Gig Review: Ill Guerra & The Domestics @ Fuel Cafe [10/03/2018]

A great night of hardcore held in a Twin Peaks-esque sauna in Withington. Support from Habits, Pat Butcher, Satanic Malfunctions and Social Experiment.

Article by Sarah Williams. Atrocious photos taken from my phone.

The main reason I relocated to Manchester was the luxury of having fantastic punk rock shows right on your doorstep, every single weekend. This particular gig, held at Fuel Cafe in Withington is a stone’s throw from my house, and is therefore the shortest distance I’ve had to travel to see bands since I lived on Camden High Street a decade ago. I’m living the dream.

MBBP have a reputation for putting on raucous live shows, always trying to pack six or more acts onto a short bill. It’s incredibly exciting to see a variety of hardcore punk bands from around the country playing tonight, including Welsh acts Habits and Social Experiment plus Yorkshire’s Pat Butcher and Satanic Malfunctions. The highlights of the line-up are reliably ferocious East Anglian act The Domestics and esoteric Spanish foursome Ill Guerra.

The room upstairs at Fuel is an unusual venue space: it’s a small room divided by an archway, with a stage painted with black and white zigzags. The night begins oddly, with Habits closing the windows and drawing the sumptuous red velvet curtains behind them to kick things off, like the band haev suddenly been transplanted onto the red room set of Twin Peaks.

Habits Live Fuel Cafe
Habits

Habits are a band that I would happily watch headline. They play dark, furious post-hardcore, buoyed by a lot of lush guitar tones and stormy chord changes. It’s like More Than Life, Have Heart and Defeater had a Welsh DIY baby. Nosebleed begins with a solid moody section but mutates suddenly into a much harder-rocking tune, before descending into a frantic, drawn out breakdown. Work is an indignant polemic, although the sound is ultimately positive. Other songs drift through themes of jealousy, sex and drinking yourself to death. The singer introduces each song by name and a brief explanation of the subject manner, which is super-handy for note-taking twats like me. Continue reading “Gig Review: Ill Guerra & The Domestics @ Fuel Cafe [10/03/2018]”

Waterweed Interview: Japanese Melodic Hardcore Heavyweights

Read our in-depth interview with Osaka’s Waterweed ahead of their UK tour this month.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Japanese melodic hardcore heavyweights Waterweed have caused a ruckus in the UK punk scene lately. First, it was announced that they’d be making an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival. Then we heard that Lockjaw Records would be releasing their second album Brightest in the UK. Finally, a further flurry of exciting dates across the UK and mainland Europe have popped up.

Skate-punk fans may already be well aware of Waterweed, as a relatively big act in Japan, but as they’ve never visited Europe and never had a release here before, you can’t be blamed if you’ve not heard of them. We were keen to find out more about the band, the tour and the album, so we spoke to singer/bassist Tomohiro Ohga.

I am so excited to see you live at Manchester Punk Festival, and on your tour around the UK and mainland Europe! Is this your first time in the UK?

This is our first European tour. Outside of Japan, we have also toured in South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.

What part of the trip are you most excited about?

Everything, I think! The scenery, sounds and smells in Europe will be a new experience for me.  Looking forward to finding some new inspiration.

Waterweed Live 1.jpg

Which bands you are looking forward to playing with most?

We are very excited to be performing with Satanic Surfers in Paris. When Waterweed was first formed, we listened to Hero of Our Time and were deeply impressed. We saw their show in Japan and are honored to perform together with a band we admire.

Also, we are performing with Propagandhi and Iron Chic at Manchester Punk Festival. Not on the same date, but also honored to be involved with the same music festival. We are playing on the same day as Death By Stereo. They came to the venue I work at during their Japan tour last year. I started liking them even more after seeing their great performance and personality. I’m also looking forward to performing with Darko and Bare Teeth after we join them, Almeida and Belvedere on a Japanese tour booked by the RNR crew. Continue reading “Waterweed Interview: Japanese Melodic Hardcore Heavyweights”

Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In April

We’ve done all the hard work for you and found the best punk gigs across the country in April.

Article by Sarah Williams.

At Shout Louder, our April revolves the smorgasbord of sonic splendour that is Manchester Punk Festival. Now in its fourth year, MPF takes place over April 19th – 21st and, besides featuring many fantastic bands, it is also a major friends-fest. Every year the festival inspires punk rock pals from around the country to descend upon the Rainy City, this year seeming to pull even more attention from around the UK and further afield.

That said, it’s already sold out so we’re not going to bang on about it here. We will be banging on about it soon, with a series of related interviews and articles highlighting some of the acts you may be less familiar with. Keep your eyes peeled for pieces over the coming weeks, plus a very hungover episode of our podcast.

If you’ve got cash, time and energy leftover from Manchester Punk Festival, there are our top picks of this month’s events:

Gig of The Month: Nosebleed Album Release & Tour

  • When: April 7th
  • Where: Wharf Chambers, Leeds
  • Who: Support from Riggots, Snake Rattlers, Batwölf , Bones Shake and Guns On The Roof
  • Check out the Facebook event

Nosebleed are always jaw-droppingly entertaining live, so imagine how good they’re going to be in their hometown, surrounded by friends, at the launch of their debut album. It’s going to be complete rock ‘n’ roll carnage. Just don’t forget to give Dickie some love when Ben and Elliot abandon him to roam around the dancefloor.

The line-up they’ve organised is the perfect complement to their stripped-back, raucous style. Every act puts their own unique twist on the punk rock that we love, be that minimalist hip-shaking venom from Snake Rattlers, Bouncing Souls-esque perfection from Guns on The Roof or entropy-made-audible in the form of Riggots. Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In April”

Album Review: Call Me Malcolm – I Was Broken When You Got Here

Meet the soundtrack to your summer. FFO: Less Than Jake, The JB Conspiracy, Lightyear, Random Hand.

I Was Broken When You Got Here is destined to be the soundtrack to your summer. London’s Call Me Malcolm have taken all the best elements of late-90s ska punk and rolled it into one irresistable package, modernising it by opening up about depression and anxiety.

It has been a long time since I’ve encountered an album that I couldn’t take off repeat, but I’ve listened to very little else for the last three weeks. It is due for release on Be Sharp Promotions and Bad Granola Records on Friday April 6th and take my word for it: you need this album in your life.

Press Art - Album CoverIt is not often nowadays that a ska-punk album comes along and completely stops you in your tracks. It’s not 2003. Ska-punk is no longer in vogue, if it ever was, however for those of us who do like our punk brassy, sunny and loaded with upstrokes, it is a very special thing. Arguably there has been a resurgence this year, but it’s been spearheaded by the return of some legendary live bands, not by new album releases.

Then Call Me Malcolm blast in out of left-field and drop this catchy, infectious masterpiece that grows more ingrained into your skull with every listen. Call Me Malcolm have been on the scene for quite a number of years and, although I’ve always liked them, I would never have expected them to come out with an album that, with the right marketing, could honestly rival Less Than Jake. Perhaps it’s my lack of presumption and expectation that allowed me to be wowed by this record, however it’s stood up to hundreds of repeat plays without becoming a ounce less enticing. Continue reading “Album Review: Call Me Malcolm – I Was Broken When You Got Here”

Exclusive: Darko Premiere New ‘Lifeblood’ Video

Watch of our exclusive preview of Darko’s brand new video!

Shout Louder are proud to bring you an exclusive preview of the brand new video from melodic hardcore masters, Darko. The band have a history of creating videos that are as entertaining and skillful as their music, to which this is no exception.

Lifeblood is a song about feeling trapped and undervalued in a job, but trying to remember that you are the lifeblood. As Dan says in the song, “We call them bastards, yet they need us to succeed.”

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Gothe

Rob Piper, guitarist in Darko and director of the video, says that he tried to reflect that sentiment by creating an uneasy, claustrophobic film. In it vocalist Dan Smith is shown with his hands tied behind a chair, sitting placidly while his own shadow rages inside him. Using a series of tight, edgy close-ups and a grim, grey setting the video successfully captures the feeling of entrapment that comes with any job that you cannot break free of.

Lifeblood is the third single to be taken from their brilliant album Bonsai Mammoth (Shout Louder’s Album of The Year 2017), after Hiraeth and Just A Short Line. You can purchase the album from Lockjaw Records, if you haven’t already.

This is an active season for Darko, who will be touring Japan, Australia and the UK in the coming weeks. Closer to home they are touring with Japanese wonders Waterweed, including an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival and a club show at The Star Inn, in their hometown of Guildford. Later on they’ll be slaying Glasgow, Norwich, Bristol, London, Stafford and Southampton with A Wilhelm Scream.

This week they’re playing five dates in Japan as part of the Punk Rules Okay tour with Belvedere, Waterweed, Almeida and Bare Teeth (jealous!). They will be taking in Shinjuku, Nagoya, Osaka and Kofu (keep an eye out for a write-up of the tour on Shout Louder in the near future…). After that, they are heading to Australia with The Decline, celebrated by possibly the best tour poster ever (see below).

If you’d like to hear more, be sure to follow Darko on Facebook and YouTube. Also, read the interview Rob Piper did for Shout Louder to celebrate the birthday of Bonsai Mammoth. If you liked the video, make sure you check out his aerial videography company, Skyline Futures. Multi-talented bastards.

EP Review: Traits – Illuminate

The new ballsy, melodic punk rock EP from Leeds’ Traits will gnaw its way into your subconscious. FFO: No Use For A Name, Lagwagon, The Human Project.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

The Traits were a garage rock band formed in 1967 who had a hit with Nobody Loves The Hulk in 1969…this isn’t them! It’s amazing the blind alleys Google can lead you down when you’re researching a band for a review. Traits, minus the ‘the’ are a new four piece band from Leeds featuring members of Random Hand and The Human Project, and a guy called Jon who is apparently lovely, according to one of the write ups my Google search threw up. I’m sure they’re all splendid chaps equally. [Ed: Sarah W personally vouches for this!]

Traits (don’t go putting “the” in front of it!) are a straight ahead, melodic punk rock band. By that description alone you can probably start to build a mental image of how these guys sound and you’d probably fall pretty close to the mark. Now, being honest, there are a million bands doing this kind of stuff right now so the question is, how well do Traits fare against their peers? Fortunately they fare extremely well. For such a new band, albeit with plenty of individual experience, they have a fully-fledged and powerful sound with a keen grasp on song writing and an ear for a naggingly catchy melody. Each song here has at least one hook that will gnaw its way into your subconscious, whether it’s the insistent chorus of I’ve Made My Bed or the quirky riff that rears its head during Drop The Status Quo. If the band had a mission to grab your memory and hold on tight then they’ve ticked that box!

Traits Illuminate EP Cover.jpg

As you might expect, the energy remains high throughout, rarely dipping below an ADHD endorsed 100mph but, on the odd moments when the Ritalin kicks in and they slow it down, it provides a welcome breathing space and shows a strong grasp of song dynamics. The guitars of Jon Simmons are tight and edgy and stand front and centre in the mix whilst the rhythm section of Joe Tilston on bass and Dan Powell on drums lock together tighter than a pair of shagging dogs! Johnny Smith’s voice is an interesting one, and may be an acquired taste for some, although it’ll be a favourite for fans of The Human Project. He operates in the higher registers but still maintains some grit in his throat. In fact, and this may make him cringe, he would also make a pretty good metal singer, as evidenced on I’ve Made My Bed which flirts tantalisingly with thrash metal in places… fortunately staying just on the right side of the line though. He has a credible power and delivery to his singing though that should bring round anyone who might, at first, find his voice a little irritating. Continue reading “EP Review: Traits – Illuminate”

Lightyear Interview: “You’re Either There Or You’re Not”

An in-depth interview with Chas Palmer-Williams of 90’s ska-punk heroes, Lightyear.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Piano Slug.

Lightyear are a band who need no introduction. They are infamous on the UK ska punk scene, known for their live antics (see: pantomime horses, morris dancing, gratuitous nudity), off-beat referential lyrics and multiple ‘last ever shows’. 2018 marks a huge milestone year in their career. Now permanently reformed, Lightyear are headlining Manchester Punk Festival plus Level Up festival and fitting in a handful of club shows, however their big news is that they’re crowdfunding to create a documentary telling the story of the UK 90’s punk scene.

This Music Doesn’t Belong To You aims to document the un-documented years when UK’s 2nd wave of punk exploded in the late 90s. As Lightyear put it, “It was a golden era of innocence, passion and debauchery,” which has so far gone unrecorded. At the time of writing, This Music Doesn’t Belong To You has just reached 100% funding, after a long pledge campaign. You can still visit Pledge Music to buy the film and assist with funding.

We had an in-depth conversation with singer Chas Palmer-Williams about the documentary, the development of the underground music scene and what we can expect in the future of Lightyear.

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Welcome back! What took you so long?

Life got in the way. We’ve all become (believe it or not) adult, with kids and stuff. We decided we really wanted to hang out again and make new music. We always felt like we had a third album in us; the second album wasn’t quite the end. We’re writing again and seeing how it comes out, and hopefully we’ll do another album. We’re back on it!

It’s great to hear you’re writing new music! Was it tempting just to turn up and play the hits?

For me personally there’s nothing worse than an old band who are just playing the old hits and not writing new music. If you play a song that you wrote when you were 18 about breaking up with someone and then you keep on playing it without writing anything new to put it into context, then it feels really weird. It’s almost like writing a book but you keep reading the first chapter and there’s no end chapter.

You’ve permanently reformed! ‘Permanent’ is a big word. Do you think you’ll still be playing together when you’re in a nursing home?

I don’t know if I want to be in a nursing home with Neil because he’s a weirdo.

I don’t want to be that band that just stands there blurting out the hits for the sake of doing it. I want to be able to jump around and mean what I say, express it and let loose. We’re pretty shit anyway, but when we get shitter we’d just knock it on the head, but we won’t make a big announcement.

Of course, you did make a big announcement back in the day.

When we were younger we were married to the band, it was everything. We were rehearsing 2-3 times a week, doing nearly 300 shows a year. It took priority over weddings and funerals – someone would die and we’d keep on touring. It was unquestionable dedication and then when that stopped it was this huge vacuum in my life. All of a sudden there was nothing. That totally span me out and I ended up living in a squat in Amsterdam; it went all mad for a while. The big statements and ultimatums all seem a bit dramatic now that we’re older.

Continue reading “Lightyear Interview: “You’re Either There Or You’re Not””