Photo ©Mike Steele
Welcome to The Awkwards page.
The following is adapted from a feature about The Awkwards written by Alice Jones-Rodgers which was included in Eighth Day Magazine Issue Six's New Punk Special:
Our first introduction to The Awkwards was in April 2018, whilst they were still a three-piece consisting of bassist Adrian Green; guitarist Michael Rigby and drummer Gary Hanson. At the time, I was working for Xune Mag and reviewed their performance at The Waterloo Music Bar’s Easter Anarchy Weekend, whilst Scott took a series of photos capturing the gig. At the gig, we were given a copy of the band’s six track demo EP, consisting of the tracks ‘Being Awkward’; ‘Down in the Garden’; ‘Zombies’; ‘Why You Lookin’ at Me’; ‘Solution’; ‘Day Care’ and ‘Waste of Space’. We were instantly impressed by the band’s stage performance and music alike. It was quite clear, even in their very early days, that this was a band who had the ability to write simple and catchy but thoughtful and imaginative punk songs in the vein of their 1977 forefathers. Not only this but The Awkwards already seemed like a fully formed package, with a fun image that befitted the band’s name and set them apart from their New Punk peers. There was Green with his combat gear and flattop-come-Mohawk coiffure pounding his bass within an inch of its life; Rigby resplendent in his garish Hawaiian shirt intercutting proceedings with his razor-sharp guitar work and Hanson with his natural geek-chic charm and hyperactive but perfectly poised drumming abilities.
Following the gig, The Awkwards became Eighth Day Communications’ first PR clients and we set to work procuring the band radio play on several stations including Merseyside’s Vintage Radio and their native Blackpool’s Fylde Coast Radio, which also included an interview.
Around the same time, Blackpool-based purveyors of thrash punk-metal CSOD were coming to their natural end and rake thin, toweringly tall scream-specialist Ligzig Liggett found himself looking for a new home for his microphone lead self-mummifying and audience exciting onstage antics. Until this point The Awkwards’ lead vocal duties had laid with Green. However, looking to free Green up to concentrate on providing the band with one half of its powerhouse rhythm section and to expand the band’s sound, the threesome invited Liggett to join the band. The fusion of these talents was an instant success, with The Awkwards making even more headway on the scene and winning over more and more fans as they went.
On the first weekend of February this year, The Awkwards recorded their self-titled debut album at Rock Hard Studios in Blackpool with producer Ronnie Bomb.
CHECK OUT PICS FROM THE RECORDING SESSION ON OUR BLOG POST HERE!
The band recorded fourteen songs for the album over the space of just two days. Everything was recorded live, which should make for a spontaneous sounding album capturing the essence of their stage performances. The band even managed to find time to record their cover version of Buzzcocks’ ‘Oh Shit’, which was first performed at a recent Pete Shelley tribute concert in Bolton and has since been added to setlists for other gigs. We are told that the recorded version of ‘Oh Shit’ has been earmarked for a forthcoming Pete Shelley tribute compilation. The Awkwards covering Buzzcocks is a stroke of genius, being that they are to the New Punk scene what Buzzcocks were to the 1977 scene.
When we arrived at Rock Hard Studios, The Awkwards were just limbering up to start their marathon task of recording their debut album in a single weekend. “We’re in here for two days”, Green told us. “I don’t know what time we’ll finish tonight, just when we get tired I guess.” The band proceeded to give us a sneak preview of the album by running through four of the album’s songs whilst Bomb made his final checks in the control room. As the foursome launched into their theme song, ‘Being Awkward’, the first thing to notice was how much the band has evolved since the acquisition of Liggett. ‘Being Awkward’ was always a song catchy that it makes The Monkees’ theme song sound like free-form jazz and in a parallel universe devoid of Simon Cowell and his cronies (imagine that?), it would sell a million copies and be at number one for 52 weeks. However, with Liggett on board, whilst it retains all the pop earworm qualities that we loved about the song way back in April last year, ‘Being Awkward’ is faster, more ferocious and to put it simply, even better. Before we have time to catch our breath, the band plough forward into the Buzzcocks-esque short sharp shock of ‘Why You Lookin’ at Me?’, which we find has been given a similar new lease of life. “What song’s this?” asked Rigby from the studio floor. “’I Got A Plan’”, replied Bomb as he prepared himself to perform his magic on the production desk. ‘I Got A Plan’ is one of the newer songs in the band’s set and with its mix of incendiary vocals and suitably fast and furious musical accompaniment, it has already been ripping the rafters off venues up and down the country. Finally, the band played another newer song, the already firm live favourite, ‘Opposites’, which as well as best exemplifying Green’s penchant for taking very simple subject matter and turning them into a fun, witty little punk song, also features Liggett intoning the brilliant line, “We’re not anti-social, we’re just not that social!”
Following these performances, Hanson and Bomb conducted some last minute drum checks and various members of the band wandered in an out of the control room, where Green told us, “We’ve already got enough songs for the second album and probably the third. We’ll never be short of songs. I’ve got seven ideas for songs on my phone”. “But it’s not Adi doing it with his bass that gives us ideas”, said Liggett, “He does it with his voice, so he just goes like, ‘Got one here, Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh …!’ But we get a song out of it! Yeah!” Green continued, “My house collapsed and caused ten grand damage, in July, they reckon it’ll be ready by beginning of March. So what’s happened is I’ve had to move into rented accommodation and this house, it’s near the hospital and it’s near these traffic lights. Every time, all through the night, ambulances switch their sirens their sirens on. So one day, I’m sat there in the loo, right. I swear, I like to make songs up while I’m sat there. And this siren goes past one minute, then another one, then another one and I’m thinking, I’m going mental in this rental and the next thing I’m singing, ‘I’m going mental in this rental, I’m going mental around here!’ And the next minute, I’ve got a song!”
The following Saturday, we were back at The Waterloo Music Bar, where all four members of The Awkwards came along for our day out and the day after, we returned to the venue to watch the band support fellow Blackpool punk band, Black Eddy. As well as the tracks we had heard the band perform at Rock Hard Studios, the fourteen song set also included ‘Some Mothers’, the joyously sang, pogo-inducing “Ba-da-ba-da-ba-ba-ba …” part of which manages to eclipse the “Woo-hoo!” in Blur’s ‘Song 2’ (‘Blur’ (1997)) as one of the greatest, audience participation inducing vocal hook-lines of all time. Elsewhere, the lyrical witticisms of ‘Down in the Garden’ (“What you doing in my garden, What you doing in my shed, I’ve got really sharp tools, You’re gonna end up dead”) haven’t lost any of their addictive magic one year on from writing that first live reviews and ‘Day Care’ still reverberates with the same level of pop punk prowess that Buzzcocks were once famed for. And then there is the apocalyptically-themed duo, ‘Solution’ and ‘Zombie’, which show that there truly are no limits to the imagination of this band.
What can you expect from The Awkwards’ debut album? Simply put, the most fun you are likely to have all year and a record that will one day be considered to be a genre-defining New Punk classic.
The Awkwards self-titled debut album, Eighth Day Magazine's 2019 Album of the Year, is available by messaging us or the band's Facebook page via the link below.