Top 10 International Bands To Discover at MPF

Manchester Punk Festival is a brilliant opportunity to catch bands from around the world that you might never see otherwise. These are our top picks.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Every year Manchester Punk Festival bring some brilliant bands from around the world to our little Northern city, this year upping their game with international headliners like Propagandhi, Iron Chic and Death By Stereo.

Although there’s no shortage of acts to see, it’s worth grasping the opportunity to experience artists from further afield. There’s a wealth of talent from America, Russia, Japan, Australia and mainland Europe to enjoy. Last year, my favourite sets included Edward in Venice (Italy), Sweet Empire (Netherlands), Kollapse (Denmark) and Clowns (Australia), none of whom I’d had the chance to see before.

Note: The aim of this list is to highlight some great bands that you might otherwise dismiss because you’ve not heard of them – some are less well-known, others are big names that I’ve highlighted in case they’ve slipped by you in the past. However, I have deliberately excluded major acts that I assume everyone knows (i.e. Death By Stereo, Propagandhi, Iron Chic, The Copyrights). Obviously you should check them out too.

Either way, here are our top international bands worth discovering at MPF 2018 (in no particular order):

The Bennies (Melbourne, Australia)

I tend to assume everyone’s heard of The Bennies now, but then I’m reminded of the last time I saw them back in July last year. They supported their besties The Smith Street Band on tour and, apart from in London, they seemed to surprise audiences in every venue they played. In Norwich, the crowd began the set looking utterly bewildered, but by the end they were dancing and chanting, “Hey motherfucker, I’m a party machine!”

If you’ve seen The Bennies before, you’ll be going to see them again. If you’ve not seen The Bennies before, I highly recommend you go party with them; they are the ideal festival-fun band. Coming all the way from Australia, they play a mix of dance, ska, psych, funk, doom, 80s rock and punk that’s mashed together in this incredible spandex-clad surfer-beach-hair can’t-not-dance catastrophe.

The Bennies are playing in The Bread Shed at 18:05 on Friday.

Svetlanas (Moscow / Milan)

I’m not going to lie, the first time I listened to Svetlanas they scared the hell out of me. It’s proper hard-rocking punk straight out of Russia, like Motorhead have been doused in Petrol Girls, lit on fire and let loose on Red Square. Singer, Olga, has amusingly (and surprisingly accurately) been described by Jello Biafra as having a voice like an angry, cornered mongoose and they’ve been celebrated for their chaotic live presence.

Alongside their ferocious music, they are known for their vehement politically left bearing and, despite gaining a lot of critical acclaim, they’ve remained firmly DIY. After releasing a split with The Dwarves, they also attracted the attention of Nick Oliveri, who officially joined the band in 2016.

Svetlanas are playing in The Bread Shed at 19:45 on Saturday.

Mobina Galore (Winnipeg, Canada)

Mobina Galore are coming all the way from Canada with their pals Propagandhi. You may already be familiar with them, as they’ve toured here before with Against Me, PUP and Milk Teeth, and they’ve previously played Groezrock, etc.

It’s very easy to compare punk bands with female vocals to Distillers, but the comparison stands here, although Mobina Galore’s sound is cleaner and more stripped back. They’re a female duo who play heavy power punk in the form of consistently strong, memorable tunes, with an impressive undercurrent of attitude. This is proper, vocally aggressive, chainsaw riot grrl punk.

Mobina Galore are playing in Gorilla at 19:55 on Saturday, just before Propagandhi.

SPEEDÖZER (Brussels, Belgium)

SPEEDÖZER are a seriously hard-rocking, full-throttle punk band from Brussels that are going to be thoroughly good live. They take all the BMP of thrash and combine it with some Motorhead-style rock riffs and easy shout-along lyrics. This will be a winner for fans of fast-punk like Zeke or Revenge of… as well as for fans of punk ‘n’ roll like Nosebleed. It’s pedal-to-the-metal for every single tune.

Their album Rollercoaster is available for download for 6.66 euro; it’s an absolute blast that you’ll immediately chuck on repeat. Get it on Bandcamp.

SPEEDÖZER are playing in The Bread Shed at 15:35 on Friday.

Rebuke (Gothenburg, Sweden)

A relatively big name on the melodic hardcore scene, Rebuke are coming all the way from Gothenburg in Sweden to entertain us with sweet riffs and machine gun percussion. This 4-piece are all technical wizards who don’t take themselves too seriously, providing an energetic and memorable show.

This will be a no-brainer for fans of techy punk bands like Mute, Strung Out or A Wilhelm Scream. They also share a member with one of our other favourite international bands on the bill – drummer Leo Wallin is also in Forever Unclean, who we’ve not mentioned on this list because we bang on about how flippin’ great they are all the time (read our interview with them here).

Rebuke are opening in The Bread Shed at 14:45 on Friday.

All Aboard! (Mönchengladbach, Germany)

All Aboard! are a sterling little gem of a German melodic punk band. As a band that describe their influences as Descendents, Bukowski and pizza, you can already picture the fun, talented end of the punk spectrum they fall in. I strongly recommend checking them out if you’re a fan of hooky tunes like Spoilers, Leagues Apart or Bear Trade.

All Aboard! are playing at The Zombie Shack at 16:30 on Saturday.

Waterweed (Osaka, Japan)

We recently interviewed Waterweed about their upcoming UK tour, and Joelle’s written a sterling review of their new album Brightest which is being released on Lockjaw Records. It goes without saying that it’s worth making the most of the chance to see a Japanese punk band in the UK – I’d go check them out even if they weren’t as good as Waterweed are!

These guys have been known for fast skate-punk in the past but have recently taken a turn towards darker melodic punk, drifting between genres including metal, pop punk and straight-up noisy ruckus. It’s guaranteed to be an unique and entertaining show.

Waterweed are playing in Rebellion at 19:55 on Friday.

Finisterre (Cologne, Germany)

Dark, bitter and moody, German act Finisterre began life as a more D-beat hardcore band but have since drifted into post-punk, neo-crust terrority. That may sound like a head-melter, but it’s a really appealing atmospheric blend that brings a new, dark lease of life to standard hardcore. One of the rarest aspects of their sound is Mauela’s gloriously bleak vocals, gifting them with unique edge.

If you like your punk hardcore and you fancy something a bit different to the norm, I cannot recommend Finisterre enough.

Finisterre are playing in The Zombie Shack at 01:00 on Saturday.

The Raging Nathans (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

Wonk Unit fans will already be very familiar with The Raging Nathans, as their regular tour buddies. They’ll cause a fast, fun, proper punk ruckus full of catchy melodies and heaps of 90s EpiFat homages. They’re another super-DIY act that the MPF organisers seem so keen to support who, underneath a veneer of seriously fun punk, sing honestly about angst, loss and love. This will be a cracker for fans of Teenage Bottlerocket, Masked Intruder and The Murderburgers.

The Raging Nathans are playing in Rebellion at 17:15 on Friday.

Antillectual (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

Super-melodic, super-political Dutch punks Antillectual are the next best thing to Propagandhi or Rise Against in my opinion. In fact, I prefer them to either of those. They’ve built a huge reputation across Europe for being at the forefront of political punk rock and I’d be surprised if you’ve not already come across them. They’re critical but upbeat, energetic but not super-fast, honest and open in both their lyrics and their epic sound. They’re in my personal top 3 bands playing the festival, I literally can’t wait for their set.

Antillectual are playing at 18:05 at Gorilla on Friday.

Check out our full series of Manchester Punk Festival related articles:

In the past, we have also interviewed all of these awesome MPF acts: Lightyear, Random Hand, Ducking Punches, Waterweed, Beat The Red Light, Stand Out Riot, PMX, Darko and Lucinda Livingstone of Kamikaze Girls.

Article by Sarah Williams.

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