Manchester Punk Festival
Today, I’m serving up my MPF 2024 ‘Tasting Menu’ in preparation for the perennial bloom that is Manchester Punk Festival, an event happening in a certain part of the world, within a certain island nation, at a certain time of year, entirely localised within the city of Manchester. I’m poking my head out from behind the ever-battering barrage of existential bullshit again this year, with a set of recommendations to consider while you peruse the fateful day splits, ahead of filling your baskets with their audible treats as is customary outside of the annual gathering of messianic confectionary.
As with last year, the following are in no particular order. However, again and irrefutably, I can safely say that even after I add the finalising digital indentation that is the full stop to this list, that the names of those I will want to catch but a note of will continue to grow as I navigate the day-splits and compile my own itinerary. Such is the wonderous, self-inflicted woe of the music fan.
I have also tried to keep this list mostly to those who didn’t play last year as much as possible but preference is what it is.
Roll on MPF 2024.
Hot Water Music
Hot Water Music. Truly, where do you begin? Their ubiquitous presence and indisputable, irrefutable and irrevocable influence on the Punk scene since their fated entry onto its stage in 1994 is strewn into the historical record. To date and decanted into either a four or five-measure, the band’s catalogue boasts an all-natural profile of gruff, melodic and emphatically real Punk-Rock, Post-Hardcore and whatever other notes it requires to sustain such a rich legacy.
If you’re unaware, I implore a deep dive. If you’re partial, I implore a revisit and if you’re already in this ideal kind of hot water, then simply keep doing what you are. Both the band’s most recent full-length, Feel The Void and their latest single, ‘Drawn’, represent a unit far from being creatively devoid.
A Wilhelm Scream
After a year break, a band that I will far from boldly state, not because I am not ardent in saying so but rather that such a statement is wholly unambiguous outside of our perception of time and space, utterly metamorphosised fast, melodic and progressive technical Punk-Rock, are returning to MPF for 2024.
Many on this list of recommendations will without a doubt, owe their very existence to A Wilhelm Scream, so to see them on the roster for the festival again this year is a blessing and another opportunity to honour another one of those bands that really changed everything.
Go, watch these legends and scream like a Wilhelm.
As the album saw a remaster this year, here’s a favourite of mine from Partycrasher.
The European continent spoils us for fast, melodious tempo. That much is a given but what it also offers, with a strong focus on France, is a historical propensity for a vibrant variety of Hardcore Punk. More to the point, if you’ve had any conversation with me about Hardcore these past few years, I will have certainly mentioned Nantes five-piece, Stinky.
Whether it is fast, anthemic and heartful Melodic Hardcore, Thrash-licked abrasion or pummeling, riff-heavy metallic groove, Stinky are at the zenith of the contemporary genre. The band seamlessly cascade through the now of Hardcore, with each release honouring, refining, experimenting and enhancing the last and are a must-see for anyone with but a passing interest in this most expressive of Punk’s children.
The band’s latest, ‘Moonbow’, pushes the boundaries of their previous work, while again calling back to their foundation.
Riskee & The Ridicule
It’s hard to converse or ruminate on the UK DIY Punk Scene of the past decade (and the rest?) and not consider Riskee & The Ridicule. The band’s presence live, online (because obviously, that’s the most important one now, right?) and without too much saying, musically, is something that I wager will never propagate anything other than awe.
I could rattle on about how every release emanating from such a unit is worth your time but that very statement and its proxy imploration to digest those very works is perfectly auto-defined and entrenched by how 2023’s Platinum Statue captures a band at their absolute apex.
Here is one that hit me with far more force than I’d like but has left me thankful for such a hefty strike.
Political, in-your-face Punk may be more abruptly obvious in Hardcore and other experimental offshoots but I will always push the argument that the very same is just as topically abundant in the Skate and adjacent melodic Punk scenes. I state this, appositely, especially so after witnessing Antillectual’s recent set Punk Rock Holiday 2.3.
The succinct version, is that Antillectual are a key dietary requirement to this very scene but also, to MPF 2024.
Through melodic Punk-Rock not just consigned to the active tenet of tempo, Antillectual is a band whose back catalogue and live presence utterly epitomise why such a sub-genre and scene can be so lucrative and crucial. With their latest, the band’s formula flows either side of charged pace and mid-paced clout imbued with as much force musically as it is via its emotive lyrical delivery.
New Junk City
Passing the limited, less high-octane time in a work environment I grew to hate, discovering new bands I could “get away with” (we’ve all been there at work) was a common feature of my day not too long ago. New Junk City was one of these very bands that exploratory forays into “artist radios” yielded to me at that time. My brain relinquished some dopamine, patrons bobbed along and the band’s infectious nature eventually monopolised their discographies-worth of my time, as I ran its entirety through my speakers studying the line-up for the weekend of the year.
Pushing a harmonic, hook-laden, melodic and gritty set of “life-Punk”, New Junk City’s forthcoming performance should be considered post-haste!
The Menstrual Cramps
These Bristol staples are no stranger to MPF or the UK Punk scene for that matter. Unapologetic, urgent yet also determined to enjoy themselves alongside their (increasingly) well-oiled machine, TMCs are a band you need to catch if you haven’t done so already.
Now settled into the latest iteration of their line-up, The Menstrual Cramp’s output is ground harder, hitting heavier and slicker than it ever has been. Over the past two years, you may well have witnessed newer songs tactically fired off live alongside their ever-evolving back catalogue but now, these songs are officially making the rounds ahead of their next full magazine. MPF 2024, or just simply right second, is the perfect time to either acquaint, reacquaint or continue to absorb such a force UK DIY Punk.
One Hidden Frame
It is fair to say that the output of the European fast melodic Punk scene is difficult to negate. The continent provides a premier crop for those looking to fortify their need for speed with melody as intrinsically occurring as the sharp, technical and abrasive precision that it produces in such slick symbiosis. To be succinct and waffle-free, One Hidden Frame, I cannot over or under-state, effortlessly hike very peak of this contribution.
As adept at varying levels of faster tempo as they are at slower, thudding, Melodic Hardcore refrains and instrumentals that do nothing but elevate the earnest poignancy of the songwriting, One Hidden Frame can be said to be at the head of Finland’s (excellent) contribution to the genre. I would even go as far as to say that their latest, I Am Not Here (2022), was the very best of this epoch for that annum.
It is difficult to choose a single track to showcase why you should, at this very moment, go and listen to One Hidden Frame ahead of their set at the festival, so I’ll simply leave one that helped me out when I needed it.
To Funk and ubiquity. Such a statement doesn’t really mean anything of note, nor has anything to do with a band by the name of Bobby Funk but I’m too far down the line to bother back-spacing now. Bobby Funk is a band from Falmouth that needs little introduction.
This isn’t because they are of such celebrity that they look down upon us masses, but more so because really, outside of describing them as a writhing and Garage-spun Post-Punk lacquered Punk-Rock machine, there is but one word I will offer to incentivise such an indulgence for your MPF 2024 experience or otherwise.
Akin to many in this personal list of sorts, it’s quite the task to choose an example of such an ensemble. Go and listen to their latest album, Longing For The Bonging, via TNSrecords as it’s purely fantastical but again, here is a personal favourite. Outside of their vocalist’s beautifully simplistic vocal soundcheck, that is.
Hike The Peak
Now, I am TELLING YOU, if you have ANY level of interest in any facet of fast melodic Punk, then you NEED to witness this set. Whether it is Skate Punk, Melodic Hardcore, “Skate Thrash” or the legacy of Pop-Punk filtered crooning, Hike The Peak have you. If you crave a near inescapable pace, one that is paired, flanked and imbued with an unrelentingly whetted barrage of precision guitar strings and punctuating clout, then you need to attend what is likely to be a one-of-a-kind set.
Hike The Peak is a project that began in lockdown by scene devotee Lee Byatt and aimed to bring together the best in melodic Punk-Rock from across the scene as a collaborative force. Imported vocals from other bands would soon be joined by dedicated producers, featured guitarists and bassists with the last but far from least excellence of DIY PUNK ROCK’s MIDI packs as a foundation, enabling such rapid accruement of the scene’s best. Something that, with a live band now in the deepest reaches of practice, is only to be accentuated.
Hike The Peak, at the time of writing, has seen collaboration from members of: No Contest, The Affect Heuristic, Rebuke, Goodbye Blue Monday, Coral Springs, Laughing In The Face Of, Absolute, From The Tracks, For I Am, St. Plaster, Hoof, Thousand Oaks, Jet Market, One Hidden Frame, Pmx, Shames, Melonball, Fair Do’s, Acid Snot, Kill The President!, Comrad and Waiting For Better Days.
Many of these names have played MPF before and, noticeably, many are playing MPF 2o24. Now, what does this mean, for a live band with no standing vocalist? I do wonder.
Rash Decision, akin to many from the depths of their beautiful Cornish home, embody a dedication to DIY music that is utterly unfuckwithable. A band you’ll often hear described as one of the slickest and most professional mainstays of the UK DIY Punk scene, Rash Decision are a force from Falmouth that regardless of what level of perception you have of their seismic blend of Punk and Thrash, should be under the utmost consideration as a nutritional staple to your MPF 2024.
Fronted with collective vocals I would argue to be unrivalled, specifically, Rash Decision’s hybrid of late ’80s Skate Punk, Crossover Thrash and Hardcore defines the highest degree of “natural”, as it transcends choice-cut deviations in the latter’s history with ease, riddled with as much speed as it is, thick, huge, tremor-inducing riffery.
Witnessing Rash Decision live elicits the same dumbfounded cognition of power each and every time.
Say goodbye to your face, mind.
The chances are, that even if you haven’t seen Coral Springs perform on stage, you have unwittingly been stood in close proximity to them whilst watching others from the tightly-knit fast melodic Punk scene. Having seen the band occupy the Zombie Shack at 2022’s MPF and having witnessed some or all of the band supporting their peers countless times physically and in photographic form, it goes without too much saying that the Dutch five-piece are another truly dedicated addition to this year’s Manchester Punk Festival.
Coral Springs‘ effortless transition between jagged, riff-heavy Pop-Punk keenly cut with faster tempos and the harder, constantly evolving “technical” wing of contemporary Skate Punk, speaks of a collective talent, one fronted by one of the best voices that this particular facet of the Punk scene has to offer.
The band’s latest single, ‘May Day’, markets the crest of their heavier work, with an unstoppably powerful salvo of Post-Hardcore-fortified Skate Punk Thrash I intend to play to a death that won’t come for it.
Kill The President!
Kill The President! are both another pace-centric recommendation on my part (I bet you didn’t see that coming) and also another exceptional export from the country of Spain.
2015 saw a debut EP that among aficionados of technical-Skate Punk and Melodic Hardcore, is still highly regarded a near-decade later.
2022 then, as you can imagine, was a monumental time as Kill The President! would unleash Aftermath in a time where, as I’ve said countlessly now, the proliferation and evolution of faster melodic Punk music is continuously striving for and achieving better. Aftermath took the robust foundation and high benchmark of Citizens into a new decade, running unbridled conviction and an often sobering outlook parallel to a sound contorting itself with further Post-Hardcore alongside refined versions of their native metallicized Punk-Rock.
I had a little hand in debuting 2022’s KTP! to it all, so thanks again, friends!
How to introduce Pink Suits as a prospective band for your MPF 2024 experience?
Well, for starters, the band’s 2021 album Political Child can be (un)safely described as a writhing mass of abrasion fronted by fervent sardonicism, witty acuity and an acerbic delivery, with the meter measuring its “fucks given” truly blown beyond whatever constituted its components. Sonically, the band are a rhythmic punch and as a cohesive unit, with all of the above, personifies a continuous roll of concurrently thought-provoking punches that will see their targets wane long before they do.
Truth be told, in a Punk scene where the revival of Proto-Punk and the styles it inspired can fall to banality surrounded by the same, Pink Suits are a band that leaves all that ever-choking on its own perpetually cycling dust.
Here’s one for the ‘phobes.
The MPF music conglomerate has done well in this forthcoming event regarding its availability for the undying emotional motion that is “gruff” melodic Punk-Rock. Whether you refer to it as “Orgcore” (best be dusting off those flannel shirts now), the above or if you’re me (which I am glad you aren’t) and internally moniker it as “life-punk”, it’s a style that near-never fails and this is especially the case live.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Reconciler easily stand as tall as the likes of D4, Red City Radio, Ship Thieves (who did an excellent split with Reconciler in 2021), Gunmoll, Hot Water Music (who?) and the like. In fact, the band’s Alt-Rock-leaning, Post-Hardcore derived Punk-Rock is designed for perpetual playtime.
2019’s Set Us Free is essential listening and with recent singles such as ‘Shots In The Dark’ already beginning the journey to Manchester via its earth-churning rhythm section, tunnelling its way to the stage, I would advise you to perhaps meet them there.
Whether their song titles are sourced from long-lost blog or status updates from either Myspace or Tumblr, or perhaps more “simply”, are the ravings of a mad-man who’s been hitting the psychotropic riff-powder too hard as a commiseration after riffing his axe into such powder, in some sort of “create to destroy to create”, ouroboros-ish, allegorical act, that at this stage, is making about as much sense as this very long sentence, is anyone’s guess.
Whatever that was and mild piss-taking now sequestered, the angular Doom-core of Haest is an undeniable force to behold live. Though, that said, wanton-riffery isn’t their be-all.
Haest employs more variety than you’d expect from your more archetypical Doom or Hardcore band. Outside of their own house blend, the four-piece matches layered complexity with drum patterns running parallel with their own. Whilst elsewhere, their mass is contrasted by dark, Post-Rock-inspired instrumentals themselves later juxtaposed with bursts of faster Punk. Haest’s repertoire meaders dramatically and far from negatively from their heavy-set foundation, with their latest, Belabour, released in 2023 via TNSrecords boasting all of the above.
For many, the prospect of a six-piece taking to the stage and not playing some form of Ska is something of an existential issue. Well, anyway, moving on and devoid of any upstrokes or trumpeting, are Midwich Cuckoos, a band whose twenty-four-limb stature marks the absolute apex in navigating stage space.
And what of their musical output? Well, their self-description hammers the proverbial nail through any prospective crisis. The “12-Legged Rock n’ Roll, Punk and Metal Machine” will occupy an MPF set this year with their eclectic cascade through everything from Hard Rock, Skate Punk and Rock n’ Roll swagger, all permeated with a healthy slew of metallic classicism.
With a new vocalist on pole ready to make their own stamp on such a rich and varied back catalogue, the Midwich Cuckoos machine is poised to command whatever stage they are given. You have your homework.
Producing an ode back to and then sequentially obliterating the manifestation of such an ode, that being the wondrous abandon of a time in Punk-Rock history where Skate Punk and Hardcore were rough and ready bed-fellows, are Migraines, another flying the “flag” for England’s south-west.
Hitting like a jovial but no less cathartic sucker-punch the windpipe, Migraines-brand Skate-core is an obnoxious and at least fifty-percent asinine approach to fast Punk-Rock. Catching the band anywhere from a small sweatbox to a bigger stage will act as the charging point for whatever thereafter and you might even enjoy it.
Pizza Tramp are available to watch at Manchester Punk Festival 2024.
You know you’re going to be there. It’s not like you’ve got work in the morning, is it?
Fast, harmonic, melodious and thought-provoking, Thousand Oaks had a fruitful 2023 on the release front. Not only did On A Wing and A Prayer release in complete surprise to a jubilant scene (thanks again for having me involved, friends) but a few months ago now, a collection of previous EPs, singles and bonus material harvested from previous recording sessions (Remnants) toasted to and enriched a catalogue of top-tier wealth.
For those unaware, likened to many on this list, Thousand Oaks are a crucial contributor to the high benchmark of the fast melodic Punk scene. At almost any point across their history, dynamic tempo changes perfectly contrast a foundation of voracious Skate Punk pace, via an organic methodology that produces melody that seamlessly permeates their work, as it soars over the ever-refined, effortlessly powered precision beneath.
Thousand Oaks are a brush and On A Wing and A Prayer is a master stroke of many. Go, now; absorb.
Enter then, another band forcibly twisting the fast formula; Acid Snot are on the bill for MPF 2024. One of the key bands in this active contortion of technical fast Punk, Acid Snot are another more-than-notable name from Spain and in a greater scope, the Spanish-speaking and adjacent world that contributes some of the best of this ever-changing style.
The Catalunyan four-piece fluidically infuse their fast Punk with thick metallic riffs touching on technical Djent and blasting Metalcore. They employ further complexities via Post-Hardcore and toast classicist Pop-ish-Skate Punk as much as they do the latter’s harder tenets. Even then, the band are far from done. Expect sombre instrumentals, entire genre shifts and washes of any or all of it surging through your ear drums.
As for examples, the recent, Spanish-language, Post-Rock-centric Emo-wash of ‘Iridescència’, the metallic-maelstrom of ‘Amsterdam’ and the explosive blast that is ‘Biopsy’ will give you an idea of what this powerhouse is capable of.
Follow Your Dreams
However you wish to describe Follow Your Dreams’ take on Hardcore Punk, existentially, the outcome for you will be the same.
From jaunts of Math-spun complexity verging on Mathcore and fantastic instrumentals lulling you into a false calm, Follow Your Dreams are liable to change course ahead of any acclimation. Often, warped Post-Punk runs with a heavier set Post-Hardcore, before falling back into refined archetypes and repeat, but, doing so in whatever jarring and yet beckoning order the band wishes. All of which, ‘existentially’, leaves you utterly re-rendered beyond yourself and entirely in their palms.
It’s funny what music can do to you. Follow Your Dreams abrasive contortion of their influences so far is only present on 2020’s The Half Life Of Teaspoons but with an appearance at MPF ’24, I should think that is fated to change precisely when it is calculated to be.
SPACED, a Hardcore band from Buffalo, New York, will be stopping off at MPF this year on their return to the UK. That piece of information would normally just be another relevant tidbit to an event you’re attending if it were not for who SPACED are, for their reputation and of course, for their warped, Buffalo-style take on Hardcore Punk.
The familiar, gyrating groove we all know from the seminal sound of New York Hardcore is spun via Buffalo with an opportunist tempo, organically bursting from and pairing with the raw frustration and standout, straight-talking defiance emanating from SPACED as standard. Elsewhere, twisted, almost psychedelic effects contort leads and at times vocals, seeing SPACED break from the blueprint to an exact measure.
It is said the band made quite the name for themselves in Manchester previously and having personally seen them three times now, in Bristol, London and amidst the frenzied microcosm of a dust storm they instigated at Punk Rock Holiday, I can confirm that to miss this band at MPF would be a mistake.
Succinctly put, I’ve been a fan of Templeton Pek since before I had real problems and even then, they provided an expansive, powerful and soulful escape from whatever befouling stress was ailing my cranium at the time.
Another testament to the enormity of sound three-piece bands can achieve, Templeton Pek boast a vibrantly superlative amalgamation of Skate Punk, Alt. Rock and Post-Hardcore. To listen to the band is to be beset on all sides with a hybridised craft keenly derived from those above, all inextricably tethered by an innate and hegemonic acuity for melody.
Or something like that.
Here’s a riffy-one.
Ritual Error, in a previous hardware version, played last year at MPF in one of the late-night sets in the Zombie Shack but following my exit of a headline set and upon my stomach turning to cannibalise its codependents, restorative falafel was a compulsion I had no choice but acquiesce toward. Although I was kicking myself afterwards, I made a note that if the band ever played again, I would make a point of being there.
But what of their digestive audio? Well, marketing a form of Post-Hardcore slowly on its own restorative path, Ritual Errors’s Punk is a writhing grind. The band’s championing of such evocative controlled chaos is riddled with a proliferating distortion, yielding a raw, cognitively stimulating “Revolution Summer”, “Dischord” Post-Hardcore delivery for the modern ear.
Get at it.
Becoming somewhat of a household name in the English Punk scene, (that’s a worrying thought isn’t it? Having this lot in your house) Incisions return to MPF for 2024. With their wild, Noise and Post-Hardcore-licked sound, Incisions’ tenure in the scene is a proven one. With Bliss, 2021 was their milestone and since then, the trajectory of their congenital quality has continued to ride a wave of seamless auto-substantiation.
There is little else to say on Incisions, despite their native shit-chattery on stage, of which I’m sure you’ll be treated to on the day, their relatable output speaks for itself. In fact, with tidbits having been teased in 2022, I should think we are about to witness more proof of why they really are in the top tier of UK DIY Punk.
And that’s not just in fucking around department either!
Tripsun, I find are one of those bands that offer a two-fold experience when playing live. On the somewhat more obvious and direct hand, the showcase of their rhythmic, heavy-set Indie-Rock plied melodic Punk raises its benchmark with each release, which is none more true than with their 2023 debut full-length, but having seen them several times now on a variety of stages, there’s a touch more to a Tripsun performance.
Again, I can’t help but recommend Kill The Dream to those who haven’t heard it, but, on this other hand in waiting, rests the experience of watching the band effectively having *insert figure here* extra members vying for the microphone or at the very least, chanting back near every word.
Tripsun are a band who are truly IN their performance and of all the “stereotypes” of whatever this is, the aforementioned is the one I don’t think I will ever tire of.
Not to diminish France’s Bare Teeth by any comparative measure but considering the slew of expert malleability on display from the festival’s choice of Skate Punk and Melodic Hardcore this year, any micro or macro interest in such will lead to the baring display of gnashing precision that is Bare Teeth.
With an underbelly of vicious Skate Punk-Thrash, Bare Teeth segue into contrasting tempos and often blugeoning riffs driving down and flexing through metallic Melodic Hardcore, from which, the band are poised and ready to ride the eventual high-octane blast radius through to winding, melodic guitar lines and streamlined anthemic Punk.
Think the above, consider bands such as Belvedere, Strung Out and A Wilhelm Scream (familiar, I know) and you have everything you need to prep for a band I should think is due a new release about now.
Whether you are a Millennial, Gen Z or perhaps senior to both, “Emo” is a word that, whether “people” like it or not, is inextricable in its sinuous tether to the contemporary music scene and it is going absolutely nowhere. Well, “post” that sentence and certainly Post-Emo, MPF ’24 is set to welcome Passionflower to its three-day roster.
Merging early 2000’s Post-Hardcore with the indomitable three-letter word denoted above and with tones reminiscent of the fellow ubiquity of Pop-Punk, Passionflower’s soulful bloom is a fundamental example of where such a scene is in the 2020s. Though, having said that, the influence of such a seminal era, one that likely influenced many respective tastes considerably more than is initially obvious, irrigates the growth Passionflower has undergone so far.
As for an example, it was a toss-up between the below, the latest single ‘Amor’ and the absolute anthem that is ‘Neverland’. Which I suppose means you need to do some homework.
Positioned somewhere been ’77s buoyant pogo, the quickfire punctuating spike of Street Punk and a healthy dose of ’80s Hardcore, are Peru’s Las Ratapunks, who are importing their addictive, critically aimed bombardeo to Manchester for 2024’s proceedings.
With Fracaso, año De La Rata 2020 existing as such an adorative ode to the above no matter your comprehension of Spanish, 2022’s Ishguin drives noticeably harder, decidedly hurtling headfirst into a faster, classic Hardcore, turning a ‘healthy dose’ into an unstoppable cathartic* projectile.
You should probably go and watch Las Ratapunks. I’ll leave you with the ardent disaffection of ‘Jornal’ (‘Salary’).
*Translations for Ishguin are available on the band’s bandcamp.
Switzerland may be famous for many things but if I were to be so bold, in this moment, as far as I’m concerned, Fluffy Machine transcend it all. Though I’ve only seen the band once, I can say with certifiable gusto that if you can attend their set at MPF it will, comfortably and fluff-imbued, likely rank as one of the very best of the forthcoming three-day slog.
Confident, varied and captivating, Fluffy Machine issue and interchange a thunderous hybrid of jagged ’90s Skate Punk, jaunting Garage Punk, a light smattering of Post-Hardcore layering and whatever else catalyses and ultimately culminates in the “Fluffy Machine pizzazz”.
Energetic to the last, the cross-cutting appeal of this Punk-Rock fun time beckons you closer.
Another excellent addition to MPF’s effort to keep us plied with addictively melodious grit sees Germany’s Irish Handcuffs make the trip to Manchester for 2024. The three-piece are yet another choice cut when it comes to the emotive hole Banner Pilot left as much as they are an answer to the very best in gruff, melodic Punk-Rock dancing as near to or as far from “Pop-Punk” as is required. Not that it matters, really, as the band are yet another testament to the timeless brilliance of the classicist three-piece Punk band.
Throughout the band’s work to date, you’ll find more hooks and meandering guitar lines than you can count as they segue seamlessly between the tuneful, energetic grit of early Pop-Punk and the emotive, mood-soaked, low-ridden drive of relatability that would rule years later.
What more should I say? Here’s an earworm.
Though MPF is a haven of sorts for the established it is also one built on, with and for the proliferation of the ever-widening Punk-Rock music scene. 2024’s festival is no different and one of the many newcomers, in name at least rather than acumen, are Ikhras.
Though there is invariably more to this four-piece, much of what they purvey comes in two repeat action dual-barrels of anti-colonial shot. They are derived from both London and Brighton. Their catharsis is sung in both Arabic and English and finally, the audio ammunition they load such barrels with is comprised of breakneck, bar and hold obliterating tempo cut with heavy set, door sundering and abrasively groove-laden breakdowns.
The band are releasing their debut demo very soon via Quality Control HQ.
As it turns out, I’m not the only great “thing” to emanate from the Isle Of Wight. In fact, with a little derision, remove the word “great” and begin to forget about said “thing”. Then, cast your mind to Punk-Rock, remember that it’s Manchester Punk Festival very soon and start thinking about the band Grade 2.
Still with me?
Right, now, reintroduce the word “great”, then entirely forget the other “thing” and you have the forthcoming eventuality of the great band, Grade 2, from the Isle Of Wight, coming to Manchester Punk Festival 2024.
That was quite the adventure but not so in comparison to what the IOW three-piece have achieved in their time in the Punk music scene. From signing to Hellcat Records, touring with the likes of Death By Stereo in support and of course, playing with mainstays Rancid, the band’s touring history is as laden with accolades as it is sheer quantity. However, imperatively, through it all, Grade 2 have never gone about forgetting the DIY scene that birthed them.
Grade 2 wholly demolish the small-town paradigm. Here’s one for those down south.
DARKOare one of those bands whose impassioned contribution to the fast technical Punk scene is one boasting not only variety, growth, renown and gravitas befitting their effort but a conviction that renders any questions aimed toward such utterly superfluous. The band’s Punk is and always has been technical to its core, charged by intense expression and prone to firing considered retorts, purely derived from observation and set to durate for as long as is needed.
Riding a complex, dynamic, resolute and yet crucially malleable Melodic Hardcore bedrock, Darko dart across soaring Skate Punk as much as they do emotive and evocative Post-Hardcore, honouring their legacy as they hurtle forth with the new era that began with 2022’s genre-contortionist, Sparkle.
Greyscale is the next in this trilogy. Bear witness.
Now, if you excuse me, there are some names I don’t recognise on that line-up.