (Pursey, Parsons, Treganna, Guy) + Penetration (Very Special Guests) + Chelsea + The Restarts + Menace + 1919 + Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions + Big Boy Tomato + Witchdoktors + East Town Pirates + The Screaming Dead + Nuffin + Mick O’Toole + R.E.D. (Religion Equals Decay) + Stone Heroes + Rage DC.

SUNDAY, April 28: GBH; Ed Banger And The Nosebleeds + Eastfield + The Fecking Ejits + Diablofurs + The Anoraks + Surgery Without Research + Weekend Recovery + Dirty Ugly Punk Monkeys + Wyrd Sisters. Also buskers’ corner with Wyrd Sisters (turn up and have a go) + Deadly Dave Ralph + Trev Bossom, Mick Moriarty + very special guests tba playing Vinyl Only at the official after show parties 11pm to 2pm (Fri & Sat) + MCs Keith Woodhouse and Gwen Ever + DJs spinning tunes in between bands. Stages and timings to be announced. Line-up subject to change at short notice.


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