Manchester Punk Festival: Where I’ll Be and Why

My goal this year is to ensure I don’t miss any of my favourite bands, while shoehorning in as many less-familiar acts as possible. These are my top picks for the weekend.

The last two years of Manchester Punk Festival (and the TNS 10 Year All-dayer before that) have firmly lodged this annual pilgrimage to The North as the most fun weekend of my musical year. Other festivals may boast bigger headliners, flashier venues and pissweak lager sponsorship, but MPF wins for having the best selection of quality underground punk acts and inspiring community spirit. Every MPF event feels like a party with friends, as it draws in like-minded, socially-responsible folks from all around the country (and even further afield).


MPF2017 promises to be bigger, better and louder than ever. Having nearly missed The Flatliners headlining last year due to Sound Control reaching capacity (fortunately giving a worn-out bouncer a sympathetic hug got us in), my main aim this year is to ensure I don’t miss any of my favourite bands, while shoehorning in as many less-familiar acts as possible. The organisers at TNS, Moving North and Anarchistic Undertones have done a cracking job of creating a well thought out and complementary running order but, as someone
with fairly eclectic taste, I’m going to be doing a lot of dashing around.

Using my powers of anxiety-fuelled organisation, I’ve created a personal plan to help make the most of the weekend. I honestly cannot pick a single band from the lineup that I would not want to see, these are just a handful of personal favourites.

Thursday

I’m not going to dwell too much on tonight because if you’re there, there’s really no excuse for not catching most of the bands. Get in early to catch Bolshy who’ll charm you with their experimental, socio-political ska punk. I’m looking forward to Iron Drugs primarily for their fantastic name, also because I’ve heard they’re vicious and raw. Make sure you stay tuned for The Murderburgers’ infectious pop punk riot.

Friday

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MPF’s second day is the perfect 2-stage gig: there’s no need to miss a single band, and it’s a great way to break in my new Doc Martens staggering up and down the stairs at Sound Control.

 

  • I‘m chuffed to see gruff lovelies Bear Trade making a reappearance, effectively playing a release show for their new album, Silent Unspeakable.
  • Here’s hoping the queue for the merch table isn’t too long, as I’m desperate to catch NERVUS downstairs. For me they’re a recent discovery but I’ve fallen in love with their beautiful, emotional songwriting.
  • I’ll be dancing for Petrol Girls, Throwing Stuff and Fair Do’s but for me Faintest Idea is the first opportunity to get properly sweaty and skank my heart out. There isn’t a better ska-punk band out there right now; I defy anyone to get sick of watching them.
  • Matilda’s Scoundrels stormed through an early set at last year’s festival. Their lively aggro-folk is the perfect drinking music to get the Zoo after party started.

Saturday

Ignore that hangover! Fill up on coffee, Berocca and disappointing hostel toast. Grab a can and dive in for this full-on 16 hours of noisy fun.

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  • I can’t tell you how excited I am for Stoj Snak, guitarist from Mighty Midgets’ solo project. Honest, creative Danish folk-punk: not to be missed.
  • Burnt Tapes and Pizzatramp are an unfortunate clash due to a late lineup addition. Pizzatramp’s special brand of fast, bass-led, thrashy punk has received a lot of well-deserved hype recently. If you’ve not seen them before prepare to scrape your jaw off the floor. Burnt Tapes also offer a rampage of gruff, melodic punk rock that’s well worth checking out.
  • Hailing from Aalborg, Denmark, Mighty Midgets are probably the band I’m most excited to see, playing fast melodic hardcore. If you need me, I’ll be air guitaring to Ruins For The Future and generally making a fool of myself.
  • Grand Collapse’s last album Far From The Callous Crowd is a masterpiece of frenzied, technically accomplished hardcore and their live show is a level above that. I’m buzzing with excitiment for their new record, Along The Dew, and I cannot recommend them enough.
  • Nosebleed are an incredible whirlwind of rock n roll fun that will have the Zombie Shack in tatters; definitely worth catching if you’re in the party mood.
  • I’m not the only one who has stood at a punk festival yearning for half an hour of something heavier for a change. MPF have heard this and delivered in spades: take a holiday from all the hardcore and get back to the grind with The Afternoon Gentlemen.
  • Having recently expanded their horn section, I’m super-stoked to catch stalwart punks and live favourites The Filaments headlining downstairs in Sound Control. If you can’t catch them at MPF, don’t miss them with Choking Victim in London next week.
  • If there’s ever been a reason to pace yourself to ensure you survive until the after party, Riggots is it. This relentlessly heavy, aggressive duo will shake Zoo to its foundations.

These are merely a handful of the great bands playing. I’m also stoked to see The Domestics, Fair Do’s, The Toasters, Chief, Honey Joy, Muncie Girls, Inner Terrestrials, ONSIND, Ducking Punches, Martha and Clowns and so many more, not to mention the new food options, Manchester Pint Festival at the Thirsty Scholar and the films showing at Font.

MPF have an incredibly useful Clashfinder to help to ensure you don’t miss anything, and the full line up and set times are available on their website.

Who are you most excited to see? Who else should I be checking out?

Here’s to an amazing festival! I’ll see you at the bar.

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