Ahhh there you are, welcome back to the Bluffers Guide - this party (Oh no, not another Zoomer) is full of punk rockers. These days, they're all da's who constantly talk about the good old days: "Yeah, I saw them at the SFX!"

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Listen: Aidan Kelly's Bluffer's Guide to Irish Punk Rock

Personally, this is not my sound. I'm still a bit of a raver at heart, so the idea of all this heavy business in a mosh pit gives me the shivers. But there's no denying that the energy is there - most of us are familiar with the history of British punk rock, but I'm here to fly the Irish flag. Play loud, and stage dive at will. Just use deodorant.

Thumper - Topher Grace (2020)

I saw these Dubcore Dubs live in Trabolgan of all places, at the wondrous It Takes A Village event in the depths of east Cork. and I was so charged by the gig set up in a room that actually had a microwave plugged into the wall like a canteen? I left through a side door ears wringing and hadn't noticed I wet myself. Don’t think about that too much, think about getting the lugholes into their recent single...

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The Radiators From Space - Roxy Girl (1977)

A good introduction to the pioneering punk outfit - in late 1977 they change their name to just The Radiators and sign with CBS Records in Ireland. I kind of like these guys because they can be clearly heard ripping off The Ramones, but in saying that it's more polished, you can hear they had access to a good studio and are not recording from someone's shed. They would have guested alongside Thin Lizzy around this time, who don't feature on the list because everyone knows Lizzy already, right? 

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The Boomtown Rats - How Do You Do? (1977)

Everyone knows well the story of Bob Geldof's hair, so what! Without his crew the Boomtown Rats, it probably wouldn't be the same - they recently released a new album, Citizens of Boomtown, doubled down on being rageful and they still have something to say. You have to give it to them, when you look around, they have a point.

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The Outcasts - Just Nother Teenage Rebel (1978)

The lesser-known Outcasts got their name because they were barred from five different places in one week, and occupied the first spot in Northern Ireland punk rock. Driven by the Cowan brothers (sadly their drummer Colin passed in a car accident), they received support from John Peel himself, and released records on Terry Hooley's Good Vibrations label - watch the great film about Hooley's life by Glenn Leyburn and Lisa D'Sa, and get his book Hooleygan. Alongside SLF, they epitomize the north's punk energy at this time.

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The Undertones - True Confessions (1979)

I have had the great pleasure of having a milky tea with Jill Furmanovsky in Kentish Town some years back, She was the photographer for Oasis and many others, her photograph of the Undertone boys standing at what looks like a border crossing up north (actually taken on tour near Sligo) shows us just how young they were when they started: borrowed jackets from their sisters, Dr Martens, no money for pints or games of pool...

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Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device (1979)

Inflammable Material is 40+ years old, from the hard as nails four-piece SLF. Jake Burns got sick puking up side-stage on the opening night of the accompanying tour, which suited their image as raucous and irreverent. This is 1977 in Belfast, a few years after Van Morrison's Them (Did the boys listen to Them? Probably not...) and smack bang in the middle of The Troubles. That's probably why they burst eardrums, Can you imagine the rage, the anger? The track is appropriately named Suspect Device, from a time and place that could have only harnessed this version of Irish punk rock.

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Them - Just a Little Bit (1965)

It's a grey skyed rainy Belfast, and Them are dressed to go dancing. Instead, they're thinking of driving their car straight through the city at high speed to the airport to fly to New York for recording, they stop and have a photograph taken, and they look like science teachers, but obviously, they're not. "I went back to Belfast and started an R&B club at the Maritime Hotel, which had been a dance hall for sailors. But we turned it into an R&B club, and somebody showed up from Decca, and we made a couple of singles. That was with the group Them" - Van Morrison

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Rory Gallagher - Hell Cat (1980)

There is a mystical aura around Rory Gallagher and the spell he wove on people, hailed by great guitar players and musicians alike as a maverick in his crossover of rock with a heavy blues influence. Recently, I read that he may have been on the spectrum; when you consider this, it fits with his legend of being complex and sometimes insecure.

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Rudi - I-Spy (1978)

Standing around in boiler suits with a bag of chips knowing loading in they had to kill it at their next gig or fans of The Outcasts (recently kicked out of everywhere) would be after them. A lesser-known outfit, they were infamous nonetheless, Poster boys for the Good Vibrations label, again tearing strips off everyone up North.

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Sack - Climb Mine Powerhouse (2009)

I would be very biased towards the lesser-known but monumental sound of Northside Dublin's very own Sack. Featuring the Breretons, John on lyrics and lead guitar and Tony on drums, an ever-changing line up on rhythm guitar (for me personally, Ken Haughton, Derek Lee and Quigley set the standard) and all stuck together by the forceful lead vocals and sense of humour of Martin McCann. They toured with Morrissey, who said after hearing their single Laughter Lines that "It should be number one forever". They've worked incredibly hard, and through either negligence or sheer bad luck didn't gain the international recognition they deserved.

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A House - That's Not the Truth (1988)

Popping up in the mid to late 80's, A House with the big-sounding vocal of Dave Couse was a great band of energy around Dublin at this time, when they were still serving whiskey coffees in The Underground on Dame Street. You're doing that because somehow you couldn't get into McGonagle's (I may have been wearing a tie) You either loved A-House or you didn't, but there's no denying their debut album On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round on the Blanco y negro label was a big sound, and without being too commercial and overground they summed up Dublin's energy then, just before clubs started turning to house and synthetics over snake bites.

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Whipping Boy -  Favourite Sister (1992)

1991: Stuffed up to the flock wallpaper walls of Slatterys on Dublin's Capel Street there are red and black striped knitted jumpers on the girls and full black on the men-boys, a small stage can't cope with Fergal McKee, he'd already established himself as some sort of moody prima donna from the flats, a dead stare and an explosion of guitar from the band that saw him writhe and then for a split second float, Whipping boy was incredible I remember, I hadn't noticed till I got back to the flat on Parnell Street that I had a single line of black sweat running down my face, came with the gothic slash raver thing I was into, pure sonics and theatre from the band that slipped through the net. 

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Murder Capital - More Is Less (2020)

They don't look like punks, more in the vein of a new wave take on the last days of art school, standing outside Itzakaya getting refused because it's full. The energy is grown-up punk, concious about the world changing, with slick graphics and a buzz cut. Every band member could start their own band, but like they say they need to keep it together...

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Missing Thin Lizzy and the Poques? Try this playlist, and listen to more Musical Bluffer's Guides here.