Girls To The Front: Female Promoters Revitalising UK Punk Rock

We explore the recent upsurge of womxn in putting on gigs in the North of England, the ingrained sexism in the DIY community and what we can do to challenge it.

Written by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

We’ve created a ‘New Women of Punk Rock’ Spotify playlist to accompany this article – listen now.

Although it’s one of the more progressive communities, even in 2019, UK DIY punk rock remains a veritable sausage fest.

Attending shows as a woman alone, I’m often asked who my boyfriend is, which band member I’m banging, or whether I’m actually interested in the music I’ve paid good money to listen to. When working at shows, there’s an assumption that I’m there to help out on the door or sell merchandise, and that I wouldn’t know the difference between an XLR and a Speakon.

I organised Shout Louder Fest in February 2019 but, in the run up to it, multiple people assumed that I’d employed Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson of Anarchistic Undertones to book it for me – I was just tagging along at my own gig (comments which he did his best to quell). As someone who frequently writes about punk rock, I’ve often had folks on the internet assume that I’m a guy, even when Shout Louder profiles are full of selfies with my hair running amok. Out at gigs with our resident photographer, Josh, it’s often assumed that he’s the running things and I’m simply there to hold his lenses.

So, although the punk scene is an increasingly inclusive space, there’s definitely still work to do. Continue reading “Girls To The Front: Female Promoters Revitalising UK Punk Rock”

Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

A sold-out Manchester show with Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcased the future of melodic punk rock.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Moving North have sourced an exceptional punk rock line-up for a cold Wednesday in the Rainy City. Tonight’s bill of Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcases the future of melodic punk rock: each of these bands is set to explode in the near future. This is a tour that will go down in the history books.

Selling out weeks in advance, tonight’s also due to be a shoulder-to-shoulder riot in Manchester’s tasteful Soup Kitchen basement. Exposed brick, classy beers and healthy grub here make it one of the best venues the city has to offer. It’s gigs like this that put Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s live music scene.

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Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday open the show early to a sparse but friendly crowd. They open with newer tune Red Skies that eases people in gently with a slow crescendo intro, before they plaster grins on our faces for one of their biggest old tunes: The Sickness, The Shame. Continue reading “Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester”

MPF Interview: Martha

We spoke to Martha ahead of Manchester Punk Festival, discussing their new album and the influence DIY punk’s had on them.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

In 2019, it’s hard to find any UK punk rocker who’s not a fan of Martha. Heavily influenced by pop music but rooted in Northern DIY punk, Martha make lovable, upbeat music that appeals to old school punks, hardcore kids and pop-punk fans alike. We spoke to them ahead of their upcoming performance at Manchester Punk Festival 2019.

You’ve got a new album Love Keeps Kicking. How do you think you’ve grown as a band since Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart?

The new record is a bit more world weary and sombre, but it’s still got hope and optimism within it. And it’s full of songs we’d want to listen to. The world feels fucking shit, and that’s bound to filter through into songwriting.

What can fans expect from the new album?

Love songs, sad songs, pop songs, references to places in Durham city, where working class people used to go that have been bulldozed to make way for student accommodation.

You’ve been described as having an ‘unashamedly Northern edge’. How do you feel your Durham roots influenced your sound?

It’s who we are and so it’s inevitable it comes out in the music. We can’t really avoid it. I think it’s also the case that when bands from smaller towns sound like they really sound, it’s more noticeable just by virtue of being a bit different. Every band is from somewhere! Continue reading “MPF Interview: Martha”

MPF Interview: Screech Bats

Manchester Punk Festival will be Screech Bat’s final gig – we spoke to them ahead of the funeral service.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Alt-rock four piece Screech Bats are sadly calling it a day at Manchester Punk Festival 2019. We’ve caught them live a few times and enjoyed their 2018 EP Wish You Were Her (as well as being consistently jealous of their next-level eyeliner wielding skills), so we’re sad to see them go. We took our last chance to have a chat with the band.

MPF is sadly going to be Screech Bats final show, and you’re treating it as a funeral for the band. Do you have any special planned that you can share with us?

We are planning to go out of this world just like we came into it: screaming, disoriented and sodden with goo.

If there a reason you’ve decided to use MPF as your send off?

MPF is a festival that we really wanted to tick off the bucket list, so it just made sense to go out on a high. Plus, for Christmas our mate adopted Esme a pig called Truffles that lives just outside Manchester, in a Pig & Terrapin sanctuary in Rochdale, so we can all go pat her on the belly for some post funeral sad-be-gones. Continue reading “MPF Interview: Screech Bats”

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”

Incisions: The Sound Of Young, Working-Class Anger [Interview]

“Like Minor Threat had been dragged through every bar in Manchester,” Incisions are ready to tear your world apart.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Incisions are a fresh, no-nonsense, blast of fury from Manchester, who’ve just announced that they’ll be releasing their self-titled debut album via DIY legends TNS Records in December.

Incisions’ Quit Now was one of our Top 5 Releases of 2017 and their new material promises even more exciting things. Seen live, their fast, take-no-prisoners approach captivates audiences.  We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Jordan Lloyd to get the latest on their new album and their plans to conquer the scene.

Hey Jordan! How would you sum up Incisions for someone who’s just discovering you?

Hey! We are heavily influenced by all the hardcore bands and Slayer but like to try and bring a bit more melody into the songs. We try to play everything as fast as we can. We recently were told we are ‘the audio equivalent of a brick through a window’. I liked that.

Tell me a bit about how Incisions came to be – how did the band form?

I moved to Manchester a few years ago ’cause I wanted to start a band and there place where me and Steab (guitarist) grew up had no music scene at all. I found a really good drummer. We put an ad out for a bassist and met Mandog. We then met up at the first Manchester Punk Festival and obviously MPF is enough to make anyone want to start a band… we were both pretty overwhelmed by the whole weekend as is the case for everyone that goes, so we were much more serious about what we wanted to do after that.

Our drummer moved back to Spain before we really got going, but Tom joined straight away and then took it up a level. We’d written our first EP after a couple of weeks. Tom left just after we finished recording Quit Now. Stefan has been playing live with us since the second EP.

You’ve undergone some line-up changes since then, too. Give us an update – what’s the line-up looking like now?

Yeah, Archie (a.k.a. Betty Egg) from Clayface is playing bass for us now which is ace cos I love him and he’s pretty easy to influence when I want to go out and get drunk.

Andy is now playing drums for us he plays in Animal Byproducts as well, he’s from Barnsley so none of us can understand a word that he says but he seems friendly.

Stefan is still killing it on his snide Gibson and they all still have to put up with me!

I was completely gripped by the Quit Now EP you released last year, in fact it was in our Top 5 EPs of 2017. How does the album differ to the EP musically?

Yeah, thanks for that. We were really proud of making that list!

I think we started to find our sound when writing the last EP but we had come to terms with it when we wrote the album, so this was a bit more focused in that sense. Someone said it sounds like Minor Threat had been dragged through every bar in Manchester. I think it’s a bit more direct lyrically than the EPs have been and there are more riffs. Continue reading “Incisions: The Sound Of Young, Working-Class Anger [Interview]”

Spotify Playlist: Manchester’s Best Punk Gigs

Follow our playlist to discover up-and-coming punk bands who are playing near Manchester.

Although we’re often on the road for gigs, Shout Louder’s proud to have its HQ in Manchester, UK. It’s a city with a vibrant music culture that embraces the DIY ethic at the core of our community, with an abundance of punk shows to choose from every single week.

On the fence about going to a show? Not sure whether you’ll like the support acts? Want to know about all the latest gigs? We’ve made this playlist to help you with that, and we’ll be updating it with new gigs as they’re announced.

Follow the playlist to keep up to date with the bands we’re most excited to see in Manchester in the next two months, in approximately chronological order (first on the list are bands playing this weekend). Anything we haven’t added? Let us know.

P.S.: We’ve included a few shows that are a short train ride out of town; fuck the borders.

Special credit to Anarchistic Undertones, Moving North, Horn & Hoof, Under The Bridge, Evil Music and The Old Town House for consistently booking excellent shows. You’ve got to appreciate people working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring music right to your doorstep, without them this scene would be nothing.