COCKWOMBLE: Conspiracy. Charlie Harper and WKNJ

All aboard The Pelirocco Express: One night – 3 performances.

This promised to be a great night as Cockwomble held an EP launch party. Who Killed Nancy Johnson and the legendary UK SUBS front-man Charlie Harper were on the bill!

The Pelirocco, is the original rock n roll Brighton boutique hotel with 19 individually themed bedrooms and late night cocktail bar. It is also a venue for intimate gigs and performances. Situated close to Brighton seafront in Regency Square. It claims to be England’s most rock n roll hotel.

The Gig:

COCKWOMBLE - photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

COCKWOMBLE – photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The Conspiracy EP is the third musical offering from Cockwomble and tonight was a gig/party to launch it. The Peli was pretty near full and everyone was looking forward to the night. Cockwomble describe themselves as “Cockwomble are the best/worst band you’ve never heard of. Until now!” They release their third EP: ‘Conspiracy’ (tonight) in advance of supports this year with Subhumans, U.K. Subs and a slot at Rebellion Festival’s Introducing Stage in August. Their previous two EPs have been described as joyous, furious, bitingly sarcastic, probably treasonable, but with dripping melodies, sharp riffs, hook-laden and super catchy whilst full of black humour. Their eponymous debut album is due Summer 2019.

The Cast: In order of appearance:

ACT 1 – Charlie Harper

Charlie Harper: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Charlie Harper: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

I have been so lucky to have seen Charlie doing an acoustic set a few times now. He pulled his setlist out from his back pocket. “Its only a small setlist because this is a short set” he smiled and positioned his harmonica and guitar. I have to say he always delivers a set of favourites. The assembled audience shuffled closer to the front. I was chatting to Charlie as he got the call, we quickly finished talking and Charlie went on to a warm round of applause from everyone. His first song was Stranglehold.  Everyone knew the words, and together with the engagement Charlie creates, it made the set very special, almost personal. Charlie performed the title track of his latest album,  Little Black Crow. This is pure delight for me, I love the song, and the album and the crowd relished it as well. You can find out more about this album here.

Rebellion Song, which again was known by us all and Charlie had us accompany him for that one. Other songs performed included CID , Another Kind Of Blues. Charlie then performed Streets of London originally by Ralph McTell in 1969, a fabulous rendition.  Live In A Car, Tomorrows Girl and Warhead to finish. I have seen Charlie do Warhead within a full on UK SUBS  environment. This was special as he invited Ali and Victoria, from Cockwomble, to join him to close the set. A short, but very sweet set from Charlie.

Charlie Harper, Ali and Victoria: Warhead – photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

ACT 2 – Who Killed Nancy Johnson

The best live UK band you haven’t seen yet! Who Killed Nancy Johnson? are a​ ​high-energy and heavy ​​punk band whose influences include The Stooges, The Ruts, Buzzcocks, The Rezillos, Alkaline Trio, Tsar, Ash, Lit, Rival Schools, The Drills, 3 Colours Red, Weezer, Sabbath. Their songs are all original.

Who KIlled Nancy Johnson? Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Who Killed Nancy Johnson? Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Let me tell you, it was great to catch up with Stefan again. These guys hit the sweet spot for me when we met in Brighton back in July 2017. The band has undergone a personnel change and now made up with Stefan Ball – Vocals/Bass, Pete Moulton – Guitar/Vocals, Mark Wren – Drums/Vocals and they have a new bass man Dawid. Stefan had told me apart from the line up change the music had got harder and tougher. Also the shades had gone!

Again a stripped back set, but the sound wasn’t! I reckon they heard WKNJ in Hastings or at the very least on top of the i360! The guys powered at us for 30 minutes. Who Killed Nancy Johnson are based all over the south-east of the United Kingdom. They also live in your head, and in your town. They might even be behind you, right now.  Stefan was ready, grabbing his radio mic ( he did warn me) nowhere is “safe” in a WKNJ set! I had waited to see these guys play again for so long, and at last, here they were – Live and in everyone’s face!

The set was made up of newer material Rothmans, Strip, Alien, They Reap, 12XU, Body, Not Lizards. Stefan fell to the floor in the classic murder scene chalked body outline, he lay perfectly still and then, reanimated, came screaming back to life for Who Killed Nancy Johnson.

Stefan walked into the crowd, shaking everyone’s hand or giving a hug as the bad hit us with Pretending To Like People. Brilliantly done! The Set closed with the mighty Blood In The Soil. The music soared as did the vocals as Pete did his best to plunge the room into darkness by walloping the overhead lights with his guitar. But hell yeah, that is Who Killed Nancy Johnson?


This was their night and now it was the turn of COCKWOMBLE! They sound like all your favourite bands from when you were young that eventually broke up because they weren’t successful enough and all hated each other. They chose their name after seeing David Cameron described as a Ham Faced Cockwomble. For fans of: IDLES, Ramones, Undertones, Adverts, McClusky, Pixies, Supergrass, Beastie Boys, Peter Paul & Mary and Husker Du.This was their night as they released a new EP, Conspiracy, the cover of which had to be changed – somebody complained! That is punk rock and roll for you when it causes outrage! Love it! I had a copy of their first CD release, Henchmen, and it gets a regular outing and spin. I meant to grab a copy of CD number 2 but forgot! Next time. I had missed the guys when they have played previously. So glad I got a chance to catch them tonight.

COCKWOMBLE: Ali - pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

COCKWOMBLE: Ali – pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The set started up after Ali said he was glad everyone had stayed, he thought everyone would leave before it was their turn! Not a chance Ali. We all wanted to see you guys deliver what you put together so well but perform it live! They opened with All Of The Money! None Of The Style!. Hell – that was perfect! They have such a solid punk sound. Vicky on bass working with Leah on drums to give a solid backing to Ali on lead guitar and main vocal duties.

COCKWOMBLE: Victoria – pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The title track of the EP was up next for us Conspiracy “It was You! Reality has lost its grip”and followed up with Goebbels And Orwells with almost a hip hop rap from Ali as the bass from Victoria pushed this track along nicely. I thought we might have Joey from the EP, but that wasn’t on the set list. The 3,000 BPM Want Stuff Buy Stuff was followed up by the awesome riff laden punk burst that is Radio 1. – and to top off the track a super lead break from Ali,  “You’ll be singing it when your dead”– yep!  Not seen these guys before as I say – that will not happen again. Cant wait to see them again.

COCKWOMBLE: Leah - pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

COCKWOMBLE: Leah – pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The set steamed along with Henry XXXXXV – now, let me tell you, this is a real rock and roller with some simply brilliant and amusing lyrics tucked in, Britain AFC, and the brilliant Henchman. A terrific showing from these guys confirms what I have heard and it is all good. Check out the brilliant videos on You Tube for COCKWOMBLE. Threads closed the set. It went past fast! I like COCKWOMBLE, I like them a lot in fact. Their music is fierce and sharp, and put that with a slice of the razor like lyrics it is easy to fall in love with these guys, and,  also see how they have earned a slot at Rebellion this year.

Cockwomble give you a short thrashy punk fuelled boisterous shot which includes some fine thumping drums, a solid gut moving bass and guitar. All topped off with vocals from Ali and then Victoria on backing. Its an invigoratingly addictive sound!  Loving the releases from these guys – just lets see the album out soon! Brilliant job guys.


Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.

All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.

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