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”

Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

A sold-out Manchester show with Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcased the future of melodic punk rock.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Moving North have sourced an exceptional punk rock line-up for a cold Wednesday in the Rainy City. Tonight’s bill of Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcases the future of melodic punk rock: each of these bands is set to explode in the near future. This is a tour that will go down in the history books.

Selling out weeks in advance, tonight’s also due to be a shoulder-to-shoulder riot in Manchester’s tasteful Soup Kitchen basement. Exposed brick, classy beers and healthy grub here make it one of the best venues the city has to offer. It’s gigs like this that put Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s live music scene.

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Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday open the show early to a sparse but friendly crowd. They open with newer tune Red Skies that eases people in gently with a slow crescendo intro, before they plaster grins on our faces for one of their biggest old tunes: The Sickness, The Shame. Continue reading “Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester”

Gig Review: Random Hand @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [25/01/2019]

Ska-core legends Random Hand play a raucous hometown show with Wonk Unit, Pizzatramp and Fierce Ideas.

Written by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Random Hand are a formidable name in the UK punk scene, known for relentlessly storming stages with their aggressive blend of ska, hardcore and nu metal. They brought new life to dwindling ska-core tradition that had previously been the wheelhouse of bands like Capdown, Leftover Crack and Voodoo Glow Skulls, before going on hiatus in 2013.

Random Hand made a (scum) triumphant return after some cajoling from Manchester Punk Festival in 2018, followed by a short run of other cherry-picked dates. As such, it’s a rare treat to catch Random Hand on a Friday night, let alone at a sold out hometown show with headline-worthy TNSrecords label mates Wonk Unit and Pizzatramp.

Brudenell Social Club in Leeds is a name I know well, but it’s my first visit. On the outside it looks like the sort of carpeted function room where you’d find kids quaffing cider in the car park, but inside there’s a reasonably high stage and ample space for chaos. I’m excited. Continue reading “Gig Review: Random Hand @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [25/01/2019]”

Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019

A review of MPF from Sarah, who volunteers at the event. Friends, frantic dashes between venues and some top-class hardcore, including Not On Tour, Adrenalized, Svalbard, Consumed, Fair Do’s and Snuff.

Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Mark Bartlett’s given us is highlights as an MPF virgin, where as Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the festival. In this edition, Sarah gives us a unique perspective from behind the scenes.

Excitement for Manchester Punk Festival begins long before the doors open to the public. Unfortunately, excitement can easily be mistaken for stress.

Weeks before the main event, I’m inundated with messages asking about guest list, accommodation, press accreditation and band recommendations. I’m only a volunteer, I’m not even one of the organisers – I can’t begin to imagine the sheer insanity of their inboxes. How they manage to keep it together in the days leading up to the festival, I will never know.

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Thursday

The hard graft starts in earnest on Thursday – the eve of the festival. I drive to Moston to join a five car convoy; our best method of transporting all the festival merchandise in the absence of ROPTM’s van. I’m blasting out Ocean Wisdom round the M60 like some boy racer on the way, which is harshly interrupted by a phonecall about a bounced band payment and a confusing artist hotel booking. We get it sorted in seconds, like pros.

Delivering the merchandise is the first time I’ve seen MPF’s brand new venue: The Union. It’s a huge, modern student building fittingly decorated in Manchester’s signature yellow-and-black. I’m shocked to see the size of the main hall. As we climb ladders to hang banners, it starts to look like a ‘real’ festival venue. It’s fucking huge. Continue reading “Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]

Austrian punks Hurricane Season talk influences, lyrics and their debut album ‘Nice To Need You’.

Hurricane Season are an Austrian whirlwind (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of punk rock energy. They released their debut album Nice To Need You via SBAM Record in March 2019. We got to know the band better.

How would you sum up Hurricane Season for someone who’s just discovering you?

It’s a mixture of all the music we listened to as kids and, of course, what we listen to nowadays. So all the good pop stuff mixed with the punk music we all love. Maybe like Roxette meets No Use For A Name meets Bob Dylan meets Weezer meets The Beatles meets Ramones?

What inspired you most when writing Nice To Need You?

Even if it sounds pretty lame, I think the thing that inspires me the most when I’m writing songs is life itself. All the things I’ve experienced, all the things I’ve been through and all the things I’m going through at the moment, whether they are good or bad. But probably most of the times bad or sad, so I think those hard and challenging moments inspire me the most. Writing seems to help me getting over those kinds of dark times.

Also the people I met, or that surrounded me over the last 8 years (yeah, a few of the songs are that old) and influenced me, seem to be a big part of this record. Again, either in a bad or good way. So maybe that’s why the name Nice To Need You came up, which leaves space for interpretation. Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]”

Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019

Excited for MPF 2019? Here are our top picks from this year’s stunning line-up.

Article by Sarah Williams. Read all our MPF2019 articles.

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

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.

Svalbard

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.

Continue reading “Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

MPF Interview: Screech Bats

Manchester Punk Festival will be Screech Bat’s final gig – we spoke to them ahead of the funeral service.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

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”