Gig Review: Pie Race Festival – Sunday

Sunday is recovery fun day at Leeds’ annual pastry-punk showdown, featuring Queen Zee & The Sasstones, Incisions, Pizzatramp and more.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Hold My Pint Photography. Videos nabbed from Razmoyork’s YouTube page.

Firstly, check out our review of Friday and Saturday’s Pie Race.

The Sunday mood at Pie Race is notably subdued. People slowly return to Wharf Chambers, begrudgingly accepting the need crack on with the drinking and pie consumption once again. The day starts with a bar full of bedraggled punks nursing mugs of coffee or gingerly pushing their way through their difficult first pint. That said, there is still a buzz of excitement for more noisy nonsense to come. Today’s bill has a distinct sense of fun – plenty of ska, no brutal hardcore – exactly what you need on a rough morning.

I am pleasantly surprised by Plot 32. They spent Saturday spreading the word about their band via the excessive distribution of badges, but playing themselves down by explaining they were so new to music that they’d only just learned to play their instruments. As such, I approached their set with very low expectations and was wowed to discover one of my favourite sets of the whole weekend. The room is full of warmth for this band; they play good, simple ska with a party vibe, perfect for the recovery that the crowd are in need of. They throw a little medley of Operation Ivy and the Vengaboys, plus a perky cover of Catch 22’s Keasbey Nights that’s deeply enjoyable. Just the injection of skanking fun you need after a wild Saturday night.

Whitby’s Panda Lasagne follow them with some standard-but-solid punk rock, apparently playing their first gig in Leeds for 11 years. They’ve got demonstrable hangovers much like the rest of us, but they’re still fun and fast. Tunes like Housewives’ Choice are fun, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll tunes like Witness that really get the room going.

The Crash Mats are exactly what my hangover needs right now. There is nothing remotely sad or downbeat about this brilliant little ska-punk band, it’s all funky bass lines and jumpy upstrokes (with a few bursts of fast hardcore thrown in for good measure). They start off strong with Terry Funk Forever and Party At Lou’s Place early on in the set. They know as well as we do that it’s time for some silly punk shenanigans, and they use all their I’ve-got-a-microphone powers to make it happen. Baz suggests that rather than a human pyramid we create a human sphinx: a concept that’s better in the imagination than it is in practice, although the eager crowd make a valiant attempt. We’re a lot more successful at creating a reverse wall of death – starting off in a mosh pit and ending the song in two neat rows. Soppy Love Song remains my favourite tune, but their closing track Get Me Off This Ride is a close second, describing an LSD-fuelled rollercoaster experience, completed by Baz’s demented laughter over a backing of jumpy ska-core.

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Next up are Snakerattlers, which is the moodier reimagining of The Franceens. They open with a song that is instrumental apart from a series of howled guttural noises, slightly bewildering the audience and warning them that they’re in for a wild ride. There’s a dusty Tijuana vibe to much of their death-punk stylings, conjuring a taste of hot sand and desolation. They perform with just a distorted electric guitar and drums stripped back to a snare, floor tom and a crash cymbal. It doesn’t sound like a lot written down, but it’s played with a captivating spit-in-your face attitude that’s impossible to ignore. Much like a rattlesnake, they’re slightly intimidating, although songs like Let You Go are catchy and danceable. Guitarist/singer Dan Gott falls backwards out into the crowd with his guitar for Rattlerock Rumble, bringing a more intimate element to the performance. It’s extremely cool, sultry, swagger-ful stuff.  Continue reading “Gig Review: Pie Race Festival – Sunday”

Gig Review: Pie Race Festival – Friday + Saturday

Pies, pals and pints at Leeds’ premier annual punk party. Featuring Matilda’s Scoundrels, Ducking Punches, Millie Manders, Nosebleed, Batwölf and many more.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Hold My Pint and Paul Hannah.

Pie Race is Leeds’ annual punk-stravaganza; a regular date in the Northern punk calendar since 2010. This year’s event saw three days of punk, pie and pals at Wharf Chambers: one of the most welcoming DIY venues I’ve ever visited. Friday’s show was like a regular gig, but Saturday and Sunday combined to make 22 hours of noisy fun and an absolutely pukka weekend. It’s more than just the music, though: Saturday also featured the festival’s famous pie-eating competition. In short(crust), it was more fun than swimming in a barrel of gravy, and I can’t wait do it all over again.

In the course of this write-up, I have attempted to celebrate not merely the punk, but also the pies. As such, I aim to punish you with pie references although (I wouldn’t pie to you) I slightly underestimated the sheer amount of effort it takes to write atrocious pie-jokes. I gave up halfway through Saturday’s write up, but there’s still plenty of pie. Enjoy.

Friday (PieDay?)

I arrived at Wharf  Chambers exceptionally early on Friday, but there were still plenty of pals to run into. Pie Butcher, sorry, Pat Butcher, are first up, featuring a very tall man playing a very small guitar. Jokes aside, they play some hearty hardcore, featuring a couple of seriously meaty beat-downs. The highlight of their set is their carrot race, presented as a precursor to Saturday’s pie race. As it turns out, watching five punks try to wolf down a whole carrot in a minute is an unforgettable experience, and surprisingly tricky for the contestants.

Due to The Zipheads running late, HollywoodFreyBentos Downstairs (better known as Hollywoodfun Downstairs) set up next. Watching this heavy duo from New Zealand is like a blast in the face from a hand grenade. They are the most memorable act I have seen all year; they’re a band who don’t abide pie the rules. They turn out the main lights and set up the drum kit, amps and mic stand in front of the stage. Illuminated only by bright white strip lights beside their amps, the venue takes on a surreal post-apocalyptic vibe. Musically it is a beautifully harsh cacophony of distortion and I can’t tear my eyes away from the show as the drummer hammers away with stunning, grind-level skill.

The Zipheads are a change of pace, opening with a super-bouncy version of rocksteady classic 54-46 Was My Number. They follow with upbeat covers of Sublime, the Flintstones soundtrack and Got to Pick a Pocket or Two from Oliver, plus their own original material. In their own words they offer, “Sloppily played rock ‘n’ roll,” with the double-bass dressed up as a pint of Guinness (ideal as both a filling or an accompaniment to pie) giving it more of a rockabilly feel.  Continue reading “Gig Review: Pie Race Festival – Friday + Saturday”

Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In November

The nights are longer, but the music’s louder. Here are the best ways to support your local scene this month.

This is my favourite time of year. I could wax lyrical about the beauty of the leaves descending from the trees, but really it’s all about getting wasted on Halloween and pretending the next day’s eye-bags are part of your zombie costume. It’s the best time of year to waste money on minor-explosives to decorate the night sky, rarely pausing to wonder whether we’d have been better off had Guy Fawkes have successfully made a firework of the Houses of Parliament. Hopefully we’ll see some effigies of Donald Trump popping up.

Another reason I love November is that it’s just before all the commercial bullshit fully kicks off in the advent of Christmas. This may be the last time you can leave the house without fear of tinsel and cheesy musak for the forseeable future! Make the most of it with these awesome shows.

Gig Of The Month: Pie Race Festival

  • When: November 10th-12th
  • Where: Wharf Chambers, Leeds
  • Who: Matilda’s Scoundrels, Ducking Punches, Queen Zee & The Sasstones and heaps more
  • Tickets HERE, Facebook event HERE

I have shamefully never made it to Pie Race in the past, despite being desperate to go. I’m excited to be heading to Leeds for the whole weekend this year, and you ought to be too. Wharf Chambers is the ideal venue for a DIY show – small and full of character. There’s a wealth of great bands spread across three days, with plenty of spare time to catch-up with mates old and new.

The festival is curated by Ben Hannah of Nosebleed / Acid Drop fame (check out our interview here), and it’s basically a well-organised excuse to throw a party with all of his pals. Friday is a little treat for the early-birds, which sees Norwich’s best folk-punks Ducking Punches headlining, with a smaller evening line-up of Hollywoodfun Downstairs, The Zipheads and Pat Butcher.

It all kicks off properly on Saturday, with a mix of genres to keep you on your toes. Without mentioning everyone, I’m most excited to see The Fuckin’ Glorious, The Burnt Tapes, Almeida, Traits and, of course, Nosebleed and Matilda’s Scoundrels. It’s not dissimilar to the line-up we saw for Wotist Called Fest earlier in the year, and if it’s anything remotely like that it’s going to be incredibly fun.

Sunday’s another full day of punk, with a slightly more relaxed line-up and a few less bands (presumably to give us all some recovery time). I’m looking forward to catching some acts I’ve not heard of, as well as finally getting to see Incisions, who released a banger of an EP earlier this year. We’re also guaranteed the good times of Pizzatramp and The Crash Mats. Liverpool’s Queen Zee & The Sasstones will be headlining, bound to close the weekend with aplomb.

Makky’s written a brilliant preview of the festival so that I don’t have to. Check it out at Broken Arrow Magazine.

The JB Conspiracy – 10 Years of ‘This Machine’ Anniversary Tour

  • When: November 1st – 17th
  • Where: Across the UK
  • Who: Support from Tree House Fire

This Machine is one of my favourite albums of all time, and I can’t believe it’s been out for 10 years. The JB Conspiracy are celebrating this milestone with a UK tour, taking in London, Manchester, Leeds, Southampton, Norwich, Brighton, Plymouth and Bristol, plus three dates on the mainland. They’re also releasing This Machine on vinyl for the first time, in a lovely shiny blue.

I’m reluctant to describe The JB Conspiracy as a ska-punk band because they are so much more than that. Sure, they write tunes that are loaded with brass and upbeat, bouncy upstrokes, but their compositions are so complex they’re almost orchestral. There is layer upon layer of intricate horn-parts, piano and full-band crescendos. It’s marvellous. Even if you’ve never heard of This Machine before it’s definitely worth checking The JB – they’ll have you dancing and singing in no time. Tree House Fire are supporting, and are equally guaranteed to leave you in a sweaty, satisfied mess.  Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In November”