Gig Guide: October’s Unmissable Shows

September’s been an eventful month. We received the sad news that Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü, funk and soul legend Charles Bradley and Matt Bellinger of Planes Mistaken for Stars have all passed away. Pennywise got through all of IT without playing Bro-Hymn. Iron Chic keep teasing us with new tunes. And Propagandhi just released their new album Victory Lap.

I bought 30-odd new CDs that I somehow need to make time to listen to, and now I’m faced with the dilemma of having to delete something off my iPod to make room for new tunes. On top of that, I’ve gained about 8 new band t-shirts and have run out of wardrobe space. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

There is a lot to be excited about in October. Here are my top picks:

Gig of the Month: Punkle Fester

  • When: Saturday 14th October
  • Where: Talking Heads, Southampton
  • Who: Darko, Fair Dos, PMX, Almeida, Grand Collapse, Captain Trips, Müg, Misgivings, On A Hiding to Nothing, Screech Bats, Sombulance, The Bitter-town Hounds, The SLM
  • Event page HERE / Tickets £10 advance, £12 OTD

Punkle Fester.jpg

Love skate-punk? Of course you love skate-punk. Not only does this all-dayer have the most inventive name of all time, it has the best UK skate-punk lineup you could possibly imagine, with plenty of variety throughout the day to keep you on your toes.

It’s worth arriving early for some zombie/dinosaur/shark-infested fast-punk from The SLM and I’m eager to catch Sombulance again after a lively performance at Punk Rock Holiday, especially now I’ve had enough time to learn all the words on their new EP Lifer. Portsmouth 4-piece Misgivings are unmissable if you’re into gruff. I’m still reeling from Müg‘s awesome set in London last weekend: they’re a high-quality and highly underrated bunch.

Southcoast skatepunks Captain Trips are hosting the festival – I’ve never seen them before and I’m silly excited about it, having had their new single on repeat for a month or so. Following them are Grand Collapse playing overwhelmingly frantic hardcore thrash (more on them below).

I’ve never seen a band with the ability to leave an audience gaping in awe quite like Almeida do; their style of progressive-thrash is a technical marvel. I’m sure PMX will make a fair attempt at out-doing them, though. The Scottish act have the melodies to get a crowd on side and the technical ability to floor them. The penultimate band are Manchester’s premier heavy skatepunk act, Fair Do’s: bound to be melodic, aggressive and full of those widdly-widdly guitar bits that make you pull faces and wiggle your fingers around (don’t judge me, we all do it).

Finally, Lockjaw heavyweights Darko are closing the show. Hardcore skatepunk doesn’t begin to cover it – their songs are fast, intricate and unimaginably catchy. No doubt they’ll play plenty of tunes from their latest masterpiece Bonsai Mammoth, and they’ll probably have us weeping with joy. Or spilling pints on ourselves in a wall of death. Either’s fine by me.

Might As Well Fest 3

  • When: Saturday 7th October
  • Where: The Old Blue Last and The Macbeth, London
  • Who: Kamikaze Girls, Sombulance, The Burnt Tapes, Lay It On The Line and many others…
  • Event page HERE / Tickets £10 early bird, £16.50 full price

Might As Well Fest is an excellent event if you’re based near London. It is a collaboration from Disconnect Disconnect Records Records, Lockjaw Records, Speaking Tongues and What Ever Happened To P-Rock.

Based across two small venues in Hoxton/Shoreditch, it promises an eclectic mix of genres, and a lot more than your average gig: raffles, games, acoustic sets and an after party to end the night with. With support from Fireball UK and Victory Amps, all proceeds are going to suicide-prevention charity CALM and still-birth and neo-natal death charity SANDS.

My love for fuzzy garage-rockers Kamikaze Girls is well documented (check out my recent interview with them), but the full line-up is killer: Better Than Never, Sweet Little Machine, Eat Defeat, Almeida, You Know The Drill, Don Blake, Sombulance, Harker, The Sour Taste, The Mixtape Saints, The Burnt Tapes, MAYPINE, Lay It On The Line, Recap, Tom Aylott, Our Lives In Cinema, Recap, Wild Tales and Arms & Hearts.

Lightyear’s 20 Year Reunion Tour

  • When: October 19th to 28th
  • Where: Derby, London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Bristol, Stafford, Southampton, Leamington Spa, Brighton
  • Who: Support from The Unqualified Nurse Band, The Barstool Preachers and Eat The Evidence (depending on the date)
  • Full info on Lightyear’s Facebook page

Lightyear are back! For good! They’re writing new material! And they’re doing a big tour to celebrate! This is easily the most exciting reunion I can remember and, frankly, I’ll be doing well if I get through a gig exploding with sheer joy.

If you’re aware of Lightyear then you already know this is unmissable. You will know to expect Gillian the patomime horse, gazebos, gags and gratuitous nudity. You’ll be prepared to skank your sweaty little heart out, spilling beer all over yourself in a scuffle to get down the front. You’ll have sat alone in your bedroom, practicing the Michael J Fox bit from Pack of Dogs in the mirror. No? Just me, then?

If you’ve not seen Lightyear before then… well, you’re clearly a lost cause. Or maybe you’re just under 30. There are still tickets left for most shows, so perhaps 2017 is the perfect time to discover a ridiculous ska-punk band from the ’90s? There’s only one way to find out.

For all dates, I recommend that you get down in time for the support rather than propping up the bar in the nearest boozer – they’re all worth an early start.

If you’re new to Lightyear, this video’s the best starter-for-10:

If you’re not new to Lightyear, why not skip straight to nude blokes hanging from the rafters at a Lightyear gig in 2006? Enjoy.

Grand Collapse Tour

  • When: October 12th to 21st
  • Where: Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Lincoln, Norwich, Ipswich, London, Brighton, Hastings
  • Who: 4 shows with Fair Do’s, others with a range of supports
  • Full info on Grand Collapse’s Facebook page

There are few bands that have ignited my passion for thrash in the last two years the way that Grand Collapse have.  The four-piece from Bristol via Cardiff are stunningly heavy and jaw-droppingly fast, while always maintaining a solid foundation of musical virtuosity. They sound like the apocalypse has come early. If you’ve not heard of Grand Collapse yet, check out my band profile.

Personally, I will be catching them at The Smokehouse in Ipswich on October 19th, with Spoilers and local shouty punks Casual Nausea. It’s The Nausea’s first local outing of the year, so it’s bound to be a corker of a show. The rest of the tour takes Grand Collapse around the country, including London’s Luna Lounge on Oct 21st and the aforementioned Punkle Fester event in Southampton.

There are a lot of other events worth a mention this month:

  • Cramp In Your Leg Fest: a three-day festival at The New Cross in on October 6-8th help in memory of The Pisdicables’ keyboardist Mike Crampton, who was sadly involved in a car crash earlier this year. Headliners are King Punch and the inventively named Less Than A Reel Big Gold Fish Finger, plus Spoilers (feat. Lee ‘The Mod’ Murphy from Snuff on keys), My Third Leg, Eat The Evidence, Millie Manders, Just Say Nay and, of course, The Pisdicables
  • The Bombpops are playing New Cross Inn on October 15th with plethora of similarly awesome bands, including Deadneck, The Famous Class, Dowzer and On A Hiding to Nothing.
  • The Half-Wits are playing The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich on Oct 5th with local shouty hardcore lovelies BONO! and Casual Nausea. And it’s only £3!
  • The Youngblood Brass Band are touring all over the UK – I’m catching them in Islington on Oct 8th and Norwich on Oct 10th. They sound like Rage Against The Machine taking New Orleans by storm – I’d recommend taking a punt on it even if you’ve not heard of them.
  • The Smokehouse in Ipswich has an unofficial one-year birthday party on October 3rd: BBC Introducing Live at The Smokehouse. It’s a free event featuring local champs Underline The Sky, Impilo and Not Famous.
  • The Smokehouse is also hosting a gig in memory of Cameron Ray, who unfortunately took his own life recently. The show will include a lot of alt/punk acts and some acoustic sets, with all proceeds going to MIND.
  • The Melvins and Redd Kross are doing a big European tour with 5 UK dates: London, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Birmingham.
  • The now-annual Fireball Tour has rolled around again, offering the chance to see bigger bands like Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies for the small ticket price of £10. Sweet Little Machine plus regional competition winners will be supporting – including Eat DefeatRiver Jumpers and Tree House Fire. Well worth turning up early for.
  • The Flatliners are back too! They’re playing 10 UK dates, the smallest of which is at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston on October 22nd.

Frankly, if you can’t occupy yourself with a silly number of gigs in October, there’s something wrong. If there is anything coming up next month that I ought to know about, please get in touch at

In October I’m also challenging myself to a month of sobriety, to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice. This will probably improve the quality/quantity of my reviews, so if you’d enjoy more content why not sponsor me for the cost of a pint? You can donate here.

In the meantime, I’ll see you down the front!

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