This year I have FINALLY had the honour of helping out at Manchester Punk Festival! Stupid COVID has delayed that joy too many times, but it’s finally a reality
I took the train over with two of my favourite people in the world: Jen and Tim.
Me and Jen are running the Bread Shed stage, so the first few hours involved bouncing around to collect flyers and wristbands and paperwork and all those sort of things. We also managed to eat the best vegan creme egg brownie I’ve ever seen. Indescribable.
Eventually, gloriously, it was time for the music to begin…
WACO have the most positive front person I’ve met in years! They’re full of cheerful energy and some kind of 70s Lycra rock enthusiasm, nearly delivered with their solid punk rock chops. Lovely stuff!
Next up were Brutalligators, who have the kind of emo-infused melodic punk vibes I can gobble up all day. Think Eat Defeat with some Get Up Kids stirred in. Important messages about consent and abandoning “heroes” that don’t stand up to scrutiny. Absolutely brilliant.
Menstrual Cramps win the prize for most orange band, with shirts, headbands, trainers, eye shadow absolutely setting the scene. They pulled a huge crowd, shouting along with their cries to “Cull A Tory!”.
Straight up punk, with a hard hitting message of anti-conformity, it’s giving bands like this a platform that makes MPF such a pinnacle of the UK (and the world’s) scene. #nomeansno
After a three year pause, it was exciting to welcome Throwing Stuff back to gigging. Up at the hardcore end of the spectrum, there’s passion, anger, snarled gang vocals and guitar tones scuzzy enough to grate cheese on. Your grandmother would love ’em.
The crowd was boisterous but totally genial, but that didn’t stop one overzealous security guard pausing the show because some people were jumping up and down. Weird. To be honest the band were more agitated than the crowd. A pleasure to watch!
I gave an introduction to Californian visitors Decent Criminal and then scarpered to eat an almost dangerous amount of pizza at my favourite dive pizza joint Babylon.
En route to our final band of the evening we ran into the lovely Colin and Emma from Colin’s Punk Rock World. I put them on the spot for my impromptu WSP MPF Podcast special. Colin loves it when I do that!
Eventually we crammed into Gorilla for a sweat-soaked hour of trombone festooned punk rock poured from the generous arms of Random Hand.
The crowd was rambunctious to the point of riot; dancing had to take a second seat to simply staying upright. Still, there were all the hits you could have wanted. I’m still singing “wo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooooh, it’s Anger Management!” on the train home.
A great day, and me and Matt even caught the twenty past 10 train home! Roll on day two!