MPF Band Spotlight: RUSSO [Interview]

Manchester Punk Festival Band Spotlight: Enthralling songwriting genius Sam Russo will be playing a rare full-band set.

It’s all gone a bit MPF mad here at Shout Louder HQ. There are so many great bands that we don’t know where to begin! To help you make the most of the festival, we have spoken to a handful of the bands we’re most excited to see. Even if you’re not coming to MPF, there’s plenty to learn and enjoy.

We will be posting every day in the lead up to Manchester Punk Festival. Check out the full series here.

Band Spotlight: RUSSO

Easily one of the most exciting prospects of this year’s Manchester Punk Festival is the opportunity to catch Sam Russo with a full band. Known for his clever lyrics, enthralling storytelling and affable, wry persona, Sam Russo’s charming acoustic folk has been a highlight in the punk scene for many years. RUSSO as a full band take all of Sam’s songwriting talent and bring to it a gusto and force that simply isn’t possible with one man. We can’t wait to hear it.

As it’s one of their first outings as a full band, we spoke to Sam Russo to find out more.

Why should people come check out your set at Manchester Punk Festival?

  1. To get a good spot for The Copyrights.
  2. Our guitarist is going to wear a black velvet shirt with embroidered tribal dragons on it. He sweats a lot.
  3. New full band Sam Russo punk rock songs that rip.
  4. Turgid banter.
  5. Life is short.

You’re known for your solo performances, however you’ve recently put together a full band: Russo. Why did you decide to put a band together now, after years on your own?

I’ve always wanted to play full band, and most of what I’ve written solo is written with a band in mind. I guess I just never got the right people together. It’s hard enough for me to get three people together for a beer let alone to form a band! I guess I’m hard to play music with!

When the people I’m playing with now agreed to give it a shot I just ran with it. We’re all great friends – I think that’s the key. I can’t play music with dicks. Well, I can’t play music with dicks I don’t like… I like these dicks a lot, I trust them, they’re cool as hell and we have fun so it works.

We’re actually all very different people which makes it really hilarious. I’m by far the least talented in the band: Katie’s a real musician – total multi-instrumental hero – she’s played with Pablo from Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros and rips a mean sax. Chris is one of the best tattoo artists in the country, as well as a director and photographer, and he’s played in a bunch of awesome stadium rock bands. Marty is a full-time drum teacher and kid’s party magician with a music degree. I’m the only guy with zero legitimate skills and a Squier guitar haha! That’s the secret people, surround yourself with weirdo geniuses and eventually you’ll pick up a thing or two…

I’ve heard the full-band Russo experience described as ‘magical’. What would you describe it as?

An orgy of solitude.Sam Russo Live.jpg Continue reading “MPF Band Spotlight: RUSSO [Interview]”

Gig Review: Ray Rocket & Sam Russo @ The Peer Hat [14/02/2018]

Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle and acoustic genius Sam Russo treat us to an intimate evening with help from Arms & Hearts and Fraser Murderburger.

Review by Sarah Williams. Shoddy phone-photos also clearly my fault.

Tonight isn’t merely a quiet, cold Wednesday night in Manchester. It’s also Valentine’s Day. As a result, tonight’s acoustic gig feels warmly romantic; I feel lucky to spend my evening in the company of Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle, soulful charmers Sam Russo and Arms & Hearts, and everyone’s favourite feisty Scot Fraser from The Murderburgers. The small room hosts a handful of couples and singletons, all excited for Moving North’s exceptional selection of acoustic acts.

Manchester Moving North Poster Sam Russo Ray Rocket Gig

Fraser kicks things off, commenting that he’s pleased to be correclty referred to on the poster as MacDaddy Mudderbang. This sets the tone for an evening of in-jokes, as all the acts really engage with the intimate audience. He opens with Born For This which, like many of his songs, is catchy, energetic and self-deprecating. His vocal has a gritty, edgy tone which works well as part of an acoustic show, although we’re more familiar with him belting it out live with The Murderburgers. It also sounds great on his poppy cover of Descendents’ Hope.

Halfway through the set he seems to shed some nerves. He actually declares that he ‘thinks he’s enjoying himself,’ before going on to play Another Way Out Of Here – a tune about ‘trying to find a way out without tying a noose and kicking a chair’. He also plays Wank, Florida, Wank, the gloriously named new single from his other band Fuck (It’s Pronounced Shit). He shouts out audience members (well, mainly just Mikey Wong) and chats to Ray, who’s sitting at the back of the room. It makes for a very intimate and friendly show. Everything about his set makes me happy and I’m grinning with laughter by the end of it.

Fraser Murderburger Live.jpg

Up next is Arms & Hearts, which is the moniker of solo singer-songwriter Steve Millar. He opens with a tune called Sore Sight For Sorry Eyes, a good example of the clever, emotive turns of phrase that he often uses in his lyrics. He seems to write with traditional tattoos in mind; if Arms & Hearts gains more popularity, soon everyone will be walking around with his words inked in banners around roses and skulls. Every word comes across crystal clear because Steve has a good, practised microphone technique, allowing you to fully appreciate the rich range in his voice. Continue reading “Gig Review: Ray Rocket & Sam Russo @ The Peer Hat [14/02/2018]”

Shout Louder Podcast #1: There’s a Bear in the Circle Pit!

Welcome to our brand new Shout Louder podcast, bringing new music and gig gossip direct to your ears.

We are extremely excited to announce a our brand new podcast!

This new branch of Shout Louder is designed to bring new music, gig gossip and amusing anecdotes direct to you ears.

Your podcast hosts are Sarah Williams and Mark Bell. Sarah’s the puppet master of Shout Louder and a certified gig-addict. Mark’s an illustrator, guitarist and promoter who runs Umlaut Records, along with the other lovely guys from Mug. If you don’t know him personally, you will probably recognise his artwork from a t-shirt you own!

Why is there a bear in the mosh pit? What’s it like to play to a crowd of deaf people? What waxy horrors lurk inside Sarah’s ears? How many tangents can Sarah drift off on? In this episode we talk about some of the bands we’ve seen recently, album’s we’re currently obsessed with and the worst gig Mark’s ever played. You can also hear music from F.O.D., The Shell Corporation, Only Strangers and Arms & Hearts.

Give it a listen, give it a share and give us a shout! Let us know what you think.

The podcast will be available online through iTunes and all your lovely podcatching clients in the near future. Bare with us for now – we’re trialling the first episode through this website online.

In future, we are hoping to get some guests involved, bring you some interesting info and interview, and new loads of new music.

If you like it, please subscribe and give us a share! We would also love to hear your feedback so that we can be even better next time. Give us a shout!

Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In February

February has a landslide of shows to bust you out of your January drought in style!

Article by Sarah Williams.

Thank fuck January is over. The darkest month is always a death note for gigs. People are too busy pretending that they’re going to save money, stop boozing or start dieting, when in reality we’re all cramming our faces with leftover Christmas chocolates and eyeing up the crème de menthe. No wonder it’s the month we’re most likely to off ourselves.

Fortunately, February is absolutely chock-a-block with noisy fun times. I’m double-booked on three of the four weekends and curating my top gigs was a right mission. I hope you all appreciate the effort and, in turn, make the effort to get down to one of these splendid shows.

Now, firstly, some shameless self-promotion. I’m not going to announce a Gig of The Month in February because I’m a tad biased…

Actionmen & PMX UK Tour

  • When: February 1st-4th
  • Where: Manchester, Ipswich, Guildford, Portsmouth
  • Who: Actionmen and PMX are playing with the likes of Darko, Fair Dos, Riggots, Drones and many more.

The first weekend of February sees four gigs from two incredible bands, including one hosted by Shout Louder in Ipswich.

Actionmen are an Italian trio who you’ll rarely catch in the UK. Deciding how to describe them is a bit of a challenge, so you best come check them out for yourselves. Fast-punk, metal, funk, psychadelia, garage, utter craziness? All of these things are good. Apparently ‘post-melodic hardcore’ is a term made up purely for them. You know the general rule that if a band have travelled from mainland Europe to play here it’s always worth seeing them? That rule has never applied more. They’ve been flooring audiences since 2000 and, if you’ve not caught them before, you’d be a fool to miss this opportunity.

PMX are also travelling all the way down from Scotland for four dates in England. If you’ve not heard me bang on about how great they are already, they’re a supremely talented bunch who’ve been peddling skate-punk and melodic hardcore for over 20 years. They’re preparing to release a new album this year and they’ll no doubt play plenty from their recent EP Dark Days. We had an exclusive interview with them last weekend, check it out: Part One and Part Two.

We also interviewed Darko who will be playing our show in Ipswich on February 2nd. They have put together an incredible line up on February 3rd to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Bonsai Mammoth – definitely a worth the trip:

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If that’s a tad to far for you, you can catch them at any of the following shows:

Continue reading “Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In February”