Thursday, 30 April 2015

Album Review: Goin' Down A Storm by Pirate Copy

Pirate punk rock is not a genre of music that you hear too much about. Cornwalls Pirate Copy could be about to change that though. They play celtic punk rock music with added piracy, influenced by bands such as Dropkick Murphys, The Offspring and Turbonegro they are just about to release a new EP named Goin' Down A Storm. I was very interested to check it out.

The opening song on the EP, also called Goin' Down A Storm really displays what the band are all about and that's partying. The song starts off with a steady drum beat and some crunching guitar riffs before the whole band join in to create a high octane punk rock jam. The song is a great way to begin the EP and the lyrics serve as a great introduction of what to expect from the bands live show. There are plenty of sing along moments and opportunities to throw your fist in the air, basically everything you need from a punk song. The second song on the EP is named Whirlpool is another high energy, fist in the air punk song. The vocals, whilst staying in a pirate style feel more aggressive than they did in the opening song though the overall message of “Make The Most Of Every Fucking Day” is very positive. The EP finishes with Lure Of The Sea, a song with a big hint of early Dropkick Murphys. I like the metaphor meaning in the song, in their guise of pirates they are talking about travelling the seven seas but I take it as singing about being a band on tour. I thought that this was such clever song writing.

What I really loved about this EP was that it makes me really want to see Pirate Copy live. I've only ever heard this three songs from the band and after hearing them I just know that seeing them live would be the most fun.

Goin' Down A Storm will be released on May 2nd.

Get all the Pirate Copy information here:

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Gig Review: Gnarwolves and The Smith Street Band at The Dome 25/4/15

When it was announced that Gnarwolves and The Smith Street Band announced that they were doing a co-headline tour I could not have been more excited. I was actually so excited that when tickets were on sale I actually ran home from to buy a ticket for me and my friend. Sadly the night before the gig my friend spent the night being sick and had to drop out. That coupled with the fact that I was really suffering with a leg injury made me really not in the mood to go. I decided to go though, knowing I;d be quite miserable if I didn't so after topping myself up with painkillers and strapping up my leg I made my way to The Dome in Tufnell Park.

I'd never been to The Dome before and didn't have a clue where to go once I arrived at Tufnell Park. When I left the tube station I went with the tactic of following someone I thought was going to the gig. Naturally the people I followed went the wrong way so I turned on Google Maps, did the awkward about turn in the middle of the street and went straight back the other way to The Dome. There was a queue! My gosh I hate queueing up for gigs. I walked up to what I guessed was the back of it and double checked that I was right. He then asked me whether or not I had a ticket because he hadn't. I told him that I actually had two and asked if he wanted it. What luck for both of us. If I hadn't of gotten lost I probably wouldn't have ever spoken to the guy and I would have wasted a ticket and he might not of got into the gig. The guy ended up being really cool and I ended up spending the evening with him and two of his mates. My evening was turning in to a good one before the music had even begun.

When I walked into The Dome I was shocked at how big it was, I was expecting a small dark room and what I found was a decent sized spacious area. It reminded me of a community centre or school assembly hall. Drug Church were the first band to take to the stage, which was nice and high so wherever you were stood you got a decent view. I had never heard of Drug Church before they were announced as tour support so didn't have too much of a idea what they would be like. When the five piece from Albany New York took to the stage it was immediately clear what Drug Church were all about. This was hardcore punk rock at it's finest, pure, unadulterated aggression exploded from the stage as the band lead an extremely watchable front man they powered through a great set that seemed to end just as quickly as it begun. It was a fun set as well, with the band inviting a guy named Seb, who I guess was just a fan in the crowd to do guest vocals on one of the songs. If you're into hardcore punk with a hint of grunge Drug Church are definitely a band you should be listening to.

The next band up were Australia's finest band – The Smith Street Band. This would be my fourth time seeing these Aussie gentleman in a year (coincidently my first time seeing them was this week a year ago) and was my first time seeing them since they released their phenomenal album Throw Me In The River. Many of the songs played tonight I would be hearing live for the first time and I was beyond excited. Starting off with the first two songs from Throw Me In The River, Something I Can Hold In My Hand and Surrender, The Dome were instantly in love with the Smithies. Then they played Don't Fuck With Our Dreams and things got really fun, this was one of the loudest sing alongs that I've ever heard with the room screaming back every single word to the band. Hearing the line “I Know What Happened I Was There” and singing back “We Know What Happened We Were There” is one of my favourite things to do at any gig I've ever been to. It was great to see songs from Throw Me In The River get as much love such as classics such as Sigourney Weaver and Young Drunk. I was especially excited to hear I Love Life live, that song is my favourite song from Throw Me In The River and probably in my opinion the best song of 2014. I was interested to see how good it would be as a live song because of the long musical interlude in the middle of the song. It serves perfectly as a building block for a massive finale to The Smith Street Bands set. My favourite thing about a Smith Street Band set is just how uplifting it is. Even writing this now, after having a couple of quite crappy days thinking about the gig is lifting my spirits. That's just how special a band those four gentleman from Australia are. If you haven't seen them live yet you are a fool.

Gnarwolves are without a doubt the biggest punk rock band in the United Kingdom. This would be my seventh times seeing them live and every single time the shows have got bigger and the crowd have got wilder. From the opening of Smoking Kills all the way through to closing song Melody Has Big Plans the stage is full of people wanting to stage dive. It's complete chaos at the front but it's what Gnarwolves thrive on! This is what a Gnarwolves gig is all about and I absolutely love it. It's a collective thing, the crazier the crowd get the harder Gnarwolves play and the harder they play the crazier the crowd gets. I've not seen many bands connect with their fans as well as Gnarwolves do, it's a special bond that you really only get with a band like this. A band that's worked so hard to get where they are, by doing it properly, by constantly being on tour and playing shows everywhere. This takes an astonishing amount of commitment and bravery and is partly how they've built such a big “Cru” of fans. Obviously the other way they've developed such a big fan base is the quality of the songs. All are packed with massive hooks and choruses that are impossible not to get involved with. They are perfect for the live environment, as are Gnarwolves themselves.

This had been one of the best gigs I had been to in a while and it has reminded why I love going so much. The whole evening really lifted my spirits, everything about the night was great. All three bands were fantastic and all the people I met were just brilliant.  

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Album Review: I Feel Weird by Great Cynics

Giles Bidder, Iona Cairns and Bob Barrett are three immensely talented individuals who together form one of the UK's finest punk bands, Great Cynics. Having already put out two excellent albums named Don't Need Much and Like I Belong in the past few years the trio are about to release their third album – I Feel Weird on Specialist Subject Records. Here's my review.

I Feel Weird begins with the song I Want You Around [Chunky], a song that I've seen Giles play a couple of times when seeing him play acoustically by himself. This full band version immediately reminds you of that classic Great Cynics sound. Combining the best parts of rock, pop and punk Great Cynics have created a sound all of their own. The song, inspired by a great friend of the band “Chunky” is about a friend who is fed up with the way life is going but his friends reassure him that he is still great. The second song I Went Swimming is a song that really caught by attention on the first listen of the record. There is a great pounding drumbeat that helps carry the momentum of the track whilst Giles sings about doing the things that make him feel better when he's feeling down, and how sometimes it can be the most simple of things. You just know that in a live setting that this song will become a huge favourite. Iona takes over lead vocal duties on song number three, North Street. North Street falls more in the pop punk category as Iona's vocals give the song a sense of urgency. Iona has a great voice and it really serves as a great weapon in an already impressive arsenal in the Great Cynics camp. From The Creators Of Love Actually has one of the most interesting guitar introductions on the album. Giles takes back lead vocal duties on a song that really focuses on lyrical content. The chorus is sadly I relate far too much too. It goes “lock me up and pull my hair until I feel no pain at all, keep me down and fuck me up I'll still love just like a fool.”

The opening chords of Complicated remind me of The Bouncing Souls song Airport Security. This is one of the slower songs on I Feel Weird but definitely has its place. Complicated is about working your way through life's difficult problems by taking one thing at a time. Everyone's A Little Bit Weird is the poppiest song on the album and is also an extremely positive anthem. It's about it being perfectly okay to be different. It's another song that will go down really well live, I can see a whole room of people proudly singing “Everyone's A Little Bit Weird, Everyone's A Little Bit Queer, So What, So What's The Problem.” Absolutely fantastic song. Lost In You was the first song officially released for the album with an awesome music video. I really love the disjointed introduction to the song, there is a feeling of everyone playing a different song before they all come together for one of the harder songs. Giles and Iona's vocals work together perfectly as Giles takes control of the verses whilst Iona really shines on the chorus. I've said so many times before how much I love bands that use multiple vocalists and how it gives a great feeling of accessibility to a band. The harmonies towards the end of the song are first class as well and give the song a number of extra levels. The eighth song Kind Of Like has another great guitar riff, sounding like something the Dropkick Murphys would be very happy with. It is a song that makes me wanting to get rowdy and have a good dance. There is an uplifting feel to the song and I especially enjoyed Bob's spoken word segment towards the end, I wonder if they'll attempt that live.

Please Don't Hurt Me Anymore” is the chorus of the ninth track, Tread Gently. From that I think it's pretty obvious what the song is about and is again something I all too easily relate to. Bob Barrett's rolling drum is joined by some much darker guitar tones at the beginning of the song before Giles leads us on a tale of woe and sadness. The way in which he sings the chorus feels like the pleading of someone who is at their wits end. Iona takes charge on the lead vocals again on the penultimate song I Know Nothing. After the urgency of North Street here Iona puts in a more restraint vocal performance. The song begins with just some simple guitar chords and Iona's soft voice before Bobs drums crash in and the full band join. I Feel Weird finishes with a song named By The Sea and is quite different to any other Great Cynics song I've heard before. Lead by an acoustic guitar but ably joined by bass drums and at times a xylophone the band have created a hugely enjoyable and different sound.

I Feel Weird is Great Cynics best album yet. Don't Need Much and Like I Belong are both brilliant but I Feel Weird takes the band to a whole new level as musicians and songwriters. The trio are one of a number of bands in our punk scene that should really be huge. Anyone can relate to the band and is completely accessible for fans of a lot of different musical genres, Great Cynics offer something for everybody. Can't wait to see where they go next. 

Check out all the latest Great Cynics news here: 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gig Review: Manchester Punk Festival - Day 2 18/4/15

It was time for day two of the festival and frankly after a long journey up from Colchester the day before and a late night all I wanted to do was stay in the horribly uncomfortable bed at the hostel I was staying at. Eventually though I did drag myself out of bed and made my way back to Sound Control.

After arriving too late to check out Sammy H Stevens next door at The Thirsty Scholar I headed downstairs to see Bear Trade open up the day of punk rock at Sound Control. A decent sized crowd had already gathered to see the band which to me was incredible considering how early it was. Happily the time of the day didn't put a dampener on the band or the crowds enthusiasm as there were plenty of big smiles and sing alongs throughout their set. After Bear Trade I set off upstairs to check out Dead Neck for the first time. I was really impressed with Dead Neck, playing fast melodic hardcore their energy levels were through the roof. Blasting through their set it seemed to be over just as quickly as it had begun. I will definitely be checking out more from Dead Neck.

After running back down the stairs (going up and downs stairs became a theme for the day) it was time for one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing all weekend – Leagues Apart. Their album Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (reviewed here) was one of my favourites of 2014 and this was the first chance I had had to see some of it performed live. From the opening of Kat Dennings; You Are My Everest to the end of To Know The Night Is To Live In It Forever the set was absolutely brilliant. Adam and James voices were strong, gravelly and perfect for a punk rock show. It was fantastic to see the whole band having such fun on stage together as well. I wish they would tour more. Next I hurried back upstairs to see Scottish pop punks The Murderburgers start their set. I lost count of how many songs the trio got through during their thirty minute set but every one of them had me tapping my feet and bopping my head. The speed which Fraser sings and manages to play his guitar amazes me. Lots of hooks and lots of good times were had with The Murderburgers. Catch them on tour with Masked Intruder in May.

After a quick food break I made my way back upstairs to see Just Panic. Another band I knew very little about other than they had reformed to play the festival. A sizeable crowd gathered, I guess that they were loved and were much missed. Straight away I could see why, their folk punk was very well received by the Manchester crowd. Plenty of sing-a-long moments and fists in the air in celebration of a great great band. After Just Panic finished an awesome set I popped over the road to The Thirsty Scholar to see my first acoustic set of the day, Scotland's finest – Billy Liar. Billy's set showcased everything I love about punk rock, it was played with a lot of passion and it never felt like he was holding anything back and there were a lot of mistakes. That didn't matter at all though to anybody in the room, it added a whole lot of charm to the set, Billy Liar is one of us playing music that he loves and having a great time doing it. The song Change in particular got a brilliant reaction from the fine folk in the room.

Then it was time for another highly anticipated band for the weekend, from London it was those silly chaps Wonk Unit. The early start cobwebs were now a distant memory as Wonk Unit worked the crowd into a bit of a frenzy, creating the first mosh pit of the weekend so far with their unique brand of punk rock music, they really are like no other band in the scene. Wonk Unit are clearly a very popular band in Manchester, uniting punk rockers young and old with everyone having a cracking time during their set. Six piece ska punk band Stand OutRiot were another band reuniting to play the festival and I was excited to see them. Despite not having played a gig together for over a year they put on a set like they had never been away. As you would expect from a ska band the energy was incredible as they delivered a hugely enjoyable set. Another band that needs to play a lot more shows.

Smoke Or Fires Joe McMahon was playing an acoustic set at The Thirsty Scholar so after the conclusion of Stand Out Riots set I wandered back over to check him out. Acoustic music always comes across more honestly than full band music and that combined with McMahon's heartfelt voice delivered one of the more thoughtful and moving sets of the weekend. Roughneck Riots set was already in full swing by the time that I got back upstairs (each climb was getting slower and slower by this point). The room was absolutely packed by this point and the crowd were having the best time dancing to Warrington's Celtic punk rockers. It had been a few years since I'd had the pleasure of seeing them live and they were just as good as I remembered. Roughneck Riot are a group of fantastically talented musicians spreading an important message. After this I made my way back to The Thirsty Scholar to catch the end of Great Cynics front man Giles Bidders acoustic set. The room was absolutely packed for his upbeat set of old and new Great Cynics songs, all of which went down a treat, it was brilliant to see such a talented young man getting such a good reception.

After catching five minutes each of Fair Do's and That Fucking Tank it was time for Vanilla Pod. Kings Lynn's finest are celebrating their twentieth year as a band and have been playing gigs everywhere. They have also put out a brand new EP on TNS Records named Seeing Out The Sunrise. Their set was comprised of songs from that EP as well as plenty of old favourites such as Surrounded By Idiots. Vanilla Pod put on a fantastic show which pleased everyone in the room; they may have been one of the older bands playing the festival but were certainly among the most energetic. One of my biggest hopes for the festival was for Muncie Girls to play some of their recently recorded new material. I was pleased as punch when they opened their set with four brand new songs, all of which sounded excellent and have gotten me very excited for their debut full length. I also thought that is was very brave of the trio to open to a crowd that wasn't necessarily their own with material very few people in the room would have heard. Absolutely love Muncie Girls for doing that. As much as I enjoyed their new stuff it was also great to hear some of my favourites such as Railroad and Kasper & Randow. This was by far the biggest room I'd seen the band play and they just looked born to do it, excellent stuff.

After another quick food break and a sit down (I was really struggling by this point) I pulled myself back up the stairs to see the end of Darko's set. I really love watching hardcore punk bands like Darko live. The intensity of the performance was crazy; and even though the intensity was high each member of the band was playing with a massive smile on their bearded faces. The crowd at Sound Control really responded to them by singing and dancing along with the band. Next I made my way back downstairs for Plymouth punks Crazy Arm. A band influenced by punk rock, folk and americana music, Crazy Arm are always a treat to experience live. This was the wildest I'd seen the crowd get all day with plenty of moshing and a great human pyramid. Crazy Arm are fantastic recorded but to really experience just how good they are you have to see the live. After Crazy Arm I ran (sort of) back upstairs to see The Restarts as I had seen a lot of people wearing their t-shirts all day. I only got to see a couple of songs but I really enjoyed the Hackney based three pieces fast and furious hardcore punk.

I made my way down the stairs for the final time for Apologies, I Have None – the first of two headliners. I made sure that I was at the stage early to get the best possible view of one of my favourite bands. Starting out with fan favourite Sat In Vicky Park the crowd sang louder than they had all day. The band ripped through songs from full length album London and newish EP Black Everything, which grows on me more and more every time I hear the songs played live. Massive props have to go to Leagues Apart guitarist James Hull who was playing bass for only the third time with the band. Finishing up with the songs Long Gone and The 26 Apologies, I Have None proved why they are the number one punk band in the UK's amazing underground scene. The main portion of The Manchester Punk Festival was finished by Essex punk legends The Filaments. The irony of me travelling all the way to Manchester from Colchester to see a band from Essex didn't escape me. As I arrived upstairs the show was already going as The Filaments played Tears Of Essex; a fantastic song about how UKIP tried to get elected in Essex a few years ago and failed. Another highlight of their set for me was Tales From The Barside, a song that name checks The Soundhouse, a bar in Colchester. The Filaments were at the absolute top of their game, old school tracks such as UK Now and Bastard Coppers really got the crowd going, whether they were skanking, moshing or just singing at the top of their voices everyone was having a the best time. What an excellent way to finish the Manchester Punk Festival.

Except that wasn't quite the end of the day. Five minutes away at Retro Bar an after party was being thrown featuring Bear Trade as The Replacements, Just Panic as Against Me and Leagues Apart as Rancid. A lo of fun was had at Retro Bar, songs were sung so loudly it was almost like punk rock karaoke, everyone was dancing and a lot of new friends were made. There was a strong feeling in that bar of never wanting what had been a very special day to end.

The Manchester Punk Festival really was the most epic of days. All the acts were fantastic at being ready on stage when they needed to be and all playing very good sets, EVERYONE was super friendly and for me the most impressive thing was just how smoothly the day ran. If there were any problems during the day they definitely weren't noticeable. I can't give the people at TNS Records, Moving North and Anarchistic Undertones enough credit for successfully putting on the UK's very best festival. If they happen to be reading this, thank you so so so much. Roll on the Manchester Punk Festival 2016.

Now listening to Something I Can Hold In My Hands by The Smith Street Band

Monday, 20 April 2015

Gig Review: Manchester Punk Festival - Day One 17/4/15

After weeks of excited anticipation what promised to be one of the most memorable weekends of the year was finally here. The very best of the UK's amazing punk rock scene were descending of Manchester for the first ever Manchester Punk Festival.

There were two gigs happening on the opening night of the festival, 2 Sick Monkeys were headlining at The Ducie Bridge and Creeper were headlining at the festivals main venue Sound Control. I decided to to hang out at Sound Control to get a feel for the place where I would be spending most of my weekend and to check out some of the young up and comers in the scene.

Simmer were the band tasked with opening the festival. A nicely sized crowd arrived early to see the Cheshire based four piece. The festival program describes them as “ambient punk” which is far better than my initial attempt at describing their sound as spaced out emo. It's great to see a band trying to do something different and interesting with the punk sound.

Next up were one of the scenes most hotly tipped bands, Boston Manor. I really enjoyed these guys set of energetic pop punk. They played with a confidence of a band much older than them, the enthusiasm and passion for the music they play really shone through and was very infectious. At multiple times during their set I found myself wanting to sing along despite not knowing any of the words. Great Stuff!

Another band that played with a lot of enthusiasm and passion were Hindsights. Much like Boston Manor they played pop punk music but they utilized two singers, keeping the songs sounding fresh and varied, is really enjoyed this. Then there was bass player Miles who was something else. It was very hard not to watch him on stage, endlessly bouncing around, permanently with a huge grin on his face it was hard not to smile along with him. It was absolutely fantastic to see someone so fully immersed in what they are doing. If Hindsights play anywhere near you I suggest checking them out, fantastic live band.

Finally it was time for Southampton's Creeper. It's hard to believe that these guys have only been together for just over a year and they are already headlining a festival. Taking to the stage to the Casper The Friendly Ghost theme tune Creeper stormed through songs from their fantastic debut EP as well as a brand new song and a cover of an AFI song Creeper showed just why they are rising so quickly in the whole of the UK's alternative music scene and not just the world of punk rock. Of course front man Will was again the star of the show , performing with a theatricality that had the whole crowds undivided attention. I can't wait for Creeper to put out their debut full length, expect them to explode when they do.

I really enjoyed the opening night of the festival. Sound Control showcased some of the best new bands in the punk scene,which currently seems like an endless conveyor belt of new talent coming through. If the opening night of the festival was this good I knew that I was in for a treat the next day.

 Now listening to When I Thought I Was A Boy I Thought I Was A Fish by The Smith Street Band

Album Review: To The Moon by Popes Of Chillitown

At the end of last year I had the pleasure of seeing London based ska punk band the Popes Of Chillitown support The JB Conspiracy at the Barfly in Camden (review here) and was completely blown away by their performance. Next month they are releasing their second album To The Moon, I very excitedly checked it out.

To The Moon begins with a song named Vamos a la Luna. Starting out with with some horn riffs and some simple ska guitar the song starts slowly, gradually being joined by bass and drums along with lead singer Matt's unmistakable vocal to create a smooth reggae vibe. Then the tempo picks up and the ska party explodes into life. I really love Matt's vocal style, it reminds me of a cross between Jake from Capdown and Jak from ClayPigeon. The next song Mummy's Busy continues down the same ska punk party path. Matt's vocal is during the verse is delivered in a fast paced rap style and really carries the tempo of the song. OPOOM switches between dub & ska and takes the listener on bit of a ride with highs and lows. There is a great sing along section towards the end of the song, repeating the phrase “what a waste of time and energy” over and over again I can imagine it going down a storm at a gig. This all builds up to one last high tempo ska section that'll get everyone going crazy. The fourth song Impatient begins with just vocals and ska guitar, it really grabs your attention from the very start. The song feels like it is a collection of different parts, with differences in tempos and melodies throughout the track that keep it really interesting.

Voluntary Execution is a bouncy dance number. The bass guitar is allowed to shine during the verse, creating a perfect back beat whilst the vocals talk about not letting go and holding back when you want to let all the frustrations you have in the world escape you. Musically the song is much more restrained than previous songs on the album, really allowing the words to stand out. Speaking of standing out, Too Much is definitely a stand out on an album that's turning out to be great. After it's reggae beginning it launches into life, the energy is relentless with the horns in particular shining through. This is another song where you can easily see yourself going mad for at a Popes gig. Otherside starts out with an acoustic guitar before the full band kick in. I love the use of the acoustic guitar, it's something not many ska bands implement and would have liked to see the Popes use it more prominently in their sound. This is one of my favourite songs on To The Moon and is about living a completely different life to someone that you care about and feeling like you are growing apart. 14 Times is another very strong song. It is played with a nice mid tempo reggae beat with Matt's bouncing vocals carrying the melody. Another song that will get you skanking wherever you may be listening to it.

The ninth track Wisdom Teeth is without a doubt my favourite on To The Moon. It has everything that I want in a ska punk song. Beginning with some horns that make you believe that the song is heading towards something big before a surprise “na na na na na na” and the song begins with the brass section taking the lead. Matt's vocals are delivered and a fast pace as he sings about learning from mistakes. It's not all faced paced ska fun though, there are some break downs that give you a chance to reflect on the song before the tempo is dragged back up with more vocals. If you hear this and don't feel the need to dance, quite frankly, you're dead inside. For the penultimate song Hey You the Popes Of Chillitown reign things back in. The music is sharp and full of intent. On first listen I questioned why would they place a track like this after such a party track like Wisdom Teeth. I think this is what the Popes Of Chillitown are all about though, not doing what is expected of them. I love them for that. The song Every Day Completes the album collects together everything the Popes have to offer and blends it all together to create an interesting sound. The vocals feel more emotional than they have on the record leading me to think that this is a more personal song. The combination of all the styles makes this a great song to finish off a brilliant album.

To The Moon is a fantastic second album, it will have you dancing from beginning to end and there isn't a single track that feels like filler. I love the production on it, there is a rawness that makes you feel like at your a live show but still manages to sound crisp and clear. The Popes Of Chillitown have put out one of the best ska records of the year and should be the soundtrack to your summer. 

Now listening to Ashley by Green Day

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Album Review: Manchester Punk Festival Volume 4

The Manchester Punk Festival is now only nine days away and the organisers have now released the fourth instalment in a series of compilation showcasing more of the amazing acts playing on the 17th and 18th of April.

The compilation begins with festival head-liners The Filaments. This punk/ska/hardcore troupe from Essex have been going since the early2000's and are now seen as legends in the scene. The song Once In A While is taken from 2013's excellent album Land Of Lions and I'm looking forward to seeing many of the songs from this release live for the first time as well as classics from The Filaments back catalogue. Blackpool's Boston Manor are one of the newer bands on the scene and are rising fast. The song Peach State has the pop punk/emo sound that is getting more and more popular with the kids these days, even though I'm not a massive fan of the sound it's clear that Boston Manor do it better than most of their contemporaries. One band that's sure to draw a massive crowd are Warrington folk punks Roughneck Riot. This group of superbly talented musicians have been a band for ten years now and have spread their own brand of punk and folk all across Europe, earning legions of fans along the way. Sure to be one of many highlights from the festival. For some reason Vanilla Pod's song Best Intentions makes two appearances on the compilation series. Not a bad thing as the song is a cracker but I am far too lazy to review it twice. They are awesome, check them out!

In my humble opinion Apologies, I Have None are the very best band in the UK. Combining massive choruses with smart and brutally honest lyrics I'm pretty sure it's impossible for them to write a bad song. Live, there aren't many bands that hold a candle to them either, passion and energy pours out of their performance which will make the Manchester crowd lose their heads. Great Cynics front man Giles Bidder is playing acoustically at the festival. Weirdly I have seen him perform solo more times than I have seen Great Cynics live and I always come away feeling upbeat and smiling. Playing a mixture of GC songs as well as his own Giles performance is filled with infectious enthusiasm as he shows why he is one of the best songwriters in the scene. From the ashes of Hated Til Proven come new hardcore band Jenkem from Warrington. The song Internal Warfare is a politically charged hardcore onslaught. Playing the after party at Joshua Brooks Jenkem are definitely a band to watch out for. Creeper are having the year of their lives, after forming after the demise of Our Time Down Here they have become one of the most talked about and fastest rising bands in the scene. The song Gloom comes from their debut self titled EP and the video for the song recently got some airtime on Kerrang TV. Live the band are superb with front man Will being the one of the most watchable and charismatic people I've ever seen take to the stage. Creeper are headlining Sound Control on the Friday night.

AcidDrop are another band high on my list of must see's at the festival having been a fan for a number of years now. Mixing together the best parts of skate and street punk with a hint of ska Acid Drop have put out some fantastic releases over the past few years, the latest being the excellent The End Of Days on TNS Records. If you like The Briggs you'll love Acid Drop. The Human Project are another band really making a name for themselves throughout the scene. This Leeds based brand on skate punk and hardcore has seen them rightfully become one of the most highly respected acts in the UK's underground. Technically they are superb, playing some of the most complicated guitar riffs in punk rock combined with some huge fist in the air choruses. Fair Do's are another technical hardcore punk band, this time from Manchester. Musically they will draw many comparison's with The Human Project, but this is by no means a bad thing. Musically they are quite similar but vocally Fair Do's are more aggressive compared to the Human Projects more melodic style of singing. The song innuendo is taken from their debut EP Trying Times. The compilation is ended by folk, blues and punk singer Sammy H Stephens. This performer from Cheshire offers something slightly different to many of the acts at the festival. Performing with an acoustic guitar, harmonica and stomp box Sammy will thoroughly entertain the audience at the acoustic stage. 

Buy tickets and get all the information you need about the festival here: 

Now listening to Still Remains by Buck-O-Nine 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Album Review: Manchester Punk Festival Volume 3

The Manchester Punk Festival is now just a couple of weeks away, last week the organisers released a brand new compilation showcasing yet more of the amazing acts playing on the 17th and 18th of April.

The album begins with some legends of the UK's punk rock scene, VanillaPod. This year these fine gentleman from Kings Lynn are celebrating twenty years of being a band, an astonishing achievement for any band but especially impressive for one that's always been and independent DIY act. The song Best Intentions shows the band at their best, a heavy back beat, crunching guitars and fantastic melodies. Up next is Northern gruff punks Bear Trade. Fresh from a tour with Red City Radio and Pears, the song If Stoic Was Normal is a classic Bear Trade sing along punk rock anthem. They will also be playing a Replacements cover set at the festivals after party that is not to be missed. Smoke Or Fire's Joe McMahon is up next with an acoustic version of the amazing Monsters Among Us. Playing the acoustic stage at The Thirsty Scholar Joe brings an element of superstar to the festival and is sure to be a highlight of the weekend. 

Portsmouth's Sombulance are a band that are hugely influenced by the Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph Records of the 90's. Anaesthetic Ultimatum is a loud, fast hard hitting punk rock jam with a vocal assault that mixes A Wilhelm Scream and Strike Anywhere. London's Wonk Unit are the band who I'm most looking forward to checking out for the first time at the festival. With a legion of fans Wonk Unit are one of the most popular bands in the scene at the moment, with a unique sound all of their own, it's hard to really give a good description of Wonk Unit that would do their brilliance justice. The song Idiotic Train Looney is a great way to immerse yourself into the Wonk Unit world, I really can't wait to see them live. After playing Reading and Leeds festival and The Fest out in Gainesville last year Muncie Girls are continuing their rise to the top. At the beginning of the year they finally got round to recording their debut album and if it's anything like their previous EPs it's going to be a classic. Feel It Soon is a catchy indie/pop punk song that will be stuck in your head for days. RevengeOf The Psychotronic Man are legends in the Manchester punk scene. Playing fast, furious, uncompromising punk and thrash I imagine their set will be one of the wildest of the weekend.

Leeds trio Speed Dinosaurs are another brilliantly unique act. This band, consisting of a double bass, ukulele and a cajon started out playing Bad Religion and Rancid covers before progressing onto original songs. I Wish I Worked Harder At School is a strange but incredibly fun song that really displays the variety of different bands playing the festival. Wadeye bring some skacore to the proceeding with the song Never Forget. Mixing hardcore guitars and drums with horns that carry the melody of the song it's hard to keep still whilst listening, for sure a band to watch out for. That Fucking Tank are a punk band like no other I'm aware of. Comprised of just two members they are fully instrumental and unbelievable. Two of the most talented guys in the scene proving that punk music isn't just about playing loud and fast. The song Stephen Hawkwind is an eight minute long epic that keeps you entertained from start to finish. If you want to check out something different at the festival then That Fucking Tank are the band for you. The compilation is finished by a band that are unfortunately no longer playing the festival. The Stupids are a hardcore punk band from the 80s. Their fast, aggressive sound will be a big loss to the festival, hopefully they will appear in Manchester sooner rather than later. 

Now listening to White Collar Fraud by Street Dogs