Friday, 29 April 2022

CPRW Playlist: April 2022

CPRW Playlist: Here's what Brett, Chris, Dan#2, Emma, Ilse, Lara, Marcus, Omar, Rich, Richard, Robyn, Theo and myself have been listening to in April.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Album Review: On The Brink by Mark Murphy And The Meds

I want to start this review with an apology. I feel like I promised this review months ago and I’m only just getting round to writing it. Sorry Mark! In November 2021, Liverpool based band Mark Murphy And The Meds released a brand new album titled On The Brink. As soon as I heard it, I adored it and it found its way into my top ten favourite albums of the year. It’s packed with some of the best pop punk I’ve heard in a while. It had me thinking of one of my favourite bands, the Teen Idols, and there’s a lot of other Lookout Records style influences spread throughout the album. We need more of that style of pop punk in our lives so hearing On The Brink was really refreshing.

On The Brink begins with the song Stuck Inside. The track starts with a high tempo and some nice guitar riffs, before Mark’s vocals come in and ask the question “what have you done?”. I must admit that when I first read the title, and given the fact that this album was written during 2020 when the UK was in lockdown, I thought that Stuck Inside might be a song about that. It’s not. The song looks at a relationship where one of the people in said relationship changes and begins to shut the other person out. It’s quite a sad song lyrically but the tempo and melody certainly pep it up somewhat. This is followed by Susie’s Gonna Try. After a “1, 2, 3, 4!”, the song starts with no opening fanfare. It’s the proper pop punk way. Throughout the entire two minutes and twenty-eight seconds of the song we’re treated to nothing but pure energy. I love a song that does this relentlessly but is also jam packed with hooks and melodies. It’s a really catchy ear worm of a track and that you’ll be humming to yourself long after you finish listening to the song.

Therapy Room Ten is one of my stand out track on On The Brink and Mark was kind enough to let us use the song on our recent CPRW Records release Not Here Not Anywhere. The song looks at folk who go to therapy and ultimately why they go, to try and feel a little hope in their lives. I feel like this is a song that plenty of people who listen to it will relate to and hopefully if you’ve been thinking about going to therapy for anything it might give you a little push to do so. Once again the whole song is full of this infectious energy and brings you along for the ride. The fourth track on the album is titled She’s Been To Reno. Unlike the previous three tracks, Mark and The Meds add a bit more rock to their sound. The guitars still buzz along but the rhythm section for the band seems to give more of a solid spine to the song and Mark’s vocals have a more serious tone to them. I think that it is sometimes difficult to add a variety of sounds to this style of pop punk music and the band do a great job of it here.

Another Case Of Lonely has a longer introduction and has an all around softer feeling to it. To me, it seems rare for a pop punk album to show this level of vulnerability but Mark wears his heart on his sleeve throughout. This track is about a relationship ending and the sad feeling of loneliness that comes from the situation. During the track, Mark sings about not expecting things to end and working hard to try and keep things together. This is another sad song that I’m sure plenty of people will relate to, which in itself is a bit sad. Up next is That Day. Continuing the theme of break-ups, on That Day Mark sings about the day of a relationship ending and the feelings that come from that. I really enjoyed the moments of spoken word during the song, it’s something a bit different that I wasn’t expecting it but I thought it worked really well in getting the emotion of the song across. There is also a great moment where the melody and tempo takes a turn, adding a bit more urgency into the track.

The seventh song on On The Brink is titled Alone Again Nor. If you’re a Teen Idols fan then you’re going to absolutely love this, I can imagine it appearing on Pucker Up or Full Leather Jacket. The intro starts quietly but soon builds and begins to pick up speed. I loved the way the guitars worked together on the introduction – great work! Of all the songs on the album I think this might have the best melodies, which is saying a lot because there are loads of great ones sprinkled generously throughout On The Brink. It’s another big ear worm and I love it. It’s also got the fist in the air quality where a crowd will shout the song right back at the band when they play live. Stupendous pop punk right here. Hardcore Four sees Mark Murphy And The Meds turn down a different path as they perform a hardcore song. It’s full throttle throughout the one minute and eighteen seconds duration with the vocals really having a lot more venom to them. After everything else that has been before it on the album, this was a surprise and a bloody nice one at that. It’s an angry song that really hits the listener hard.

The penultimate song, Candle, continues with the energy that came from Hardcore Four but returns back to the pop punk sound we’re more accustomed to. This is another absolutely delightful melody from the band and will also find a long term residence inside your brain. I think the bass playing from Lennie Spruce stands out more on Candle that it does on any other track on the album and it’s superb. We’re even treated to a bass solo in the final part of the track before we reach a final chorus. Pogoing was always a big part of pop punk back in the day and it feels as if this song was written for a giant pogo at a gig. It’s a bouncy number that does make me smile. The final track on On The Brick is Slow Worm. For this final song the band do slow things down slightly. The guitars chug and the bass has some playful riffs that move the song forward. The first couple of verses follow this pattern but when the chorus hits we’re in for a big sing-along moment. I think that this is one of the biggest sing-along sections on the whole album and I kind of wish that they had included some gang vocals to really make this pop. They do include some super sweet harmonies as the song and album comes to its final moments however.

There’s a lot of pop punk bands in the UK but not many who are doing this particular style of pop punk. When I came across the album at the end of last year, I smiled from ear to ear when listening to it. I love this sound and this is a superb version of it. I hope that On The Brink leads to a bit of a renaissance of this sound that the UK scene is severely missing. If you haven’t checked out On The Brink and are a fan of all things Lookout or bands such as Zatopeks, The Murderburgers, The Kimberly Steaks and No Matter etc. then this an album you really need in your life.

Stream and download On The Brink on Bandcamp.

Like Mark Murphy And The Meds on Facebook.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Gig Review: Fishstock 2022 at The Exchange, Bristol 26/3/22

Fishstock 2021 in September was without a doubt one of my favourite days of last year. The annual event, put on by the wonderful Chris Fishlock to celebrate his birthday, brings in such a wonderfully diverse bunch of bands to play together at The Exchange in Bristol and is a wholesome punk rock time. In 2022, the event would be moving back to its normal spot at the end of March as there were no government restrictions in place. The weekend also happened to coincide with Emma’s birthday weekend and we couldn’t think of a better place to spend the weekend.

We arrived on the Friday so that we could be well rested before a long day of great bands. We did some wandering around in the day, before hitting up Seitans Corner for some delicious vegan food. Highly recommend that restaurant. The next morning we did some more wandering around before meeting up with our friends Matt and Charlotte for a drink and some food. We went to a place called OMM Burger and Emma and I both had the satay ‘chicken’ burgers – we both agreed that it was the best burger we had ever eaten. And that’s enough food talk, we also saw bands on this trip…

When we got to the Exchange it was nice to see some familiar faces already hanging around. It’s a great feeling to arrive at a venue in a different part of the country and see friends, it makes you feel at ease instantly. We hung out, talking and catching up and before we knew it the first band of the day was on – Foxy Acetylene. Foxy Acetylene are a Bristol based four-piece who combine hardcore, thrash and metal music. This was really a great way to get the long day started. It was like an explosion from the very beginning and the band, and their three vocalists, didn’t relent for a second. It reminded me of at the previous Fishstock in September of how Redeemon started the day and this felt similar. A great way to blow out the cobwebs ahead of what was going to be a great day.

Next we made our way downstairs to the basement to see Chris Egan. I recognised Chris from seeing their band TIE Fighter Pilot at The Exchange a few years ago. I really enjoyed that set and really enjoyed seeing Chris perform solo. Sat on a stool with an electric guitar, Chris’s solo music was much grungier and moodier than what I had expected but they managed to captivate everyone in the room with a great performance which really showed off their guitar playing skills.

Making our way back up the stairs, I was particularly keen to catch the next act, Buds. I’ve been wanting to catch the Hampshire band for a while now and missed their Luton and London shows on their recent tour with Okay, Bye due to work. I, like everyone else watching in The Exchange, came away from their set with a new favourite pop punk band. As I watched their set I found my eyes transfixed on the stage. I was utterly blown away by just what a watchable band Buds are. The energy in both of the band’s guitarists and their bass player was something to behold. I often find that I spend a lot of time watching one particular member of a band but my eyes were drawn to things going on all over the stage and it was great. It wasn’t just a whole bundle of energy buzzing around though, there was some really tight musicianship and some superb vocals, screams and harmonies going on as well. Buds are great.

Heading back downstairs, next it was time for some acoustic folk from All In Vain. All In Vain was a name Emma recognised from reviewing their 2017 EP, Hits From The Void. Performing as a two piece, Ash singing and playing banjo as well as having some bells attached to one foot and a kick drum on the other was joined by a gentlemen whose name I don’t know playing acoustic guitar. I recall the majority of the songs that I watched were on the slower side but I couldn’t help but be impressed with the skill that the pair played their instruments with. It had been a long time since I’d watched a folk act and I found All In Vain to be a refreshing change.

Returning to the main room, it was time to see an act that the whole UK DIY scene seems to have been talking about. Sniff is the new project from Bobby Funk guitarist Alex Smith. It’s more of a garage pop punk sound than Bobby Funk’s usual hardcore. When I entered the room I was expecting to see a full band setting up but instead Alex was sat on stage with a screen and a projector armed with what was essentially a powerpoint presentation. From there we were treated to a one person show featuring many of the songs that Sniff have already released as Alex sang along to the backing track whilst the projector displayed the lyrics on screen. I fear I’m not doing any justice to just how brilliant this set was. The songs were all great and Alex’s performance was top class. Really engaging and a lot of fun. Without sounding too wanky, this felt like punk rock as a performance art and my goodness it was so enjoyable. There’s good reason why so many people are talking about Sniff.

Following Sniff we made our way back to the basement for Petty Treason. Petty Treason is the new project from Sara Harrington who readers might know from their time playing trumpet for Faintest Idea. Petty Treason is an acoustic pop punk act that I adored. The songs were great and Sara really let their personality shine through with a charming performance. I had no idea that Sara was so skilled in working a crowd, with some engaging and entertaining banter between some wonderfully crafted songs. The set included some rad songs and some sad songs – they were all great songs.

Local favourites Boom Boom Racoon were next on stage in the main room. This was the first band of the day that I’d seen before, having seen the Racoons a number of times at New Cross Inn over the years. I have to say that this was the best I’ve ever seen them. I’m struggling to explain why this was exactly, it might be a hometown thing. Playing a set consisting of mainly songs from their latest album, Songs From The Before Times…, this was my first time hearing a lot of the tracks live. It’s great to see a band progress and Boom Boom Racoon are definitely doing that and then some. This three-piece are a lot of fun to listen to but also have some very important messages in their music that should not be ignored. I’m looking forward to catching them again at Level Up Festival in July.

Specialist Subject supergroup Cosmit were next on down in the basement. When we arrived downstairs the room was already pretty full so it was tricky to get a decent view of the low stage. Cosmit play an energetic garage punk style with great vocals and harmonies. I hadn’t really listened to Cosmit before but, based on this set, I’m definitely inspired to listen to them more. From the view that I did have I could see the band jumping around and having a delightful time. I believe this was only their fourth gig as a band and I look forward to many more.

Back up stairs it was time for rave punks Killdren. Early in their set they mentioned that a big part of the reason that they exist is Chris Fishlock. The story goes that after Chris heard one of their songs he wanted to book them, so they wrote more songs. This was my first proper exposure to Killdren and I was immediately taken aback by their energy. Jumping around to their electronic tracks, this was an engrossing performance by the duo. It was clear to see just why the band are so highly thought of. We only stayed around for a bit of their set as we were getting hungry and wanted a bit of a rest but I’ll definitely be sure to catch them again in the future.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Animal Byproducts for ages now. My friends Mark and Sarah have been raving about them and I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve heard from the band. It seemed my eagerness to see the band was shared by a lot more people as the Exchange basement soon filled up with folk keen for a sing and a dance. I think the best way of explaining the band is as a scrappy indie punk band with a trumpet. This was another in a string of super impressive sets at Fishstock from bands I hadn’t seen before. This was just a super fun and endearing set. It’s obvious why they are so well loved. Hopefully they’ll be back down south, hopefully London, sooner rather than later. Definitely not a band to be sleeping on.

Next we journeyed back upstairs for something completely different. Two-piece doom punks Monolithian had already started slaying the stage when we arrived into the room. This is far from my usual taste in music but I did instantly find myself nodding my head along to the music. I found the dark tone of the music and the whole aura around the songs to be slightly hypnotic though. It was oddly relaxing, which I’m not entirely sure is what they were going for, but that’s what I felt at the time. Speaking to a friend afterwards, they said the exact same thing so I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

We made sure we went back down to the basement nice and early for our friends in Triple Sundae’s set. As the band were finishing setting up, there was a nice moment when an older gentleman dragged a stool from the back of the room to the front of the stage so they could sit and get the best possible view. I didn’t see them do this for any other band on the day so I assume that Trip Sun were their favourite of the day. The man has fine taste. Of all the bands I’ve seen since gigs returned last autumn, I have to say that Triple Sundae seem the most reinvigorated after the break. A lot of bands seem to have picked up from where they left off but Trip Sun seem to be taking things to a higher level than they ever have before. There’s a renewed enthusiasm that comes across whenever I see them play live. Squashed into the small basement stage – there wasn’t even enough room for guitarist Mike to do one of his trademark jumps – the band once again put everything into their set. They worked through everyone’s favourites from Peace Of Mind and Glow to great reactions from the crowd and we were treated to a new one which was just amazing. The set finished with the phenomenal Indecisive that is still stuck in my head today, as I’m writing this, and probably is also today when you’re reading this too.

2 Sick Monkeys were the penultimate band in the Exchange main room. They are a band I’m aware of but have never seen before and not really checked out so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them. As we entered the room the band had already started playing. They were a two-piece with a bass guitar and drums with both members adding vocals. What I found quite interesting was how the previous main room band, Monolithian, also had just a bass and drums but how different each band managed to sound. 2 Sick Monkeys had more of a melodic sound to them and somehow fell between the psychobilly and garage punk venn diagram. We watched around half of their set before heading outside for some air and a drink.

Next we made our way back down to the basement for the final band on that stage – Fifty First State. Unfortunately we made our way down a little too late and the room was absolutely jam packed and we couldn’t get in. Because of this we made our way back upstairs to hang out in the bar before The Menstrual Cramps started the final set of the day.

I’d not listened to The Menstrual Cramps before this gig and didn’t know what to expect. I knew this was their first gig in two years and that were really highly thought of in the Bristol punk community, as well as in the riot grrrl scene however. I also discovered that this would be the band’s new guitar player and bassist’s first gig for the band. As the band got ready, the main room at the Exchange began to fill up and it looked as if there was some folk who showed up especially to see the band. When they did get started there was a feeling of excitement in the air – this band are loved in these parts. The band’s front person Emilia was a bundle of charisma and energy and it was impossible to take my eyes off of them. The subject matter of their songs is usually quite serious and heavy, such as politics, abortion and rape, but they approach and perform them in a fun manner. I think that this is often the best way to get a message across in music, make the music as fun and as catchy as possible. What impressed me most about the set was how tight the band were despite it being the first show for half of them. It makes we wonder just how good they could get after they’ve played more gigs together. The original-line up for Fishstock had a couple of more established acts from the UK punk scene set to finish the night. Sadly they had to pull out and it was left to The Menstrual Cramps to finish the day. After a long day, at this point this was the fourteenth band I’d seen on the day and I was shattered, The Menstrual Cramps managed to revitalise me and it felt like such a big occasion when they played. I definitely left the set as a new fan of The Menstrual Cramps.

Fishstock 2022 was another unbelievable day. You’ve just read how much I enjoyed the bands that had played all day. I loved how diverse the line-up was and there was something for everyone. But the thing that I really took away from the day was just an amazing positive feeling by being surrounded by lovely, likeminded people all day. Regular readers will know that our usual scene is down in South London at the New Cross Inn but to be able to travel to Bristol and experience a different punk community is a very special thing. There was nothing but lovely people gathered at The Exchange, all coming together because they love and believe in the bands that played. Speaking with Chris before we left, he mentioned that next year would be the tenth Fishstock and I’m already very excited to see what they pull off for it. You can bet that we’ll be back.

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

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Interview: Plot 32 Interview For Manchester Punk Festival

Ahead of their performance at Manchester Punk Festival, Colin caught up with Plot 32 for a lovely chat.

How did Plot 32 start?

Gaz: Myself, lead guitarist Adam and Stash were at Rebellion 2016 and we just watched Bar Stool Preachers play an acoustic set and were all feeling very emotional and said “there doesn’t seem to be that much ska punk going on in Leeds at the moment besides the usual suspects, how about we form a band.” Then Stash said “well aye man, that sounds cannae.”

Liz: I remember recruiting Rachel, we were on a Rocky Horror night out, we dressed up, and I was like “you’d be the perfect person to join our brass section and then you agreed so that was nice.”

Rachel: “I somehow ended up accidentally in a ska band when I was at school and I randomly mentioned that to you on a night out.

Liz: I Had to learn drums for this band, Gaz had to learn the bass.

Stash: A few had to start from scratch.

Liz: We started in February and we had our first gig in May which was very soon as I’d never played any drums before.

Stash: That’s pretty punk rock that, innit.

Who are the members of Plot 32?

Liz: I’m Liz and I play the drums, shall we tell you our favourite vegetable as well?

If you want, the answer is broccoli.

Liz: Yeah, my answers broccoli.

Gaz: I’m Gaz, I play bass guitar and my favourite vegetable is a beetroot.

Stash: My name is Stash, I’m 42 years old, my favourite vegetable is mushroom and I’m the singer.

Cat S: I’m Cat, I’m the rhythm guitarist and my favourite vegetable is a carrot.

Rachel: I’m Rachel, I play saxophone and my favourite vegetable is fresh peas.

Liz: We’ve got Adam, he plays guitar and his favourite vegetable is sweetcorn because he’s a sweet person and he’s pretty corny and then there’s Cat Robbins, she plays the trumpet, she love an aubergine apparently.

Who are your influences?

Stash: I think we’ve all got different influences. The bands probably influenced by bands like Operation Ivy, Bosstones, ska punk….

Cat S: I listen to a lot of Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, also I love anything a bit pop punky like New Found Glory as well.

Liz: Cat and Adam tend to write most of our songs but then other people chip in, Gaz and Rachel and Stash have all written some things, I haven’t written anything so I guess my influences wouldn’t come out that strongly but I love things like drum n bass, dance music but all of my favourite gigs growing up were Reel Big Fish. I think me and Cat spent years going to every single Reel Big Fish gig. I used to love King Prawn and saw lots of ska punk in Leeds back in the day.

This is your first time playing MPF, have you been before as attendees?

Stash: I’ve volunteered there before. We’ve been there as punters.

Liz: I’ve been almost every year. Infact I met Cat Robbins at the thing that was before MPF. There was some sort of anniversary show that the same people put on the year before MPF and I met Cat Robbins in the queue so we wouldn’t even have her as a friend or band member if it wasn’t for MPF. This sounds like a proper geeky thing to say but my drum teachers reminded me of it last week. I was talking about playing MPF and the stuff I wanted to work on and they were like “ooh, they said last year that playing MPF was your dream” and I was like “I wouldn’t of said that would I?” but clearly I did.

Gaz: You say it all the time Liz, when you’re drunk.

Cat S: I’ve never been, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s normally difficult for me to get time off work to get to it. But we’re playing some I’m forced to get time of work for it so it’s great. I can’t wait! It’ll be a good opportunity to see loads of bands that I’ve never seen before and get introduced to new stuff  and seeing some old friends as well.

Stash: It’s nice when all you’re mates are there from all different cities coming together. You can spend a lot of time chatting to people with people you’ve not seen for a while.

Liz: It’s one of those few festivals where you know that everyone you know from across the country will be in the same place and you’ll bump into them at some point over the weekend. And they always have an amazing line up too.

Stash: I normally miss a lot of bands just through nattering and smoking.

Who are all you looking forward to seeing?

Liz: I have been doing so much research on this, I’ve got a playlist that I made myself. They do have an MPF playlist but I wanted to extra curate it. Shai Hulud, I know they’re quite famous but I’ve never listened to them before I knew they were playing MPF. Really love them. Really love Belvedere, Elephant March is a great song, just love all that relentless, fast pop punk stuff. And then there’s some really nice ska like Popes, JB Conspiracy, all the people that we love seeing and have maybe played with before. I quite like Riskee, some of that rappy stuff, Karl Phillips, we’ve played with him before haven’t we. Jeff Rosenstock. I’m trying not get my hopes up too much with anybody because you don’t know who’s gonna clash and you don’t know who’s going to have to pull out.

Cat S: We’ve had Brassick at Nice As Pie before so I’m looking forward to seeing them.

Liz: There’s all of our friends bands as well. Smoking Gives You Big Tits, I love them. Great name, great band. Monolithian, that’s Simon from Rash Decision’s band with that lady in Bobby Funk. They’re gonna be great.

What can people expect to see from your live set?

Stash: They’re probably see seven drunkards falling about all over the stage.

Liz: We’re not a polished performance but we’ll be very friendly.

Stash: If we’re anything we’re friendly.

Cat S: We want everyone to have fun and we’ll be having fun and hopefully that’s all that matters.

Liz: There might be some cheesy, bad jokes. You might get some very light political and environmental messaging  but the overriding theme will be fun.

What’s your best experience at a Plot 32 gig?

Stash: Outciders always a good thing.

Liz: Remember when we played that really weird festival and then somebody came up to us and told us and told us that she was Miss Chesire 2018. I don’t know if this was the same person or I’ve got it confused in my head…

Stash: Didn’t she call us weirdos?

Liz: She said you’re the weirdest bunch of weirdos that I’ve seen in the same place at the same time and I thought to myself that I really understand what you mean; we are all quite different to each other, we’ve got quite different opinions and we act quite differently and I just loved that she thought we were so strange.

Cat S: Illusive Festival was dead good as well.

Liz: That was definitely the weirdest festival that I’ve ever been too.

Stash: It was like a drum n bass festival with a random ska stage.

Liz: Everyobdy was off their face to the point where they’ve built little sort of caves under the stage for people to go and hide if they want to have some private time.

Stash: That sounds rude.

Gaz: We played two sets that weekend. We played one of the first sets on the Friday and we were all fresh and energetic and there weren’t that many people watching us. Then on Sunday we were all a bit worse for wear, we were depleted with serotonin and dopamine and I think the majority of us were hung over and we played the other set and people were absolutely loving it.

Stash: I think between us we probably introduced ourselves to everybody at the festival by that point .

Liz: They really had no choice but to come and watch us after we bombarded them with our friendship for the whole weekend.

That’s a solid plan, are you going to do that in Manchester as well?

Liz: We’ve already said that we really hope we play the Sunday so we get so we get to make friends with absolutely everybody at the festival and then relentless pressure them into coming to see us.

Do you know where you’re playing yet?

Liz: It doesn’t really matter. Early is good, late is good, middle is good. They’ve all got there advantages.

Have you got a venue that you particularly want to play?

Liz: I love the Zombie Shack which I guess might be where we play as it’s a bit of a small one. It’ll be lovely to play in a smaller venue that’s packed out.

Stash: I’d rather play a smaller venue with more people in than a bigger venue with the same amount of people.

Cat S: Somewhere with a big enough stage to fit seven of us.

Liz: Yeah, so basically we want a venue where the stage is half as big as the crowd space so we’ve got room but no-one else does.

Stash: Not too high though, as I’m prone to falling off.

Liz: I would like a drum riser so we could have a combination of those things.

Cat S: Are you going to build our ideal stage here Colin?

I will send Tree a message and ask him very nicely.

Stash: It would be good if the drum rose over from the floor, that would be good.

Liz: We played for Tree the other day didn’t we and the drums were on a bit of a riser. It was the first time that I thought people could see me and I loved it.

Stash: I mean coming up from the floor as you’re playing.

Just fly across the room.

Liz: Who is it that does that?

Cat S: Do Slipknot do that?

Stash: A zip wire would be good. A good entrance on a zip wire.

Liz: Nobody had done zip wire drumming have they? Perhaps I could be the first.

That would be a lot of wires that you would have to time very precisely to make sure all the kit is in the same place.

Stash: You’d imagine that the kit would already be on stage and you’d just arrive and land on the chair.

Liz: Oh no, I imagine you’re going to zipwire a platform with the drums set up already.

Gaz: This is just sounding like a death clock out of metalopolis with the ridiculous stage set up.

Stash: When people book us we should start requesting these things and see what we can get.

Liz: We must be halfway between getting nothing on a rider and getting some flying drums. Perhaps if we aim high we might get a crate of beer.

Stash: We’ll take £20 if we can get a zipwire.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Gaz: I guess we could say we’d like people to come along and make friends with us. We’ve been told we either get the party started or we keep the party going or we end the party really well so really your choice is across the board.

Stash: Take care of yourself and each other.

Plot 32 play at Zombie Shack at 22.15 tonight!

Check out Plot 32 on Facebook here and Bandcamp here.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview: Part Three

Please read Part One and Part Two of our Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview if you haven’t already!

We haven’t listed the specific times for each band as we understand that these are potentially subject to change before the weekend. Please check the official Clashfinder to be certain you don’t miss anyone!

Gurnal Gadafi – Saturday, at The Bread Shed (Emma)
Gurnal Gadafi – what a name! – are a band that I literally only discovered when going through the MPF 2022 line-up and listening to all of the bands I hadn’t heard of before. This was basically to decide whether I might want to see them or not but also to consider which bands I’d write about for this here blog. At the time, Gurnal Gadafi only had one track online but I liked what I heard – passionate, angry spoken word meets hardcore – and immediately marked them as a band to keep an eye/ear on. I can imagine this late night MPF set being a wild and messy one.

Grafteoke – Saturday, at Rebellion (Colin)

Grafteoke were one of the highlights of MPF 2019. The MPF after parties have long been pretty legendary but the addition of Grafteoke took them to a whole new level. If you’re unaware of the concept, Grafteoke are a punk rock cover band featuring the members of Pure Graft. They invite members of the crowd on to the stage to sing their favourite songs and basically live out their dreams as punk rock front people. Last time, there was a nice combination of folk from bands as well as the general crowd taking to the stage and a wonderful time was had by all.

Crazy Arm – Sunday, at The Union (Dan)

Crazy Arm play a fusion of country and punk rock. Their songs hit like thunder, powerful in content and production and watching them live is a magical experience, their voices and playing in perfect sync. Their most recent work "Dark Hands, Thunderbolts" is a masterwork and every single song is unskippable. I have been watching them live for the last 11 years and am still excited when ever I get the chance to see them play.

Pendleton – Sunday, at The Bread Shed (Robyn)
Every festival inevitably has a few difficult scheduling decisions and this year my worst clash is between Pendleton and Signals Midwest (but hey, at least it’s not Fresh this time). I’m sad to miss out on what will surely be a very special set, with the Manchester four-piece reuniting to blast through some of the best skate-punk the UK has to offer. I’m sure this will be a major nostalgia trip for a lot of people at the festival and have everyone happily singing and air-punching along.

Signals Midwest – Sunday, at Gorilla (Robyn)
Signals Midwest are an alternative indie band hailing from the American Midwest. I properly delved into their discography in 2020 during the first lockdown and I’ve really come to love them more and more. Their sound is rich and emotive, incorporating introspective storytelling with dynamic melodies. They’ve become a real source of comfort to me over the past couple of years and the first few notes of songs like ‘Alchemy Hour’ or ‘You’re Gonna Be Golden’ will almost certainly have me tearing up; but I’m also looking forward to hearing some of the band’s more recent singles. It’s disappointing that they’re playing at the same time as Pendleton, but I wouldn’t miss them for anything.

On A Hiding To Nothing – Sunday, at The Bread Shed (Brett)
On A Hiding To Nothing is proof that despite being inevitable and sometimes a bummer, line-up changes can work out beautifully. The late changes forced me to check out some new (to me) bands to replace the ones that could no longer make it. Finding a band like On A Hiding To Nothing is a real treat for someone with my tastes because they play fast to really-fast skate punk with great melodies and vocal harmonies. Their latest album, We’ll Probably Be Fine, might be one of the best 2021 albums discovered by me in 2022 and if you like bands like Frenzal Rhomb, Bigwig or F.O.D, On A Hiding To Nothing is definitely a band you should check out.

Shit Present – Sunday, at Gorilla (Emma)
It’s been almost five years since I last saw the wonderful Exeter-based foursome, Shit Present, play live – and about as long since they released any new music. Admittedly, there has been a worldwide pandemic in that time but, even so, I figured even before the pandemic that the band had decided to call it a day. But no! They will be making a come back at MPF 2022 with their emotional brand of indie punk and I sure won’t be missing it. I hear they’ve been in the studio as well, so it seems like this performance isn’t going to be a one-off. I can’t wait!

Public Serpents – Sunday, at The Union (Colin)
Public Serpents are a skacore/crack rocksteady band from New Jersey, USA. Combining upstrokes, pounding drums and raspy, guttural vocals alongside some powerful political messages, Public Serpents bring something a little different to Manchester Punk Festival. This will be my first opportunity to see them live and I expect a chaotic mess of a show and I can’t wait to see it.

Don Blake – Sunday, at Zombie Shack (Colin)
Bolton’s Don Blake are playing their final ever show at Manchester Punk Festival, that really should be enough reason to go and see them – you’ll never get another chance. Unless they decide that splitting up is a silly idea and keep on going. Don Blake play some of the best pop punk produced by a UK band in the last few years, bringing together catchy melodies, buzzing riffs and soaring harmonies better that almost every other band in the genre. I’m sad to see the band are calling it a day but I’m certain the MPF crowd will give them a great send off.

All Away Lou – Sunday, at Yes (Robyn)
All Away Lou is the latest project to come from Lou Hanman (of Caves and Flamingo50) after moving to Philadelphia from the UK. It’s very much in the same vein as these earlier projects, offering catchy indie-pop jams, although the newly released album, Things Will Change, reminds me most of Worriers (who Lou has also played with). This comes through both in the style of singing and in the strong sense of melody and introspection in the songwriting. It will be great to hear these new songs live and to experience a bit of Lou.

The Chisel – Sunday, at The Bread Shed (Richard)
Hot on the heels of Chubby And The Gang, rising street punk / hardcore crossover act The Chisel will no doubt excite many with their working class anthems and political fuelled polemic. Last year’s Retaliation was an excellent debut and explosive listen that was equal parts Sham 69 and the Clash as it was early Bouncing Souls. Given their formation just before the commencement of the Covid lockdowns, it’s likely this will be the first opportunity for many to see them live and therefore an essential set you’ll want to catch before they blow up big time!

Good Friend – Sunday, at Zombie Shack (Robyn)
I’ve wanted to see Good Friend live ever since 2017, when Colin told me about their phenomenal live performance supporting Nothington and I first listened to their fantastic debut album, Ride The Storm. The band have a raucous energy, with big melodies and awesome singalong moments that should make for an amazing live show. I also can’t wait to hear Adam Carroll’s gorgeously gritty vocals in the flesh.

Incisions – Sunday, at Gorilla (Richard)
Last years ‘Bliss’ was described as a “cracking album that was perfectly balanced and structured full of vitriol and insight like the best hardcore albums” by these very pages (by me in fact). Incisions have built an excellent discography of Black Flag meets Vorhees styled hardcore that demands attention. Surrounded by equally excellent hardcore acts across the weekend and in front of a native crowd, you can expect this to be one of the hottest tickets in town.

Fresh – Sunday, at The Union (Robyn)
I am so incredibly pumped that Fresh is playing MPF again and that I’ll finally have another chance to see them. I’ve been wanting to catch the London four-piece live since our first MPF in 2018 and for one reason or another it just hasn’t happened yet. They play a wonderfully open and bright style of pop-punk that’s both fun and sincere. I can’t wait to dance and sing along to all my faves, so hopefully there will be no schedule changes or last-minute emergencies that see Fresh having to drop out of the festival.

PMX – Sunday, at Gorilla (Dan)
It's a massive crime against skate punk that I haven't seen PMX play any songs off "Ctrl Alt Del" yet so I'm changing that at MPF. They have a talent for creating amazing hooks with the counter melodies to match and an extra layer of excellent harmonies! I recommend a single dose of “Who Are We To Pray” and you will be hooked by this spectacular band!

Jeff Rosenstock – Sunday, at The Union (Emma)
So, I’ve stupidly picked two clashing Sunday night headliners to write about here. Technically I can’t physically watch both (at least not whole sets) but I’m going to write this as if I can! The MPF team have only gone and booked DIY punk rock legend Jeff Rosenstock to headline the closing night of their festival. I’ve seen Rosenstock and his band live a couple of times in the past, although not all that recently, and so I know that they are brilliant live. There’s a chaotic energy to their songs and performance style that will no doubt spread into the crowd. They’ll be playing The Union which is the biggest MPF venue but, given that the festival is sold out, I expect it to be packed. Probably a set that will spoken about in years to come.

Roughneck Riot – Sunday, at The Bread Shed (Emma)
And then we have Roughneck Riot – a completely different sounding band to Jeff Rosenstock but one that I love just the same. Although they’re not from Manchester – they’re from down the road in Warrington – Roughneck do feel like a MPF staple band to me. Perhaps it’s because of their relationship to TNSRecords or perhaps it’s just because they always receive an outstanding reception whenever they play the festival (which they’ve already done twice before) and, I imagine, the city in general. The raucous folk punk troupe have made a recent come back after some years off (extended by the pandemic) and have a brand new album, Burn It To The Ground, to boot. This is going to be one hell of a comeback show.

A Wilhelm Scream – Sunday, at Gorilla (Robyn)
I’ve been fortunate enough to see AWS live a few times in the US and I can tell you that it is every bit as technical, blisteringly energetic, and fun as you’d expect. The five-piece melodic hardcore band from New Bedford, Massachusetts, is fronted by the incomparable Nuno Pereira, who always works hard to engage with the crowd and to get everyone pumped up and singing along. The band’s new album, Lose Your Delusion, also drops right before MPF on 14 April. So, hopefully we’ll also get to hear a few of the new songs live and maybe even pick up a copy of the album.

Plot 32 – Sunday, at Zombie Shack (Colin)
These Leeds ska punks are one of the bands I’m most excited to see at MPF. One of the most fun bands to emerge out of the UK ska punk scene in recent years, I had the pleasure of seeing them in 2021 and had a whale of a time. There’s such a freshness about the band and just a big feeling of fun that surrounds them. I do like fun things. The seven piece will be squeezing onto the stage at Zombie Shack and, I expect, falling into the crowd. It will be the perfect way to start the final night of after parties. Check out my interview with Plot 32 in the official program.

Forever Unclean – Sunday, at The Bread Shed (Emma)
One of CPRW’s most favourite European DIY punk bands – and one Colin has been championing since their 2015 debut EP – Forever Unclean are back this year to play their second Manchester Punk Festival. This time the Danish trio are bringing tracks from their debut album, Best, which was released at the beginning of the year. It will be our, and indeed many people’s, first chance to hear many of these songs live and you can bet they are going to sound incredible. In 2018 Forever Unclean opened The Bread Shed stage on the Sunday, this year the band are playing the same venue and the same day but they’ll be playing a late set as part of one of the infamous MPF after parties. They’ll be just the boost of energy I need to power me through to the end of the festival.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in Manchester tomorrow/Friday!

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview: Part Two

Please read Part One of our Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview if you haven’t already!

We haven’t listed the specific times for each band as we understand that these are potentially subject to change before the weekend. Please check the official Clashfinder to be certain you don’t miss anyone!

The Bar Stool Preachers – Friday, at The Bread Shed (Richard)
Most of my picks reflect the bands I’m naturally drawn to because of my love of hardcore; however everyone needs a good sing and dance over the course of the weekend. Possibly the best exponents of this are Brighton’s pop ska / street punk heroes, The Bar Stool Preachers. Equal parts Bosstones and Bouncing Souls, they have an amazing crossover appeal, a banging live performance and tons of anthems to get people moving, hugging strangers and losing their voices. Songs such as 8.6 Days, 02:22 and When This World Ends promise to be highlights of the weekend!

Darko – Saturday, at The Union (Dan)
Watching skate punk legends Darko is a necessary right of passage for any skate punk fan! I’m seriously looking forward to them playing songs off their new EP "SPARKLE". They have stepped up their game tremendously after picking up their new singer, Tom West, and the band have become a force of nature with more incredible riffs, powerful vocal hooks and important lyrics. Their new single "The Ladder" is 7 minutes and 50 seconds of pure mastery of the genre – get up and go see them early on the Saturday!

DAVES – Saturday, at Zombie Shack (Colin)
It was our good friend and all around legend Sarah Shout Louder who told us about DAVES. This would have been around the end of 2019 when we were putting together the Do It Together Fest line-up. Unfortunately for us they already had a gig that weekend and I’ve been itching to see them ever since. I instantly connected with their sing-along punk rock sounds, particularly enjoying the strained vocals that really add a huge amount of energy to DAVES’ songs. It’s an early one but it’ll be sure to blow off the cobwebs from the night before and set you up for a great day.

Drones – Saturday, at The Union (Dan)
Hard hitting punk rock heroes Drones are calling it a day and this will be their second to last show ever. Their political hard hitting sound is one of my favourites in the UK and it's a shame to see them call it quits. But I really hope they play some older bangers like "Graves" and some new ones like "Lost In Translation". If you’re a big fan of Anti-Flag I really recommend you don't pass up one of the last times you can see this band.

Onsind – Saturday, at Gorilla (Dan)
Onsind are the band I am most looking forward to at MPF hands down. Their emotion rich folk punk has connected with me like not many other bands have done before. They have perfect mix of politics and personal songs with my favourites being "Heterosexuality Is A Construct" and "Frankland Prison Blues". It's safe to say that I'm gonna be somewhere near the front crying my eyes out, singing every word!

Accidente – Saturday, at The Union (Brett)
If you made the same mistake as I did when looking up Accidente on Apple Music or Spotify and found some alt-math-rock band from Utah, then do not be alarmed. This is not the band playing MPF. No disrespect to the Utahns (not a made up word) or their fans, but alt-math-rock is not really my thing and I was glad to learn that the Accidente playing MPF is the 5-piece band from Madrid, Spain, who play kickass fast punk rock. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, the strong sentiments and catchy melodies speak for themselves.

Proper. – Saturday, at Gorilla (Emma)
I discovered Brooklyn, NYC, based emo-pop punk band Proper. when they were initially announced for the MPF 2020 that never was. I was excited to see them that time around so to say that I’m excited to finally get to see them live now would be a slight understatement. In the time since the initial 2020 announcement, Proper. have recorded and released their third album, The Great American Novel. It’s very, very good. Perhaps heavier than their previous releases, I imagine that the new songs will go down an absolute treat at MPF.

Beng Beng Cocktail – Saturday, at Yes (Colin)
I never expected I’d get to see Parisian crystalcore act Beng Beng Cocktail so when they were announced for MPF I was equal parts surprised and over the moon. The band’s combination of ska and crack rocksteady acoustic punk is something I’ve enjoyed since discovering them on a compilation years ago. At the beginning of March they released a stunning new album with the help of TNSRecords and I look forward to seeing them and having a dance to ease me into the Saturday evening of MPF.

Harker – Saturday, at The Union (Richard)
Last year’s Axiom was a genuine behemoth of an album that moved Brighton’s Harker from blue collar gruff punks to legitimate post-hardcore titans. Despite the shift in tone, they’ve retained their ability to craft fist-in-the-air anthems. Given how great their entire discography is, coupled with their highly relatable lyrics and a much needed party atmosphere across the weekend, you can expect them to be one of the real standouts!

Cultdreams – Saturday, at The Bread Shed (Robyn)
Cultdreams is a band that manages to be both raw and dreamy, creating a unique blend of high-volume fuzz and emotion that their Twitter account accurately describes as “Queer Lo-Fi Shoegaze Rage”. Despite being just a two-piece, the band deliver huge choruses that hit you like a wall of sound and verses that wrap you up in a darkly brooding rumination. I can’t wait to get lost in the deep reverb and to sing along to bangers like ‘We Never Rest’ and ‘Berlin’. Hopefully there’ll be some older songs like ‘Stitches’ or ‘Ladyfuzz’ thrown in as well.

The JB Conspiracy – Saturday, at The Union (Dan)
The JB Conspiracy are the perfect ska punk band. Their album "Beginnings" last year was no less than perfect, not a single beat or note out of place with crystal clear heaven piercing vocals. Watching them live is breathtaking and every single second will leave you wanting more, they are the must-see ska band for me. I’m really hoping they play a little bit off all three of their albums as they are all masterpieces.

Slow Science – Saturday, at Zombie Shack (Richard)
If ever a band deserved attention, Slow Science would be toward the top of the list. Responsible for some epic indie punk anthems that merge the rockiness of Iron Chic with the pop sensibilities of early Weezer, Slow Science write the type of songs that are the soundtrack to the summer. Despite being a band for over ten years, ongoing commitments to other groups and projects mean they don’t play often and therefore deserve your time when they do!

Bobby Funk – Saturday, at Gorilla (Dan)
My favourite thing about watching Bobby Funk is being in a like minded crowd of people yelling "I'm a cat! Fuck you Meow", I'm a simple Dan with simple tastes sometimes. They have created a sound which makes hardcore accessible and fun with songs like "Best Friends With Kayne" they delight and entertain! A really enjoyable band to watch and listen to!

Disaster Forecast – Saturday, at Zombie Shack (Brett)
I’m not ashamed to say that Disaster Forecast is another skate punk band on my list, but I am a little ashamed that I hadn’t heard the band before being added to the MPF line-up. Disaster Forecast play aggressive skate punk, leaning into the melodic hardcore realm every now and then, with some techy bits added in for fun. The songs take me back to the mid-to-late 90s skate punk that I grew up with, but without sounding stale or contrived, and remind me why I love this style of music so much. The raw energy is present in the songwriting, musicianship and production. The fact that the band pays homage to the legendary Propagandhi with the title and cover of their latest release, How To Skate Everything, also doesn’t hurt at all.

Chewie – Saturday, at The Union (Dan)
I haven't seen Chewie yet but for the last 7 years everyone I know in the punk scene has recommended them as the best pop punk band that has ever lived. They have an ability to make even songs about babies drowning in septic tanks the catchiest hooks you have ever heard. I honestly love every EP and record they have put out and I am looking forward to being in the middle of friends singing all the words. If you have never heard them, have a listen to "Forty Shades Of Grey" Or "Charlene" and I guarantee I will see ya in the crowd!

Knife Club – Saturday, at Gorilla (Richard)
Whether it’s the mystery stunt that surrounded their early inception or the recent acknowledgement that Knife Club only exist on the back of drunken shenanigans, the fact that they are comprised of alumni of many bands you’re likely to want to see over the weekend means you’ll be bound to have a great time with this genuine super group! Musically they tread a nice line between traditional straight up punk rock and more melodic hardcore, but given the talent on show it’s in a live setting where you expect them to stand out from the crowd.

Coral Springs – Saturday, at Zombie Shack (Robyn)
Coral Springs are easily one of the bands I’m most excited to see at this year’s MPF. The band name is almost certainly a reference to the hometown of pop-punk greats New Found Glory, who clearly serve as inspiration for the Dutch five-piece. Their music certainly channels a distinctly American pop-punk sound, along the lines of No Use For A Name, throwing a few skate-punk flourishes into the mix – but without the typical male vocalist. I so enjoyed their debut album, Always Lost, Never Found, and I’m so happy they’re making the trip over to the UK. It’s going to be great to see them play in an intimate venue like Zombie Shack, because I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re playing to even bigger crowds in the future.

Martha – Saturday, at The Union (Richard)
A genuine British institution, Martha are a must-see with an abundance of extremely catchy punk infused pop anthems rammed with sharp insightful lyrics that will have you grinning from ear to ear. With what promises to be a career spanning, festival headlining worthy and crowd pleasing set, expect to hear many of their big hitters including Curly & Raquel, Bubble In My Bloodstream and The Void amongst many other highlights.

The Skints – Saturday, at The Union (Robyn)
The Skints are a London band who play a fusion of reggae, dub, ska and punk. The first time I heard them I had the sense that their live set would be really fun, with lots of dancing, skanking and bopping. Their sound incorporates guitars, keys, beats, synths, saxophone, melodica, and even flute, spanning the distance between rip-roaring punk riffs, syncopated ska rhythms, and slow soulful jams – and all that with just four band members. All this promises to make for an awesome set and a fantastic party vibe on Saturday night.

Shai Hulud – Saturday, at Gorilla (Richard)
Few bands can release genre-defining albums late in their career; however 20 years after their inception the Florida hardcore pioneers dropped a universally lauded behemoth in ‘Just Can’t Hate Enough’. Despite this being their last notable release and now some 7 years old, they remain one of the must-see acts of the weekend. Whilst they might not have the status of peers such as Converge or the Hope Conspiracy, their legacy can’t be understand and with a roster of past collaborators included As Friends Rust Damian Moyal and New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, their influence can’t be equalled. This is a great opportunity to see an essential band in a setting they excel in!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back for the third and final part tomorrow!

Monday, 11 April 2022

Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview: Part One

At the end of this week Manchester Punk Festival finally returns and the CPRW team could not be more excited. The line-up is always stacked but in 2022 the festivals organisers, Manchester based punk legends Anarchistic Undertones, Moving North and TNSRecords, have well and truly surpassed themselves. There are six of the CPRW team attending this year and we wanted to write about so many of the fantastic bands playing, so over the next three days we’re treating you to a three-part, sixty band preview of some our top picks for the weekend.

We haven’t listed the specific times for each band as we understand that these are potentially subject to change before the weekend. Please check the official Clashfinder to be certain you don’t miss anyone!

The warm-up gig also features a really awesome and diverse line-up of bands that aren’t playing MPF so it’s a real bonus and a great way to get prepared for the epic weekend to come.

Toodles And The Hectic Pity – Thursday, at Rebellion (Emma)

In 2019, the MPF folks treated us to an official warm-up show on the Thursday night before the festival began properly on the Friday. We’re pleased that this is something they’ve brought back for 2022 and are over the moon that CPRW favourites Toodles And The Hectic Pity are one of the bands scheduled to play. The Bristol-based trio play an emotional brand of folky indie punk and I can’t wait to see them win over the Manchester audience – which no doubt they will. Having seen them live fairly recently, I can vouch that their brand new tracks are sounding particularly good.

Burning Flag – Thursday, at Rebellion (Brett)
If you are lucky enough to be in Manchester on the Thursday before MPF, you would be remiss to be anywhere else but at the official MPF warm-up gig at Rebellion. One of the bands I’m really excited to see is Burning Flag, who play a NYC-style hardcore, with powerful lyrics, relentless riffs and a slightly higher bpm. But it comes without the white-shirt-macho-masculine themes and tendencies so often ingrained in the scene. It feels like forever since I’ve been to a hardcore show and Burning Flag’s latest album, Matador, nearly made it into my top 10 last year so I’m very much looking forward to this set.

Smoking Gives You Big Tits – Friday, at Yes (Emma)
Tasked with the job of opening the entire 2022 edition of MPF are the four-piece riot grrrl influenced Smoking Gives You Big Tits from Bolton and Salford, respectively. I admit to not being an especially big fan of their name but Shout Louder’s Sarah has had nothing but good things to say about this band and, after checking them out on the MPF playlist myself, I’m definitely keen to see what all the fuss is about. From the tracks I have heard, they seem like a lot of fun and should be the perfect band to kick off the festival.

Nexø – Friday, at Zombie Shack (Brett)
With my recent move to Denmark, I am much more alert to Danish punk bands and have picked up on a few that I wasn’t aware of before. Nexø is one of my favourite discoveries so far. Their aggressive hardcore punk is raw and full of energy and is sure to get the early crowd at Zombie Shack ready for what promises to be an amazing weekend ahead. Their 2019 album, New Normal, is an exceptionally strong debut and if the singles released so far this year are anything to go by, Nexø show no signs of mellowing or slowing down.

In Evil Hour – Friday, at The Union (Brett)
In Evil Hour was on my shortlist of bands to see before MPF 2020 was cancelled so I was very happy to see the band on the line-up for 2022. Melodic punk rock that takes on important topics with aggression, passion, and intelligence. The comparisons to Rise Against and Bad Religion are on point. The songs are fast, the vocals are perfectly raspy, with the politically charged lyrics and loads of “woah-woah” moments to lose your voice to. I have no doubt that In Evil Hour will deliver a fierce live performance that any fan of melodic hardcore punk will enjoy.

The Lab Rats – Friday, at Yes (Emma)
I saw The Lab Rats, a Manchester-based folk punk duo, when they played MPF back in 2018 and had a wonderful time bopping along to their rousing activist anthems – with the subjects of their tracks ranging from anti-war to veganism and mental health. Last time around, they were actually joined by a third person to play percussion so I have no idea what the 2022 incarnation of The Lab Rats will be like but I’m hoping to find out.

Just Panic – Friday, at Gorilla (Colin)
I feel like Just Panic might be a name that not a lot of people attending MPF will be that familiar with. I was lucky to see them play at the first MPF in 2015 and they haven’t played again since. I absolutely fell in love with them that day with their own take on punk rock. If you’re a fan of old school Against Me! or Crazy Arm, then I thoroughly recommend going to see Just Panic. They’re brilliant and who knows if/when they’ll play again. Also, they might just throw in an Against Me! cover.

Much The Same – Friday, at The Union (Brett)
The amount of excitement I feel about finally getting to see Much The Same live is difficult to put into words. If you’re not familiar with the band, they are making the trip from Chicago, IL, and play melodic skate punk infused with super catchy hooks, in the same vein as No Use For A Name, Slick Shoes and The Swellers. Their latest record, Everything Is Fine, released in 2019 on Lockjaw Records was an almost flawless return to form and one of my favourite releases of that year. Much The Same has been on my MPF wish list for a number of years now and I am ready to cry tears of joy when they take the stage on Friday afternoon.

Chloë Glover – Friday, at Yes (Emma)
I’m really digging a lot of the acts on the ‘acoustic’ stage of the Friday of MPF this year – it doesn’t have to all be about loud, fast punk rock and the wide variety on offer is what makes the festival so great. One of the artists I’m particularly looking forward to seeing is Manchester local Chloë Glover. Chloë was one of the last artists I saw live before the pandemic hit back in early 2020 and I was captivated by her incredible voice and heart wrenching songs. Chloë is also teaming up with Helen from SGYBT and Sarah of Shout Louder fame to host a sober social at Sandbar on Saturday at midday – so, see you there!

Misfortune Cookie – Friday, at Zombie Shack (Richard)
Coming from the right side of the Pennines(!) it’s inevitable I’d recommend watching Yorkshire’s finest! Comprising 3/4 of Bear Trade and led by the ever impressive Helen Chambers, Misfortune Cookie are the kind of band its easy to fall in love with. Their debut album, Heavy Seas, was high on my list of albums for 2019, and in a live setting songs such as ‘Callumbus’ and ‘All Dogs are Nina’ will be huge. Anyone who has gruff punk legends A Wilhelm Scream on their must-see list for the weekend should add these to their itinerary pronto!

Wolfrik – Friday, at Gorilla (Dan)
After seeing Wolfrik tear it up at the last MPF I'm going back for seconds! They play a unique blend of metal and skate punk which is ridiculously techy. With their new album "Clones" they have furthered that sound, with songs like "Fend & Turn" managing to have some awesome tempo changes which are so smooth they sound like an orgasm for the ears. I can't wait to have my jaw well and truly dropped by them again.

Haest – Friday, at Zombie Shack (Richard)
Another band from the TNS roster that need to be checked out is Hastings’ Haest. Whilst you might not instantly think doom and punk make comfortable bedfellows, Haest meld the sounds effectively and creatively, generating enough grove and rumble to get people excited. When we’ve covered Haest previously we’ve thoroughly enjoyed them and given new material is in the offing it’s a great time to get on board this juggernaut!

Throwing Stuff – Friday, at The Bread Shed (Brett)
I would call Throwing Stuff the UK’s answer to Paint It Black. Pure emotion backed up by gut-punching beats and driving guitars, this is some of the best no-frills hardcore punk you can experience. As far as I know, Throwing Stuff is one of the few bands that has played every MPF so far, but their performances are anything but complacent. The set put on by the band at the 2019 after party was explosive and I can’t wait to experience the onslaught again.

Triple Sundae – Friday, at Gorilla (Colin)
If you’re a regular reader of CPRW then you’ll know how much we love London’s Triple Sundae. The four piece have been a big part of the South London DIY scene for years now and it’s been amazing to see them grow as a band over the years. Playing melodic pop punk music with powerful messages, in particular mental health, the dual vocals from Hassan and Zandro are always a treat. Expect plenty of sing-alongs, fists in the air and crowd surfs for this one. Don’t sleep on Triple Sundae, this is going to be a memorable moment in MPF history.

Belvedere – Friday, at The Union (Brett)

When I wrote about seeing Belvedere in my preview for the MPF that didn’t happen in 2020, I said that Belvedere is as close to perfection as I could think of for skate punk. Since then my feelings have not changed, but the band has unleashed a new album which was one of my favourites of 2021 and raised the skate punk bar once again. Still fast, still technical, and still packed with enough hooks, melodies, and harmonies to fill me with delight at the thought of witnessing Belvedere live. With such an extensive back catalogue of fan favourites, I can’t imagine anyone not having a blast.

Faintest Idea – Friday, at Gorilla (Colin)
Faintest Idea have a long history with Manchester, you could be forgiven for thinking they are a home town band. The band are always a big festival highlight and get some crazy reactions from the MPF crowd. I managed to catch the band in London in December and on that night they came with a four piece brass section and sounded better than ever. I believe that they’ve been working away on their long awaited new album and I’m hoping they play some new material alongside plenty of old favourites. As a cheeky request, I’d love it if they played Two Years Conscription – I’ve not seen them play that in years.

Zombies No – Friday, at Zombie Shack (Brett)
As with a lot of music festivals, there are always opportunities to find gems of bands that you never knew before they were added to the line-up. Zombies No first caught my attention because of their cool band name, but after listening to the band’s latest EP, All You Can Hate, I was hooked and knew I would need to make an effort to see them. Described as a multi-national band, it’s easy to hear the different influences come together to create a cohesive style of thrash-y skate punk with a few metal flourishes, reminding me of bands like Lagwagon and No Fun At All. And how often do you get to say you’ve watched a band called Zombies No playing at a venue called Zombie Shack? This can’t be a coincidence.

Apologies, I Have None – Friday, at The Bread Shed (Robyn)
AIHN easily put on one of the best sets I saw at MPF in 2018, completely captivating the crowd and showcasing some fantastic musicianship. Their songs are carefully arranged, often building up a thick emotional atmosphere before bursting open into soaring choruses. It’s a phenomenal live experience that really shows why the band has such a huge following. This is one set that definitely should not be missed.

Random Hand – Friday, at Gorilla (Colin)
Is there a more beloved band in the UK ska scene than Random Hand? After they took a hiatus in 2015, the band returned in 2018 at MPF and they’ve been killing it ever since. I don’t think there are any bands that can match the energy that Random Hand emit when they play and it always oozes into the crowd. Hearing songs such as Scum Triumphant, Bones and Anger Management being sung by every single person in Gorilla again is going to be a lovely time. Also, expect some shenanigans between Faintest Idea and Random Hand as they continue their prank wars.

Fair Do’s – Friday, at Rebellion (Dan)
Speaking of amazing Lockjaw skate punk again, Fair Do’s deliver amazing riffs and some serious speed! Being local to Manchester and playing to a home crowd they are gonna be completely in their element melting faces and blowing socks off! I am a huge fan of their “Leopards” album and can’t wait to see them again after 4 long years!!!

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow we will have Part Two of our Manchester Punk Festival 2022 Preview so be sure to check back for more of our picks.