Friday, 4 March 2016

Manchester Punk Festival 2016 Preview (Part 1)

Last year I made the journey up North for the first ever Manchester Punk Festival. Put on by a collective of Manchester based DIY promoters (Moving North, TNS Records and Anarchistic Undertones), the event was a complete success. All the bands were great, the day ran incredibly smoothly and the atmosphere was super friendly. I, along with everyone else at the festival, didn't have enough superlatives to describe the weekend and so I was beyond excited when this year’s festival was announced (April 21st - 23rd). Obviously Emma and I got early bird tickets as soon as they were available. Since the tickets went on sale the organisers have been steadily announcing bands for the weekend and last week they announced the final bands. This column talks about some of the bands I'm most excited to see this year.

I'm discovering more and more fantastic bands from mainland Europe but there are few as good as Astpai, especially live. Zock and the boys put everything into their performances and their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. Astpai are a perfect fit for the Manchester Punk Festival.

Atlas Losing Grip
Sadly Atlas Losing Grip had to pull out of last year's festival so it's great to see the Swedish band back in 2016. Combining traditional metal music with melodic punk rock they are one of the most innovative bands around. 

Making the long trip up from Cornwall are Bangers. The three-piece have been a big part of the UK’s DIY punk scene for a number of years now and always deliver a fantastic set. Roo, Andrew and Hamish have been consistently releasing album after album of big sing-a-long punk rock. After headlining Manchfester back in October it will be great to see them back in Manchester.

Crazy Arm
Long-running folk/punk band Crazy Arm are one of the few bands returning to the festival for the second year. I was so impressed with the Plymouth based band’s set last year and am really excited to see them at the festival again. I really hope that they play Tribes this year. Crazy Arm are also one of Emma's favourites.

Faintest Idea
This set is guaranteed t be a highlight. The best band in the UK's ska punk scene will get the festival moving and singing the bands political brand of ska punk. By the time the festival comes around their brilliant new album Increasing The Minimum Rage will have been released on TNS Records. This is going to be a set people will be talking about for a long while.

The Flatliners
When Canadian punks The Flatliners were announced it was a big statement of intent for the festival. One of the most popular bands on the planet, they will pull in a huge crowd and without a doubt will be one of the highlights of the festival. With a discography full of big sing-a-long punk rock anthems there will be a lot of hoarse throats come the end of their set.

Gnarwolves were one of the last bands announced for the festival and my word what a massive addition they are. Gnarwolves are one of the biggest success stories to come out of the UK's punk scene so it seems only right that they play this festival. The Brighton three–piece’s brand of fast and furious pop punk has been sending crowds crazy for a number of years now and will be massive highlight from the festival. Expect crowd surfs and stage dives a plenty during their set.

Roughneck Riot
Folk punks Roughneck Riot are a Manchester favourite. After seeing them at the festival last year I was taken aback by just how popular they were. The crowd at Sound Control went nuts for them! This politically aware band combine folk and punk rock brilliantly and will be another of the stand out bands at the festival. Roughneck Riot are one of the most important bands in our scene.

Sam Russo
Why Sam Russo isn't a household name is beyond me. He is a supremely talented songwriter and performer who will not only break your heart but also put a big smile on your face. Live is where Russo is at his best - whether he's singing his songs or entertaining the crowd with anecdotes of his life, Russo is unmissable.

Wonk Unit
London's Wonk Unit are another band returning to the festival for a second year. After taking part in a massive UK tour with their friends in Slaves, Wonk Unit are becoming more and more popular amongst alternative music fans across the country. They are a band who are impossible to pigeonhole into a genre but are just as impossible not to really enjoy watching live.

For all your Manchester Punk Festival infortmaton go here:

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