Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019

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.

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Thursday

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”

Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019

Excited for MPF 2019? Here are our top picks from this year’s stunning line-up.

Article by Sarah Williams. Read all our MPF2019 articles.

Over five years, Manchester Punk Festival has flourished and become one of the biggest and best festivals Europe has to offer.

For me personally, MPF is a bigger event in my calendar than Christmas. I enjoyed the first three years of the festival so much that I decided to move to Manchester, because it has the most active, welcoming and diverse punk rock scene in the country. I’ve since had the privilege of volunteering at the festival, writing articles for their programme and website, and seeing first-hand the love, stress and dedication that the organisers pour into the event every year.

This year I’m also ‘performing’ at the festival. Come and join us in Font Bar @ 12:30 Friday to watch a live recording of the Shout Louder podcast. I’ll be talking about mental health in music, with Lucias of Call Me Malcolm and Holly from Hell Hath No Fury Records.

With 138 acts at this year’s Manchester Punk Festival, you’re spoilt for choice. These are the 10 I’m looking forward to the most.

Wolfrik

Wolfrik are a recent Lockjaw Records discovery – these guys crank out fiery melodic thrash, with a huge metal/classic rock edge that’s insanely fun to listen to. Knowing the incendiary effect their Skeleton City EP’s had on everyone who’s heard it, I’m excited to see the impact it’ll have on a keen live audience.

Svalbard

I’ve not managed to catch Svalbard live yet, although their 2018 album It’s Hard to Have Hope was one of my favourites of last year. They’re well known in the metal scene, however they’re also an ideal fit for fans of dark, furious hardcore punk. Lyrically tackling feminism and politics and writing soaring Counterparts-esque guitar parts has made front-woman Serena Cherry one of my personal musical heroes. I’m looking forward to an intense, earth-shattering live show.

Continue reading “Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

The Human Project Tour Diary: Driving 24 Hours For A 40 Minute Set

Why drive all day to play one set? The Human Project make a trip full of in-jokes and good times go quickly, en route to Coral Springs’ album launch in Leiden, Netherlands.

Article by Sarah Williams. Gig photos by Mia Weerdesteijn.

05:15 and I’ve accidentally set my alarm for 5pm, so Luke Yates, guitarist in The Human Project has to knock on my door to wake me up. I have one job (to get out of bed on time), and I’ve failed it.

It’s an early start, as are many of these trips. Loading merchandise into the back of a van at 5am, after staying in Luke’s spare room in Leeds the night before, I start considering why we bother. As a teenager, I imagined going on tour would involve a big Nightliner – a tour lorry with bunks beds, big screen TVs and a bar. As an adult I look forward to jumping in the back of a Mercedes Vito to travel in boredom for 10 hours, just to watch a band play for 30 minutes.

There’s an acceptance to it. It’s not glamorous, but it is fun. Luke jumps in the drivers seat of the van and we taxi round Leeds in the pre-dawn darkness to collect the rest of the band.

Continue reading “The Human Project Tour Diary: Driving 24 Hours For A 40 Minute Set”

Tour Diary: Fair Do’s Take Japan By Storm

Tree’s laugh-out-loud funny account of Fair Do’s’ Japanese tour will make you feel like you were there.

In January 2019, Manchester tech-punks Fair Do’s toured Japan with good friend (and Manchester Punk Festival organiser) Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson. Tree agreed to write this tour diary exclusively for Shout Louder.

Tree’s Disclaimer: Fair Do’s have asked me to say that these are all my views and not from the mouth of anyone else!

Day 1: “My bass is more important than your merch”

Taxi picked us up at 04:45 to go to the airport. Leaving Bernie [my gorgeous girl] when she’s recovering from surgery is pretty heartbreaking. I kinda wish the tour was happening in a few more weeks. I’ve been so excited for the trip that I’ve just had to put everything to one side; before I know it I’ll be chilling with her at home.

I decided to starve myself of sleep as I’m not a big fan of flying. I prefer just to sleep through it. I find the whole process pretty suffocating and claustrophobic, I’m the kinda person that could’ve got through their entire life without flying and I wouldn’t have felt like I was missing out. English as fuck that, isn’t it?

Danny was getting panicked phone calls from Josh in the taxi about how his case is overweight by 0.5kg. Josh made it clear how important his bass was, I think he thought we’d just suggest leaving it so we could take merch instead (?). Sounds like a spliff would help the situation but we all know that’s out for a couple of weeks.

Fair Do's Airport Excitement
Fair Do’s stoked to be at Manchester airport at 04:30 (l-r: Josh, Danny, Tree, Dave). Photo: Sarah Williams

As soon as we took off from the runway, I could smell the nicest perfume I’ve ever smelt. It’s the kinda smell you get a whiff of and want to marry whoever is wearing it. Continue reading “Tour Diary: Fair Do’s Take Japan By Storm”

7 Punk Rock Bands To Stalk In 2019

Our recommendations for ones-to-watch this year – these bands are set to explode.

Written by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Cold Front Photography.

Now that we’ve completed our round-up of 2018 (check out our top albums, EPs, festivals and live bands) it’s time to look ahead of the future.

The DIY punk scene is thriving in Europe currently; it’s feels like we’re on riding the crest of a wave that’s growing into a tsunami. Online connections are enabling us to share recommendations and enthusiasm across continents, so word is spread quickly about exciting new acts.

It’s easy to find new music nowadays, however I’ve believe there are two methods that stand out above the others: watching support acts at gigs and listening to recommendations from your friends. In 2019, I implore you to get out and see as many new bands as possible. To get you started, here are Shout Louder’s top recommendations:

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Wolfrik

Canadian thrashers Wolfrik are unlike any other band I’ve heard… although it’s safe to say they’re fans of Alexisonfire, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero and Belvedere. I’ve been keen to get their EP Skeleton City into the ears of anyone I can find and, so far, everyone’s been bowled over by their awesome sound.

Fortunately Skeleton City also found its way to the ears of the Manchester Punk Festival promoters, who pretty much instantly added them to the bill. If Wolfrik are as good live as they are on record then they’re going to tear the faces off the whole UK punk scene when they arrive in England in April. Erring on the metal / rock end of the punk scale, they combine a variety of genres, but it’s all fast, raucous fun with a healthy dose of experimentation. Continue reading “7 Punk Rock Bands To Stalk In 2019”

Tour Diary: The Burnt Tapes’ Greek Disaster

Dank Tone shares a tale of cursed weather, swine flu, lost luggage… and good friends.

In January, London’s melodic punk quartet The Burnt Tapes returned to their Athenic roots for a short tour of Greece with pop-punks The Overjoyed.

Tone, the band’s charismatic bassist, wrote this exclusive tour diary for Shout Louder.

Dear Diary,

Best night ever! That’s all there is to be said about our home-coming show in Athens that brought to an end our short, but way overdue, tour of Greece.

The tour that was plagued with nightmarish bad luck. Fates conspired against us with terrible weather, logistical restructuring, unreliable airlines and swine flu. Bear with me, this is a doozy. Continue reading “Tour Diary: The Burnt Tapes’ Greek Disaster”

Top 10 Punk Rock Albums Of 2018

The punk rock albums that have endured the most repeat listens in 2018.

Written by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Cold Front Photography.

There have been an overwhelming number of excellent releases this year, and there’s no chance at Top 10 list will ever do justice to the talent out there. I have based this list on the punk rock records that have had the most repeat spins on my stereo this year, as I think it’s that long-term connection that gives an album real weight.

As Burnt Tapes once said, “This year’s been a weird one.” That lyric rung true enough for me in 2018 that I got it inked on my arm, and it’s really only gotten weirder since then.

One of the strangest things to happen to me in 2018 was being invited to join the crew at Lockjaw Records. As a result I’ve been able to work with some of my favourite bands. Clearly I’m incredibly biased towards bands I’ve worked with however I felt like I’d be lying if I didn’t include them here – I wouldn’t have volunteered my time and effort into the releases if I wasn’t completely in love with them.

Note: I’ve restricted this list to punk-related records, however my ‘true’ top 10 includes other genres as well. I’ve written a Top 10 Releases for the Lockjaw Records site that gives an even more accurate picture of my top picks. Notable mentions go to Kali Uchis, Jorja Smith, Tim Loud, Incisions, The Human Project, Nosebleed, Call Me Malcolm, Eat Defeat, Not Scientists and Spanish Love Songs.

#10: Tim Loud – Salvation

Tim Loud Salvation Album Cover

Since his days in Bootscraper, Tim Loud’s been a consistently entertaining songwriter and performer, however 2018’s Salvation is his darkest release to date. The record becomes a window into his soul at times, especially as it skips from genre to genre. The first and second halves of the album are distinctly different releases. Continue reading “Top 10 Punk Rock Albums Of 2018”