Shout Louder #1

Shout Louder is going to be a source of punk info from the perspective of a dedicated fan and addicted gig-goer. Expect it loud, fast and hard, including ska, indie, folk and hardcore crossovers.

Over the years people have often described me as ‘keen’ – usually in a way that made it sound like an insult – and it’s my aim to harness and share that excitement here.

I’m never more energised than I am when I’m watching a band. I’m still shocked by how excited, joyful and (occasionally) emotional watching people making a racket on stage can make me.

So, what can you expect?

I’m going to write about what excites me most: gigs and festivals, new releases and old classics, titbits of news. I’ll let you know what’s coming up in the next few weeks, so that you can get excited too.

New Town Kings @ The Swan, Ipswich (15/04/2017)

There’s nothing like a free show from an infectiously sunny band like New Town Kings to get your skank-holiday weekend going. NTK are one of the best party-ska bands around, blending irresistibly bouncy ska and reggae with a wealth of musical talent.

20170415 New Town Kings

A chill wind blew through town on the walk to The Swan, a small alternative boozer near Ipswich’s Cornhill. Hailing from Colchester, a short train ride away, NTK pull in a crowd of local devotees who quickly stir the postage-stamp dancefloor into a sweaty frenzy.

By the time they kick into Dynamite, everyone’s in the holiday mood; I fancy a cocktail but a pint will have to do. The band keep the crowd simmering with mellow, romantic reggae numbers like Grabbed My Hand and Something More before firing them up with livelier ska tunes. Old favourites Fire in the Hole and La La Land have the whole room jumping. We’re also treated to a new song, Borderline, which is an edgier political track in the same vein as Change, due to be released “sometime in the immediate future-ish.”

Dabs Bonner is a confident but refreshingly humble front man, not afraid to wade into the crowd for a dance and joke along when he struggles to recall the lyrics to an unexpected song request. The brass section are the real stars of the evening, practiced in raising the crowd’s spirits with a repertoire of energetic solos. The band deliver a relaxed but professional performance, taking regular Jägermeister breaks while seamlessly incorporating requests into their set.

New Town Kings keep the vibes flowing for well over an hour: this is a band who know how to make you dance. They effortlessly balance crowd-pleasing reggae tunes, singalong covers and catchy political numbers.  If you want to be transported to Jamaica to skank and sing along, I highly recommend you catch them at Boomtown or Positive Vibration Festival later in the year.

If you want to hear more of New Town Kings, check them out here.

P.S. Cheers to Jack Brew / Nude Beach Ska Podcast for the photo.

What’s coming up next?

Well, this one’s a no-brainer. Next weekend (April 20th – 22nd) is Manchester Punk Festival which is without a doubt the highlight of my annual gig calendar. I can’t wait to be surprised by some bands I’ve not heard yet, but I’m most stoked for Mighty Midgets, Grand Collapse, Riggots, Pizzatramp and Faintest Idea. If you’ve not got tickets yet what the fuck is wrong with you get on it before you miss out.

On top of all that, Bear Trade are releasing their new album Silent Unspeakable on Friday, which will no doubt be a beautifully beardy treat for one’s ears. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m catching The Flatliners and The Menzingers in Camden on Wednesday, as a great prequel to MPF.

I’m also excited to keep this going and share more. With any luck, I’ll have the courage to keep it up! Thanks for reading, see you next week.


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