The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]

Australian party machines The Bennies discuss philosophy, cannibalism, dangers… and they invent their very own party robot.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Nick Manuel.

At El Topo Goes Loco in Belgium last year, I had the opportunity to chat with Anty Horgan and Nick Williams of Australian party-wizards The Bennies. They’re one of the most fun and uplifting bands you’ll have the joy of seeing, churning up punk, rock, reggae, dub and dance music in a cocktail of danceable anthems.

As the party was already in full-swing, and we were all a few beverages in, we took up position on the quiet grass patch outside the festival site. As the mosquitoes descended on us, we shared a couple of Jupilers and a joint, and Anty stretched out on the grass to do some pre-show yoga stretches. 

You guys are current rounding off a long European tour. How’s it feeling?

  • Nick: This our longest tour. It’s been about 30 dates.
  • Anty: It’s the most we’ve ever done. Easily the most in a row. It’s been good! We’re sort of on the knife’s edge at the moment… where everyone’s good, but pretty fragile? It doesn’t take too much to rock the boat, if you know what I mean.

What are you doing to try and stay sane and survive?

  • Nick: I bought a skateboard and I am very stoked about that. That was a total game-changer for me. I got it in Germany. We were playing at the Sonic Ballroom in Cologne. 

Do you skate much back home?

  • Nick: Not really. I used to a lot. The danger element in our band increased ten-fold in one day. I bought a skateboard in the morning and that was awesome. Then we arrived at Steinhagen and there was a tightrope there that we all suddenly decided we wanted to start mastering. 

Continue reading “The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]”

Live Review: Groezrock 2019

We enjoyed the return of one of Belgium’s biggest punk rock festivals, featuring Not On Tour, A Wilhelm Scream, Millencolin, Snuff, Jawbreaker and more.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Gresle Photography.

Years ago, Groezrock was as much a draw for British punk rockers as Download or Reading. For many of us it was our first festival outside of the UK. After a fallow year, Groezrock has evolved and become more refined, but it still boasts an exceptional line-up and an excellent atmosphere.

I travelled over to the sprawling festival site in sleepy Meerhout in the company of Goodbye Blue Monday, who were playing the smaller Cockpit stage on Saturday. We were keen to get a Jupiler down our necks as soon as we arrived, which fortunately coincided with Pkew Pkew Pkew getting things started. Continue reading “Live Review: Groezrock 2019”

DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]

Leeds’ unique hardcore act Daves are a diamond in the punk rock rough. There’s a Dave in all of us, apparently.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Leeds louts Daves knocked our socks off at Strummercamp earlier this year, so we had to get to know them better. There’s been a rumble in the underground about them recently, and it’s well-deserved. If you’re not a fan of Daves yet, I suggest you get them in your ears immediately.

Mixing up interesting hardcore grooves, stripped-back acoustic segments and classically punk rock vocals, Daves have fostered a unique sound that’s at once lo-fi, lamenting and loud. They’re one of Shout Louder’s top discoveries of 2019, read on to learn more.

Let’s start with the obvious: why are you called Daves? As I understand it, none of you are actually named Dave. Have you ever been accused of false advertising?

  • Drinky: Yeah, it seems to anger people… but mainly by people who aren’t called Dave. We haven’t been taken to court yet, but I’m sure the bastards will come for us one day!

After watching you live recently, I was very impressed. You’ve got a great mix of hardcore and more more melodic, grungy post-hardcore elements. Which bands do you feel have inspired your sound?

  • Drinky: I was raised listening to a lot of protest music really, my dad being quite political, so it came from Billy Bragg to Rage Against The Machine. But now it’s mainly Taylor Swift.
  • Zach: Cliffy Byro, PUP, Green Day, Gallows, Manchester Orchestra, Spice Girls.
  • Jaz: Face To Face, Rancid and Refused.

Continue reading “DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]”

Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]

We spoke to acoustic melody-master Brightr about his new album, the emotional songwriting process and the supportive punk rock scene that’s helped him along.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Earlier this year, solo artist Brightr (otherwise known as Laurie Cottingham) released his second album Two Sides. It’s an intricate, moving acoustic record, which launched with a little help from Lockjaw Records, No Reason Records and Penultimate Records.

Although he describes himself as gloomy emo-pop, I consider Laurie to be an expert in weaving bright, hopeful acoustic tunes, in the same family as City & Colour or Newton Faulkner before Radio 2 picked him up. Two Sides is a welcome follow-up to Year One; it’s a beautiful, soulful and positive record.

We had a chat with Laurie to celebrate the release.

You’ve recently released a brand new album Two Sides. How does it feel to finally share it with the world?

It feels great to finally be able to get the record out in to the world. These are songs I’ve been working on and obsessing over for far too long (tweaking and changing… and overthinking) so to finish recording them was a huge emotional purge for me. To release them is an entirely different, more exciting time. Continue reading “Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]”

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”

Band Spotlight: Swan Prince [Interview]

Skate-punk newbies Swan Prince have made an impression around the UK.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Growing in popularity in the last six months, Swan Prince at a Midlands skate-punk band that you may recognise from support slots with bands like Red City Radio and The Bombpops. Unfortunately, they called an indefinite hiatus after completing this interview, but we’re sure they’re still worth a listen.

You’ve recently released an EP Enjoy The Rain on Hell Hath No Fury Records. What part of the EP are you most proud of?

Josh S: Personally I think our sound became more focused in our new EP and has definitely set us on a path for the new stuff we are working on. Also, being self produced, I was happier with the production than that of our first EP. Albeit taking us a fraction of the time.

My personal favourite part of the record is that we have managed to capture the energy and angst of the band. Choosing 5 songs to help portray that to the listener isn’t easy but from start to finish the listener is able to truly and fully understand who we are and what we feel is important.

Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Swan Prince [Interview]”

Girls To The Front: Female Promoters Revitalising UK Punk Rock

We explore the recent upsurge of womxn in putting on gigs in the North of England, the ingrained sexism in the DIY community and what we can do to challenge it.

Written by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

We’ve created a ‘New Women of Punk Rock’ Spotify playlist to accompany this article – listen now.

Although it’s one of the more progressive communities, even in 2019, UK DIY punk rock remains a veritable sausage fest.

Attending shows as a woman alone, I’m often asked who my boyfriend is, which band member I’m banging, or whether I’m actually interested in the music I’ve paid good money to listen to. When working at shows, there’s an assumption that I’m there to help out on the door or sell merchandise, and that I wouldn’t know the difference between an XLR and a Speakon.

I organised Shout Louder Fest in February 2019 but, in the run up to it, multiple people assumed that I’d employed Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson of Anarchistic Undertones to book it for me – I was just tagging along at my own gig (comments which he did his best to quell). As someone who frequently writes about punk rock, I’ve often had folks on the internet assume that I’m a guy, even when Shout Louder profiles are full of selfies with my hair running amok. Out at gigs with our resident photographer, Josh, it’s often assumed that he’s the running things and I’m simply there to hold his lenses.

So, although the punk scene is an increasingly inclusive space, there’s definitely still work to do. Continue reading “Girls To The Front: Female Promoters Revitalising UK Punk Rock”