In the words of Burnt Tapes, “This year’s been a weird one.”
Despite that, it’s not been a bad one. Shout Louder’s been quieter than usual, but I did publish two books (PAPERCUTS #1 & #2 – get yours here!). I started a punk rock radio podcast that was surprisingly popular (65k listens on Episode 4 is surely a fluke?!) and co-hosted Do It Together Fest… which I hope would have made a few folk’s ‘Top 10 Gigs of 2020’ list even if it weren’t one of the only gigs in 2020.
The musical landscape is not the only thing that’s changed dramatically in 2020, but it’s the one I’ve noticed the most. I’ve read that the unpredictability of the year’s events has driven people to a lot of nostalgic listening – replaying comforting past releases rather than diving into new albums. I’ve definitely fallen into that trap: it turns out I still know all the words to Anthology by Alien Ant Farm and every Limp Bizkit and Slipknot album.
I’ve also found myself exploring a lot of genres outside of ‘punk rock’, because for me punk is ultimately about live music. Without gigs, without all-dayers and without people buzzing with excitement around me, I’ve had less interest in discovering new bands. According to my Spotify Wrapped, I’ve spent 2020 listening to ‘jazz rap’, ‘neo-soul’ and grime instead. For anyone interested, my personal 2020 Bangers playlist can be found here.
I’m not doing a traditional Top 10 Releases but I didn’t want to let the occasion pass without identifying a few top albums, EPs and singles that I’ve enjoyed this year.
We’re seeking contributions for our new PAPERCUTS print zine. Send us your stories, essays, poetry and photography.
Shout Louder’s first print zine was released in January 2020, with 250 copies selling out in two weeks. PAPERCUTS is a 92-page paperback book collecting submissions from 34 writers and photographers from within the DIY punk scene, including authors in the UK, Canada, Belgium, Denmark and South Africa.
Following the unprecedented success of PAPERCUTS #1, I’m keen to make another high-quality book celebrating the DIY punk scene. This time, a proportion of the proceeds will be donated to The Music Venue Trust’s Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund.
The theme for this edition is Gigs, Festivals & Tours.
I walk around every day carrying a dizzyingly-advanced dystopian-sci-fi computer in my pocket. Every day, I clock up multiple hours of screen time and I send countless messages. I am constantly connected… and yet I frequently fail to connect.
I am notoriously bad at replying to messages… and emails, phone calls, comments and voice notes especially. Honestly, I fear listening to voice notes in case it’s someone yelling at me, because the written word wouldn’t suffice to convey their anger. This is an entirely irrational thought, but it’s there nonetheless.
Memories of festivals passed have been popping up on our social media timelines lately, reminding us of all the fun we’re missing out on in 2020. This year of cancelled live music and ultra-distanced friendships can be tough when we’re reminded of the good times, but punk rock festivals aren’t all hugs, bands and blazing sunshine, are they?
Let’s consider some of the stuff we won’t be missing out on.
Being with your friends in a big, sunny field is glorious… but you’re rarely able to completely escape the sea of dickheads that exists outside of your social bubble. This varies depending on the festival, but dickheads exist everywhere.
Punk rock can save us from the mundanity of life. It can aid us in silencing the demons at large who thrust their voices in our heads.
They say punk is a lifestyle, one which only some can endure. That’s not true, as punk is a universal genre of music and culture, instilled in the framework of this breaking planet. To be truthful, punk is needed more than ever in these unprecedented times where animosity is overthrowing human affection. People are changing, they’re frightened, which is understandable, but love has been undermined by stupidity and panic.
Punk rock isn’t a cure, nor is it a foundation to lay problems upon. What it does is create collaborations amongst musicians and writers, even in virtual terms. It also has the charm to build friendships and conversations.
Manchester Punk Festival is a large multi-venue festival taking place in April each year. Remaining fervently DIY, it is staffed by a dedicated volunteers who come back every year. As part of that group, Sarah endeavoured to find out what makes MPF’s volunteer team so special.
Article by Sarah Williams, originally written for the Manchester Punk Festival 2020 programme.
The heart of DIY is a willingness to dedicate your time and energy for the love of punk. While MPF is run by a collective, there’s a supportive group of volunteers working behind the scenes at the event: packing and selling merchandise, running the stages, looking after the bands, wrist-banding and making sure that you’re having the best festival possible.
“The volunteers are such a crucial part of this weekend, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” says Kaz Hinsley, who helps to head up the volunteer team. “Each and every person that helps in some way really does make the weekend run more smoothly.”
Volunteering at MPF is unlike volunteering at any other event. Everyone pitches in a few hours, with a big grin on their face, proud to be helping the festival run without a hitch. It’s a stark contrast to commercial festivals, where volunteering can mean struggling through a six hour shift on a comedown, covered in glitter and mud, doing the bare minimum to earn yourself a ticket. MPF’s volunteers are all keen to see that the festival operates at the highest standard possible.Continue reading “Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Manchester Punk Fest”
For UK bands, touring Japan is the Holy Grail of punk rock. Success in DIY music cannot be quantified by financial gains or commercial exposure, but it can be measured by how far you’ve travelled to share your music with excited fans.
With the assistance of dedicated organisations like RNR Tours, increasingly more UK and European bands are playing Japan. We’ve covered them in Tree’s Fair Do’s tour diary and Tom West’s Japan Tour Survival Guide. Although many tours have been cancelled recently as a result of COVID-19, PMX made it over just before the global travel restrictions.
As more UK and European bands are receiving attention from Japanese crowds, we thought it time to reciprocate and give column space to the Japanese bands making waves over here. No doubt a knock-on effect from Anarchistic Undertones promoter Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson’s trip to Tokyo with Fair Do’s last year, Manchester Punk Festival this year had booked four incredible Japanese gems: SHAMES, Stone Leek, Green Eyed Monster and Gibberish (who have one Japanese member). Although MPF’s fallen foul of the Corona catastrophe, there’s no doubt that the same bands will be invited again for a future event. Beyond these, there is a whole culture of uptempo, angry, exciting bands that many of us are yet to discover.
As stricter rules have been imposed by government in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, my anxious friends and I have joked that ‘normies’ will suddenly know what it’s like to feel mad all the time.
Anxiety: sweats, shakes, racing thoughts, imagining impending catastrophe. Depression: solitude, sadness and worthlessness. We’re being told that if we don’t wash out hands well enough, it might kill our Nan. We’re scared to leave the house. There’s an omnipresent, invisible threat, lurking around waiting to take us out. Coronavirus panic has an awful lot in common with good ol’ run-of-the-mill depression.Continue reading “Advice for Surviving Lockdown from Someone Who’s Overcome Severe Depression”
Pat from Australia’s best skate-punk exports The Decline shares his memories of gigging, in jokes, and on-the-road antics.
Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.
The Decline are a high-energy straight up skate-punk band from Perth, Australia. Unfortunately, their UK/Euro tour has been scrapped to due to whole pandemic malarkey, but we still had a chat with them about their past touring experiences.
They’ve recently released a rad album: Flash Gordon Ramsay Street on Pee Records (with international collab from Bird Attack, Disconnect Disconnect, Bells On, Cargo and Oxford Records). It fits right in the vein of Frenzal Rhomb, NoFX and Lagwagon. Questions were answered by guitarist / vocalist Pat, who first up said that they ‘love touring, drinking beers and playing legend of Zelda’.
Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?
It’s very hard to say! Maybe Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia? Maybe South America with Much The Same and The Fullblast. Maybe Australia or Mexico with A Wilhelm Scream. It’s usually the people you’re touring with or the people you meet who make it the best, rather than the actual place… maybe the USA with MakeWar. Continue reading “Punk Rock Tour Tales #5: Pat from The Decline”
Thank you to everyone who attended Do It Together Fest. In collaboration with Paul Smith (Be Sharp Promotions) and Colin Clark (Colin’s Punk Rock World), we’d hoped to put together an event that celebrated the punk rock community, and what we achieved exceeded my expectations completed.
Firstly I’d like to announce that we raised a grand total of £880.72 for Mind! Thank you to everyone who donated, played our punk rock tombola or scoffed OGGS kindly donated cakes. Thanks also to every single person who attended, all the bands who played and everyone who lent a hand: you could truly feel the power of our community over the weekend, and every single person was a part of that. Continue reading “Memories & Highlights from Do It Together Fest 2020”