Time to slow things down a bit and get a bit more emotional! When “emo” didn’t seem to involve guys applying eye liner – that was left to the glam metallers of the time. Uniforms weren’t the uniform of choice and haircuts seemed that much more conservative and functional.

The last time I saw The Get Up Kids on a stage was 21 years ago at the Star and Garter in Manchester when the stage was at the other end of the room (for those who’ve actually attended a show at the infamous venue). Illinois band Braid and Stoke’s best emo export Spy Versus Spy opened proceedings.

Come to think of it the turn of the century was probably the last time I listed to the Kansas City band meaningfully. Over the years I’ve probably had tracks from the Woodson EP or their Four Minute Mile or Something to Write Home About albums pop up on shuffle, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and pressed play on the CD player for any of their releases in a very long time.

Until I saw the band crop up on the Slam Dunk line up I didn’t even realise they were still a going concern. Their latest album Problems surfaced earlier this month with Pryor, Suptic and the Pope brothers still involved and they were probably up on that rickety Manchester stage more than two decades ago as twenty somethings on their debut European jaunt.

I was quite surprised to see how often they’ve been over here since I last saw them too. It’ll be interesting to see how the old stuff mixes with the newer tracks which are not quite as angst ridden and that bit more poppier.

I’m really looking forward to their 40 minutes on the Dickies stage and it looks like I’ll get to see the whole of their set and still be able to catch the opening 20 minutes of Millencolin too. These clashes are killing me! I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for their next headlining dates over here.


Sans Chorus

Opening up what might as well be called Notts Fest on Saturday is The Blueprint. The post hardcore band formed in 2000 and are still a going concern today, even though their only album surfaced in 2004.

It looks like several guys on Saturday will be pulling double duties on the Rock City stage as earthtone9 frontman Karl Middleton also fronts The Blueprint. Originally they also featured Pitchshifter’s Mark Clayden on bass. Maybe a guest appearance is in the pipeline?

I had a sneaky suspicion that I’d seen the band in the past, but I’m very much doubting that now. I’m certain that their only album Phenomenology and I haven’t crossed paths, even though it was on Golf Records and they were another fanzine friendly label at the time. I also assumed that my time driving local band Spy Versus Spy around was at a similar time and as they both appealed to the same fan base and something might have aligned, but the Stoke band split in 2001 so that doesn’t fit with my own time line. I also got them mixed up Bluetip from Washington DC, who I have seen live.

Sans Chorus was released on the 2003 E.P. Ecliptic released through Corpro Records, so something else that might have dropped through my letter box but is unfamiliar.


It took me a while to pick up on Southampton’s Creeper, even though I was seeing glowing reviews everywhere concerning the band. When I finally did I wondered why I took so long. Live and learn.

My 14 year old nephew has been into AC/DC and Iron Maiden for a few years now, and apparently it’s all my fault! Then seemingly out of the blue he started banging on about Panic! At the Disco, Green Day and My Chemical Romance and it was a kind of parenting thing done right moment.

I’ve suggested other bands of a similar ilk to him that I listened to when I was younger. Some of them got a bit of a lukewarm reception from him (including The Offspring’s Smash album), but others he lapped up. I even tried to push him along the thrash metal route and I believe he was quite liking Overkill.

His response to listening to Suffocation was still one of the funniest moments this year. I was at their Leeds gig and chatting to him on messenger. He asked who I was seeing and he checked them out on Spotify. His response minutes later was “what the bloody hell was that”. A work in progress there then? A few moths later he mentioned he had been listening to Aborted, he wanted something fast and aggressive to play some zombie shoot ‘em up game to. You couldn’t make it up.

I was recommending Creeper to him and he was a bit so so over them. I sent him links to sone songs by AFI and he enjoyed that which surprised me that he didn’t like both. I have a feeling his attention span is still a bit on the short side and if he’s not liking something in the first 37 seconds he won’t persist with it. Something else to work on. At a similar time the intimate Creeper show in Stoke, the third of three festival warm up gigs, was announced and I instantly purchased two tickets and told him he’s going.

After several false dawns tonight should (he still has time to over think things and talk himself out of it) be his very first gig and a year younger than I, but I had no cool siblings or uncles to take me anywhere. Last year he had a ticket for Iron Maiden in Liverpool but wasn’t over enamoured about standing up for several hours. Twelve months later he was pretty stoked to attend Bloodstock the other weekend to see Judas Priest, but on that occasion I thought 12 hours in a field, with a threat of rain and a lack of 4g wouldn’t have been enjoyable or his debut gig.

He’s been re-listening to Eternity, In Your Arms lately and I believe he’s been appreciating it much more. I also sent him a link for the track Melanie by support band Miss Vincent and I received an immediate positive response, which was pleasing to see.

It’s going to be fun (I think) taking him to his first gig and hopefully sharing his excitement. But I fear it will be expensive. I think he has the merchandising bug like his uncle and if he enjoys the live surroundings I think I’ll be tagging along to more of his shows. As Panic! are current his favourite band and they play the Reading and Leeds festival this weekend I’m expecting them to announce UK dates imminently and no doubt it’ll be me chaperoning him.

With this show I doubt he’d get another chance to see Creeper in such an intimate venue in the future and especially not in the Potteries anytime soon. It kind of mirrors some of my first few shows and I’m thankful I got to see W.A.S.P. and Iron Maiden in a local venue, the last time both bands played the city.


Miss Vincent from Southampton are the last of tonight’s support bands and on the first play of Melanie (the first track that popped up on a YouTube search) I instantly thought of Alkaline Trio and The Gaslight Anthem. Upon listening to the Something Else EP there’s nothing to really make me change my opinions, but I’m not complaining.

When I was more into the pop punk and melodic hardcore scene many moons ago I can’t recall any one with a more emo punk mix like Miss Vincent have. Everyone seemed to want to be a Fat Wreck Chords or Lookout future artist.

I’m liking what I’m hearing from Miss Vincent and I’m thankful to my nephew’s enthusiasm of bands like Panic! At the Disco and Green Day for introducing me to a band like this.

In reality for me they’re 15 – 20 years too late to maybe fully embrace. They would have been perfect on a bill with the likes of Skimmer, Imbalance, China Drum and Spy Vs Spy in the Dutches in Leeds or Leicester’s Princess Charlotte. I’ve also been giving some long forgotten bands a spin in recent months too. It’s been nice listening to Game Face, Samiam, Shades Apart and Sparkmaker after been relegated to a CD black hole.

I doubt I’d make a long trek to London, Brighton or Boston (Lincolnshire rather than Massachusetts) to see them live like I would have done in the mists of time, but I’m really looking forward to seeing them later and will definitely be checking them out when they are in the local vicinity.

Thorn In My Side

Back up to Manchester tomorrow to catch Quicksand, the post hardcore band with the impressive CV and a band I’ve been in awe of for more than two decades since I was first exposed to Omission on their self titled debut 7″ from 1990. Even though Quicksand and Broken Teeth albums would be found in the hardcore section at your local record shop, they won’t be anywhere as near as aggressive as last nights fare, but they’ll be just as intense none the less.

Ex members of bands live Gorilla Biscuits, Bold, Burn and Collapse will provide the soundtrack at my penultimate visit to the cities Sound Control venue (but more about its demise when I visit for the last time next month).

As far as I’m aware I have a 100% attendance for Quicksand Manchester shows as I believe this is only their third time here. My first encounter was in April 1995 immediately before The Offspring took to the stage at the Academy just down the road. I saw that tour twice and I was in Nottingham a couple of days beforehand. I was in two minds about going to their show in Nottingham tonight and I could say the same about that city too, but I’ve been a bit under the weather this afternoon.

My second Quicksand in Manchester show was a mere two months later when they played the now defunct Boardwalk with Stanford Prison Experiment in tow. That was the only time I visited that venue and I’m not quite sure where it was situated. I’m thinking it was in the Deansgate area near to Rebellion.

It would be a short nineteen years until I got to see them live again. I missed their Reading and Leeds Festival appearances in 2013 so it had to wait until Download the year after. I ventured down to London for their “warm up” show the night before at the Electric Ballroom, mainly because I knew I’d get a much longer set in London. They were on pretty early on the Friday at Download and I got into the tent they were playing only a few minutes before they took to the stage. I’m glad I didn’t miss them as I was only there for the day and there wasn’t much else on to keep me sated.

In the intervening three years their third album Interiors surfaced a few week ago after a 22 year wait. It hasn’t felt as instantly accessible as Slip or Manic Compression, but in the time I’ve had it, the album has received multiple plays and it’s growing on me now. I’m pretty sure I can find 40 minutes spare tomorrow to have another run through it.

Last month when Metallica played Manchester they performed a snippet of an Oasis track to placate the locals. I’m not a fan of The Smiths by any stretch of the imagination, but the band covered How Soon Is Now on their debut album and I have a sneaky feeling they’ll blow the cobwebs off it and give it an airing tomorrow. Then again I could be completely wrong.

For your aural and visual perusal today is the quirky Thorn In My Side from their sophomore release Manic Compression. A highly influential band in their time and a very underrated band at the same time (if that’s possible?). The biggest bulk of their back catalogue is very heavy in emotion so it’s good to see they can have a fun too. I’m also intrigued to see how the new songs sit live with the anthems that the undoubtedly mainly older contingent in the crowd are there to hear again.


I discovered a gig for Wednesday night that would’ve been perfect to go to. American band Touché Amoré are currently on a U.K. tour as I type. I’m not overly familiar with the Los Angeles band, but the support band is another story. 

Not to be confused with the Dortmund speed metal band, the melodic hardcore band Angel Du$t from Baltimore are in tow and I’m yet to see them live. I stumbled on their debut album A.D. a few years ago and got hooked on this hardcore supergroup. The band features members from Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile to list two. 

Within two years their sophomore release, Rock the F**k on Forever, saw the light of day. I’ve had a few plays of it through Spotify and really enjoyed it. Thirteen tracks, 21 minutes of aggressive and yet melodic hardcore in a very 90’s retro Revelation Records kind of vein. 

I pretty much discovered yesterday that they are playing in Birmingham on Wednesday evening. As they’re the support act I can jump on a train and not have to worry about getting home at stupid o’clock Thursday morning. I’d noticed they’ve previously played Manchester and Bristol – which both sold out before the event. 

When I finished work today I thought I’d check the venue’s ticket site and snag a ticket, but alas they’re unavailable, so I’m assuming it’s another sell out (or they’ve now been taken off sale and available on the door. Wishful thinking I fear). 

This is one of the many things that annoys me at times with social media and it’s seemingly random way of passing on information. I have a wide variety of artist in my iTunes library, so for me, following a Facebook page for every active band at this moment in time would be nigh on impossible to follow and keep up with. So on that basis I follow a lot of venues and promoters. I’d have to assume that the Birmingham venue has promoted it sufficiently, but with me not seeing it until the eve of the gig has to be down with social medias weird notification restrictions. Why it can’t be shown to each and every follower rather than a random selection is beyond my comprehension. 

Having said that though, I recently spent two days inside the same venue and saw nothing inside promoting the show, so maybe someone in their online PR team was lazy? 

Maybe tomorrow evening I’ll be seeing Headstone from that tricky second album live tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath. I fear they’re going to be one of those bands that will elude me forever. They’ve not played too often on these shores, and the only other time I could have seen them live was in Leeds when they were on the Ghostfest ’15 line up, but they hit the stage too early in the day and I had to work before I headed north. 

On A Rope

Tomorrow I should have been heading up to Manchester to catch  San Diegans Rocket From The Crypt play for the first time since 1996. Twenty long years and now still waiting.

Unfortunately this weekends ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) festival was scrapped less than seven days beforehand. Officially it’s down to costs and a lack of advance ticket sales. Reading between the lines the promoter appears to be a bit on the unscrupulous side and it appears to be a regular thing with the guy.

I did have a ticket for their show at Manchester’s Gorilla venue a few years back, but with a combination of stupidly early wake up calls for work and feeling under the weather I didn’t go. In recent years their trips here haven’t been exactly prolific so not going was a huge regret.

This cancellation is becoming quite a trend here for UK festivals. Those that do go ahead suffer from real abject turn outs and lose so much money and never make it the following year (F.O.A.D., ‘Kin Hell Fest, Hevy and Ghostfest are a few recent examples).

Or they just appear to be competing for the same spare £150 that other major festivals are. There has been no Sonisphere Festival here since 2011, apparently due to them “not being able to deliver the quality headline acts that we deserve”. It has gone on religiously on mainland Europe every year, but not here.

Sometimes it feels like there is a two or three day festival somewhere in the country every weekend during the summer, but compared to some European festivals we do seem extremely over priced. As an example, Into The Grave festival in Leeuwarden,Holland, is a one stage two day event. Headlined by Slayer on Friday and Kreator on Saturday. For both days €55 (about £44) a ticket to see eight or nine quality bands on the Saturday it’s a measly €15! A day ticket for our biggest festivals here, Download and Reading, are £80+. I think Bloodstock for a day is around the £50 mark.

I think UK festivals need to concentrate on quality over quantity. Give me the days of the old Monsters of Rock events. One stage and eight or nine bands. You get to see every minute from every band if that’s what you want to do and no hikes between five stages to glimpse a few minutes of other bands. Oh, and keep the cost reasonable. Football fans have complained about excessive pricing structures lately and received a partial victory, but music fans appear to accept the ticketing prices and extortionate fees added on top.

And relax.

On A Rope is taken from the bands stunning Scream, Dracula, Scream! album from 1995. This song has been their highest UK singles chart entry to date, peaking at number 12. I can’t find a YouTube link to the proper, all singing and all dancing official video, so see how this Daily Motion link works.