The hype for Outbreak Fest 2022 is huge; it’s been the hottest news on the lips of everyone with a hint of hardcore in their blood for the last few months. Three full days of heavy punk, hardcore, thrash and alt-rock in Manchester over July 24th-26th – plus a pre-show gig on July 23rd – Outbreak have compiled a colossal line-up to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.
Whilst everyone’s buzzing for headliners (Turnstile who? Never heard of them) each day includes an enticing roster of artists to discover: some new, some reinvented, some well-established. I’m stoked for bands like Drug Church, Angel Du$t, Basement and Knocked Loose but, for me, the real excitement lies in the acts that are opening the show.
This guide specifically highlights artists that are playing early in the day or on the second stage. Time to discover your new favourite band.
Sunday – Main Stage – 12:00
Ferocious punk from Santa Cruz, California, mixing up 80’s hardcore, street-punk and dreamier alternative indie-pop. Scowl’s a fitting name for an artist that combines snarling, furious howls with softer sung vocals, overlaid on a gnarly backline assault. Scowl are a true rising star of the genre – one to watch for sure.
Sunday – Second Stage – 17:40
Militarie Gun play angular hardcore/post-punk with a serrated, artistic edge, sitting somewhere on the spectrum between Fugazi and Guided By Voices. I heard Dislocate Me a while back and instantly fell for Militarie Gun, a band that sprung out of the discontent of the global pandemic, with all of the abrasive angst that echoed through all of us when our lives were abruptly cancelled. The latest project from hardcore scene legend Ian Shelton, they also share guitarist Nick Cogan with Drug Church.
P.S. Militaire Gun are playing another Manchester show with Fiddlehead in August. You should go.
Year of The Knife
Friday – Main Stage – 13:10
Part of the Pure Noise roster, Year Of The Knife are hardly small but they need to be high on your list of bands to watch. Heavy as sin, we’re talking uncompromising, aggressive straight-edge hardcore from Delaware, with a strong death-metal/metalcore foundation. Prepare yourself for an audio-pummeling and chance to unleash all your frustrations with the world.
Sunday – Main Stage – 13:20
Post-hardcore from Connecticut; one of the bands I’m personally most excited for this weekend is Anxious. Formed in 2016 whilst they were still in high school, Anxious are rooted in the DIY ethos, and play heart-on-their-sleeve tunes that’ll appeal equally to both the hardcore and emo scenes. Their latest album Little Green House has been on very heavy rotation at Shout Louder HQ of late, it’s introverted and exploratory; a melange of guitars that you can just sink into like a carpet of fresh green grass.
Sunday – Main Stage – 12:00
Furious powerviolence from Los Angeles, California. Expect crushing guitars and a hoarse vocal assault. Sharing vocalist Anaiah Lei with DARE (who you also need to see), the band love a colossal breakdown, samples that give a nod to pivotal moments of black culture, and having a good time. Whilst there’s a political slant to some of their music, Zulu are definitely a band who have fun.
Saturday – Second Stage – 18:00
High Vis are refreshingly different – although they’re from London they’ll be right at home in Manchester, taking cues from bands like The Stones Roses and Joy Division in their artful post-punk stylings. Although they have a strong 90’s indie tone, they’re driven by a current of modern hardcore – the energy, the ferocity, the willingness to work up a sweat. They’ve got the same cultish following as Chubby & The Gang and The Chisel, and they’re certainly not to be missed.
Sunday – Second Stage – 13:00
Straight edge hardcore from Orange County, DARE are definitely a band on the rise. They deliver raging hardcore with a lot of underlying groove. Their debut album Against All Odds is an addictive record; soldered together by big, surging riffs and fleeting glimmers of classic rock in its lead guitar parts. It rolls on like the swell of waves in the ocean, vast and insurmountable – I’m hoping their live show grips me just the same.
Friday – Second Stage – 14:30
Delving into the pool of shoegaze and alternative rock, Oversize make a hefty nod towards 90’s grunge whilst also sounding original. Hailing from Bristol, they’ll appeal to fans of Basement, Citizen and Puppy.
Righteous DIY feminist hardcore from London. Nekra careen mercilessly fast through blistering, overdriven tracks, without a moment to catch your breath – it sounds like they’re trying to chase us into the next century.
Friday – Main Stage – 14:50
Ready to rattle your bones before you’ve even had a chance to settle in on Friday, Xibalba are hardly new to the scene (15 years and counting, and releasing on heavyweight label Southern Lord) but bloody hell you’re going to need to see them. Unabashedly brutal Californian hardcore with death-metal/metalcore in its veins, Xibalba will get your blood pumping with all the beatdowns your heart desires. They’ve made a bit of a comeback by releasing Años En Infierno in 2020, a record which shows no mercy.
That’s all for now. Outbreak Fest is going to be one of the best heavy events of 2022 without a doubt, and I’m impressed that they’ve managed to pull together such an excellent line-up in the current climate, where Covid is still having a significant impact.
I’ll see you down the front. Or at one of the 10 vegan food trucks!
Written by Sarah Williams.
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