Gig Review: Corrupt Moral Altar @ The Star & Garter [09/02/2018]

A ferocious night of electrifying hardcore, with Boak, Gets Worse and Leeched supporting.

Review by Sarah Williams. Suitably crusty snaps by Dave Jerome.

It’s a small miracle that I make it to Star & Garter at all. I’ve been plenty of times before but I’m walking from a different part of Manchester, so I consult Google Maps to see if there’s a quicker route. There is! Or, well, it looks like there is, until Google leads me down an alley that has more in common with a motorway siding than a footpath, all mud, brambles and metal railings, to somewhere that is definitely not the Star & Garter.

Fortunately, I do know where the venue is, so I navigate blind through Mancunian highways and make it to the pub just in time to hear the soundcheck. Doomy bass rumblings tumble down the staircase under a howled, guttural mic-check. It’s already sounding beautifully bleak.

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Local three-piece Leeched open with a surreal salvo of window-rattling noise and the guitars proceed to squeal with distortion between every song. They drop into an onslaught of progressive, hardcore darkness that the fairly sizeable crowd is already enjoying. I don’t understand a word the singer growls, which is typically a good sign. The drummer is delightfully terrifying, corpse-pale apart from his facial tattoos, playing cloaked in a black hoodie, slowly shouldering his way through a feral onslaught of blast beats. There is an angry cry of, “Why are you not moshing, people? Please mosh for the next one,” which turns out to be a surprisingly polite request from a punter spitting into the stolen mic. Leeched continue to trudge through a catalogue of crusty dark metal that’s low and heavy, ending on a drawn-out decrescendo of six-string distortion.

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Gets Worse are up next, offering an assault of songs that are short, heavy and fist-in-the-gut ferocious. This heavy 4-piece from Leeds shake the room with supremely fast powerviolence sections, punctuated with low slow-motion mosh breaks that expertly build anticipation for the next attack. Above the patchwork of heavy metal shredding are caustically spat vocals. All members of the band contribute to this, but it’s the drummer somehow making time to tear words from his throat that offers the fiercest noise. They slide catastrophically into harder, heavier songs with a handful of quieter, bass-led pauses. The bleak crunch of distorted guitars primes the room both for soberly dressed, serious head-nodding and frantic elbow-smashing bursts of hardcore. Continue reading “Gig Review: Corrupt Moral Altar @ The Star & Garter [09/02/2018]”

Album Review: The Crash Mats – 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics

The Oldham trio have just released 28 minutes of irreverent ska/punk ‘n’ roll nonsense that captures all the energy and hilarity of their live shows. FFO: Snuff, Teenage Bottlerocket and having a good time.

This weekend super-fun ska punks The Crash Mats released their second album 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics. It’s 28 minutes of solid comedy gold, out on Horn & Hoof records now. Spoiler alert: there’s not a panpipe in sight.

The trio from Oldham have been around since 2008, and yet ‘maturity’ is the last word you’d use to describe this record. Their songs are short, snappy punk ditties and that can’t fail to plaster a grin on your face, covering such thought-provoking topics as The North, getting high and how your parents may react to finding a dead babysitter. If you’ve had the joy of catching The Crash Mats live before, you’ll know they’re unbelievably fast and fun. Before I saw them I’d never had the opportuntity to skank along to the Chucklevision theme tune and I am eternally grateful to them for that. 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics take all of that energy and delivers it staight to your living room.

The Crash Mats 69 Peruvian Pan Pipe Classics

The album opens with an invitation to join them on a Hot Air Balloon Ride (“Would you like a ride in my hot air balloon?”), rolling through to Drive Me to Drink (“You drive me to drink, you drive me to drink.”) and heavier Oldham’s National Anthem (“Meat pie, chips and gravy!”). The Crash Mats are by no means lyrical genuises, but they sure do get their point across. It’s fun on record, but the drunken-singalong potential live is second-to-none. Continue reading “Album Review: The Crash Mats – 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics”

Gig Guide: Bands You Need to See in June

June is blessed with staggeringly good line-ups – these are the best of the best.

June has the potential to either be a shining success or a hopeless disaster. Based on recent voting catastrophes, I’m fully prepared for an awful result on June 8th, and I do sometimes wish that shining beacons like Corbyn wouldn’t come along a give us leftie liberal types hope.

So, while you prepare to lose every shred of faith you have in humanity all over again, distract yourself with this splendid array of socially-conscious noise-mongers. There is no doubt that June holds some of the most exciting punk gigs on 2017 so far, and acts will be even angrier, feistier and more politically-charged than usual!

This is how I’ll be ignoring our inevitable doom:

Punx Inna Jungle – The Final Sozzle!

  • Where: Antwerp Mansion, Manchester
  • When: Saturday 17th June
  • Who: INSANELY GOOD LINEUP ALERT
  • Tickets: £7-10 from here

Known for being an absolute mauler of a night out, I’m seriously chuffed to be heading up to Manchester for the last ever Punx Inna Jungle. I can already taste the hangover.

MPF co-captains Anarchistic Undertones have pulled out all the stops with their last line-up, giving something for everyone. Drumroll please!

  • Politically-charged ska-punk from faves Faintest Idea
  • Riotous drunken folk punk from Matilda’s Scoundrels
  • Enjoy a punch in the face from Grand Collapse’s unrelenting melodic thrash
  • Throwing Stuff giving it hardcore thrash
  • Scottish veterans PMX playing melodic punk
  • Chaotic anarcho-ska from Wadeye
  • Tech-metal-meets-skate-punk brilliance delivered by Fair Do’s
  • Energetic punk fun from London DIY kings Wonk Unit

All this chaos will be taking place in the inappropriately named Antwerp Mansion. Apparently it’s never been a squat, but it definitely has that crusty, lived-in air, adequately setting the scene for debauchery that will last into the small hours. I look forward to seeing you all there, although there’s a good chance I may not remember it!

Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need to See in June”

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”