Words by Emma Nay

One of the great things about this year’s Punk Festival line-up is that it looked to the future of the punk genre, resisting the urge to only book the crustiest 80s punk bands. In many cases, this meant the young, aspiring and energetic. One example of this is Apologies, I Have None, a four-piece band from London who were the perfect combination of cheeky and talented. They regularly engaged with the crowd which helped to dissolve the surly vibe associated with punk festivals. The band also dealt with heckles with a wit and venom that’s also reflected in their lyrics.

Second among the youthful group of bands were The Flatliners. Although it would be a bit wishful to describe them as hardcore punk band, the Canadian group were one of the festival’s headlining acts and a good melodic interlude between some of the more intense groups playing this year. The crowd responded well and there seemed to be quite a few die-hard fans in the mix.

Now, onto a more established group that performed this year, Citizen Fish, possibly one of the only bands to get the crowd to break Sound Control’s strict “no moshing” rule. The ska punk din led to a sweaty, shirtless pack in front of the stage. The band played with the professionalism and soul that one would expect from such an enduring group. A few of the other noteworthy bands over the long weekend were Wonk Unit, Gnarwolves and Oi Polloi.

There were some really outstanding bands that preformed this year in some of the most intimate venues in Manchester. My only qualm would be with the placated audience. I’m not sure if our little punks were at a loss without being able to mosh and had to resort to keeping their hands in their pockets. Or maybe it was the fact that the majority of the crowd was more than halfway to retirement. Either way, next year I’m sure there will be more stunning bands – and hopefully fewer dentists in leather jackets.

Manchester Punk Festival 2016 took place from 21-23 April at Sound Control, The Thirsty Scholar, Zombie Shack and Retro Bar.

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