Angelic Upstarts

Monday, May 28 | 5:40 PM
Festival Stage

Formed in South Shields, England in 1977, the Angelic Upstarts was one of the period’s most politically charged and thought-provoking groups; though technically a skinhead band, their records attacked the racism and fascism so prevalent throughout the skinhead community, and while also technically a punk unit, their music quickly evolved beyond the movement’s limited scope.

The Angelic Upstarts were led by the rather nasal vocalist Mensi (born Thomas Mensforth), whose impoverished childhood became a frequent lyrical touchstone. Along with a highly fluid lineup which initially comprised guitarist Mond, bassist Ronnie Wooden, and drummer Sticks, the group debuted with the 1979 single “Murder of Liddle Towers,” a scabrous attack on police brutality. The record caught the attention of Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey, who produced their debut album Teenage Warning, which, like its 1980 follow-up, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, roundly ridiculed the oppressive policies of Margaret Thatcher while offering an outpouring of sympathy for the working class.