(Note: Colin's parts are in regular text and Emma's parts are in italic.)
The moment we've been waiting on for six long months finally arrived last week! My favourite weekend of the year was upon us, Manchester Punk Festival. Back for its fourth year, it promised to be the best one yet. The festival, which in my opinion is the best in the UK, is getting bigger and bigger and is attracting more and more of the biggest punk bands from around the world. It's also attracting more and more people from not just the UK but from all other the world. This year's festival had attendees from places as far as the USA, New Zealand and South Africa – the latter where our pals and roomies Robyn and Brett had travelled from. I definitely can't complain about the four hour journey we had to get to Manchester.
MPF 2018 also featured some venue changes due to the festival's former home base, Sound Control, being demolished earlier this year. Now the festival has added Rebellion to its roster of venues and is also now using The Bread Shed (formerly known as Zoo) for the whole day rather than just the after party. MPF also used Gorilla, Zombie Shack, Underdog, Font Bar and The Thirsty Scholar again this year.
It feels like some time since Colin and I last saw Crazy Arm live so, as one of my longtime favourite UK punk bands, I was particularly keen to see them at night one of MPF 2018. They haven’t yet released their fourth album but perhaps we would be treated to some songs from it. Frontman Darren opened the band’s set with a gripping acapella number – he has such an awesome voice – but it wasn’t long before they’d launched into their fully rocking, fast and furious set. There were at least two new songs in there but also plenty of oldies to get the crowd singing along with fists in the air – Still To Keep, in particular, proving to be a great big singalong moment. Interestingly Darren said the band hadn’t prepared a set list, they just played! Awesome! The end of the set however featured an appearance from violinist Luke Yates, also of Sounds Of Swarmi fame, for Song Of Choice. Finishing their set with Tribes – ‘it’s a singalong innit’ – was certainly a wise move. We were now suitable pumped for our dash over to The Bread Shed!
Making our first and only venue swap of the evening, we got our power walking feet ready and made the supposedly 15 minute walk from Rebellion to The Bread Shed. By this point both venues were running a little late but I think we beat the Google maps estimated time anyway and arrived to a super packed out, hot and sweaty Bread Shed, formally known as Zoo to us returning MPFers, ready for the start of Roughneck Riot’s set. It was apparent that the band were suffering from some sort of technical difficulties, perhaps due to the inclusion of an accordion, mandolin and banjo (not your typical punk instruments) in their entourage, but it certainly didn’t affect the crowd’s enjoyment. As a TNS band, and Northerners too, Roughneck are always going to go down well at MPF. There was dancing a plenty, well as much as was possible in a tight space, and the pit opened up for the rowdier punks to let off some steam. Roughneck Riot have a new album on the way and the first half of their set showcased a number of new tracks. They all sounded great but it was the older tunes, such as This Is Our Day, Parasites and Animosity, that were most enthusiastically received. The party was well and truly go in The Bread Shed with just one band to go…
This review was written by Colin Clark and Emma Prew. Photos by Emma Prew.