Thursday, 12 April 2018

Top Tens: Robyn and Brett's Top Ten Bands To See At Manchester Punk Festival 2018

I think I can safely say that Brett and I would not be going to MPF this year if we had not met Colin and Emma. Brett is my fiancé and a huge punk fan. Since we began chatting to Colin and Emma in 2016, we’ve talked a lot about the UK punk scene and Colin speaks with such joy and pride about the success of MPF that it’s impossible not to be won over. Living in South Africa with a weak currency makes it difficult to get to many festivals, but we’re lucky enough to be able to go and we cannot wait for this amazing introduction to the best of contemporary British punk. As Brett doesn’t really enjoy writing, I’m usually the one on CPRW sharing my views. But he’s so excited about going that I’ve managed to convince him to take the time to contribute to this list. It was tough to get this down to just five a piece, but here are the bands we’re most excited to see at MPF 2018. ~ Robyn

Robyn’s Top Five

Drones (Friday at Gorilla 17:15–17:45)
Drones recently dropped their album Exiled on 9 March and I am completely addicted to it. The band play in-your-face socio-political punk similar to that of Rise Against or Anti-Flag (and, for some reason, I’m reminded of Useless ID too). As such, they’re the sort of band you can really dig into because they’re hoping to spark a conversation with the music they’re releasing. But they also just sound so damn good on the record that I can’t wait to see what they bring to their live performance.

Apologies, I Have None (Friday at Gorilla 19:55–20:40)
Apologies is one of the first UK bands that Colin introduced me to, and I was immediately taken with the single ‘Love and Medication’ off of their album Pharmacie. Both Pharmacie and the band’s earlier album London offer beautifully-crafted, moving, meditative music that I’m not sure I could tie down to a specific genre (post-punk perhaps). I go to shows to have a good time, but it’s also often an emotional experience (my first Fest was just all of the feelings). This promises to be a fantastic, emotionally-charged set.

Spoilers (Friday at Zombie Shack 20:50–21:20)
I’ve been rocking out to Spoilers’ EP ‘Stay Afloat’ for a while now, which offers some awesome pop punk jams as well as some faster melodic punk songs. This four-piece from Canterbury in Kent seem to be adept at creating really fun and catchy melodies, and I am determined to fit them into my schedule even though I have to change venues between AIHN and Lightyear. They seem to tour quite a bit and are heading out on a European tour with Lagwagon and The Lillingtons later this year, but of course this is the only chance I’ll get to see them.

Happy Accidents (Saturday at Rebellion 15:35–16:05)
Brett got to see Happy Accidents at the band’s recent album launch in London, and I was so jelly. This pop-punk trio lured me in with head-bopping tunes like ‘Leaving Parties Early’ and ‘Running’, but I also really like their latest album, Everything But The Here And Now. Brett was super impressed with their performance, so I can’t wait to finally see Happy Accidents in the flesh.

PMX (Saturday at Zombie Shack 17:20–17:50)
PMX really remind me of A Wilhelm Scream with all of their thrashy, fast-paced, rip-roaring goodness. This four-piece from Perth in Scotland have been around for a while and toured quite extensively (with the likes of AWS, Mute, and Propagandhi no less), so I think I can look forward to an awesome high-energy set from these seasoned professionals.

Brett’s Top Five

Fair Do’s (Thursday at The Bread Shed 20:50–22:20)
MPF will be one of my life’s best experiences, and I haven’t even been yet. With every announcement my excitement has grown, but so has the list of bands that I didn’t know anything about. Fair Do’s were part of the final band announcement and Colin recommended them to me immediately. What a great recommendation it turned out to be. Once you get to know me, you learn that my criteria for great punk can be met by only three attributes: fast, technical, and melodic. Fair Do’s are all three and their 5 song EP is the only thing I have to tide me over until Thursday night at MPF.

Aerial Salad (Friday at Rebellion 15:35–16:05 and Zombie Shack 22:35–23:05)
I only started listening to this band late last year after reading a review of the album Roach on CPRW. Being described as pop-punk influenced by early Green Day is a sure way to get my attention. Roach went on to make Colin’s top 10 list on CPRW; the band totally deserved it and let’s face it, it’s better than anything Green Day has put out in the last 15 years. I’m stoked to see these guys play some of their songs early on Friday and I really hope I can get in to their Green Day cover set later on as well.

Darko (Saturday at Gorilla 16:20–16:50)
Growing up during the hey days of the compact disc, I always had to find new bands by reading the “thank you” section of liner notes or noting who my favourite bands were touring with in far-away places. My habits haven’t changed much and I learned of Darko from watching an interview with The Decline (AU) where they mentioned Darko as one of the bands they were excited to share the stage with. Giving me some subtle hints of both AWS and Shook Ones, Darko hooked me immediately with their fast, aggressive punk rock, and unique vocal delivery. Their album Bonsai Mammoth was one of my most played albums of 2017 and I am anticipating an energetic live set from these guys that will no doubt leave me beaming with happiness and sweat. PS. If you’re in Australia in early April, you can be blown away by both The Decline and Darko at one of their shows.

Counterpunch (Saturday at Rebellion 19:00–19:40)
Although they’ve been around since 2004, I hadn’t taken notice of Counterpunch until their album Bruises was released on El Hefe’s (NoFX) label, Cyber Tracks. That album, as well as their previous release, is full of catchy, melodic skate punk influenced by the likes of No Use For a Name (my all-time favourite) and Pulley with some more modern frills thrown in there for good measure. The song ‘Blueprint’ in particular has some clear lyrical and melodic references to the No Use song ‘Under the Garden’ which makes me happy every time I hear it. I love watching bands like Counterpunch live; good hooks and great crowd sing along moments mean the shows are always fun and well worth the hype and excitement.

Propagandhi (Saturday at Gorilla 21:00–22:00)
There are no words to describe how excited I am to see Propagandhi but I will try to come up with some for the sake of this write-up. I have been a fan of the band since a friend burned me a copy of How To Clean Everything and I finally had the chance to see them perform at Fest 15 in 2016. Last year they released my favourite album of the year, and Robyn and I were lucky enough to see them in LA on the US leg of the Victory Lap tour. It’s 2018 and even though I’ve seen them a few times now, I am as excited as I was back in 2016 and would not miss their set at MPF for anything.

This top ten was written by Robyn Pierce and Brett Coomer.