Punk aces Verbal Warning looking to make it three in a row for local talent

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Verbal Warning are hoping to make it a glittering hat-trick for local punk bands when they play the Introducing Stage at the prestigious Great British Alternative Music Festival at Butlin’s, Skegness, in October.

The festival will pull thousands of fans to the famous resort over the weekend of October 5-8 with bands of the calibre of Boomtown Rats, Sham 69, New Model Army, The Wildhearts, The Blockheads, The Exploited, UK Subs, The Rezillos, Bad Manners, Dirtbox Disco, Spear of Destiny and The Professionals on the main stages.

At the same time 12 other bands are invited each year to play the Introducing Stage with the audience invited to vote for their favourite each day to go forward onto the main stage the following year.

Already, veterans Resistance 77, who hail from the South Normanton and Heanor area, won a place on the main stage last year while hilarious Sutton/Heanor punksters Hung Like Hanratty followed suit with a storming performance for a place this year.

Joining Hanratty from last year’s winners are Hands Off Gretel and No Thrills.

Now Nottinghamshire’s Verbal Warning, whose first gig was in 1980 and who reformed in 2005, have the chance to make it a local treble.

With new album No Half Measures doing well for them with its potent mixture of comedy and more serious subjects, the band will play on Sunday, October 8, and are up against Birmingham punk veterans Drongos for Europe, New Zealand outfit Desperate Measures and Congleton-based Vomit.

Lengthmen, Jack the Lad, Blue Carpet Band and The Reletics are Friday’s contenders while Saturday sees Pete Bentham and The Dinner Ladies, Bus Station Loonies, Delinquents and Witchdoktors.

Verbal Warning frontman John Lomas said: “We are absolutely chuffed to bits to get on the bill at all with so many good bands from around the world battling for a spot and so few available.

“Anything now will be a bonus. We know we are up against some high quality bands – I’ve enjoyed watching the Drongos for years.

“But we do have a really good following in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and, being at Skegness, we are hoping to have a big local support there.

“One thing we always are is very entertaining and memorable. If we can win over a few new fans as well as those we already have on the day - we usually do - we are confident we could do well.

“We are certainly going to be the only band who hand out hundreds of yellow plastic ducks to the audience to pelt us with! That’s going to be spectacular there.

“I watched Hanratty win at Skegness last year and it was one of my favourite weekends of the year. Now it’s our turn to do the entertaining and we can’t wait.

“Our new album is going down very well and it was lovely to see people singing the words back at us at Rock City last month.”

Before then, Verbal Warning have a string of festivals to play including Strummercamp at Oldham Rugby Club, Rock & Bike Festival at Carnfield Hall, South Normanton, and Blyth Power Ashes at Tewksbury.

Last year was the band’s busiest ever gig-wise and that looks set to be surpassed in 2018.

For gig information and CDs, visit www.verbalwarninguk.com.

For tickets to the big Butlins weekend, visit www.bigweekends.com/the-weekends/specialist-music-weekends/great-british-alternative-music-festival.aspx.

Photo by Robert Balmer