It's very easy to criticise The Bad Shepherds on paper - three blokes, way past their teenage years, playing old punk tunes on folk instruments. What's the point? Hang on a second - what's NOT to like? Especially when the three blokes in question are as good as this and, for starters, can win awards for being Best Act (Spiral Awards).
Of course, having a frontman of comedic repute sort of helps - Adrian Edmondson is familiar to anyone who laughed in the '80s and '90s. The Young Ones, Bottom, Comic Strip Presents, Blackadder (yes, he was that crazed German military officer) and a string of high-profile acting parts have kept him busy these past few decades.
In amongst all this hilarity however, was a frustrated musician itching to break out of his Vyvyan guise. In the past, he has directed numerous videos for the likes of The Pogues, Squeeze and Zodiac Mindwarp - and then there was Bad News, a spoof heavy metal band from Comic Strip days. Bad News, indeed (think The Darkness without the operatics).
Nowadays, there's The Bad Shepherds. Far from being a spoof or parody of punk, they're a celebration of it - the tunes, the attitude, the beer and the fun of it, rather than the spitting and tartan bumflaps. Edmondson, Dinan and Donockley take punk and new wave classics and turn them into vigorous folk anthems. "Anarchy in the UK" with pipes? "The Model" given a shredding with thrash mandolin? It's all here and more. Great songs given a greater knees-up buffing.
Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds return to touring next autumn, after a summer of festival action (and an Aussie/NZ tour earlier). The tour starts off at The Sage Gateshead on 13th November, then Glasgow, Sale, Liverpool, Bath, Exeter, Cardiff and many more, north and south, until Shepherd's Bush Empire. The Bad Shepherd's Bush Empire, of course.
We have tickets for all shows on sale now, priced at £18.50 (£20 for London). The tour is a long way off, yes, but their shows have a habit of selling out fast.