There Is A Bear On Stage

Lucias from Call Me Malcolm discusses the constant pressure of anxiety and panic that haunts him on stage.

Written by Lucias Malcolm, vocalist/guitarist in Call Me Malcolm. This is part of our #MentallySound series, exploring mental health in music. 

We have a gig in less than an hour and there is a bear on stage.

I’ve been a musician for just shy of twenty years and an outwardly functioning human being for almost double that; functioning in the sense that in that time I’ve somewhat miraculously kept myself fed, watered and free from major scarring. I even tie my own shoe laces (though I do wonder if there’s a statute of limitation on this – I’ve been wearing the same Etnies for as long as I can remember and I’ve not re-tied the laces since day one). The point is, outwardly, as far as society is concerned, I function.

Inwardly it’s a different story. At current count there are thirty seven different warning lights flashing, smoke is billowing from several important looking dials and the rabbit that usually steers the ship lost the manual in 1996. The point is, I get anxious.

As I said, there is a very real, to me at least, bear on stage. Continue reading “There Is A Bear On Stage”

MPF Interview: Screech Bats

Manchester Punk Festival will be Screech Bat’s final gig – we spoke to them ahead of the funeral service.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Alt-rock four piece Screech Bats are sadly calling it a day at Manchester Punk Festival 2019. We’ve caught them live a few times and enjoyed their 2018 EP Wish You Were Her (as well as being consistently jealous of their next-level eyeliner wielding skills), so we’re sad to see them go. We took our last chance to have a chat with the band.

MPF is sadly going to be Screech Bats final show, and you’re treating it as a funeral for the band. Do you have any special planned that you can share with us?

We are planning to go out of this world just like we came into it: screaming, disoriented and sodden with goo.

If there a reason you’ve decided to use MPF as your send off?

MPF is a festival that we really wanted to tick off the bucket list, so it just made sense to go out on a high. Plus, for Christmas our mate adopted Esme a pig called Truffles that lives just outside Manchester, in a Pig & Terrapin sanctuary in Rochdale, so we can all go pat her on the belly for some post funeral sad-be-gones. Continue reading “MPF Interview: Screech Bats”

Unsent Text Messages & Neglected Friendships

Notes from a downward spiral: Alan shares a relatable tale of the numb listlessness and anhedonia that comes with a bout of depression.

This article written by Alan Corcoran is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. Trigger warning: depression.

Mostly I just feel paralysed. If my head was in a better place I’d probably think that sounded melodramatic, but for now the only feeling is a lack of feeling. Options stack up in front of me. Impossible options. I cannot make any decisions today.

I know there’s work to be done. Life admin. Basic stuff. Exercise would be good. Shaving and a shower are definitely on both a mental and physical list. Relationships of every kind are going untended. Texts. Gigs. Invites to celebrations. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

A gnawing in my stomach reminds me that I’m at least still capable of some feeling. Anxiety, like a snake in a particularly on-the-nose fable, sidles up to wrap itself around in an embrace. Breathing exercises can get fucked, I can’t breathe. A headache fog fills my brain. Continue reading “Unsent Text Messages & Neglected Friendships”

The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines

“DIY publishing is anyone who has ever taken an idea and made it a reality.” Martin Appleby shares a love of punk fanzines and independent publishing.

Guest article written by Martin Appleby. Martin is a Hastings-based poet and writer, and the founder of Paper & Ink Literary Zine: a high-quality collection of fiction and poetry. Catch Martin performing at Manchester Punk Festival at 13:00 in The Thirsty Scholar.

Fanzines are as old as punk itself, and have always been an integral part of the scene, especially in pre-Internet times: an open and unbiased resource for spreading the word about new bands, albums and gigs. A cheap and easy format to make and distribute.

You may think that the format is now obsolete and unnecessary, what with the world wide web at everybody’s fingertips, but zines and zine culture is thriving, and the internet has not hampered that.

If anything, it can act as a formidable marketing tool for zine makers, now able to reach a far wider audience than they arguably could have ‘back in the day’ when zines were only shared at shows and amongst friends in their own scenes.

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Many punk zines have come and gone over the years, but a personal favourite of mine, Lights Go Out, has been consistently putting issues out since 2008. I recently caught up with the dude who runs it, Mr T, and asked him about his zine:

“For me it’s an important part of the scene; it’s an honest opinion. It’s a way to find new bands for people and also for me, with the amount of stuff that comes in for the team to check out, I always hope that every record is going to be my new favourite. Continue reading “The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines”

Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for Manchester Punk Festival

Upbeat Israeli skate-punks Not On Tour are celebrating their new album ‘Growing Pains’ and their upcoming tour that takes in Groezrock, Manchester Punk Festival and SBAM Fest.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Not On Tour are, without a doubt, the band we’re most excited to see at Manchester Punk Festival. Fans of 80’s punk ala Descendents, Bad Religion or Minor Threat will be instantly enthralled by their fresh take on a classic sound.

This Israeli four-piece have a cult appeal that’s spread across the global punk scene through ‘have you heard’ whispers in the past few years. Their catchy, political skate-punk ditties see them taking a headline slot at MPF, and touring to celebrate the release of their new album Growing Pains.

We’re excited to welcome you back to the UK! Manchester Punk Festival will be your first English show since 2013. How has the band grown since your last tour here?

  • Nir (bass): A major change to the band is our new guitar player, Mati. Growing Pains is the first time we’ve written music with another guitarist and we are really pleased with the result! 
    Sima (vocals): We’ve played in a lot of other countries since then, all over Europe and also Japan and Russia. Last 3 years have been a big change in the amount of crowd and the places we play. Also having a booking agent has been a real relieving step for us.

What can British audiences, who might not have seen you before, expect from Not On Tour?

  • Nir: An energetic show with a kick-ass female singer, fast and catchy melodic punk rock tunes that won’t let you stand without shaking your booty.

Continue reading “Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for Manchester Punk Festival”

Album Review: Coral Springs – Always Lost, Never Found

Dutch pop-punks Coral Springs channel skate-punk talent to deliver a skilled and varied debut album.

Review by Alan Corcoran

There’s a moment at 1 minute 46 seconds into Taking A Fall, the second song of Coral Springs‘ Always Lost, Never Found, that made me realise that this album is a keeper. It is a brief, catchy breakdown that bounces along and radiates a feeling of pure joy. It’s not slow, or even particularly heavy, but goddamn does it elevate a good song into a great one. It’s the type of artistic genre-melding movement that New Found Glory produced in Not Without A Fight, but it’s applied with a more deft touch.

Coral Springs, despite their name, influences and general aesthetic, do not hail from So Cal, but rather the West Coast of the Netherlands. Cartological pedants amongst you might point out that most of the coastline in the Netherlands is technically west coast – that it doesn’t even have an East Coast – but that’s beside the point.

Before you have a chance to draw breath after that breakdown, Voices crashes in with an opening riff that I don’t want to compare to blink-182 after guitar lessons from some euro skate-punkers, but… Continue reading “Album Review: Coral Springs – Always Lost, Never Found”

The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival

Sarah speaks to organiser Andy Davies about MPF’s dedication to the DIY approach, five years on from the festival’s humble beginnings.

Written by Sarah Williams, with contributions from Andy Davies. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Manchester Punk Festival has grown significantly since its beginning five years ago. As one of the biggest punk festivals the UK has to offer, it remains fervently independent, affordable and free from corporate sponsorship.

Now that MPF is booking massive international headliners, increasing its capacity with new venues and still selling out of tickets (in 2018, there’s a handful left for 2019); it’s easy to forget the DIY roots of the festival… but the organisers definitely haven’t.

The festival is coordinated by a collective composed of three distinct Manchester promoters: TNSrecords, Anarchistic Undertones and Moving North. Outside of MPF, AU and Moving North are still putting on small DIY shows at least once a month, while TNSrecords are working hard championing and releasing records from up-and-coming punk rock bands. All three groups work to promote independent music, tirelessly and with no expectation of financial gain, and they apply the same mentality to Manchester Punk Festival.

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Darko smashing it at Gorilla at MPF2018. Cred: Josh Sumner

Origins of Manchester Punk Festival

Things all kicked off in 2013 with TNSrecords’ 10 Year Anniversary all-dayer; the biggest event they’d run by themselves. They’d had a stage at Strummercamp for a number of years, which contributed to their desire to run a bigger festival. In the year before, they’d seen a gap for a collaboration in the Manchester scene, which led to them calling a meeting of like-minded promoters.

Continue reading “The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival”