Monday, 29 April 2019

Gig Review: Anarchistic Undertones Present The Official Manchester Punk Festival 2019 Warm Up Gig 18/4/19

After six months of excitement and anticipation we were on the cusp of the fifth Manchester Punk Festival. As an added extra this year one of the festival’s promoters, Anarchistic Undertones, put on an official pre festival gig at Rebellion featuring a stacked and varied line up. It was also a fantastic chance to catch up with the seemingly unending list of pals who were descending on Manchester from not just the UK but all over the world.

First up were Bristol skate punk band Layman's Terms. This five piece are a band I have been aware of for a while now but hadn't yet checked out. This was my chance and I was quickly impressed with the Epi-Fat style shredders. A decent sized crowd had gathered early and seemed very receptive as they tore through their set. Midway through the set the band’s guitarist took a moment to talk about mental health and how more and more people are coming forward to talk about how they're feeling. Layman's Terms are a seriously tight band who put on an energetic performance. Despite not knowing any of the songs, I was completely compelled by what was happening on the stage and am even more compelled to check them out in the future.

Up next were London d-beat/crust band Arboricidio. In all honesty this style of music is not one I ever find myself drawn to but I decided that, in the spirit of MPF and checking out new bands, I should watch them. Despite some trepidation I quickly found myself really enjoying the five piece. Frontperson Amy has the most ferocious vocal I've heard in some time and it filled Rebellion. I quickly found myself nodding my head along to their music, their set filling me with a power and energy that I guess only this kind of music is capable of. It's always good to see a band that isn't really to your normal tastes blow you away.

The penultimate act of the night were Liverpool's Down And Outs. Down And Outs were a band I was really looking forward to seeing. Their last album, Double Negative, was a big favourite of mine last year and finally being able to see them live felt like a real treat. From the outset I was loving them. Kind of mixing gruff pop punk sing-alongs with a working class street punk vibe, Down And Outs are a band that are completely up my street. Unfortunately, during their opening song, drummer Morgan Brown's (whose other band Pardon Us were playing on the Friday) drum pedal broke cutting it short but from then on it was smooth sailing. It wasn't just me who enjoyed Down And Outs, I noticed everyone around me really getting into it and there was a good amount of people right down the front having a dance and a sing. I hope to be able to see Down And Outs again soon, they are definitely one of the scene’s best kept secrets.

Last up was a band that was guaranteed to get the crowd properly warmed up for the rest of the weekend. I think it's fair to call The JB Conspiracy UK ska punk legends at this point and the crowd that had gathered at Rebellion were keen to see them play. Honestly these guys don't play anywhere near enough shows these days. That didn't stop them putting in a faultless performance though. Lead by some of the bet horn lines in the genre, JB quickly had the folk in Rebellion skanking like it was the final band of the entirety of Manchester Punk Festival. I'm writing this after the entire festival so my mind is a bit hazy of what songs they actually played but it seemed to be a bit of a best of set with favourites from This Machine and The Storm both going down extremely well. The highlight for me was Say Goodbye, I haven't heard them play that song for ages. We were also treated to at least one new song from some new material they have been busily working on this past year that is sounding fantastic. The JB Conspiracy are one of those bands that will blow you away even if you're not a fan of the ska punk genre and they certainly did that on this night. I can't wait to see them again at Level Up Festival at the New Cross Inn in July – perhaps with even more new songs?

I really enjoyed this MPF warm up. The varied line up was a great idea as it got me excited for all the different styles of punk rock that would be represented over the weekend. What a brilliant way to start the weekend.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

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