The Cockney Rejects: English punk rock returns to L.A. at El Rey

Legendary British punk band bring their brand of Oi to Los Angeles. (Review 1 of 3) Photo: Dr. Jimmy Herlofsky

LOS ANGELES, February 20, 2013 — On February 18, the El Rey Theater on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles was home for the night of the legendary English punk rock band The Cockney Rejects. The band was a huge influence in the creation of the English Oi music genre that started in the early 1980s. Youth Brigade, Union 13, and the Warlords opened the show for The Cockney Rejects, who wasted no time getting down to business. 

The Cockney Rejects was formed in England in 1979 by the Brothers Geggus, Jeff (Turner) on vocals and Mick on guitar, as a staunchly working class Oi band. Their songs are mostly of the sing along variety with choruses that lend themselves easily to crowd participation.

El Rey Theater at night. (Credit: Dr. Jimmy Herlofsky)

Monday night was no exception as fans crowded to the front to sing the songs back to the band. Behind those singing fans was a circle pit that roared as the band played many crowd favorites, such as “Flares and Slippers” from their first release in 1979 and “The Power & The Glory,” the title track of their 1981 album.

The pit seemed to only slow down when the band eased into their reggae intro to the song, “Where the Hell Is Babylon?” That seemed to give this crowd of various ages a few seconds to regroup, as the pit was back at full force when the song kicked back into the band’s signature punk style.

Through the entire show, singer and former amateur boxer, Jeff Turner, moved constantly around the stage while alternating between singing and shadow boxing as if he were actually still in the ring.

Action on stage during recent Cockney Rejects concert. (Credit: Adam Ruseling)

Other notable songs were 1980 classics “We can Do Anything,” “War On The Terraces” and 2007’s “Cockney Reject.” After a brief break off stage, the band returned to close out the night with their version of “Bubbles” and then the final song was their 1980 hit, “Oi Oi Oi.”

The band seems to have shed the aura of violence that used to follow them on tour in the early 1980s, eventually causing them to stop touring all together until 2000. Other than the therapeutic flailing fists of fury from the pit, the violence this time was kept to a minimum.

Cockney Rejects, drums in action. (Credit Kevin J. Wells)

As evidenced by their recent performance, The Cockney Rejects, even after 34 years, are still a force to be reckoned with. Their relentless energy on stage infects the crowd on every song.

The U.S. tour, which started on Valentine’s Day in Reno, continues Feb. 20 in Denver, CO. With Youth Brigade in tow, the tour then stops in Chicago, Brooklyn and Boston before winding up at Otto Bar in Baltimore. Then The Cockney Rejects return to Europe. If you live near any of these cities, grab a ticket as you definitely don’t want to miss these shows.

Revving up the intensity. (Credit: Kevin J. Wells)


Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR.


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