After a drunken Thursday and a hard-to-top Friday, I was excited for Saturday at Manchester Punk Festival but I was also beginning to feel the effects of two days of brilliant times.
I started my experience by heading to Gorilla to watch West Midlands Hardcore band Brassick. Brassick were intense, furious and a lot of fun to watch. Vocalist Nicola was all over the stage and getting in her audience’s face and whipped the front rows into a frenzy. I can recall the guitarist’s amplifier glowing menacingly at the back of the stage as riff after riff came flying out. Great stuff.
Heading over to The Zombie Shack, I was able to catch local nasties Incisions play a very raucous set. Vocalist Jordan bellowed over some frantically played music, smashing this stickered-up telecaster like it was going out of style, and as someone who hadn’t seen Incisions before I’ll definitely be making time to see them in future. After Incisions, I went to meet some friends who weren’t attending the festival at the beer garden of The Thirsty Scholar. They were blown away by the atmosphere around the area where the festival was and will be coming next year. While there, I got to see a band who I was very excited to see loading their gear in.
I got myself back into The Zombie Shack and was prepared for the destruction that Natterers would wreak. I had the pleasure of seeing the Leeds natives last year and was blown away by their ferocity and wasn’t disappointed. This was their first gig with their new line-up. Vocalist Emma was like a force of nature, hanging off the bamboo in the venue all while keeping her sunglasses on. Mid-way through the set, several people had hung off the scenery to the band’s performance. It was a set that would be hard to top.
Making my way over to The Bread Shed, I saw Culture Shock play a blinder. Their set was a lot of fun, they had their audience dancing all over the place and sounded fantastic. I wasn’t aware of them prior to the festival, but I’ve been listening to them since.
I read over the MPF 18 app that The Bread Shed was at capacity (which I believe was 500?) and that there were 200 people queuing to enter the venue. That is incredible. The reason for such an excess of people was simple. The recently reformed Beat The Red Light were about to start. I can’t really describe the feeling in the room as they took to the stage. It was really special. Beat The Red Light were phenomenal, not lost a step since they stepped away and were a massive highlight. Their vicious melding of Ska and Hardcore into something so riffy and awe-inspiring has been missed and left me grinning like a simpleton.
Following a resurgent Beat The Red Light would take something truly special. Luckily, Chewing On Tinfoil delivered. I’ve been listening to the Irish band for a long time, happening on them at random through a recommendation on a streaming app. I’ve been keen to see them ever since. Chewing On Tinfoil sound so much more beefy and raucous live. Where they may sound more restrained on record, they don’t when they’re directly in front of you. They possess some of the finest singing voices around, with songs like “Just Like Me” sounding so fucking good.
Manchester Punk Festival and all involved in it deserve all the plaudits that they get. I’ll definitely be there next year, and hopefully the organisers will pull off some more surprises like they did this year for it. Keep checking Atom Smasher Music for updates on MPF 19.