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.
A review of MPF from Sarah, who volunteers at the event. Friends, frantic dashes between venues and some top-class hardcore, including Not On Tour, Adrenalized, Svalbard, Consumed, Fair Do’s and Snuff.
Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Mark Bartlett’s given us is highlights as an MPF virgin, where as Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the festival. In this edition, Sarah gives us a unique perspective from behind the scenes.
Excitement for Manchester Punk Festival begins long before the doors open to the public. Unfortunately, excitement can easily be mistaken for stress.
Weeks before the main event, I’m inundated with messages asking about guest list, accommodation, press accreditation and band recommendations. I’m only a volunteer, I’m not even one of the organisers – I can’t begin to imagine the sheer insanity of their inboxes. How they manage to keep it together in the days leading up to the festival, I will never know.
The hard graft starts in earnest on Thursday – the eve of the festival. I drive to Moston to join a five car convoy; our best method of transporting all the festival merchandise in the absence of ROPTM’s van. I’m blasting out Ocean Wisdom round the M60 like some boy racer on the way, which is harshly interrupted by a phonecall about a bounced band payment and a confusing artist hotel booking. We get it sorted in seconds, like pros.
Delivering the merchandise is the first time I’ve seen MPF’s brand new venue: The Union. It’s a huge, modern student building fittingly decorated in Manchester’s signature yellow-and-black. I’m shocked to see the size of the main hall. As we climb ladders to hang banners, it starts to look like a ‘real’ festival venue. It’s fucking huge. Continue reading “Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019”
Here are some thoughts about my first ever trip to the Manchester Punk Festival over the long Easter bank holiday weekend.
My first ever MPF can only be described as a completely heartening, life nourishing experience, which was briefly prodded by the occasional anxious freak out.
By the time the weekend was done, my notions of what punk is or isn’t was challenged by the massive breadth of genre variety on offer. Ultimately, I felt that the living spirit of punk rock is the ethos, outlook, morality and community of the few thousand individuals who make this annual pilgrimage.
I fully expected to feel awkward a lot of the time. I’m a real loud mouth once I get to know a person properly, but alone I’m very shy around strangers, and that’s further exacerbated when I’m around people who I think are talented (no shortage of that here). I naturally assume that people dislike me and in groups I always feel very visible and awkward. It’s a behaviour I have to work quite hard to deprogram myself of.
If I’d had somebody to go with, I would have loved to have come to any previous MPF, but the general feeling of being lonesome and weird was insurmountable. Last year, I felt the pangs of jealously having heard about all the fun everybody had, and I was resolved to go no matter what, come rain or shine. Luckily for all of us, the weather was completely glorious and, even as a solo traveller, I didn’t feel alone for any significant portion of my weekend. Honestly, I was surprised to find out that so many people I met have so many of the same social hang ups. I enjoyed the weekend from a social perspective every bit as much as what was on offer musically. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to finally get the chance to meet some long term social media pals in the flesh, as well as catching up with some old friends. Continue reading “Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival”
We are proud to announce the first ever Shout Louder Fest!
We are seriously excited to announce the first ever Shout Louder Fest, created in association with Lockjaw Records.
Shout Louder Fest will take place at Gullivers in Manchester on February 2nd, promising a mix of melodic punk, ska, skate-punk and hardcore. Grab your ticket now!
We’re calling it a ‘fest’ but, if we’re honest, Shout Louder’s head honcho Sarah W is turning 30 and wants you all to come and party with her. To celebrate, she’s hand-picked a line up of all her favourite bands for this massive all-dayer in Manchester, including Faintest Idea, Fair Do’s, The Human Project, PMX, Aerial Salad, The Burnt Tapes, Goodbye Blue Monday, Nosebleed and Follow Your Dreams.
Let us know if you can join us on our Facebook Event.
Here’s a taste of all the awesome bands you can enjoy:
Long-term TNS favourites Faintest Idea bring the rudeboy street/ska-punk party all the way from the East of Anglia. Shouty smash-the-state vocals, irresistible brass, Alan Partridge accents. What more do you want?
FFO: Random Hand, Rancid, The Specials, dancing till you drop
Masters of shred, breakdowns and political ‘choruses’, locals underdogs Fair Do’s bring seriously uptempo, technical skate-punk with a metal edge. Now that they’ve finally released their album ‘Leopards’ you can learn all the lyrics and sing along too.
Jamie Munro quick-fires questions at Josh Goldman of The Raging Nathans ahead of their UK tour.
Later in July, The Raging Nathans and Aerial Salad are heading out on a killer European tour, taking in 15 dates around the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, inluding Wonk Fest and Rebellion.
The Raging Nathans are a punk rock collective out of Dayton, Ohio, featuring members of The Queers, The Dopamines and The Slow Death, who’ve been going since 2007. They released their second album Cheap Fame through Plasterer Records in April. It’s 13 tracks of melodic, up-beat punk rock, reminiscent of mid-90s Green Day and the golden era of pop-punk rock. Frontman Josh Goldman also heads up the awesome US label, Rad Girlfriend Records.
They pair perfectly with Mancunian Green Day / Jawbreaker wannabes Aerial Salad, who bring catchy pop-eque punk your way, loaded with a lot of fresh, Northern attitude. Vocalist / guitarist / all round handful of a human being, Jamie Munro, is a regular contributor to Shout Louder – if you want to laugh till your jaw hurts check out our recent podcast with him.
Shout Louder was recently offered the opportunity to interview Josh on the tour. Reluctant to pass up this marvellous chance for a chat, but with very little time on our hands, we asked Jamie from Aerial Salad to interview him for us. We knew, we’d regret this…
Jamie: Who did 9/11? Josh: The Jews? Just kidding. My people wouldn’t do that.
Jamie: What your favourite European food? Josh: Over the counter Tylenol with codeine.
Jamie: What’s a clacker? Josh: I’ll take you somewhere sometime and show you.
Jamie: Josh, when you were in middle school, what was the worst thing that happened to you? Josh: Letting a man tattoo me for $20 because he wanted some ecstasy.
What better way to while away a long Easter weekend than an indoor music festival with all your mates? The second iteration of Umlaut Records’ Dugstock festival is a diverse three-day line-up hosted at London’s New Cross Inn. Umlaut Records is a rapidly growing independent label that are integral to the London punk scene. They’re only in their second year so, if this is the sort of line-up they can pull off now, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in future.
I’ve been to plenty of gigs at New Cross, but this is the first time I’ve committed to three whole days, staying in the hostel above the venue. As I’m likely to be doing the same for Level Up and Polite Riot festivals later this year, I’m almost as keen to test out this festival-formula as I am to see the bands.
Opening the weekend are Dirty White, a 3-piece that take influence from 90’s stoner grunge bands, although they bring the songs into a cleaner, more modern relief. The singer pulls off a Chris Cornell style that you don’t often hear. They go on to mix in some faster melodic punk songs – a gentle introduction to the weekend’s festivities.
There is already a reasonably good turnout for the Friday night, with a lot of hugs and catch-up chats exchanged. Things properly kick off with Dark Days, who provide vigorous, fun, melodic poppy punk. Guitarist, John Huffman, gets told off by the sound engineer for standing on the drum kit, so he capitulates and pulls out a high stool from the bar to stand on, before flaunting rock-star poses and writhing on the floor. Their sound contains a melee of references to current North American melodic punk bands, with an added dose of Kathleen Hanna inspired harmonies and a fuzzy, experimental guitar mess. They play a full-throttle cover of Nirvana’s Breed – the first of two Breed covers we’ll hear this weekend.
Kiss Me, Killer swagger on stage with a sexy, balls-to-the-wall riot grrl energy. Singer, Holly, steals the show somewhat as she cavorts wildly around the stage, as the band rages. She’s an excellent rock vocalist, which suits the hard-rock element in their sound It’s ferocious noise peppered with short bursts of rock ‘n’ roll guitar solos and enticingly sleazy bass lines. It’s infinitely dance-able from Rat Race to It’s Going Down (which actually sets off an alarm somewhere in the venue). As my friend eloquently shouts at me during the set, it’s also a pleasure to see, “Plentiful vaginas on stage.” Continue reading “Festival Review: Dugstock 2 @ New Cross Inn, London [30/03 – 01/04/2018]”
Jamie Munro joins us a guest for this no-holds-barred episode, bonding over a love of drinking, punk rock and conversational tangents.
On Episode #5 Mark and Sarah are joined by the Aerial Salad’s loquacious frontman Jamie Munro. If you’re not already familiar with Manchester’s freshest pop-punks then this is a great chance to get to know them better.
Join us in Sarah’s living room as we bond over a love of conversational tangents and talk utter shite about the UK punk rock world. Share in the laughter as Mark ‘Hunkasaurus’ Bell makes a failed attempt to rein Jamie and Sarah in!
We cover myriad topics, including Jamie’s wholesome adventures in Disneyland, alt-girl-specific paedophilia, drug-induced escapades, an ex-girlfriend crying during Jamie’s set and a prediction for Jamie’s miserable future. We also share our love for Triple Sundae, Fastfade, Burnt Tapes, Incisions, Clayface, Pizzzatramp, Astpai, Sham City Roasters and many more.
We’ve even got an exclusive unreleased Aerial Salad track and an announcement for their upcoming European tour with The Raging Nathans. We also celebrate the line-up announcement for Polite Riot festival, including the addition of Apologies, I Have None to an incredible line-up that already features Teenage Bottlerocket and A Wilhelm Scream.
If that’s not enough for you, we’ve even got music from EAT DIRT, Two Houses and The Affect Heuristic.
Now widely known as Manchester Pals Fest, MPF 2018 has been even more of a blinder than previous years. I guess we knew that it would be from the moment the line-up was first announced, with Propagandhi topping it. In a landslide of Facebook posts, messages and hugs once the weekend was over, the word out there is that it’s the best festival in the UK. The three-day weekender in the Rainy City is drawing like-minded punk rock fans from all around the world.
The festival is special both as a personal and a collective experience. If you attended, you would have been amazed by the number of familiar faces in crowd. I barely had time to chat to someone properly before running into the next person. With that many dedicated, creative and intelligent people surrounding you, it’s easy to see that the UK scene is thriving at the moment. Although it felt like we were all sharing this one great, special experience, as the weekend is split between five venues around town, it’s possible that you could have had a completely different experience to a friend who also attended.
With that in mind, these are my personal Top 10 experiences of the weekend. What were yours?
Ducking Punches closing Thursday’s show with Smoking Spot
“This is about how punk has taught us all our ethics; this is for all of you,” Dan Allen says between songs, instantly capturing the spirit of the festival. While most of my friends were queueing to get into Random Hand and getting turned away, I opted to catch Ducking Punches at Rebellion on Thursday night and I really don’t regret it.
Earlier in the day, Danny from Fair Do’s had said, “Look around you. This is what a beautiful, intelligent and ethical punk community looks like.” Both are examples of how appreciative the bands are of the event they’re attending. Far from being a big fest where you turn up, play and fuck off, Ducking Punches were around for the whole weekend, partying and enjoying the music like the rest of us. I had a transcendent moment during somewhere between Sobriety and Big Brown Pills from Lynn where I remembered that all my friends in the world are in this city with me, enjoying an incredible time. There is an overwhelming sense of community that I’ve not felt elsewhere – partly from the punk scene and partly from Manchester, a city with a strong sense of identity.
Closing on Smoking Spot was the perfect move from Ducking Punches, who’ve really grown with their new album Alamort. “This is a song about having the best time with your best friends,” Dan says. Perfect.
Watching my friends’ bands playing to sold out rooms
For many bands it’s their first time at the festival (and their first time in Manchester), but every act played to a huge crowd. Through general gigging and through this website I’ve become friends with some of my favourite bands, so I’m absolutely bubbling with pride when I see them getting an enthusiastic reaction from a big audience.
On Thursday, No Matter opened the festival to an almost full room at Rebellion. Following them were Captain Trips, a skate-punk group from the South Coast that I have a massive soft-spot for. I’ve been trying to get as many people to hear about them as possible, so to see Rebellion full for their set was incredible. Not only was the venue rammed – the crowd were dancing, moshing and generally enthusiastic about seeing them. It made my heart melt a little bit. Continue reading “Top 10 Moments of Manchester Punk Festival 2018”
This was a gig full of surprises. I was surprised to find a tiny venue in the back of The Eagle Inn in Salford, a building that has more in common with a mythical labyrinth than a pub. The venue has more height than floor-space, a minuscule stage and a lot of exposed brickwork, all found via a maze of corridors. A floor has been removed to make way for a stage, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to see an open fireplace 8 feet up the wall, just above the guitarists’ head.
When I arrive the crowd is a little sparse, so by the end of the night I’m pleased to see the room full of people dancing and cavorting, with plenty of further surprises along the way. The evening serves as proof that you can find a room full of drunk Belgians having a great time just about anywhere, even in Salford. So much great punk rock seems to be coming out of their country at the moment that it’s almost unfair on the rest of us – F.O.D. and For I Am are just some of the highlights and I’m chuffed they have decided to tour this far.
Also, I was surprisingly late. I’m still getting the hang of the Manchester bus system (by which I mean I still expect them to move quickly, rather than oozing their way round town like treacle) and, as a result, I unfortunately missed Clayface. I was gutted, as they were great when I saw them at Pie Race last year.
I do make it in time for Aerial Salad. I am always excited to see this fresh power-punk trio, although I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them in their hometown. [Irrelevant side note: I did have the chance to see them at the Manchfester all-dayer 2 years ago, but I skipped their set because I was hungry and I thought their name was shit. I’ve learned my lesson.]
Aerial Salad are the tightest I have seen them by a distance; their recent extended tour with Wonk Unit has clearly given them the practice they needed. That said, they’ve still not quite got the hang of talking to the audience rather than to each other between songs, although Jamie’s awkward anecdotes about leaving his corporate sell-out job are endearing. Continue reading “Gig Review: F.O.D. and For I Am @ The Eagle Inn [16/02/2018]”
Check out this bangin’ melodic punk line-up hitting London on March 3rd!
Shout Louder’s very own Mark Bartlett has put together a blindingly good all-dayer in South London, to celebrate the release of Our Lives In Cinema‘s new EP All Talk and Triple Sundae‘s new single Indecisive, both out on Umlaut Records in the near future. They’ve curated an exciting collection of up-and-coming bands from around the country, all of whom are linked by a talent for fast, catchy, hooky melodies. In short: fun.
The lineup includes some incredible bands, such as Manchester’s freshest power-punks Aerial Salad, melodic fast-punk favourites Captain Trips and London’s own Triple Sundae, who will no doubt be playing some tunes from their seriously exicting new record.
You’re also going to fall in love with Arms & Hearts, a solo singer-songwriter with one hell of a voice, in the style of Brian Fallon or Chuck Ragan. You’ll walk out of the gig desperately wanting to get his beautiful lyrics tattooed all over you. If that’s not your thing, FastFade and Second In Line will bring you back into the fast-punk game. Continue reading “Gig Alert: Cinemania Fest”