Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback

Relive PRH 2018 with our honest, personal account of last year’s shenanigans. Featuring Bad Religion, Adrenalized, Almeida, Mad Caddies, Authority Zero and many more…

Last year I (Sarah) had a fantastic trip to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia with the Lockjaw Records crew. I wrote a review while I was there… but I was too catastrophically overwhelmed with real life to finish it off and get it online.

Rather than waste it, have a giggle about last year’s shenanigans while you gear up for Punk Rock Holiday 2019… with some fantastic photos from Silvy Maatman and Dave Sloan.

“This is the best festival ever!” says everyone, about every festival, ever. The difference is that Punk Rock Holiday genuinely is The Best Festival Ever.

Talking to people over the weekend, interestingly the consensus is that people attend PRH year after year for reasons other than the bands playing. They come for the stunning Alpine scenery, the crystal clear, glacial rivers, and the opportunity to relax on two wonderful river beaches. The main stage is nestled in a clearing in the forest, so the evening bands play surrounded by tall, verdant trees as the sunset glistens through the canopy.

Menzingers Crowdsurf Punk Rock Holiday cred Silvy Maatman

This is a festival where you are guaranteed to be partying with punk rockers from every corner of the world: I mainly spent the week with friends from Brighton, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Belgium who I’d hardly have the opportunity to see if events like this didn’t draw us together. Continue reading “Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback”

Top 10 Live Bands That Blew Us Away in 2018

There’s nothing more exciting than live music and these are the best of the best.

Written by Sarah Williams.

A phrase that’s been whispered in the dark corners of venues this year is that we’re onto something big. We look back upon golden ages when underground scenes were thriving, like the late 90’s Household Name days, but there’s been a tangible undercurrent of something unique and special in 2018 that’s convinced me that we might be in the middle of one of those golden eras. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I get at a gig when I’m surrounded by friends and enjoying a band I love; there’s an electricity and a sense of community that cannot be rivalled.

Although we all bang on about our Top 10 Albums at this time of the year, I think live music is much more essential than the recorded variety. It’s live shows where you get to spit and scream and sweat with your fellow punks. You meet likeminded people, enjoy the bands you love and discover new ones. Live shows are the most essential part of our scene and our primary goal at Shout Louder has always been to get more people to go and support their local bands, venues and promoters.

I have seen an lot number of incredible bands this year, but here are the acts that really stood out. Go check them out in 2019.

Mad Caddies Punk Rock Holiday cred Silvy Maatman
Mad Caddies @ Punk Rock Holiday 1.8. Cred: Silvy Maatman

#10: Mad Caddies

I’ve caught Mad Caddies quite a few times in the past and, although I like them, I can’t say I’m their biggest fan. Perhaps as a result, I was absolutely blown away by them this year. Continue reading “Top 10 Live Bands That Blew Us Away in 2018”

Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018

Sarah’s favourite punk rock weekends of 2018.

Written by Sarah Williams.

2018 has been the year of the festival for me. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy quite a few.

One of the uniquely brilliant factors about the punk scene is that you develop close friendships with people in far flung cities and countries. Our community relies on big events like these to bring everyone together – there are some friends that I would describe as ‘close’ despite only seeing them at musical festivals every couple of months. There’s something about forgetting an entire weekend together that brings you even closer.

Human Project KNRD Fest 2018 cred Josh Sumner Cold Front Photography (63)

It feels a tad unfair ranking punk festivals when, clearly, I can’t go to every single festival. Notably, this year I was unable to make it to Pie Race Festival, Wotsit Called Festival or Level Up Festival, which I suspect might feature highly if I had.

Similarly, I went to some absolutely brilliant festivals that deserve some love that haven’t quite made it onto the list here. Specifically, I’d recommend Belgium’s El Topo Goes Loco to everyone – it’s small, sunny and always has an incredible line-up. I also fell in love with Belgium’s Brakrock Ecofest – anothering stunning location, easily accessible with an excellent roster of bands (looking even bigger in 2019). I also enjoyed Dugstock and Polite Riot at The New Cross Inn, plus handful of smaller fests around the country.

These were the five best experiences of my entire year:

Sbäm Fest_Astpai_Copyright_Andreas Wörister_Slihs Photography

#5: SBAM Fest – Wels, Austria

Going to SBAM Fest was a somewhat impulsive decision, in an effort to overcome the MPF post-festival blues. However, with Propagandhi, Iron Chic, Satanic Surfers and No Trigger it was a no-brainer.

After a seriously long trip (Manchester to Stansted, Stansted to Salzburg, train to Wels) I found myself in a cool location miles away from home; a converted slaughterhouse covered in graffiti and filled with affable punks. I caught bands from closer to home like Darko, Wonk Unit and The Murderburgers, plus some foreign highlights like Astpai and The Bennies. I also did some catastrophically hard partying that led to the worst hangover of the year – typically a sign of a good weekend. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018”

Podcast: Mute & One Hidden Frame

Double interview with two of melodic hardcore’s technical powerhouses.

Over the summer, Sarah got the opportunity to chat with two of the international fast-punk scene’s most stunningly melodic acts.

Firstly, at Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium, Sarah caught up with Étienne Dionne and Alexis Trépanier from Canadian technical masters Mute, a band who’ve been stunning audiences with their unrivalled guitar work for 20 years. As true legends of the tech scene they have a brilliant selection of tour tales to share with us.

Later, at Punk Rock Holiday, Sarah had a fun chat with Pekka Multaharju and Emil Stenbäck from One Hidden Frame: a brilliant melodic hardcore band from Lappeenranta in Finland and one of Shout Louder’s personal favourites.

One Hidden Frame have been going since 2002, however some of their best work has come in the form of their 2017 album Harmful Content and their recently released split EP with Thousand Oaks. We were absolutely delighted to get to chat to one another, and no doubt you’ll enjoy it too.

If you’re a fan on technical, interesting melodic hardcore, then you will love this podcast. Even if that’s not your bag musically, we’re sure you’ll love our chat.

These were the songs we played:

  • Mute – Fill The Void
  • Adrenalized – Crawling From The Ashes (feat. Étienne Dionne)
  • One Hidden Frame – Exploding Head Syndrome
  • Fullcount – The Motion (feat. Étienne Dionne)

Podcast: Punk Rock Holiday Cocktail Special #2

Listen to Sarah getting drunk with Spoilers, Rebuke and Captain Trips on this second Punk Rock Holiday special.

On today’s podcast, we will be whisking you back in time to the beautiful, sun-drenched beach at Punk Rock Holiday. Sarah grabbed Spoilers, Rebuke and Captain Trips for a chat at Slovenia’s premier punk festival. Grab a drink, put your feet up and listen to us getting progressively drunker as the day goes on.

Ben Davis and Dan Goatham from Kentish punks Spoilers have just released a sterling debut album in the form of Roundabouts. They’re a hilarious bunch so we jumped at the change to discuss the album, their summer holiday plans and

We speak to Petter Mossberg and Phil Nordling from skate-punks Rebuke. We share a pina colada, discuss their 15 years as a band, the current Swedish music scene and some of the bands they currently admire.

Finally, we spoke to Rich Mayor of Portsmouth skate-punks Captain Trips. We were officially 10+ cocktails deep at the time of recording, so it’s nice to have a recorded reminder of a conversation we’d no doubt have forgotten. We cover important topics like showering, cress, sweat, flip-flops, Dean Gaffney and solo projects.

I highly recommend sticking around to the end, as Sarah’s sobriety goes rapidly downhill in quite an amusing way. As Petter quite accurately puts it, “You meet too many cocktails.”

We play the following songs:

  • Spoilers – Roundabouts (from album Roundabouts is out now on Little Rocket Records, SBAM Records and Boss Tunage)
  • Rebuke – Take To The Seas (from their album Wouldworks, out on Disconnect Disconnect Records)
  • Captain Trips – Bottom Of The River (from their EP Stand By now on Umlaut Records)

If you enjoyed this, check out our first PRH Cocktail Special with Ducking Punches, The Murderburgers and Dead Neck.

Podcast: Dan Flanagan of Matilda’s Scoundrels & Haest

Recorded on the beach at Punk Rock Holiday, Dan and Sarah talk gigs, bands and festival antics.

As the guitarist in both TNS folk-punk favourites Matilda’s Scoundrels and new sludge punk band Haest, as well as one of the organisers of Wotsit Called Festival, Dan Flanagan is one of the most active members of our current UK DIY punk scene.

I’ve been meaning to catch Dan to record a podcast since we first got started, but we finally managed to make time while both in Slovenia at Punk Rock Holiday! Where better to record than on an deserted beach in blazing sunshine, with our feet dipped in the crystal clear river, surrounded by stunning mountains?

Dan Flanagan Shout Louder Podcast 1.jpg
Photos courtesy of Dave Sloan

Although the scenery is idyllic, you can definitely hear our hangovers in the first section of the podcast, and I struggled a bit with my battered vocal chords. Fortunately, Dan’s capable of stringing a sentence together, and we get onto a proper discussion of festival antics. We talk about the joys of Punk Rock Holiday (including Mad Caddies, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Comeback Kid and Almeida), as well as Manchester Punk Festival, Pie Race, Wotsit Called Fest and all kinda of other shenanigans.

We begin by saying we’re not doing to bad on the hangover front, but you can definitely hear the wear and tear in my battered vocal chords and the difficulty in stringing sentences together. You can hear us verbally wake up about 20 minutes in!

These are the tunes we played:

  • Matilda’s Scoundrels – Mr Martyn
  • Haest – I Didn’t Throw A Single Stone And Still I Got Pissed On
  • Bootscraper – The Family

 

Podcast: Punk Rock Holiday Cocktail Special #1

Sarah recorded with Ducking Punches, The Murderburgers and Dead Neck on the magic of a Slovenian beach!

Punk Rock Holiday is a brilliant week of bands, beers and beaches in one of the most stunning settings Europe has to offer. The festival also hosts a plethora of bands from around the world, so we couldn’t miss the opporunity to speak with a few of them on the Shout Louder podcast!

To capture the full Punk Rock Holiday spirit, Sarah recorded a handful of segments while sat on the beach in Slovenia, typically with a cocktail in hand. On this episode she spoke to Dan Allen from Norwich’s alt-rock wonders Ducking Punches, Fraser from fiesty Scottish power-pop-punkers The Murderburgers and Andy Dazzler and Jimmy Carrol from Manchester skate-punks Dead Neck.

We discussed a whole range of topics including creativity, bees the size of dogs, Glaswegian beatings, rakija and the state of the punk scene today. Perhaps most imporantly, we also try to put out finger on what makes Punk Rock Holiday so special.

We also play a track from each band:

Keep your ears primed for the other episodes we recorded at Punk Rock Holiday, including discussions with Mute, Spoilers, One Hidden Frame, Captain Trips and Matilda’s Scoundrels.

 

 

 

 

17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels

There’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Recently, travelling home from Nuremberg to Manchester, I opted to join Fair Do’s in their van for the 20 hour drive, rather than making use of the flight that I’d booked. They thought this was completely insane. It kinda was.

In fairness, I was travelling home from an overwhelmingly good weekend at KNRD Fest, my flight was absurdly early (and would probably have caused anxious, hungover Sarah to have a morning panic attack about missing the plane) and I love hanging out with Fair Do’s. There’s no doubt that 20 hours in a cramped tour van is no piece of cake, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everyone and it meant that I could party hard on Saturday night, now that the worry of impossibly teleporting to an airport wasn’t weighing on my mind.

That said, there’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Van Tour Life Shout Louder (4).jpeg

As I write, I’m now locked in a hot tin can on wheels, driving with some of the Lockjaw Crew from Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia. It’s 17 hours in total, taking in a pick-up in Cologne and an obscure mission to collect a PRH ticket from a friend in Salzburg. We’re flying through the alps at 120kph in blazing sunshine with fuck all air conditioning, no stereo and so much merch (buying 500 Lockjaw compilation frisbees seemed like a great idea at the time…), vinyl and camping gear that there’s zero space for your feet in the footwell. Continue reading “17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels”

How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality

Life feels shorter than ever; so I’m going to fill it with the noises I love.

Article by Sarah Williams. Part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.

N.B.: I’d intended for this to be a happy article about how and why I enjoy live music so much, but it’s turned out a bit on the dark side. Oops. Trigger warning: Depression, suicide, bereavement.

Waterweed

I’ve been going to a lot of gigs lately. In the last month alone, I figured out I’ve travelled over 3,500 miles just to see bands. As I’ve started booking in festivals later in the year, more people are asking me why I’m doing it.

Typically it is a question I get from the ‘normal’ people I work with or my long-suffering family, however lately it’s a question I’ve received from people in the scene, usually accompanied by an incredulous look because I’ve just turned up in yet another city.

I’ve got an answer for you, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Why do I go to so many gigs? I go because I know I’m going to die. I’ve become hyper aware of my own mortality.

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers, and enjoying the music I love is my way of remedying and recognising that. Every show I go to, whether that’s a sweaty Propagandhi pit, a crusty post-hardcore melee or a gentle acoustic folk gig, I will have a massive grin plastered to my face. I’m enjoying the noise, the adventure and spending time in the punk community, because I feel like it could end at any second.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been berated with the following: “You’re going to burn out;” “You should drink less;” “You need to concentrate more on work;” “You shouldn’t waste your money on that;” “You need to calm down.”

They’re all right, of course, I probably ‘should’ do all of those things. I’m fucking tired. I’ve got tinnitus. I get stressed trying to keep track of all the gig-dates on my mental calendar. I struggle to motivate myself to do my day job because it’s so different to my ‘other life’. I’ve given myself alcohol poisoning more times than I can count. I’m running solely on caffeine and enthusiasm. Getting out of bed to be at the airport at 5am when I’ve still got the flu from last weekend’s festival is a hellish struggle.

It is worth it, because I am happy. Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. And I have been for a long time now. I haven’t felt the tug of depression and the cold sweat of anxiety has washed straight off me. I’ll say it again: I am really fucking happy. Continue reading “How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality”

Top 5 Punk Festivals of 2017

Shout Louder’s selection of the most raucous punk get-togethers in the UK and further afield.

Article by Sarah Williams.

The only thing better than an all-day punk show is multiple days of punk shows. Festivals are undoubtedly the most important part of my year. You get to see your favourite bands, discover new ones and if it’s a bigger event there’s a good chance that your friends will travel from far and wide to party together. I love how punks from around the UK are drawn to gigs like Manchester Punk Festival or Wonkfest like a big punk rock Mecca; there’s nothing better than weekends spent watching bands, catching up and crashing on mates’ floors.

Admittedly, I’ve only been to a handful of major festivals this year. This Top 5 is intended to be a personal and somewhat self-indulgent recollection of my favourite bigger events of 2017. Hopefully reading it will bring back some positive memories for you too.

#5: Wotsit Called Fest

  • When: September 29th – 30th
  • Where: The Palace, Hastings
  • Festival Highlight: Matilda’s Scoundrels’ riotous set

Wotsit Called Fest.jpg

2017 saw the second Wotsit Called Festival – a little DIY fest run by a collective in Hastings. It was a wonderful weekend away by the seaside, without a dull moment musically.

Friday was the huge party, serving as Matilda’s Scoundrels‘ release show for As The Tide Turns. They played an absolutley storming set full of dancing, crowd-surfing, human pyramids and all that malarkey. Following them were Nosebleed who caused their usual well-dressed ruckus, including a stage-invasion, getting out into the crowd and generally causing chaos. Getting to witness two of the UK’s best live acts all in one place in such an intimate setting was really rewarding.

The diversity of the line-up was what bumped Wotsit Called into the Top 5 for me. I greatly enjoyed starting the day with some skiffle covers, followed by melodic gruff from The Dead Anyways and then gradually descending into the entropy of Riggots via PizzatrampNatterers and The Crash Mats, among many others. This is still a relatively small punk gathering, but definitely one to watch for next year.

Check out our reviews here: Friday and Saturday.

 

#4: Wonkfest

  • When:  June 1st 2018
  • Where: Tufnell Park Dome and The Boston Arms, London
  • Festival Highlight: The raucous Pizzatramp pit

Wonkfest.jpg

At the start of Wonkfest I was joking with a friend that it might be funny to find the drunkest person at the festival at attempt to interview them. Later in the evening, I reached the unfortunate conclusion that the drunkest person at the festival may actually be me. As such, my memory of the headline bands is a tad hazy (Wonk Unit played, right?) and on the way home I fell backwards over my own bicycle and got trapped in a hedge for ten minutes. I’m not proud, but I did greatly enjoy waking up bruised, broken and covered in gold glitter. In hindsight, perhaps drinking vodka on the train at 9.30am wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.

Although it’s the drunken debauchery that will stick in my memory, the festival itself was as fantastic as it is every year. The gig is split between two stages, running 20 minute sets back-to-back with few breaks. It’s a format that works well, although you do have to skip a band if you want to eat, smoke or drunkenly make out with someone. Matilda’s Scoundrels opened the show with an aggro-folk riot, Spoilers were the closest things to Snuff that you’re going to find apart, perhaps, from Simon Wells playing a sweet acoustic set downstairs. Nova Twins were my highlight for the second year running; they’ve got an unprecedented amount of swagger. Aerial Salad and The Kimberly Steaks played exciting and energetic sets, between them managing to be so close to early Greenday that I felt justified in jeering at all the people paying to watch Greenday at Hyde Park the same night. Finally, the pit for Pizzatramp was one of the most wonderful, enjoyably violent experiences I’ve had all year. We got a huge rowboat, people crowd-surfing on inflatable pizza slices and general elbow-dodging chaos. What an incredible rollercoaster of punk fun. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Festivals of 2017”