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Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Ian Canty

Preview: The Outcasts at The Talking Heads

Though Stiff Little Fingers and The Undertones had the hits and Rudi were the first to record for Good Vibrations, it’s not an exaggeration to say that The Outcasts personified Belfast Punk. They were a rough and tumble gang of miscreants, forming around the three Cowan brothers (bass player/singer Martin, guitarist Greg and drummer Colin) in early 1977 and the band was completed by Colin Getgood on lead guitar. Troubled followed them around and even the name “Outcasts” seems to have come about because of their formidable ability to get banned everywhere they went!

They released the pounding “Frustration” in early 1978, one of the very first New Wave artefacts to emerge from Northern Ireland, put out by local label It (stealing a march on Good Vibes by a couple of months). Finally making it to Good Vibrations in November 1978 with the classic “Justa Nother Teenage Rebel” (their spelling, like a Punk Slade), they were the first band to put out an album for the imprint with their 1979 debut “Self-Conscious Over You”.

Shown the door by Terri Hooley soon afterwards, they were however favourites of John Peel so they got to record a couple of sessions for the show, which kept them in the public eye. They became a double drum line-up when Raymond Falls joined around the time of the self-released “Magnum Force” single. The band suffered a massive blow in 1982 when Colin Cowan was tragically killed in a car accident.

The Outcasts wavered on whether to go on or not but the positive reaction to their performance at Colin’s wake gave the band the will to continue. As luck would have it, the early 80s saw an upturn for Punk’s fortunes and the band were quickly snapped up by Cherry Red off-shoot Abstract. As a result of this union they had some major independent chart success with their cover of the Glitter Band’s “Angel Face” and the “Blood And Thunder” LP and they were generally well-received critically as (perhaps a little oddly, given their tough reputation) Punk elder statesmen.

After the “Seven Deadly Sins” mini-album and the “Nowhere To Run” single (both on French label New Rose) the band bowed out in 1985 and not much was heard from any of the members for many years. So it was somewhat of a surprise when the Outcasts suddenly returned to play Rebellion Festival in 2011, but against the odds they proved that the magic was still there and since then they have gone down well wherever they have played, matching the energy and fire of their youth with and time has added a wry sense of self-deprecating humour too.

The Outcasts do still kick up a veritable storm live as they proved a couple of years back at the old Talking Heads venue. Come and see them try out the new setting for the Talking Heads for size on Thursday 23rd March 2017 and I can guarantee you will not be let down….the fire is still there and when the “Cops Are Coming”, you better start running!

Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/957523261049197/


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