Gig Review: Gnarwolves @ The Borderline (20/05/2017)

You can taste the anticipation in the Borderline before Gnarwolves take the stage. I’m primed, in position, and I’ve made a tactical effort to finish my drink so I don’t end up wearing it.

Here are 5 things I learned tonight:

  • The revamped Borderline is perfectly designed for stage-diving pandemonium
  • Kamikaze Girls are fucking awesome (okay, I kinda knew that already)
  • Shut Up is destined to be the best song on the new Gnarwolves album
  • Bottle to Bottle has become so close to my heart that hearing it live makes me tear up
  • I have just seen the best show of the year so far

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Gig Review: Snuff @ The Underworld (19/05/2017)

UK punk legends Snuff with Youth Man and Not Tonight & The Headaches in Camden’s favourite basement.

At 28 years old, it’s entirely possible that I’m the youngest person in the room for tonight’s Snuff show, but you wouldn’t know it from the sheer energy and enthusiasm buzzing through the audience. Down the front I’m rubbing elbows with greying, toothless punks who no doubt know a great deal more about being in a pit that I ever will. While waiting for the band to come on, I get chatting to a guy who is at least 20 years my senior, who is lamenting the fact he wasn’t around to have caught Snuff when they first formed in the late ‘80s. He assures me that it doesn’t matter how long it took you to discover the band, what matters is that you’re here now and you’re ready to throw down.

And throw down we do: enthralled as ever by the magnetism of the mosh pit (why is it so appealing to leap into a brawl of sweaty strangers?) I find myself dancing, jumping and wrestling my way through a high-octane set of shout-along classics, danceable instrumental romps and rarities from Snuff’s extensive back-catalogue.

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Gig Review: Forever Unclean @ The Smokehouse (10/05/2017)

Forever Unclean spoil Ipswich with an energetic show, supported by Resuscitators and Con-Party.

Arriving at The Smokehouse at sunset, I’m stoked to see that there’s already a keen crowd assembled for some noisy Wednesday night fun – obviously, word has gotten around about how fun Danish indie/skate punks Forever Unclean are going to be!

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Gig Guide: Bands You Need to See in May

The best ways to fill your ears and empty your wallet this month.

One week in and May has already proved itself as a killer month with a new release from Gnarwolves and the news that Lightyear are permanently reforming (yes, I did just wet myself a little).

We’ve also been blessed with a flurry of pre/post-Groezrock shows from international headliners like Deftones, Choking Victim and Thrice, although there were a few notable absences (Red City Radio have some serious explaining to do).

The summer season is just kicking in so there’s plenty to look forward to: pre-drinking in parks rather than over-priced bars, getting blinded by sunlight when emerging for a cigarette between bands, and your sweat-and-beer-soaked shirt not immediately turning to ice on the walk home.

Here are the gigs you don’t want to miss in May:

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Gig Review: The Menzingers @ Koko (19/04/2017)

The Menzingers, The Flatliners and The Dirty Nil get Camden shouting.

I imagine that watching The Menzingers as a punk fan is the closest I’ll ever get to watching Robbie Williams as a pop fan: in every song the crowd were belting the lyrics out, word-perfect and at full volume, at times even louder the band. If frontman Greg Barnett had dropped the mic and walked out, the audience could have carried the show.

This speaks volumes to how well The Menzingers have not only mastered writing catchy hooks, but how they have tapped into a seam of identifiable, bittersweet sentiments that resonate perfectly with a contemporary audience. Their song-writing truly encapsulates the flawed existence that many of us experience, illustrated best in The Obituaries where the crowd scream, “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it,” repeatedly at the top of their lungs.

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MPF2017: How to Survive the Post-Festival Blues

There is only one effective cure to Post-Festival Blues: make plans to do it all over again.

Are you a weak, bruised husk of your former self? Do you keep clambering onto stranger’s backs, trying to make a human pyramid? Do you have a sudden urge to eat salad? You may be suffering from Post-Festival Blues.

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Manchester Punk Festival: Where I’ll Be and Why

My goal this year is to ensure I don’t miss any of my favourite bands, while shoehorning in as many less-familiar acts as possible. These are my top picks for the weekend.

The last two years of Manchester Punk Festival (and the TNS 10 Year All-dayer before that) have firmly lodged this annual pilgrimage to The North as the most fun weekend of my musical year. Other festivals may boast bigger headliners, flashier venues and pissweak lager sponsorship, but MPF wins for having the best selection of quality underground punk acts and inspiring community spirit. Every MPF event feels like a party with friends, as it draws in like-minded, socially-responsible folks from all around the country (and even further afield).


MPF2017 promises to be bigger, better and louder than ever. Having nearly missed The Flatliners headlining last year due to Sound Control reaching capacity (fortunately giving a worn-out bouncer a sympathetic hug got us in), my main aim this year is to ensure I don’t miss any of my favourite bands, while shoehorning in as many less-familiar acts as possible. The organisers at TNS, Moving North and Anarchistic Undertones have done a cracking job of creating a well thought out and complementary running order but, as someone
with fairly eclectic taste, I’m going to be doing a lot of dashing around.

Using my powers of anxiety-fuelled organisation, I’ve created a personal plan to help make the most of the weekend. I honestly cannot pick a single band from the lineup that I would not want to see, these are just a handful of personal favourites.

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