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”
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 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.
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.
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”
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”
Not On Tour are, without a doubt, the band we’re most excited to see at Manchester Punk Festival. Fans of 80’s punk ala Descendents, Bad Religion or Minor Threat will be instantly enthralled by their fresh take on a classic sound.
This Israeli four-piece have a cult appeal that’s spread across the global punk scene through ‘have you heard’ whispers in the past few years. Their catchy, political skate-punk ditties see them taking a headline slot at MPF, and touring to celebrate the release of their new album Growing Pains.
We’re excited to welcome you back to the UK! Manchester Punk Festival will be your first English show since 2013. How has the band grown since your last tour here?
Nir (bass): A major change to the band is our new guitar player, Mati. Growing Pains is the first time we’ve written music with another guitarist and we are really pleased with the result! Sima (vocals): We’ve played in a lot of other countries since then, all over Europe and also Japan and Russia. Last 3 years have been a big change in the amount of crowd and the places we play. Also having a booking agent has been a real relieving step for us.
What can British audiences, who might not have seen you before, expect from Not On Tour?
Nir: An energetic show with a kick-ass female singer, fast and catchy melodic punk rock tunes that won’t let you stand without shaking your booty.
Simon Widdop explains why punk poetry is worth your attention.
Guest article by Simon Widdop, a punk poet from Wakefield. Simon’s debut poetry collecton is Sending A Drunk Text Whilst Sober is available from simonwiddop.com.
The old adage of, “Here’s three chords, now go start a band,” can be translated into, “Here’s a pen and paper, now go start a poem.”
Poetry ain’t dead, far from it. It’s alive and beating hard in books, at lit fests, on TV adverts and at gigs. Yeah, that’s right. But not to be cliche, the poetry you’ll find at shows isn’t the same as the stuff we were forced to recite in grey tones in GCSE English lessons.
But where does all this tie into the punk scene?
Let’s rewind to the initial explosion of punk. You’ve just entered the Mayflower Club in Manchester, waiting for The Buzzcocks when suddenly a matchstick legged, drain pipe jeans clad, backcomb rocking John Cooper Clarke takes to the stage. 20 minutes later (or shorter, depending how ‘Ramones’ he was feeling that night) you’ve just experienced the godfather of punk poetry. Fast delivery, sharpshooter word play and a right hook to the senses. At the same time, across the pond and in the belly of CBGB, Patti Smith was reciting her kitchen sink realism and strong feminist works to an audience of fellow New Yorkers at the height of the New York Scene. Continue reading “We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments”
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.