I leapt into SBÄM Fest with a tangible sense of punk adventure. I drove overnight from Manchester to Stansted, got two hours kip in the back of my car, then parked up and met a pal at the airport in time for a 7am flight. One Wetherspoons breakfast and not-enough black coffee later and we’re hopping buses and trains in Austria to get to Wels. SBÄM takes place at Alter Schlachtof, an old slaughterhouse converted into a graffiti-adorned grassroots gig venue, holding 750 keen music fans this weekend. The impressive line-up (featuring Propagandhi, Donots, Satanic Surfers, Iron Chic and No Trigger to name a few) has been enough to draw people in from around the world.
We get reach the venue just in time to catch the opening act, Missstand. They perform seriously energetic, punchy political songs, just the way punk should be played. They’ve got a lot of Anti Flag-style singalong sections, but they’re loaded with more Rancid-ish grit. I’d been enjoying listening to Hinterland on record and it carries across with a lot more force live. As they’re speaking in German, we’re amused that the only words we can pick up between songs are ‘super-cool’. They’ve nailed it: SBÄM feels super cool!
Following Misstand are two favourite British acts: The Murderburgers and Wonk Unit, who are mid-way through a joint mainland tour. The Murderburgers are fiery, funny and frantic just as you come to expect them. My friend and I giggle along to Fraser’s on-point banter, although we’re not sure how well his Scottish drawl translates to the international audience. Wonk Unit proceed to play one of the best sets I’ve ever seen them perform – they seem comfortable, played-in and every element of the show feels like the top of their game. It’s good to see some of the Wonk Fam rocking out down the front, and it’s a treat to see new tunes like Christmas In A Crackhouse and Day Job Wanker on stage. They still pull out old favourites Guts and Horses, which give us an excuse for a proper dance.
It turns out that two beers on top of two hours sleep in two days is enough to make your head swim, so I decide to have a tactical sit down while I wait for the sky to stop spiralling, before adopting the tried-and-tested sunglasses-indoors coping mechanism. We also have to take a quick jaunt to check in to a hotel. Unfortunately, this means we miss Joe McMahon, however we’re back and raring to go around in time for Astpai. Continue reading “Gig Review: SBÄM Fest, Austria [4-5 May 2018]”