Here are some thoughts about my first ever trip to the Manchester Punk Festival over the long Easter bank holiday weekend.
My first ever MPF can only be described as a completely heartening, life nourishing experience, which was briefly prodded by the occasional anxious freak out.
By the time the weekend was done, my notions of what punk is or isn’t was challenged by the massive breadth of genre variety on offer. Ultimately, I felt that the living spirit of punk rock is the ethos, outlook, morality and community of the few thousand individuals who make this annual pilgrimage.
I fully expected to feel awkward a lot of the time. I’m a real loud mouth once I get to know a person properly, but alone I’m very shy around strangers, and that’s further exacerbated when I’m around people who I think are talented (no shortage of that here). I naturally assume that people dislike me and in groups I always feel very visible and awkward. It’s a behaviour I have to work quite hard to deprogram myself of.
If I’d had somebody to go with, I would have loved to have come to any previous MPF, but the general feeling of being lonesome and weird was insurmountable. Last year, I felt the pangs of jealously having heard about all the fun everybody had, and I was resolved to go no matter what, come rain or shine. Luckily for all of us, the weather was completely glorious and, even as a solo traveller, I didn’t feel alone for any significant portion of my weekend. Honestly, I was surprised to find out that so many people I met have so many of the same social hang ups. I enjoyed the weekend from a social perspective every bit as much as what was on offer musically. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to finally get the chance to meet some long term social media pals in the flesh, as well as catching up with some old friends. Continue reading “Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival”
It’s early January and, with all the fantastic music of 2018 still fresh in our hearts and ears, The Overjoyed have fired a spectacularly catchy and fun starting pistol for what will no doubt be an even better 2019.
For those of you who enjoy making lists (much like myself) you’d do well to check out this fantastic slice of pop-punk n’roll immediately; as well as pop a note in your diary to remember it for your end of year considerations, as I don’t foresee more than a handful of albums being able to match both the catchiness and consistency of this record.
Leed’s based pop punks Eat Defeat were already arguably the UK’s greatest unsung pop-punks, and I mean pop-punk in the classic Drive Thru record’s/Warped Tour sense rather than the diluted squash of the countless Neck Deep-alike easycore contenders. Their last EP Time And Tide, which was released through Umlaut Records, was a shining example of modern UK pop-punk. Their 2nd full album I Think We’ll Be Ok, expands on the promise of Time And Tide in terms of song composition (and recycles one song and a Japanese release exclusive track from it) and adds superior lyrics and a strong uniting album theme.
I Think We’ll Be Ok is their first release for Bearded Punk records and features some pretty gorgeous, colourful artwork that nicely sets the tone for an album that tackles tried and true topics such as depression, anxiety and the complexities of relationships, but all wrapped in a sugary exterior and an ultimately optimistic place.
First track A Little Less Than Ok sets a high bar immediately with an utter sharknado of melody attacking you from every direction. Lovely guitar textures abound and there’s enjoyable harmony and rich, crunchy and full production here in spades. ‘I can’t break out of this mental state’ sets up the lyrical conflict of the album pretty perfectly.
The May 12th was a particularly great day for me. My band, Our Lives in Cinema, had the opportunity to support one of my very favourite bands, Canada’s Pkew Pkew Pkew at London’s famous New Cross Inn. It’s Pkewx3’s first ever European tour and their first UK show. Presale tickets were comfortably into triple digits and everybody was suitably stoked about the fun ahead, what with The Burnt Tapes and The Run Up also playing. I’m also doubly happy because I had the opportunity to interview the band prior to the show.
My fandom meant that I was pretty nervous to meet them, but they quickly put me at ease prior to our recorded chat with a friendly beer in the nearby park. I can happily confirm they’re all a great bunch of dudes. If you’ve never heard Pkew Pkew Pkew, they write concise, insanely catchy pop-punk about drinking, hanging out with your pals and eating pizza… but through a sort of gruff, glorious Bruce Springsteen/The Hold Steady lens. I spoke with them at length to talk about their tour, their upcoming record and their history.
Let’s start with the obvious! How are you?
Mike: It’s been awesome. I’ve never been over here before. Everybody’s been really nice to us, fed us, put us up… we’ve been eating really well, actually.
Ryan: I think we’ve lost a little bit of weight; we normally gain weight on tour.
Dave: There ain’t one Taco Bell in Europe
Mike: You don’t even have Taco Bell. We have Taco Bell sponsorship.
London’s marvellous melodic-punk 4-piece Triple Sundae have just released their new EP Peace of Mind through Umlaut Records. It’s the perfect primer for the summer and the bands most focused, accomplished effort to date. It’s full of amazing songwriting and sugary, addictive melodies across its three great tracks.
I caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Hassan Afaneh to talk about the band’s future, his inspirations and the state of the UK music scene.
How did Triple Sundae come to be?
Triple Sundae came around at the tail end of 2013 when I had hit up Mike [Smith, guitarist] about wanting to start a band. I was in a really dark place following some pretty shit events within my personal life and it had been two years since I’d played in a punk-oriented band. That outlet was very much needed. A couple of months of finding members and song-writing sessions went by and then boom Tripsun was born in February 2014.
Have you all played in bands previously or do any of you moonlight in other projects?
Each of us have played in bands prior to Triple Sundae (and during!).
I’ve played in punk bands, emo bands, hardcore bands, ska bands, acoustic bands, neo-soul bands… it goes on. I was only ever good at playing music, so to preserve my sanity I was jumping on project after project!
As well as TS, I play in On a Hiding to Nothing, Zandro drums for Lead Shot Hazard and Andy had started a project named Postcards. One thing is for certain though – we have all played in ska bands at one point in our lives. Ska lives bro.
How would you describe your sound to someone? Is there a genre within punk you feel especially akin to?
Sweet Diego are a new West Midlands-based band, who play pop-punk with a wry, Brit-pop slant to it. Their excellent second EP The After Party is out right now and they’re playing Dügstock on Easter Sunday. Shout Louder’s Mark Bartlett spoke to lead singer Diana Nguyễn to discuss the new EP, their inspirations and where the band is headed in 2018.
What’s the origin story of Sweet Diego and where did the name come from?
Before I joined Sweet Diego I was writing songs solo on my acoustic guitar, but I was too shy to share them online. Singing was a secret hobby of mine at the time but I found it extremely difficult to write songs on my own because I only knew a few guitar chords, which meant that all my songs were either really short or incomplete. It frustrated me that I had so many ideas but couldn’t put them together, so one day I decided that I wanted to collaborate with people. I spent some time online searching for musicians who had similar music tastes to form either a duo or a band and it was a crazy journey for me, but I met some amazing people along the way.
After some trial and error, I finally came across Mitch (our bassist) who was looking for a lead singer to join their trio, who were previously a five-piece named The Real Quaid. We exchanged demos and found that our writing styles and tastes in music were very different. I love listening to punk rock but I had never written a punk rock song before, however I instantly vibed with one of their tracks. So I wrote lyrics to it, recorded it on my laptop, named it 40 (which was later changed to Kabigon on our first EP, Kong’s Little Finger) and sent it over to Mitch who digged it and booked our first practice. I was anxious that it was going to be super awkward, but they were all so hilarious and we kicked off to a great start. Prior to Sweet Diego, I had never performed on stage or recorded music in a studio before, so I’m very thankful for the all of the amazing experiences that I’ve shared with these guys; they truly are some of my favourite people.
Have you all played in bands previously or do any of you play in other projects?
Check out this bangin’ melodic punk line-up hitting London on March 3rd!
Shout Louder’s very own Mark Bartlett has put together a blindingly good all-dayer in South London, to celebrate the release of Our Lives In Cinema‘s new EP All Talk and Triple Sundae‘s new single Indecisive, both out on Umlaut Records in the near future. They’ve curated an exciting collection of up-and-coming bands from around the country, all of whom are linked by a talent for fast, catchy, hooky melodies. In short: fun.
The lineup includes some incredible bands, such as Manchester’s freshest power-punks Aerial Salad, melodic fast-punk favourites Captain Trips and London’s own Triple Sundae, who will no doubt be playing some tunes from their seriously exicting new record.
You’re also going to fall in love with Arms & Hearts, a solo singer-songwriter with one hell of a voice, in the style of Brian Fallon or Chuck Ragan. You’ll walk out of the gig desperately wanting to get his beautiful lyrics tattooed all over you. If that’s not your thing, FastFade and Second In Line will bring you back into the fast-punk game. Continue reading “Gig Alert: Cinemania Fest”