Folk Devils : Broken Heads (Live at The 100 Club)

On March 15, 2024 London post-punk mavericks Folk Devils re-united after a 5-year absence to perform a 40th Anniversary show at the legendary 100 Club on London’s Oxford Street. ‘Broken Heads‘ is a document of that evening, seventeen songs, over an hour of hi-octane post-punk-blues-swamp-rock energy.

Named after Stanley Cohen’s book on youth subcultures “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, this highly underrated British band was formed by Co. Durham native Ian Lowery (formerly of The Wall and Ski Patrol) in late 1983 with a line up that consisted of Mark Whiteley (Bass), Kris Jozajtis (Guitar) and Alan Cole (Drums). Throughout their short lifespan, the band released several acclaimed independent singles including 1984’s “Hank Turns Blue” and “Beautiful Monster”, 1985’s intense “Fire And Chrome” EP, and recorded three sessions for BBC Radio’s John Peel Show.

By early 1984, their heady brew of swampy rock on a bed of bastardized blues had created a vehicle for Lowery’s increasingly misanthropic worldview. A well-honed gutter poet since the early days of punk, Ian developed an idiosyncratic style, fusing a natural gift for sly wordplay and a well-turned snarky phrase with his often vitriolic and poignant lyrics channeled through an explosive onstage persona.

By 1985, their sound was becoming sharp, ominous, brooding and urgent, and had taken shape with the help of producer Richard Mazda, with whom they collaborated several times. The band gigged constantly, most memorably sharing bills with the likes of The Fall, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Gun Club and Spacemen 3. They also toured extensively throughout Europe and were featured prominently in the UK music press. Sadly, by early 1986 frustration within their ranks had created a point of no return, and the band imploded. Ian Lowery passed away in 2001, age 45.

Kris and Mark reformed the band in 2016 with an idea to play occasional re-union shows which they did until 2020’s Covid lockdown forced them to shelve their plans. The new line-up of the band did however release the acclaimed “Forever” EP that year featuring two brand new songs — “Forever” and “My Slum Soul” — both included in this live set. 2024 presented them with an opportunity to re-group and celebrate 40 years of mischief and mayhem. The 100 Club was packed with friends, followers and family comprising several generations of revelers. The sound was pristine, the performances sharp (for the most part) and the mix-down superb. Enjoy this souvenir of a band still at the top of their game. Better the devil you know!

Credits

Kris Jozajtis – Guitar, Backing Vocals

Mark Whiteley – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals

Dave Hodgson – Vocals, Percussion, Harp

Nick Clift – Guitar

Tom Fenner – Drums*

* special guest, formerly of Microdisney and Voice Of The Beehive

Mixed & Mastered by Dave Hodgson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FolkDevilsUK

bandcamp: https://folkdevils.bandcamp.com/

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