In just three weeks it will be time for Manchester Punk Festival. For me, personally, it's my favourite event of the entire year. This year is the fourth edition of the festival and it continues to grow and grow. The line up this year is its biggest yet with over ninety incredible bands coming together from all other the world. Obviously that is far too many for us to write about every band. Instead myself, Emma and a combined effort from Robyn and her fiancé Brett (who are coming all of the way from South Africa to Manchester as part of their pre-wedding honeymoon!) have each picked ten bands that we're really looking forward to seeing. We do love a top ten at CPRW! Here are my ten picks for bands to see at Manchester Punk Festival 2018.
No Matter (Thursday at Rebellion 19.00–19.30)
The task of opening the entire festival falls to Northern Irish pop punks No Matter. The male/female band's music is full of infectious energy that is guaranteed to get the weekend long party, known as MPF, started with a bang. Since forming, No Matter have forged a real name for themselves within the UK punk scene and their 2016 Umlaut Records release Ill Advised drew a massive amount of critical praise. If, like me, you've yet to see No Matter live make sure you get yourself to Rebellion early!
Random Hand (Thursday at The Bread Shed 22.40–23.25)
As the line up for MPF began to take shape there weren't many bands that had me more excited than the announcement of Random Hand. Random Hand are legends of the UK punk scene, having toured relentlessly from their inception in the early 2000s until they decided to go on hiatus in 2015. Now, after a two and a half year break, the band are back. The Yorkshire based four piece are ready to put on a show like only they can. High energy, crunching guitar, pounding drums, irresistible trombones and big sing-a-longs will be the order of the day here… and a lot of crazy skanking in the pit!
The Raging Nathans (Friday at Rebellion 17.15–17.45)
As Manchester Punk Festival has grown, more and more international bands have been joining the hard working UK bands who play the festival. This year's festival welcomes Ohio pop punks The Raging Nathans. I first became aware of them in the build up to The Fest 2016 but didn't really give them much of a listen until last year and thought they were brilliant! When it was announced that The Raging Nathans would be at MPF I was stoked and immediately put them down as a must see – I'm not missing out again like I did at Fest. Their newest album Cheap Fame is one of my favourites of the year. This is going to be a memorable set.
The Bennies (Friday at The Bread Shed 18.05–18.40)
Australian party machines The Bennies are bringing their own eclectic style to MPF for the first time. Mashing up punk, ska, reggae, dance, electronica, death metal and everything in between to create a style that's completely their own and completely The Bennies. The four piece are one of the best live bands I've seen during the last few years and have blown me away every single time. Whether it's at a club show or in a smaller pub setting, The Bennies always bring it live. The band released a brand new album titled Natural Born Chillers (check out our review here) and I'm really looking forward to checking out those songs live.
Stand Out Riot (Friday at The Bread Shed 19.00–19.35)
Continuing the party after The Bennies set are Manchester's very own, Stand Out Riot. Playing only their second show together since the first MPF back in 2015, Stand Out Riot's set is going to be one that is hugely anticipated by many. This six piece ska-punk-gypsy band fill out all of their songs with an incredible energy that will get the entire Bread Shed moving. Stand Out Riot were one of the highlights of MPF 2015 and I fully expect them to top that performance this year. Hopefully it won't be so long between seeing them again.
Lightyear (Friday at Gorilla 21.00–22.00)
One big theme of the MPF 2018 line up is returning ska punk heroes. One of my all time favourite bands, Lightyear, returned to the scene last year and put together an incredible tour that drew positive praise from everyone who saw it. Their set at the Garage in London was one of my favourites of the entire year. Their inclusion on the MPF line up for 2018 was no great surprise for me but still had me punching in the air and shouting "yes!" in excitement. If you've not experienced a Lightyear live show before prepare to be entertained in a way that you never have before. For long time fans I'm sure we can expect some new material from the band as well as all the old favourites.
Goodbye Blue Monday (Saturday at The Bread Shed 16.10–16.40)
Of all the bands I've not seen before at MPF Goodbye Blue Monday are probably the one I'm most looking forward to seeing. After being sent their latest EP The Sickness, The Shame earlier in the year I've become hooked on this band. Influenced by bands such as Iron Chic, The Menzingers and Dead To Me, Goodbye Blue Monday play superb misery punk rock which is perfect for shouting along too. I feel like this could be one of those sets where I can say "I was there when they made their first appearance at MPF" because this band are destined for big, big things. They've also just finished recording a new EP so perhaps some of those tunes will get an airing at The Bread Shed too.
Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man (Saturday at The Bread Shed 18.45–19.25)
This will be (for the foreseeable future at least) be Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man's last ever Manchester Punk Festival appearance. Really that's enough of a reason to go see them without any other explanation. ROTPM are responsible for one of my personal favourite performances in the entire history of MPF when they opened the after party of MPF 2016 at Zoo (The Bread Shed's former name) and things just went absolutely crazy. Playing stupidly fast thrash punk rock with plenty of songs about booze and partying, Revenge are a big part of what makes MPF so great and not just because they are a part of the organising collective. Be sure to catch them play THEIR festival one last time and show them why they will be hugely missed. I also look forward to seeing the biggest human pyramid of the entire festival during their set.
The Copyrights (Saturday at Gorilla 18.55–19.35)
The 6.30-7.30pm slot on the Saturday of the festival provided the biggest clash of the entire MPF weekend for me. Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, Counterpunch and The Copyrights are all playing at that time! Revenge playing their final MPF show is what swung my decision on who to see, plus the fact that The Copyrights are playing at the New Cross Inn in South London the following week. I do want to talk about The Copyrights a bit here though. They're one of the best pop punk bands to come out of the USA in the past decade or so and have put out so many consistently fantastic records during their career. Rather insanely this will be their first time playing in the UK after all these years and will definitely be worth the wait. Expect the best anthemic buzzsaw pop punk set of the entire weekend.
Uniforms (Saturday at The Bread Shed 01.20–01.50)
Closing the whole festival will be Scottish cow punks Uniforms. I've been waiting three years to see Uniforms after missing what, at the time, was their final show at Book Yer Ane Fest IX due to a Mega Bus and bad traffic. So imagine my excitement when the recently reformed band were added to the MPF announcement! I am going to have to power through an entire festival to see them but they are a band I definitely will not be missing. I love their gruff melodic punk rock that's full of deep and insightful lyrics. Uniforms are going to finish Manchester Punk Festival 2018 with a massive fist in the air sing-a-long for those punk rockers with plenty of stamina (and/or stubbornness) who manage to make it to the end.
Normally I'd add a you can buy tickets for Manchester Punk Festival here link but it's already sold out! So can we just get it started already, please?
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.