MPF Band Spotlight: Brassick [Interview]

Manchester Punk Festival Band Spotlight: Brassick are a ferocious hardcore/thrash quartet from the West Mids.

It’s all gone a bit MPF mad here at Shout Louder HQ. There are so many great bands that we don’t know where to begin! To help you make the most of the festival, we have spoken to a handful of the bands we’re most excited to see. Even if you’re not coming to MPF, there’s plenty to enjoy.

We will be posting every other day in the lead up to Manchester Punk Festival. Check out the full series here.

Band Spotlight: Brassick

Brassick are a staggeringly high-octane assault from the West Midlands. They play a mix of punk, thrash and hardcore, delivered with raucous fury and a lot of humour. They’re actively anti-fascist and anti-capitalist, and they back it all up with a lot of technical skill and an enthralling whirlwind presence from singer, Nicola.

We spoke to guitarist Pete Macbeth to find out more.

Why should people come check out your set at Manchester Punk Festival?

We are fast and loud we sing/shout about all sorts of bullshit from political crap and things we don’t like, to other stuff that is literally nonsense.

Nicola will try her best to shout at most of the crowd between and during songs for not dancing enough then, when she feels a strong enough level of enjoyment is being had, she will jump on them. Surely incentive enough right there!

Our songs are decent as well like.

What can people do to prepare themselves, if it’s the first time they’ve seen you?

I don’t really know! We prepare by getting shit faced so it would probably help if they were also shit faced! Oh and plenty of stretches – you wouldn’t want to pull a muscle!

Your sound is a really energetic mix of punk and hardcore. Who do you take the biggest influence from?

Cider and gin: they have really pushed us to become better musicians! Continue reading “MPF Band Spotlight: Brassick [Interview]”

MPF Band Spotlight: Forever Unclean [Interview]

Manchester Punk Festival Band Spotlight: Denmark’s indie-skate-punk trio Forever Unclean are a must-see.

It’s all gone a bit MPF mad here at Shout Louder HQ. There are so many great bands that we don’t know where to begin! To help you make the most of the festival, we have spoken to a handful of the bands we’re most excited to see. Even if you’re not coming to MPF, there’s plenty to learn and enjoy.

We will be posting every day in the lead up to Manchester Punk Festival. Check out the full series here.

Band Spotlight: Forever Unclean

Forever Unclean are a fantastic, energetic three piece from Copenhagen, who formed from the remains of Stars Burn Stripes (if you remember them). They hit the grittier end of the pop-punk spectrum, incorporating the speed and skill of skate-punk and the lyrical angst of indie-punk. Their EP Float was one of our top picks of 2017. On top of that, they’re super-friendly, wonderful people and they’re enormous fun live. Here’s an excerpt from when we last reviewed them:

“The whole set is fast, fun, sweaty and packed full of brilliant melodies – every song has me grinning, and makes me feel like an angst-riddled 17-year-old ready to let loose. Float slays even better live than it does on the record, rivalling the best Gnarwolves songs for self-effacing lyrics and catchy hooks.”

We spoke to singer/guitarist Lasse Mikkelsen (who’s also an incredible animator!) to find out more.

Why should people come check out your set at Manchester Punk Festival?

Important stuff first, I see? Well, there are countless reasons! Maybe we play at the venue with the best bar? Maybe nothing else is playing at the same time? Maybe you like to have fun? We certainly plan to have fun! And maybe… just maybe… you’ll like the music too?

Which bands are you most excited to see at the festival?

Wonk Unit! Their songs are awesome, and we’ve never had the chance to catch them live before. The Bennies are great fun and were absolutely awesome the last time I saw them, so that’s gonna be a party too.

We have a lot of friends playing the festival as well and their shows are all gonna rock! I’ll probably forget some, but here goes: Rebuke, Darko, Goodbye Blue Monday, Revenge of the P-man, Spoilers, Start at Zero, Hoof, Egos at the Door, Uniforms and Dead Neck. Can’t wait to hang with all of those guys again.

You were at MPF in 2017 as punters – what was the best thing about last year?

Everything! The line-up was amazing, and we got to see a lot of our favourite bands. Personally, I prefer venue shows over outdoor-festival shows, so for me it totally beats the other festivals that I’m used to. Going from venue to venue, stumbling into good friends from all over Europe. Nothing beats that!

Forever Unclean Shower

What’s your top tip for having the best time at MPF?

Skateboarding makes going from one venue to another a lot faster and more fun! (And you don’t have to be good at it. I’m certainly not.) Continue reading “MPF Band Spotlight: Forever Unclean [Interview]”

Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In April

We’ve done all the hard work for you and found the best punk gigs across the country in April.

Article by Sarah Williams.

At Shout Louder, our April revolves the smorgasbord of sonic splendour that is Manchester Punk Festival. Now in its fourth year, MPF takes place over April 19th – 21st and, besides featuring many fantastic bands, it is also a major friends-fest. Every year the festival inspires punk rock pals from around the country to descend upon the Rainy City, this year seeming to pull even more attention from around the UK and further afield.

That said, it’s already sold out so we’re not going to bang on about it here. We will be banging on about it soon, with a series of related interviews and articles highlighting some of the acts you may be less familiar with. Keep your eyes peeled for pieces over the coming weeks, plus a very hungover episode of our podcast.

If you’ve got cash, time and energy leftover from Manchester Punk Festival, there are our top picks of this month’s events:

Gig of The Month: Nosebleed Album Release & Tour

  • When: April 7th
  • Where: Wharf Chambers, Leeds
  • Who: Support from Riggots, Snake Rattlers, Batwölf , Bones Shake and Guns On The Roof
  • Check out the Facebook event

Nosebleed are always jaw-droppingly entertaining live, so imagine how good they’re going to be in their hometown, surrounded by friends, at the launch of their debut album. It’s going to be complete rock ‘n’ roll carnage. Just don’t forget to give Dickie some love when Ben and Elliot abandon him to roam around the dancefloor.

The line-up they’ve organised is the perfect complement to their stripped-back, raucous style. Every act puts their own unique twist on the punk rock that we love, be that minimalist hip-shaking venom from Snake Rattlers, Bouncing Souls-esque perfection from Guns on The Roof or entropy-made-audible in the form of Riggots. Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In April”

Top 5 Punk Festivals of 2017

Shout Louder’s selection of the most raucous punk get-togethers in the UK and further afield.

Article by Sarah Williams.

The only thing better than an all-day punk show is multiple days of punk shows. Festivals are undoubtedly the most important part of my year. You get to see your favourite bands, discover new ones and if it’s a bigger event there’s a good chance that your friends will travel from far and wide to party together. I love how punks from around the UK are drawn to gigs like Manchester Punk Festival or Wonkfest like a big punk rock Mecca; there’s nothing better than weekends spent watching bands, catching up and crashing on mates’ floors.

Admittedly, I’ve only been to a handful of major festivals this year. This Top 5 is intended to be a personal and somewhat self-indulgent recollection of my favourite bigger events of 2017. Hopefully reading it will bring back some positive memories for you too.

#5: Wotsit Called Fest

  • When: September 29th – 30th
  • Where: The Palace, Hastings
  • Festival Highlight: Matilda’s Scoundrels’ riotous set

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2017 saw the second Wotsit Called Festival – a little DIY fest run by a collective in Hastings. It was a wonderful weekend away by the seaside, without a dull moment musically.

Friday was the huge party, serving as Matilda’s Scoundrels‘ release show for As The Tide Turns. They played an absolutley storming set full of dancing, crowd-surfing, human pyramids and all that malarkey. Following them were Nosebleed who caused their usual well-dressed ruckus, including a stage-invasion, getting out into the crowd and generally causing chaos. Getting to witness two of the UK’s best live acts all in one place in such an intimate setting was really rewarding.

The diversity of the line-up was what bumped Wotsit Called into the Top 5 for me. I greatly enjoyed starting the day with some skiffle covers, followed by melodic gruff from The Dead Anyways and then gradually descending into the entropy of Riggots via PizzatrampNatterers and The Crash Mats, among many others. This is still a relatively small punk gathering, but definitely one to watch for next year.

Check out our reviews here: Friday and Saturday.

 

#4: Wonkfest

  • When:  June 1st 2018
  • Where: Tufnell Park Dome and The Boston Arms, London
  • Festival Highlight: The raucous Pizzatramp pit

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At the start of Wonkfest I was joking with a friend that it might be funny to find the drunkest person at the festival at attempt to interview them. Later in the evening, I reached the unfortunate conclusion that the drunkest person at the festival may actually be me. As such, my memory of the headline bands is a tad hazy (Wonk Unit played, right?) and on the way home I fell backwards over my own bicycle and got trapped in a hedge for ten minutes. I’m not proud, but I did greatly enjoy waking up bruised, broken and covered in gold glitter. In hindsight, perhaps drinking vodka on the train at 9.30am wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.

Although it’s the drunken debauchery that will stick in my memory, the festival itself was as fantastic as it is every year. The gig is split between two stages, running 20 minute sets back-to-back with few breaks. It’s a format that works well, although you do have to skip a band if you want to eat, smoke or drunkenly make out with someone. Matilda’s Scoundrels opened the show with an aggro-folk riot, Spoilers were the closest things to Snuff that you’re going to find apart, perhaps, from Simon Wells playing a sweet acoustic set downstairs. Nova Twins were my highlight for the second year running; they’ve got an unprecedented amount of swagger. Aerial Salad and The Kimberly Steaks played exciting and energetic sets, between them managing to be so close to early Greenday that I felt justified in jeering at all the people paying to watch Greenday at Hyde Park the same night. Finally, the pit for Pizzatramp was one of the most wonderful, enjoyably violent experiences I’ve had all year. We got a huge rowboat, people crowd-surfing on inflatable pizza slices and general elbow-dodging chaos. What an incredible rollercoaster of punk fun. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Festivals of 2017”

Beat The Red Light: A Force To Be Reckoned With [Interview]

Pook and Eddie discuss their reunion, moonlighting with The Filaments and the struggle of getting eight people together for band practice.

Article by Sarah Williams. Amusingly old photos by Bev/Hold My Pint Photography.

Once famously described as ‘Slayer meets The Slackers’, Beat The Red Light are a genre-defying collision of metal, punk and ska, probably best likened to Voodoo Glow Skulls or Capdown, if Capdown listened to black metal. Their combination of heavy, overdriven guitars, double-kick intensity and coarsely shouted vocals isn’t too hard to fathom, but the killer difference with this band is the way they use their four-piece brass section like an assault weapon. They flip from bouncy ska sections into hardcore beatdowns before your feet have figured out what’s happening, inspiring absolute chaos in a pit. It is a truly unique sound that’s perhaps a bit niche, but immensely enjoyable for those of us who’ve gotten our heads round it.

Sadly, Beat The Red Light officially disbanded in November 2015. Now, almost exactly two years after the split, they’ve announced that they’ll be reforming for Manchester Punk Festival in 2018: the most ideal reunion imaginable. Having released their album Salt The Lands on Manchester DIY label TNS Records in 2011, crowds in the Rainy City have always given them the best reception, even more so than in their hometown of High Wycombe.

At present, MPF is their only official booking, but rumours abound for more on the horizon! Salt The Lands on vinyl for the first time? Support slots with Lightyear? A mainland Europe tour with Faintest Idea? A Mexican mega-tour? I caught up with singer/trombonist Pook and sharply-dressed saxophonist Eddie O’Toole to dispel a few myths, and to find out why they’re coming back now.

Beat The Red Light have gotten back together! What have you got in store for us?

  • Eddie: I wouldn’t say that we’re ‘back together’. We’re just doing a few shows that we thought it would be fun to do. We’re being very choosy about them. We probably split up because it was so hard to do all the shows we wanted to do….
  • Pook: And to get everyone together for band practice.
  • Ed: Everybody lives in different places and they’ve got kids, so it’s not going to be any easier! It’s going to be very selective.
  • Pook: Hopefully the motivation of us wanting to do these shows should be more than enough for us to try and, um…. have some band practices.

So you haven’t managed to get together for a practice yet?

  • Pook: I don’t think we’ll be practicing until maybe the day before Manchester Punk Fest.
  • Eddie: Can I just note that it is exactly two years to the day since we split up?
  • Pook: It’s weird because we didn’t really have any plans. Andy and Bev from TNS messaged me asking us to do it. At different times when we all got together (which were very few and far between) we’d be like, “Aw, I miss the band.” It just seemed like the right gig. If we were going to do a reunion gig then it would have to be for the right reasons, and what better reason is there than going back to your band’s second home? We never properly did a goodbye gig for Manchester.

No, your last Manchester show was Manchester Punk Festival in 2015.

  • Pook: I actually announced it on stage, “This is going to be our last Manchester gig.”
  • Ed: That was kind of the break up announcement as well.
  • Pook: Half the band members didn’t even know! “Yeah, that was our last Manchester gig.” Deal with it! [Some other band members] were fuming! But I was right. That was our last Manchester gig.

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You played the after party in the Joshua Brooks that year, right?

  • Ed: The aftershow was much more fun [than playing in Sound Control]. It’s always nice to play in a bit more of an intimate space.
  • Pook: There were a lot of lunatics at that gig. I remember there was a lot of body diving, and then some guy got on stage. I thought he was going to go for a stage dive but then he rugby tackled me to the floor and started screaming in my face. I was hitting him with the microphone trying to get him off me. He was off his rocker; he was having a fantastic time. That was a nice hot, sweaty gig.

Continue reading “Beat The Red Light: A Force To Be Reckoned With [Interview]”

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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Continue reading “MPF2017: How to Survive the Post-Festival Blues”

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.

Continue reading “Manchester Punk Festival: Where I’ll Be and Why”