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]”

Shout Louder’s June 2018 Playlist

Listen to our Spotify playlist for all of June’s hottest tunes!

The whole team at Shout Louder is addicted to music, whether that’s live, on record or just sung badly in the shower. There’s not enough time in the world to review every record we love, so we’re going to share a monthly Spotify playlist with you.

Enjoy this month’s selection of tunes – featuring many of the bands we’ll be catching live this month. Here’s what we’re listening to:

 

Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!

Dan and Rob from melodic hardcore heavyweights Darko join Sarah for a chat. We talk lyrics, cocktails and tour stories. Dan shits his pants and Rob gets shat on by a bird. Don’t miss this!

Darko are simultaneously one of the hardest-working and hardest-partying bands we know. They are all dedicated, intelligent and serious musicians… but that doesn’t mean that they’re above telling us about shitting a tent at Punk Rock Holiday.

Join us for this special episode of the Shout Louder Podcast with Dan Smith and Rob Piper of Guildford’s melodic hardcore tour-de-force: Darko. We have an in-depth chat, finishing with the most embarrassing Worst Time story we’ve heard yet.

We also tell the tale behind the ‘summer cocktail’ bundle they have recently announced, with a gorgeous yellow/pink/blue splatter re-press of their stunning album Bonsai Mammoth. I wanted to find out a bit more background behind some of the songs and how the band manage to balance their punk rock lifestyles with their day jobs.

You can also enjoy music from Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and A Wilhelm Scream. And Rob gets shat on by a bird. You wouldn’t want to miss that. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts!

Darko’s summer cocktail bundle can be pre-ordered from Lockjaw Records, with special edition t-shirts and posters – you can pick up a copy here.

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Darko are heading out on a rare UK tour with A Wilhelm Scream in two weeks time. Shout Louder strongly recommend that you go to as many dates on this tour as you possibly can. Here’s the full list:

  • June 21st: Glasgow, Nice & Sleazy with Shout Louder’s personal faves The Affect Heuristic
  • June 22nd: Manchester, Star & Garter with Fair Do’s and Throwing Stuff
  • June 23rd: Norwich, Waterfront with Other Half
  • June 24th: London, New Cross Inn part of Polite Riot Festival
  • June 25th: Bristol, Exchange with The Run Up
  • June 26th: Stafford, Redrum with Funeral Shakes and This Is The End
  • June 27th: Southampton, Joiners with Almeida

Continue reading “Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!”

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.

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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]”

Top 10 Moments of Manchester Punk Festival 2018

MPF 2018 was a special weekend for reasons beyond just the music. Sarah’s rounded up her personal highlights from the festival.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos from Mark Richards, Jimbob Taylor, Josh Sumner and Marc Gaertner.

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

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“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.

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Here’s a photo of Random Hand for good measure. Photo: Jimbob Taylor.

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.

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Darko. Photo: Jimbob Taylor.

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”

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.