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”
Mark and Sarah discuss all things MPF 2018 including insider tips and line-up clashes, plus we announce the Wotsit Called Fest headliner!
We are so excited to share Podcast #4 with you! This is our favourite one so far; we just hope you love it as much as we do. You can listen on iTunes, Soundcloud and many other podcatchers, or on the link below.
Recorded in the extremely silly, hungover aftermath of Dugstock Festival Mark and Sarah discuss all things Manchester Punk Festival in detail. We pick through the whole line-up, talk about the festival’s history and give you insider tips on surviving the weekend. Even if you’re not attending the festival, it’s worth a listen to hear some fantastic punk tunes and to laugh at how tired we are.
Manchester Punk Festival Band Spotlight: Dundee’s Uniforms promise us to ‘a half hour of nae messin bangers’. Stay up for their gritty melodic punk rock at the afterparty.
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 other day in the lead up to Manchester Punk Festival. Check out the full series here.
Band Spotlight: Uniforms
MPF 2018 marks a special appearance for Uniforms, who took a break in 2014 and have only just returned for a handful of shows. Hailing from Dundee in eastern Scotland, they’ll be treating us to some gritty, melodic punk rock to close off the festival on Saturday. They have incredibly good energy live, so it’s worth pacing yourself over the weekend to make the most of their afterparty set.
We spoke to frontman Derrick Johnston, who also heads up respected Scottish DIY label Make-That-A-Take Records to find out more.
Why should people come check out your set at Manchester Punk Festival?
Obviously people are not compelled to come and see us but should they choose to do so, they’ll be guaranteed some heart-on-sleeve rapid punk rock goodness, a dose of hefty real talk and a half hour of nae messin’ bangers.
We’ve been having loads of piley-ons recently, it’s actually a private Uniforms ritual that we’ve been indulging in publicly for the first time, so it’s not outwith the boundaries of possibility that we’ll have a pop punk piley at MPF.
Which bands are you most excited to see at the festival, and why?
The line-up is just jaw-droppingly good. I’ve been friends with the MPF troops for a long time now and I’m so proud of everything that they achieved. It’s also very exciting to be sharing the bill with some MTAT troops and we’ll be down the front for Goodbye Blue Monday, PMX and Forever Unclean for sure. I never thought I’d see the day where our band would be on a bill with Propagandhi. The Copyrights are my quite possibly my favourite pop punk band on earth and I couldn’t be more excited to see them in the UK for the first time.
You’ve been to Manchester Punk Festival before as Tragical History Tour – what was the best thing about last year?
It was an absolute privilege to play last year in between friends ONSIND and Billy Liar. The whole thing was tremendous and a testament to the will and passion of everyone involved in making it happen. Petrol Girls made the hair on my neck stand on end and watching Paint It Black in a massive club was quite the intense experience. It felt like a family reunion to me, an opportunity to catch up with people we’ve met over the years of involvement in the UK punk scene who are rarely all in the same place. Did you even go to the punk fest if you weren’t sitting in the gutter with the crust punks. Continue reading “MPF Band Spotlight: Uniforms [Interview]”