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.

Post-Gig Reflections from a Promoter Who’s Prone to Panic Attacks

A brutally honest account of the anxiety and stress that comes with putting on a punk gig.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos from Friday’s gig courtesy of Sam Dawes at This Is Noise.

Four people have turned up for the gig so far, they’re standing awkwardly in the corner nursing pints and whispering about where everyone else is. The guy taking money on the door is twiddling his thumbs. I need to sell fifty tickets to cover the cost of putting on the show, so I guess I’ll be living on ramen this month.

The sound engineer is frantically trying to fix the PA, which started rattling and cutting out during the sound check. Two guitarists are scowling at the set up – there’s not enough room on stage and the sound is terrible. We’re running an hour behind and none of the bands have played yet; I’m going to cut the set times and maybe cut the opening act entirely. The headliner band is here apart from the singer, who couldn’t get out of work on time – apparently he’s stuck on a train somewhere. There’s a good chance he won’t make it to the gig at all.

“What the hell were you thinking, Sarah?” the venue manager asks angrily. “There’s no point in us keeping the venue open for four people. This is a waste of time – we’re going to cancel the show if you don’t sort this out.”

My parents are here too: “I can’t believe this is what you’re doing with your life! What a waste of time. Couldn’t you have been a doctor or a lawyer? You are a walking disappointment.”

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Worst case scenario. Fortunately, the real gig was a success. No disasters whatsoever. Nonetheless, that was the nightmare I woke up from the morning after I booked the band and the venue. I am riddled with anxiety at the best of times, so putting an event together has reminded me why I don’t do it regularly.

I recently moved to a completely different part of the country and, as a result, had to bury myself in a deluge of job applications, interviews and utility bills. The last thing I need on top of all that is to be driving 200 miles, promoting a show and trying to squeeze in all the other shows I want to attend. Still, there is a part of me that enjoys being overwhelmed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than live music.

As such, I thought it’d be a great idea to put on a show at The Smokehouse in Ipswich, a few weeks after moving to Manchester. Darko, Actionmen, PMX and Pessimist are playing as part of my birthday celebration and as a send-off from the venue, where I’ve been working for the past few months. On Thursday I’m going to catch PMX and Actionmen in Manchester, my gig takes place on the Friday, and on Saturday I’m catching PUP and The Menzingers in London. In theory, it should be fun.

Continue reading “Post-Gig Reflections from a Promoter Who’s Prone to Panic Attacks”

Gig Review: Darko’s Bonsai Mammoth Anniversary Bonanza @ The Boileroom

Featuring: Actionmen, PMX, Drones, Fair Do’s, The Affect Heuristic and many more!

Review by Joëlle Laes. Photos/videos by Mirjam van Reijen, plus some snaps from Joëlle.

After so much anticipation created by the advent calendar announcements via social media, I couldn’t wait for the Bonsai Mammoth anniversary all-dayer, hosted by Darko, an event celebrating a year since the release of their epic debut album. Every announcement seemed like a gift that was personally selected for me. “You like this band? OK cool, we’ll book them.” Thanks guys. Perfect lineup.

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Some of my friends decided to get the ferry over the UK from Belgium, and I was lucky enough to snatch a seat in the car. Getting up at 5am the day before to make the trip over and paying a fortune for a hotel was a bit of a faff, but hanging out with friends and seeing fantastic bands makes up for the lack of sleep and the hole in my wallet. After a good night’s sleep, it was time.

It couldn’t have started better than with a Punk Rock Yoga Session by Jo from Bad Juju Yoga! I, however, got my myself in gear too late and missed it.

Though 2pm seemed like an early start for most attendees, the room filled up nicely for the first set of the day. Darko kicked off their anniversary all-dayer by playing Bonsai Mammoth in its entirety (Sarah recently talked to the band about it – check out the interview here). Watching them, for once completely sober and still half asleep, was an experience to remember. With nothing clouding your judgement, you begin to realise how darn good they actually are. Mesmerised by their guitarwork and vocal harmonies, head bopping commenced amongst the crowd. It definitely set me up for a good mood the rest of the day.

Totally new to me, Wild Tales follow them in getting people hooked by some more indie-ish, danceable tunes and good vibes. This new project from members of Trails and Atiptoe are rather different from the rest of the lineup, in a good way. I was sad to see that they don’t have any music online yet, however I’ve been told this bunch from Guildford will have an EP out soon.

The moment I had personally been waiting for finally arrived. The Affect Heuristic, a band consisting of both Belgian and Scottish members, started setting up for their first gig ever. It’s a strange feeling seeing them live for the first time after witnessing the whole writing process happen in my house. It’s safe to say the crowd was blown away by this shredfest, intertwined with Scottish banter and deep lyrics. The tracks Against The Grain, which addresses toxic masculinity, and Tightrope hit especially hard. For those eager to listen, you can check out two demo tracks here. Continue reading “Gig Review: Darko’s Bonsai Mammoth Anniversary Bonanza @ The Boileroom”