Jason Rees talks about why touring is a gift, despite flight delays, unreliable vehicles and too many hot chillis. We also learn all about his survival techniques and his Megamixes.
Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.
Many musicians and fans who’ve stayed over in Dundee will be familiar with the smile, hospitality and positive approach of Jason Rees; drummer in UNIFORMS and The Blood Red Moon, supporter of Make-That-A-Take Records and some-time drummer in Terrafraid (and probably plenty of other bands we don’t remember!).
UNIFORMS are a gritty, honest poppy punk band from Scotland, with one hell of a live show. They’re playing Do It Together Fest, which Shout Louder is hosting in London in January 2020. We thought it’d be a great time to speak to Jason about some of his past tour experiences.
Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?
I have fond memories from pretty much all the tours I’ve been on, though going round Europe with Forever Unclean (whilst drumming for Terrafraid) was bloody great. I’d never met them properly before the tour, but we all got on brilliantly and the tour was stress free. Even when faced with nowhere to sleep and not being able to get over the border, their attitudes towards difficult situations were infectious and we’d all just accept the reality of what was happening and find a solution together. Continue reading “Punk Rock Tour Tales #3: Jason from UNIFORMS”
There’s a true beauty in a short, snappy EP. Whether is a new band looking for a cost-effective way to showcase their talents and learn how to record, or a more established act wanting to immortalise some of their current material, EPs are often better than full albums.
To me a full album is an experience. The longer playing time allows the music to breathe and have highs and lows. Conversely, the short, sweet EP is typically a relevant blast of the band’s most recent material: a audio snapshot of this moment in their career, with no room for filler, fuss or faff.
Speaking to Lasse from Forever Unclean recently, I asked him whether they were considering doing an album. “We prefer doing EPs,” he said, if I remember correctly (I was drunk, so let’s paraphrase). “That way we can put out music that we currently enjoy playing, without having to wait for a full album’s worth of material.”
The albums released in 2018 were probably written and recorded long before. With that in mind, the shorter, more manageable EPs offer a more current insight into the musical landscape. That’s why, to me, some of this year’s most memorable releases are the short ones.
#5: Layman’s Terms – An Invite To The End
Bristol shredders Layman’s Terms produced an absolutely superb 6-track effort early in 2018. An Invite To The End opens with some heavy guitar-work that quickly develops into urgent, frantic fast-punk. Like Fair Do’s, they’ve taken a lot of elements of double-time classic skate-punk and blended some of the heavier elements of metal. It works. Really well.
The whole EP keeps you on the edge of your seat with some adrenaline-loaded riffs and momentary heavy breakdowns. It’s unrelenting, ferocious and suggests there will be some great things from the band in future. I cannot wait to shout along to this live.
Scottish DIY legend Derrick Johnston shares some wisdom and some love for our flourishing punk scene.
2018 has been a busy year for Derrick Johnston. As one of Scotland’s DIY musical stalwarts, he’s probably best known for running Make-That-A-Take Records and being one of the organisers of Book Yer Ane Fest. His band Uniforms have recently released a new 7” EP via TNS Records and he’s been solidly touring his solo project Tragical History Tour. He’s part of a crew that runs Conroy’s Basement in Dundee alongside a good ol’ regular job. It’s been non-stop.
Fortunately, Derrick managed to impart some of his wisdom and share some mutual music appreciation with Sarah on today’s podcast. With years of experience in booking and playing shows, promoting bands and making the most of what you’ve got, Derrick’s an honestly inspiring individual and a pleasure to listen to.
Enjoy today’s podcast and remember, even when you’re feeling like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill, the pure love created by the DIY punk scene is more than worth the effort.
It’s always a pleasure to spend a Saturday night in one of my favourite venues: Warrington’s Old Town House. Tonight’s pop-punk show, curated by Some Kind of Events, features a lively line-up of Don Blake, Uniforms, Skiv, Crocodile God and Bogans, however we rock up early to enjoy the atmosphere. Plus, you know, a raft of vegan pizza, nachos, fries, onion rings and mid-afternoon lager. This is what weekends are here for.
Bogans, from the wilds of North Wales, open the show with some rowdy, riffy hardcore. It’s just the pep talk we needed to get started on the booze and there’s already quite a few familiar faces assembled in the pub.
Adam’s evidently been working on his growly rock vocals; getting some more live shows under their belts has brought the a step ahead in the few months since I last caught Bogans. He’s still got a mad look in his eye as he roams the area in front of the stage, weighing up the crowd, making some somewhat unnecessary hand signals to illustrate ‘jacking and jilling’ lyrics. He spends most of the set complaining about being hungover, which fits in well with a song about ‘intentionally censoring your own memories so you can’t regret the things you’ve done’.
Despite the hangover, there’s still great energy and camaraderie from the group. They play straight-up punk rock, but with some poppier guitar lines slotted in, well suited to tonight’s lineup.
Typically bands use covers is to include some recognisable material in their set, to get the audience going, but Bogans break the mould by including their own version of a song by an unfortunately-named Finnish band called Anal Thunder. I’d love to know the motivation behind that obscure choice, however it turns out to be one of the best songs in their set. Continue reading “Gig Review: Don Blake & Uniforms @ Old Town House [02/09/2018]”
Be the first to hear Uniforms’ new 7”: proper, gritty Scottish pop-punk at its best, due out on Make-That-A-Take and TNS Records on August 24th.
Following an emotionally-charged, riotous comeback set at Manchester Punk Festival earlier this year (one of our festival highlights), Dundee’s Uniforms have created a snappy, uptempo banger of an EP entitled Reasons To Breathe. It’s three tracks of their quintessential gruff, gritty, galvanizing approach to pop-punk, chock-full of powerful riffs, positive sentiments and political subtext.
We’ve been enjoying Reasons To Breathe for a while now and we just couldn’t wait to share it with you. Luckly listeners can also catch them on tour around the UK (dates below), but in the meantime make sure you’re the first to Uniforms’ new EP:
Now widely known as Manchester Pals Fest, MPF 2018 has been even more of a blinder than previous years. I guess we knew that it would be from the moment the line-up was first announced, with Propagandhi topping it. In a landslide of Facebook posts, messages and hugs once the weekend was over, the word out there is that it’s the best festival in the UK. The three-day weekender in the Rainy City is drawing like-minded punk rock fans from all around the world.
The festival is special both as a personal and a collective experience. If you attended, you would have been amazed by the number of familiar faces in crowd. I barely had time to chat to someone properly before running into the next person. With that many dedicated, creative and intelligent people surrounding you, it’s easy to see that the UK scene is thriving at the moment. Although it felt like we were all sharing this one great, special experience, as the weekend is split between five venues around town, it’s possible that you could have had a completely different experience to a friend who also attended.
With that in mind, these are my personal Top 10 experiences of the weekend. What were yours?
Ducking Punches closing Thursday’s show with Smoking Spot
“This is about how punk has taught us all our ethics; this is for all of you,” Dan Allen says between songs, instantly capturing the spirit of the festival. While most of my friends were queueing to get into Random Hand and getting turned away, I opted to catch Ducking Punches at Rebellion on Thursday night and I really don’t regret it.
Earlier in the day, Danny from Fair Do’s had said, “Look around you. This is what a beautiful, intelligent and ethical punk community looks like.” Both are examples of how appreciative the bands are of the event they’re attending. Far from being a big fest where you turn up, play and fuck off, Ducking Punches were around for the whole weekend, partying and enjoying the music like the rest of us. I had a transcendent moment during somewhere between Sobriety and Big Brown Pills from Lynn where I remembered that all my friends in the world are in this city with me, enjoying an incredible time. There is an overwhelming sense of community that I’ve not felt elsewhere – partly from the punk scene and partly from Manchester, a city with a strong sense of identity.
Closing on Smoking Spot was the perfect move from Ducking Punches, who’ve really grown with their new album Alamort. “This is a song about having the best time with your best friends,” Dan says. Perfect.
Watching my friends’ bands playing to sold out rooms
For many bands it’s their first time at the festival (and their first time in Manchester), but every act played to a huge crowd. Through general gigging and through this website I’ve become friends with some of my favourite bands, so I’m absolutely bubbling with pride when I see them getting an enthusiastic reaction from a big audience.
On Thursday, No Matter opened the festival to an almost full room at Rebellion. Following them were Captain Trips, a skate-punk group from the South Coast that I have a massive soft-spot for. I’ve been trying to get as many people to hear about them as possible, so to see Rebellion full for their set was incredible. Not only was the venue rammed – the crowd were dancing, moshing and generally enthusiastic about seeing them. It made my heart melt a little bit. Continue reading “Top 10 Moments of Manchester Punk Festival 2018”