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Un-Peeled Xmas Special: The Membranes, The Wolfhounds, The Folk Devils

Saturday, 3 December 2016 - 6:30pm
The Membranes are a post-punk band formed in Blackpool, Lancashire in 1977, and after a few years settled into their a line-up of John Robb (bass guitar), Mark Tilton (guitar) and Coofy Sid (drums). Their first release was the "Flexible Membrane" flexi-disc in 1980, and over the next 11 years they would go on to release six studio albums. 
The band pre-empted the avant noise scene of Big Black and Sonic Youth by several years with their critically acclaimed "Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder" single, 'Death To Trad Rock' EP and debut album, 'Gift Of Life.' They were the first band to be signed to Alan McGee's Creation label but the deal fell though when McGee could not afford to pay their studio bill for the "Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder." The band relocated to Manchester in 1983, and the single was issued on the Criminal Damage label instead.  The Membranes were awarded single of the week in all four music papers, notched up a John Peel session, and "Spike Milligan's" reached number six in Peelie's 1984 Festive 50.
Over the next few years John Robb steered the band through a number of different line-ups, record labels and a relentless touring schedule that literally took The Membranes all over the world, often inventing their own gig circuit as they went along.  A later album, 'Kiss Ass Godhead', was one of the first records that Steve Albini recorded.  When the band laid down some of the tracks in his cellar in Chicago, they were surprised to find that Albini had all their records as well as several early copies of the Rox fanzine that John Robb produced in the 80s.
One more Membranes album, 'To Slay The Rock Pig' followed in 1989, before the band went on a 20 year hiatus (!), reconvening in 2009 when Kevin Shields asked them to reform for the All Tomorrows Parties festival curated by My Bloody Valentine.
This successful show was followed up by requests for further gigs, including a great appearance at Preston's Riversway Festival in 2011. Gaining momentum, the band were inspired to write new material, and The Membranes capped a stunning return with 2015's comeback LP 'Dark Matter/Dark Energy'.  It became their best-received album, with rave reviews and radio play across the world, including Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 Music. 
Since the release of 'Dark Matter/Dark Energy', The Membranes have played festivals across the UK and Europe and completed a 4 week American tour. The band have been doing special ‘The Universe Explained’ shows where they play with a 20 piece choir.   We're delighted to welcome The Membranes back to Preston again, scene of many a terrific Mems gig and home of some of their most ardent supporters! 

The Wolfhounds were Romford's representatives of the mid 80s indie-pop boom, signing to the hip Pink Label for debut single 'Cut The Cake'. An administrative error  had relegated the raucous and far superior effort, 'L.A. Juice' to the B side and set the template for the Wolfhounds ill-fated career Part 1. Their second single, 'Anti Midas Touch' was an absolute classic masterpiece and would have been a massive hit had it been released 10 years later, when indie acts were making waves in Britpop's heyday, but in 1986 it was lost in the shuffle, except for on the John Peel show where it featured on the first of two Peel sessions the band recorded. 

After a brief flirtation with a major label for the 'Me' single, the band regrouped with a new line-up and sealed their obscurity with a new uncompromising approach and a string of great records, culminating in 1990's final album, 'Blown Away', which was informed by the noise rock of Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine. Around this time, the band spent a week in Preston on the way back from gigs in the north, literally penniless and stuck until they organised a show to fund their travel home.

The Wolfhounds got back together in 2005 for a 20th anniversary gig and the following year they were asked by Bob Stanley of St Etienne to play at the ICA in London, alongside Roddy Frame and Phil Wilson, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the seminal NME cassette C86 on which they had featured. They have continued to play live, and since 2012 upped their game by releasing a clutch of amazing new singles that stood up against anything in their back catalogue and were collected on the 'Middle Aged Freaks' album in 2014.  Last year boutique indie label Optic Nerve gave debut album 'Unseen Ripples from a Pebble' the deluxe reissue treatment and following the Wolfhounds' triumphant apperance at Stewart Lee's 2016 ATP, the band will put out a timely new album this Autumn entitled 'Untied Kingdom.'  Totally relevant and truly better than ever, The Wolfhounds
 are sure to turn in a memorable set. 
Named after Stanley Cohen’s book on youth subcultures “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, this highly underrated British band was as far as one could get from ‘folk music’ at the time. They were formed by 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 “Hank Turns Blue”, “Beautiful Monster”, 1985’s “Fire And Chrome” EP, and recorded three sessions for BBC Radio’s John Peel Show. The band was short-lived yet burned brightly for two years and was very active on the UK live scene sharing bills with Nick Cave, The Gun Club, The Fall and Spacemen 3 and a terrific performance at Preston's Paradise Club in 1985.  The Gun Club are an apt reference point for the Folk Devils sound, intense bluesy punk with a touch of 'billy.  Sadly, Ian Lowery passed away in 2001, age 45. 
Now some 30 years later, Kris and Mark decided to reform for a handful of shows to celebrate the recent release of their recorded works anthology “Beautiful Monsters” (Singles & Demo Recordings 1984-86) by Optic Nerve and to honour the memory of their friend and former frontman. They are joined by John Hamilton (who played drums in a second incarnation of Folk Devils from 1986-87) and Dave Hodgson on vocals, former singer for post-punk band Parting Shots. We're privileged to have secured one of these shows for Un-Peeled.  
Last seen in Preston supporting Scott & Charlene's Wedding, the balaclava-clad trio Vukovar hail from the St Annes/Wigan/St Helens axis of evil.  They emerged thirty years too late to take up their rightful place at the Leeds Futurama Festival, but nonetheless at the rite time for their acerbic, bass-heavy post-punk to be informed by Coil, Cabaret Voltaire, Sisters of Mercy, J.G. Ballard, J.G. Thirlwell and The Coachwhips
Resourceful and prolific, Vukovar have put out two great albums, ‘Emperor’ and ‘Voyeurism’, in the last 12 months on the Small Bear label and some more provocatively-titled releases on the way, which will be unveiled at this gig. Make sure you turn up early to see one of our favourite North-West acts.      
The UN-PEELED XMAS SPECIAL featuring THE MEMBRANES, THE WOLFHOUNDS, THE FOLK DEVILS & VUKOVAR comes to The Continental on Saturday 3rd December 2016. Doors open at 6.30pm. 
Tickets are £12 advance or £14 on the door and are available online RIGHT NOW from SEE Tickets    WeGotTickets   Skiddle 
Also in person from our bar (01772 499 425) & Action Records (01772 884 772)