Back for its third year, the sold-out Manchester Punk Festival 2018 is coming back bigger and better than ever 19-21 April.

Brought to you by TNSRecords, Anarchistic Undertones, and Moving North, Manchester Punk Festival is a volunteer-run, multi-venue punk rock festival held in Manchester city centre. Here are nine acts out of the whopping almost 100 over the three days that you should not miss.

1. No Matter
(Thursday 19th April, 19:00-19:30 @ Rebellion)
Heavily influenced by 90s punk, No Matter are a fast paced male/female fronted pop punk band from Northern Ireland offering high energy and infectious hooks. Their debut album
Ill Advised has drawn great critical praise from the world over, and they seem to be making a well-earned name for themselves.

2. Fresh
(Thursday 19th April, 21:40 – 22:10 @ Rebellion)
Kathryn Woods formed Fresh in 2015, with additions George Philips and Dan Goldberg the year after, and spruced up the world of pop-punk we seem to live in today. Instead of mid-twenties dudes whine-singing about some girl who didn’t like them back in high school, Fresh intertwine lo-fi acoustic and brash punk to sing about real world problems like dealing with sexuality and religion in a closed-minded environment. Take notes, boys: lyrics notwithstanding, these songs are touching new mediums and making us feel new things.

3. Dream Nails
 (Friday 20th April, 16:25 – 16:55 @ The Bread Shed)
London DIY feminist punk witches (who won ours hearts when they opened for Cherry Glazerr last May) have had a busy year – not just of musical releases (which include double side “Vagina Police / Fascism is Coming (Get Out of Bed)” and EP “Dare to Care”) but writing and publications as well, with content handling reproductive justice and a “girls to the front” mentality. With a sound that could bring storms down onto any crowd, and greatly rowdy live shows, Dream Nails are something you’re gonna want to see.

4. Witch Fever
(Friday 20th April, 20:00 – 20:30 @ Zombie)
Honest and angry, raw and in-your-face, Witch Fever are the best kind of post-grrrl riot you could ask for. Grungy riffs drive their powerful songs forward, and savage vocals layered over a pulsating beat all mix for an infectious sound. Though their only release single to date is the raw frenzy of “Carpet Asphyxiation,” it’s enough to prove their prowess in the scene and promise a riotous good time. (Just prior to publication of this preview, they also released a dizzying teaser for “Toothless,” out the day before their performance, only ripening our taste for their upcoming live show.)

5. The Spook School
(Friday 20th April, 21:40 – 22:15 @ Zombie)
Glaswegian noise-pop/indie-punk aficionados The Spook School formed in 2012, and have released three critically-acclaimed full-length records since then. Writing about the eradication of the imaginary gender binary that plagues us, self-assurance and the anxieties that follow it, the celebration of queer and trans identities, they are vigorously aware of their own individuality, and know exactly how to celebrate it. Their power-pop tang alongside their cheery stage presence, the same demeanor that underlies the heavy topics they sing about.

6. The Baby Seals
(Saturday 21st April, 14:45 – 15:15 @ Rebellion)
The punk, or rather “empowerpop,” trio hailing from Cambridge known as The Baby Seals sing celebratory anthems on topics that range from equal gender pay, the reclamation of masturbation, and the beauty of body hair (na na na nipple hair!). Not only do they sound a massively good time, with rolling surf-style guitars and thumping drumlines oozing with danceable potential in much the form of 80’s power pop anthem, they preach women’s empowerment, which is something we all need a little more of these days, especially in punk.

7. Happy Accidents
(Saturday 21st April, 15:35 – 16:05 @ Rebellion)
Happy Accidents are a DIY noisy indie pop trio out of London delivering introspective lyrics and massively, infectiously catchy hooks and builds. They’ve recently expanded their skill into sophomore album Everything but the Here and Now with a lush mix of starry-eyed and fresh ephemerality, but with intimacy interrupted by the fuzzy indie-punk of sharp cymbals and glittering guitar riffs.

8. Crumbs
(Saturday 21st April, 17:00 – 17:30 @ The Bread Shed)
Soaked in post-punk and fuzzy lo-fi production, Leeds-local band Crumbs oft sing of “the art of coping with not coping,” and are self-declared fond of pets and puns. Short, catchy songs are their calling card, tinged with cowbell, energetically angular vocals and springy basslines.

9. The Tuts
(Saturday 21st April, 21:00 – 22:00 @ Rebellion)
The Tuts, an all-female, feminist, DIY three-tone trio (with members proudly of Caribbean, English, and Indian/Pakistani origin), are taking the punk music scene by storm, specifically on the topic of inclusivity. Having entirely crowdfunded their last album (within five days of the launch date to boot), they’re proving through engagement with fans, admirable principles, and powerful songwriting, that DIY works. With excitingly upbeat jams between the grungy growls and the power pop anthems and the indie guitar screams, The Tuts are always a good (and an empowering) good time.

By: Francesca Tirpak

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