Gig Review: Don Blake & Uniforms @ Old Town House [02/09/2018]

We had a pop-punk Saturday with Don Blake, Uniforms, Skiv, Crocodile God and Bogans at Warrington’s top venue.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

It’s always a pleasure to spend a Saturday night in one of my favourite venues: Warrington’s Old Town House. Tonight’s pop-punk show, curated by Some Kind of Events, features a lively line-up of Don Blake, Uniforms, Skiv, Crocodile God and Bogans, however we rock up early to enjoy the atmosphere. Plus, you know, a raft of vegan pizza, nachos, fries, onion rings and mid-afternoon lager. This is what weekends are here for.

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Bogans, from the wilds of North Wales, open the show with some rowdy, riffy hardcore. It’s just the pep talk we needed to get started on the booze and there’s already quite a few familiar faces assembled in the pub.

Adam’s evidently been working on his growly rock vocals; getting some more live shows under their belts has brought the a step ahead in the few months since I last caught Bogans. He’s still got a mad look in his eye as he roams the area in front of the stage, weighing up the crowd, making some somewhat unnecessary hand signals to illustrate ‘jacking and jilling’ lyrics. He spends most of the set complaining about being hungover, which fits in well with a song about ‘intentionally censoring your own memories so you can’t regret the things you’ve done’.

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Despite the hangover, there’s still great energy and camaraderie from the group. They play straight-up punk rock, but with some poppier guitar lines slotted in, well suited to tonight’s lineup.

Typically bands use covers is to include some recognisable material in their set, to get the audience going, but Bogans break the mould by including their own version of a song by an unfortunately-named Finnish band called Anal Thunder. I’d love to know the motivation behind that obscure choice, however it turns out to be one of the best songs in their set. Continue reading “Gig Review: Don Blake & Uniforms @ Old Town House [02/09/2018]”

13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018

Enjoy Sarah’s personal account of a magical weekend over-indulgence in the Bavarian woods. Feauring After The Fall, A Wilhelm Scream, The Human Project, Petrol Girls, Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and The Affect Heuristic…

Article by Sarah Williams. Photography by Josh Sumner.

For years, people have been telling me that KNRD Fest is special. I finally bit the bullet this year and made it out to Nuremberg for the two day party in the famed Bavarian woods and… it turns out they’re right. KNRD is something truly special.

KNRD (pronounced ‘conrad’) is a magical, musical fantasy for anyone in the European skate-punk scene; so great that I wonder whether I dreamt elements of it. With bands like After The Fall and A Wilhelm Scream gracing a sterling skate-punk oriented bill, you know it’s going to be a great weekend, but what makes KNRD exceptional is the unique private-party feeling it has.

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I arrived quite late on the Friday, just as the bands were beginning, and just in time for to see Darko’s Karl Sursham wielding the mic and welcoming everyone to this wood-chipped glade with a charming boom. A keg is ceremonially cracked open and, thenceforth, it’s feels almost rude not to imbibe as much crystal-clear, chemical-free Bavarian beer as possible.

It’s this, in combination with the generously free-poured gin and tonics, moscow mules and pfeffe (peppermint) shots, that bring me to the theme of today’s article. As people regrouped on Saturday morning, after Friday night’s excesses, the question on everyone’s lips was: “How much do you remember of last night?” Continue reading “13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018”

Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 2

Alan drinks his way through Boomtown 2018 so you don’t have to.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Black and white photography from Hold My Pint.

WARNING: The following account is a true story of a group of late 20s – early 30s adult humans going to a festival. It may contain stories of early nights, tea, and driving to a town mid-festival for creature comforts.

Last time we saw Alan (in Part 1), it was Saturday afternoon in the Boomtown sun. We join him last that evening  as the weather takes a turn…

The rain that cleared up yesterday comes back with a vengeance as we make our way down the steep hill to the Lion’s Den. Imagine a group of tipsy dogs wearing ponchos and sliding on ice and you’re halfway there. We’ve acquired a small traffic cone, rave paint is produced as we listen to Johnny Osbourne and someone has the smart idea to introduce a ‘drink every time someone says “Boomtown”’ rule. I’m not going to lie, this is where things have started to go a little sideways for your intrepid reporter.

5.45 PM

We are front and centre for The Skints and my internal organs are being bounced around my body via the bass setup. The kick drum and bassist are blasting out shockwaves in perfect unison and I feel like I might get shook out of my shoes. Of course, I have implemented a ‘drink on any mention of “London”’ rule for myself, so it might be that. The Skints are Boomtown royalty and it’s easy to see why. Apparently I’m not alone in thinking this as holy shit, there are a lot of people here. Thousands are converging. The beers are catching up on me so I fight the tide to brave the toilets and discover the sound is actually much better halfway up the hill as you can actually hear some treble. I also get complimented on my poncho, which I have failed to mention is polka dot, kids sized and makes me look a bit like a ladybird…

Getting our steps in, we head back on over to Dissorder Alley to see Capdown. I last saw these guys 12 years ago in a local dive bar in Galway and I’m happy to say they still bring a lot of the gusto to their performance that they did back then. I even find myself close up the front and their set passes in a happy blur for me. Possibly cos I get nailed in the head by a stage diver wearing wellies, which of course gets captured by the cameras..

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9 PM (ish)

It’s time for a tactical pizza, and one that I’ve been looking forward to all day. Get the violins out, though, because this is possibly the worst moment of my entire festival. Not to be dramatic or anything. The pizza is downright awful. I try to make the best of it as I am feeling the slightest bit tipsy at this point, when I’m approached by a fellow festival reveller who asks me for a slice because he is, and I quote, homeless. I politely dispute this fact and his girlfriend drags him away.

My notes from this time read as follows:

“Slipknot Minions excuse me mate”

I still have no idea what the Slipknot Minions were, but that note kinda haunts me. Continue reading “Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 2”

Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 1

Alan drinks his way through Boomtown 2018 so you don’t have to. Part 1 features Pizzatramp, Dead Kennedeys, Skaciety, Dubioza Kolektiv, 2 Many Zoos and Elvana.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Black and white photography from Hold My Pint.

WARNING: The following account is a true story of a group of late 20s – early 30s adult humans going to a festival. It may contain stories of early nights, tea, and driving to a town mid-festival for creature comforts.

boomtown-1-a.jpgIt’s Friday night at Boomtown 2018 and we are lost. Having agreed not to split up our merry little group we promptly did just that and now three of us are in an unfamiliar camping area.

Actually, looking around, a surprisingly quiet and well kept camping area. And are those FUCKING ACTUAL BATHROOMS WITH CERAMIC TOILETS?!

Yep, we had walked past security into a (presumably) VIP camping area and after trudging past portapottys that were each a claustrophobic, plastic blue warzone, we weren’t about to leave any time soon.

Obviously we go to check out the venue. Obviously it looks like a castle from the outside and a strip club on the inside.

It contains:

  • A stretch limo
  • A DJ
  • Nothing and nobody else

Ladies, gentlemen, non binary folks, I present to you; Boomtown Fair.

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Let’s backtrack to that morning…

Friday

6 AM

Holy hell it’s early. Because we are a group of human adults – as mentioned earlier – we have day jobs to phone in and weddings to attend in the lead up to this festival, so ⅔ of our group are missing the first night of proceedings. We’re also travelling from Ireland and Portugal, so give us a break.

After a whole lot of travel (Car – Bus – Airplane – Shuttle Bus – Rental Car) we pull into the Boomtown Car Park only to be cruelly discriminated against as foreigners, having to fork out and additional £40 for parking, despite already having paid it online.

Shrugging off another injustice handed down by our one time Colonial Oppressors, we park up, resist the urge to pet the fantastic and hard working narcotics dogs and we are in! Continue reading “Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 1”

Gig Review: Consumed @ Aatma, Manchester [13/07/2018]

Consumed rip through their Northern album launch show, with support from Don Blake, Triple Sundae and Hoof.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

We’ve been waiting for 16 years, but it’s finally here. Nineties UK skate-punk legends Consumed have chosen today to drop their EP Decade of No into our laps, after a long hiatus. Every chord, every note and every lyric is just as vibrant, exciting and relevant as their earlier releases and I’m supremely excited to celebrate the launch with them tonight.

The troopers at Anarchistic Undertones have organised tonight’s album release party at Aatma in Manchester, with a varied line up of supports in the form of Don Blake, Triple Sundae and Hoof. What better way to finish of your working week?

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I’m gonna get straight out there are say it: I bloody love Hoof. They don’t seem to have the big furore around them that you occasionally get with DIY bands, but there’s an understated charm to them and what they play is just very, very good. They fall into the camp of 90’s EpiFat-era skate-punk (and I’d hazard a guess Consumed are a big influence on them), producing a sound that’s comfortingly familiar and exceptionally well executed.

In the interest of building anticipation, they break a string approximately five notes into the set, leading to a lengthy re-stringing break before the show’s even started. Fortunately these guys are the masters of off-hand stage banter, and at least it didn’t halt the set halfway through.

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Back up and running again they rip through Epitaph and Petty Thieves, the title track from their relatively recent EP. It’s fast, hard punk rock with a strong grasp of melody and a tight technical edge, particularly on the snappy drum fills and odd twiddly riffs. They’re firmly in the class of bands incapable of playing less than breakneck speed, ideal for kicking off a show. Continue reading “Gig Review: Consumed @ Aatma, Manchester [13/07/2018]”

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.

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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.

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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]”

Gig Review: SBÄM Fest, Austria [4-5 May 2018]

Austria’s hottest new punk festival was a blast, with Propagandhi, Iron Chic, No Trigger, Satanic Surfers and lots of gin…

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Andreas Wörister / Slihs Photgraphy.

I leapt into SBÄM Fest with a tangible sense of punk adventure. I drove overnight from Manchester to Stansted, got two hours kip in the back of my car, then parked up and met a pal at the airport in time for a 7am flight. One Wetherspoons breakfast and not-enough black coffee later and we’re hopping buses and trains in Austria to get to Wels. SBÄM takes place at Alter Schlachtof, an old slaughterhouse converted into a graffiti-adorned grassroots gig venue, holding 750 keen music fans this weekend. The impressive line-up (featuring Propagandhi, Donots, Satanic Surfers, Iron Chic and No Trigger to name a few) has been enough to draw people in from around the world.

Friday

We get reach the venue just in time to catch the opening act, Missstand. They perform seriously energetic, punchy political songs, just the way punk should be played. They’ve got a lot of Anti Flag-style singalong sections, but they’re loaded with more Rancid-ish grit. I’d been enjoying listening to Hinterland on record and it carries across with a lot more force live. As they’re speaking in German, we’re amused that the only words we can pick up between songs are ‘super-cool’. They’ve nailed it: SBÄM feels super cool!

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The Murderburgers

Following Misstand are two favourite British acts: The Murderburgers and Wonk Unit, who are mid-way through a joint mainland tour. The Murderburgers are fiery, funny and frantic just as you come to expect them. My friend and I giggle along to Fraser’s on-point banter, although we’re not sure how well his Scottish drawl translates to the international audience. Wonk Unit proceed to play one of the best sets I’ve ever seen them perform – they seem comfortable, played-in and every element of the show feels like the top of their game. It’s good to see some of the Wonk Fam rocking out down the front, and it’s a treat to see new tunes like Christmas In A Crackhouse and Day Job Wanker on stage. They still pull out old favourites Guts and Horses, which give us an excuse for a proper dance.

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Wonk Unit

It turns out that two beers on top of two hours sleep in two days is enough to make your head swim, so I decide to have a tactical sit down while I wait for the sky to stop spiralling, before adopting the tried-and-tested sunglasses-indoors coping mechanism. We also have to take a quick jaunt to check in to a hotel. Unfortunately, this means we miss Joe McMahon, however we’re back and raring to go around in time for Astpai. Continue reading “Gig Review: SBÄM Fest, Austria [4-5 May 2018]”