How To Beat Post-Festival Depression

Article by Sarah Williams. Cover image by Josh Sumner.

The struggle is real. We have all been there after a great weekend: suddenly alone, wanting to grin and cry in equal measure. Post-festival depression is the worst part of loving live music.

You’re mentally exhausted from the sheer amount of fun you’ve had. At best you’re a hungover, sunburned mosquito-feast, at worst you’ve sustained an actual injury. You’re bruised and broken from the physical exertion of a ‘holiday’: mosh pits, human pyramids, sleeping on floors.

You’ve showered but you can’t cleanse your insides; sitting in the office on Monday morning feeling like a ragdoll stuffed with shit spaghetti, desperately hoping none of your colleagues notice your mental state.

In the weekend punk-bubble it’s completely appropriate to curl up in a ball on the floor if you need to, to joke about your hands shaking or your jaw aching. You can show off your pit bruises and laugh about all the stupid things you did when you were peak drunk.

Suddenly, Monday comes and you’re crash landing into the reality of your day job, forced to keep schtum about this ‘other life’ you’re living. When your colleagues have innocently spent the weekend ferrying their kids to swimming lessons, doing a spot of gardening and redecorating their kitchens, you can’t exactly counter it with tales of gincidents, Class A’s and a complete disregard for your own physical well-being. When you’re enduring this inevitable dip, the worst part is that you have to keep quiet and pretend you’re totally fine.

Having experienced the crushing loneliness of post-festival depression umpteenth times now, I wanted to share my advice on overcoming it.

Reach out to your friends

There’s a good chance that they’re feeling just as shit as you are, so reach out to your mates and make sure they’re okay. Share the pain. The post-fest depression hits us all at different times; for me it’s usually about half an hour after I say goodbye to the last person I see, when it’s had a little time to sink in. It might vary a bit depending on the strength of your bangover, how long your journey home is or who you’re going home to. Continue reading “How To Beat Post-Festival Depression”

Four Days Following A Wilhelm Scream On Tour [Column]

Sarah spent a long weekend following melodic hardcore legends, A Wilhelm Scream, on their UK tour with Darko. This is her personal account of the sweatiest weekend of the year.

Article by Sarah Williams. Images from Cold Front Photography, taken at The Star & Garter, Manchester.

It’s sweltering. I’m screaming. There’s a crush of bodies all around me, elbows and fists and softer parts, heaving and desperately scrabbling for space. Every surface is slick with sweat. I turn around just in time to catch a boot to the face, as singer Nuno Pereira is hoisted above the pit, trailing the mic cable, still belting the lyrics out.

He circles above the crowd before being gently propped back onto the the stage, where he immediately bounces back to scream out the chorus. I’m crushed against the edge of the stage and, when I look up, he’s literally dripping a waterfall of sweat straight on to all of us in the front row.

A Wilhelm Scream Live Manchester cred Josh Sumner 3.jpg

It’s the longest, hottest day of the year, and the air feels ripe with anticipation for the chaos that A Wilhelm Scream bring on tour with them, unleashing raw, unbridled energy on stage every single night. This 5-piece melodic hardcore whirlwind have journeyed from their hometown in New Bedford, Massachusetts for a month-long tour, beginning with 7 dates in the UK with Shout Louder faves Darko.

I’ve been known to go to absurd lengths for the love of punk rock and this weekend will be no exception. Taking every chance to see one of the world’s most incendiary live bands, I decided to catch them in Manchester, Norwich, London and Stafford. Fortunately, I managed to convince Tree (of MPF/Anarchistic Undertones fame) to join me, so I wasn’t alone for the ride.

A Wilhelm Scream Live Manchester cred Josh Sumner 7.jpg

Friday: Manchester

Manchester’s show at the Star & Garter is unquestionably the best gig I’ve been to this year (and I’ve seen Propagandhi twice). Perhaps it’s the intense heat. Perhaps it’s the crush of friends at the front. Perhaps it’s the insanely good performance from one of my all time favourite bands…  or perhaps it was the excitement of knowing I get to do it all again for the next three days. Continue reading “Four Days Following A Wilhelm Scream On Tour [Column]”

Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season

Guest Article: Random Hand’s Joe Tilston gives valuable advice on how to prepare your band’s merch set up, to make the most of summer’s festival season.

Guest Article by Joe Tilston, originally published at Merch Stall.

The weather is getting better, this can mean only one thing: festival season is upon us once more. Are you ready?

Is this your band’s first year playing a festival, or are you on your 10th run through the circuit? No matter how well versed you are, you need to give your merchandise preparation some serious thought. Too often I’ve found myself two weeks before the first big festival date of the year, and we haven’t got any new designs drawn (never mind ordered!), once again making an already stressful situation far more complicated than it needs to be.

So learn from the mistakes of those that have made them before you: prepare!

Keep it simple. It’s easy to get carried away on a merch stall at your own show or a support gig when there are only three bands, but at festivals all the pins, badges and lighters, bumper bonza deals and mega collections should disappear. You want to get through the queue as fast as you can, so show some restraint. If someone wants to haggle or make a deal, let them, but keep the options for people to look at. Simple: t-shirt price, CD price, vinyl price. Done.

Do you have a merch person available to join you? Have you made sure there is space for you to sell your merch; do you need to book it? Make sure whoever is selling your merch is able to spend most of the day there. People will be looking to buy merch all day, not just right after your set. That said, some festivals will only give you a small window to sell, so be prepared for that and communicate it on stage!
Continue reading “Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season”

Remembering P-Rock TV: Where Are They Now?

We honour a TV channel that lasted a year but and shaped music tastes for decades to come, featuring King Prawn, [Spunge], Jesse James, Whitmore, Farse and Violent Delight!

Article by Alan Corcoran.

Hi, my name is Alan and I’ve been listening to some variety of punk rock for 20 years. My first punk(ish) song, and the hilarious lengths I had to go to in order to hear it, will have to wait for another day. Today I want to talk about the short lived P-Rock TV.

For some this will be like fondly remembering an old friend that you used to be real close to but now only see when you’re blackout drunk in your local pub back home. For others, this will be like meeting someone in your late 20’s and asking, “Where have YOU been all my life?!”

For me, it is a continuation of my life’s work; to honour a TV channel that lasted a year (2002-2003) and shaped my music taste for decades to come. I didn’t even have access to the channel in my house; my friends lucky enough to have P-Rock would hit record in the evening and the next day I’d have 3 hours of (only slightly repetitive) punk rock goodness. That’s right, I’m talking VHS mixtapes here.

Slight (and only slight) facetiousness aside, P-Rock was a god-send for punk and ska-inclined types across the UK and Ireland. Here was a channel that played non-stop bangers from established bands like NOFX and Bad Religion, bands from slightly smaller labels like Tsunami Bomb and Less Than Jake and, maybe most importantly of all, a whole beer cooler full of tasty local British bands.

Choosing where to start is like trying to pick a beverage from a well stocked fridge on a sunny Friday. I’ll stop with the drinking analogies now. Here’s a load of cool bands from the P-Rock days.

Farse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dare you to listen to this and not have it stuck in your head. I dare you. The lyrics may be unintelligible for the most part, but that’s a melody as pure as a church bell on an Austrian winter morning. Without realising it, you’re dancing around your kitchen with your dog and scrambling for the repeat button as the last chords ring out.

As for those lyrics…

The Hopskotch page on pylircs.com – and it is Hopskotch, not Hopscotch as P-Rock spells it  – features a quote that’s apparently from a long since defunct band website, stating that there aren’t really any lyrics.

I personally prefer the lyrics as documented by some genius on Metro Lyrics:

Screenshot_20180616-105148.png

Where are they now?

Despite initially breaking up in 2004, Farse reunited in 2009 and played two shows, including a set at Slam Dunk Fest, which I am sicker than a dog on a skateboard about missing. Our sources says that while they don’t appear active at the moment, there’s always a chance that could change in the future.

King Prawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of songs to get you dancing, here’s genre-bludgeoning King Prawn! The opening brass section is like a call to arms for those who know it. For the uninitiated, it’s a deceivingly calm intro compared to the face melting vocal gymnastics that follow.

While a lot of the bands on P-Rock seemed relatable on a musical skill level, King Prawn had a whole spice bag full of the X factor. I didn’t know anyone who could rap that fast. None of my friends had cool, colourful beards. And I sure as hell didn’t know any bass-playing little people.

Where are they now?

After a long time away, King Prawn reformed in 2012, releasing new music on their Bandcamp in 2014. Yours truly even saw them at Boomtown 2015 and definitely remembers the whole set and wasn’t in the slightest bit tipsy. They continue to tour and I’m told their set was hotter than a ghost pepper at Slam Dunk this year. Da Prawn, as they may or may not prefer to be called, are finishing a new album and will be touring the UK once it’s released.

Violent Delight

I don’t think any band match the rise and fall of P-Rock quite like Violent Delight. Within three years the group, which consisted of literal teenagers, had signed to a major label, been the darlings of Kerrang! for a while and then dropped off the face of the planet. Best of all, they had two songs including I Wish I Was A Girl produced by the drummer of Ill Nino. A sentence so beautifully 2002 I might actually just die right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back, the production values on this video are surprisingly good, even with label backing. The video and song kind of hold up. And as a former artsy, awkward teenager from the middle of nowhere (and current artsy, awkward adult) I could definitely relate to lyrics about people thinking you’re gay when you’re not actually gay.

Was this song a Trans Anthem? Is it problematic? Was it just a dumb joke song written by a group of teenagers from Hertfordshire? The answer could be a mix of all three, but I’ll let you decide on the social context of the content. For now, let’s bask in the glory of that chorus.

Where are they now?

I’m not sure where it went wrong for Violent Delight, but I can and will speculate that their young age, mixed with a fickle music industry that dropped nu metal and punk pretty quickly, meant they weren’t sustainable. They performed a farewell show in 2006 and moved on to other things. Is it time for a reunion show that will never actually come? In this reporters opinion, the answer, sadly, is ‘yes’.

[spunge]

 

 

No P-Rock band seemed like a bunch of mates who decided to make some music the way that [spunge] did. Maybe it’s because they literally had a song about not forgetting your friends, maybe it’s the DIY aesthetic of their garage videos, but you always felt you were one step away from accidentally being in their band. Maybe as additional percussion player or something.

But to simply call them a ‘big bunch of lads’ is doing the big bunch of lads a disservice. [spunge] were as catchy as a fish hook made of velcro and had BANGERS. Plural. They also managed to get the word ‘jump’ into their bouncy chorus while also making it work within the lyrics. A skill that Fred Durst would have given several oversized baggy shorts for.

Where are they now?

Still touring, we are happy to report! Your intrepid reporter will be jumping on demand up the front at Boomtown 2018.

Whitmore

 

The band with three music videos to the same song. The band that provided the literal theme music to P-Rock. The band that supported Avril Lavigne back in the early 2000s. Whitmore took their name from a footballer you’ve never heard of, were not shy about their marijuana use and in many ways seem like unlikely heroes even within a collection of misfits.

For three dudes that seemingly smoked a whole pile of Mary Jane (do I sound like a narc?) Whitmore were known for their 3 minute slabs of pure punk rock goodness. But, if you dig into their albums, there’s plenty of up strum, reggae influenced action.

Did they sing about weed a hell of a lot? Sure. Are their videos bad? Kinda. Do they have some great punk rock songs all the same? Absolutely.

Where are they now?

They seem to have vanished without a trace in 2005. Anyone know? [Ed: They’re still playing sporadic shows!]

Jesse James

That’s right, the band that sang about only being attracted to people who wore a certain type of footwear! And on closer inspection, they seem to say the shoes themselves are a turn on but hey, it takes all sorts.

Jesse James had the added bonus of an actual brass section. If any of you have been in even the most DIY punk outfit you know how hard it can be to wrangle a group of emotional, somewhat musical, adult-sized children into a functioning band. I’m eternally fascinated by ska bands with half a football team on stage.

Being honest, I completely related to this song and kind of still do. At least the judging people by their shoes thing. Jesse James have the distinction of seeming ‘most American’ to me back in the day, which is actually a compliment even though I’m sure they might not see it that way.

Where are they now?

Jesse James seem to have been somewhat active of late, but reports are unclear as to the future of the band. Another one to keep an eye on. If you can find them amongst the dozens of other acts called Jesse James.

 

Did you watch P-Rock? Do you want to yell at me for missing an obvious UK band? Were you in one of those bands and just wish you could do your office job in peace without constantly having dorks on the internet bring up your past? If so, hit me up in the comment section!

If you want to indulge in some nostalgia, or hear more gems from the P-Rock days, one Spotify user named Ross has made what I am going on record as calling the ultimate P-Rock Playlist.

You could also check out the song about P-Rock that my friend and I wrote. It’s basically this article in audio form.

What’s that? Another alcohol reference for the road? Okay, let’s raise a glass and pour one out for P-Rock TV. Gone, but not forgotten.

Article by Alan Corcoran.

Video: Practicing Meditation for Wellbeing On Tour With Waterweed

Jo of Bad Juju Yoga created this insightful short film whilst on tour with Japanese skate-punks Waterweed, recording the benefits and challenges of keeping up a daily meditation practice.

When you think about life on tour, meditation isn’t the first word to spring to mind. However, when you consider the long, hard hours spent on the road, sardined into a van with a stack of equipment, the boredom of travel, drinking to excess and charging through sweaty half-hour live shows… taking 15 minutes for yourself to recentre begins to make sense.

Jo Smith, of Bad Juju Yoga, created this insightful short film whilst driving Waterweed on a seven day tour around Europe. She relays the challenges and benefits daily meditation practice in this entertaining tour diary.

Here’s what Jo had to say about it: “In April, I spent 7 days on a European tour, co-driving/ managing/ merch-wenching with Japanese skatepunkers Waterweed. I documented this journey for a bit of fun, and to also see if I could commit to my daily mediation practice on the road. I regularly felt tempted just to drink beer, chill out and not do my meditation but I by the end of the week, I had some self-realisation of what the meditation really did for me. So here is my doco/ tour vid of my experience.”

Bad Juju Yoga began in 2015 after founder, Jo Smith, discovered the Punk Rock Yoga manifesto. The manifesto empowered Jo to do what felt most authentic when teaching, which is why most of her classes use a variety of music genres.

Bad Juju is more than just physical exercise. It is a lifestyle, promoting a philosophy of community spirit. Bringing together like-minded people into a space where they can develop their own practice and knowledge of yoga and wellbeing. A space where they feel welcome and where they can be themselves.

You can find Bad Juju Yoga on online, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Jo also teaches punk rock yoga classes at various UK and European festivals, teaching in a creative way using a style that is all-inclusive, sharing yoga through the love of music, mantra, sound and vibration.​ We highly recommend that you check out her online classes in the near future.

 

How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality

Life feels shorter than ever; so I’m going to fill it with the noises I love.

Article by Sarah Williams.

N.B.: I’d intended for this to be a happy article about how and why I enjoy live music so much, but it’s turned out a bit on the dark side. Oops. Trigger warning: Depression, suicide, bereavement.

Waterweed

I’ve been going to a lot of gigs lately. In the last month alone, I figured out I’ve travelled over 3,500 miles just to see bands. As I’ve started booking in festivals later in the year, more people are asking me why I’m doing it.

Typically it is a question I get from the ‘normal’ people I work with or my long-suffering family, however lately it’s a question I’ve received from people in the scene, usually accompanied by an incredulous look because I’ve just turned up in yet another city.

I’ve got an answer for you, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Why do I go to so many gigs? I go because I know I’m going to die. I’ve become hyper aware of my own mortality.

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers, and enjoying the music I love is my way of remedying and recognising that. Every show I go to, whether that’s a sweaty Propagandhi pit, a crusty post-hardcore melee or a gentle acoustic folk gig, I will have a massive grin plastered to my face. I’m enjoying the noise, the adventure and spending time in the punk community, because I feel like it could end at any second.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been berated with the following: “You’re going to burn out;” “You should drink less;” “You need to concentrate more on work;” “You shouldn’t waste your money on that;” “You need to calm down.”

They’re all right, of course, I probably ‘should’ do all of those things. I’m fucking tired. I’ve got tinnitus. I get stressed trying to keep track of all the gig-dates on my mental calendar. I struggle to motivate myself to do my day job because it’s so different to my ‘other life’. I’ve given myself alcohol poisoning more times than I can count. I’m running solely on caffeine and enthusiasm. Getting out of bed to be at the airport at 5am when I’ve still got the flu from last weekend’s festival is a hellish struggle.

It is worth it, because I am happy. Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. And I have been for a long time now. I haven’t felt the tug of depression and the cold sweat of anxiety has washed straight off me. I’ll say it again: I am really fucking happy. Continue reading “How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality”

5 Things I Learned From Touring Japan [by Almeida’s Tom West]

Tom West of Almeida imparts some valuable advice to anyone touring or visiting Japan (a.k.a. the Punk Rock Holy Grail).

Article by Tom West (Almeida).

Last month, thanks to RNR Tours, Almeida realised our longtime dream of playing a run of shows in Japan – and had the honour of sharing a stage with Belvedere, Waterweed and our cruddy buddies Darko every night.

In my experience, playing in a band – particularly a DIY punk band – means that your proud achievements don’t always translate when talking to regular folks with regular lives. Cramming into a smelly van for hours and rating the service station toilets out of ten isn’t the most jealousy-inducing boast, no matter how many different countries you’ve rocked the fuck out in.

But there’s something about touring Japan that seems to really resonate with people and help them (accurately) realise, “Wow, you’re really serious about this!”

For this and a million other reasons, going to Japan was a highly gratifying landmark experience for Almeida, and if you’re in a touring band I’d highly recommend you start networking in order to get out there as soon as you can.

If you do get around to it, there will likely be a few culture shocks and bits you’ll forget to do, so here are some top tips to help you survive.

Travel

A 15 hour flight may be daunting (and very boring if your in-flight entertainment conks out – grazi mille, AIitalia airlines!), but if you’re used to long stretches of staring at the back of someone’s head on tour, you’ll be fairly well prepared.

Make sure you pack comfy gear like PJs and a good quality neck pillow – if you travel on a budget like us you probably won’t get much decent kip on the rickety old seats. It’s not just vital that you stay comfortable for the sake of your flight, but you don’t want to be spending your whole time on the road in Japan trying to pop your neck back into place.

We took our instruments and drum breakables on as hand luggage, which was a good way to ensure they weren’t getting smashed about by the airline – but make sure you’ve established whether it’s ok to do so, as you may incur heavy charges if you haven’t cleared it with them beforehand.

Almedia plane.jpg

Crew

RNR Tours were an awesome well-oiled unit to work with, helping us get from A to B, all the while making sure we got some time in to stroll around a 16th century castle in Nagoya, see the bright lights of Shinjuku, and frolic with feral deer in Nara. As ever, it’s important to not faff about too much in the mornings if you want enough time to see the sights.

We’d have been absolutely hopeless without our team. Unless you have a fluent Japanese speaker in your band, you’ll outright need to employ a tour manager at the very least.

The RNR team are incredibly efficient and assisted us every night with loading our gear in and out of the venues. If you get into a similarly fortunate situation, you can help them (and yourselves) by ensuring sure you label and number your bags to avoid something getting left behind. Probably good practice for any tour, to be honest. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned From Touring Japan [by Almeida’s Tom West]”