Mayhem & Mischief 3 - Jabez Clegg - 25th July
Murder On Four Oak / Graysons Hour / Your Last Memories plus guests

The fightback starts here. This is Year Zero. Gone are the memories of bloated Oasis tribute bands and people worshipping at Statues of Ian Brown. Manchester has finally stopped resting on it's laurels and now are a whole host of underground punk bands ripping the scene apart. That fact that Mayhem and Mischief is just one of 3 all day punk gigs on the same day, each of which will be near to capacity, shows just how vibrant the scene is up here.

First up are Graysons Hour. The sort of band who have enormous potential if placed under the right producer. Whereas last time we saw them as a full band they were fraught with sound problems from the outset, with the stripped down acoustic 3 piece its works so much better. The vocals can breathe and the melodies intricacies shine in this setting which brings a little MTV Unplugged to Manchester. Refreshingly M&M3's opening band is the only band of the day to feature a female member, let alone a female vocalist. With time this band will get the attention they deserve.

A band that only just formed a couple of months ago choose to showcase in front of a group of strangers - the DIY ethic in action and although Divine Intervention rip off every punk band under the sun, "Political Activist" steals the opening riff of the Pistols "God Save The Queen" wholesale, there's potential. The lyrics may be a tad naive on songs such as "Communist Society" and "Mandate For The Masses", but at least their hearts are in the right place.

Bratish punk poppers Monkfish offer nasal tales of girls, drunken debauchery and emo girls for good measure. Guaranteed to keep you smiling, as the band testify themselves by grinning throughout. At just four songs its a little too short, but "One More Drink I'm Gone" and "Emo Girl" are classics. On the other hand Voice Of An Instant come and do much the same as Monkfish only less memorable than a second rate version of Guttermouth.

Rochdale based four piece Your Last Memories sound like a pre-production Lost Prophets. Rough around the edges, raw, even a little amateur. Frontman looks like a better looking version of Seb from Home & Away with an emo mop top, infinitely better looking than he sounds but still it was good while it lasted. Your Last Memories sound amazing though in comparison to The Fractions who's passable blend of punk driven ska fronted by a 13 year old just grates within the first 30 seconds.

A band which may be called Forcemage Advocate, however we're not quite sure as we missed the name, play what they describe as prog metal. Touches of post-hardcore, huge riffs that bring blood to the dancefloor and pulverizing scatter-gun drums. The energy coming off stage and into the audience is the first real crowd highlight of the day, but whereas earlier bands had memorable tunes there's little to recall 5 minutes after the band have walked offstage. A classic live band, but we need more.

"This is what we fought, we fought to be free" - Murder On Four Oaks send a timely reminder to the belt buckle generation. The previous songs features "This is the church, This is the Steeple, open the doors and kill all the people", yet this isn't a goth band kick-starting a war against the jocks. This a band who dearly want to hold onto the rock scene they love, not the one that's about having the right haircut and T-shirt. Touches of psychedelic descending riffs, hints of Rival Schools in the vocalist's passionate cries. A passionate band to wake up the soulless generation!!!

There's not much that can follow Murder On Four Oaks, so Designer Magazine departs following Morning Pizza and Rinforzando. The former, a band so atrocious half the crowd deserts them. Whether ranting against scenesters or bitches ala Courtney Love & Brodie Dolle it's just unconvincing when faced with cliched sub-punk crap. Rinforzando seem strangely out of place on a punk bill and the crowd show their derision from the start. It's not that their bad, in fact they were one of the more polished bands of the day and herein lies their problem - maybe a band which leans more towards classic rock simply wasn't suited for the punk kids.

8 hours later and with 3 bands (Shadowlands / No Standards / Risen From Ashes) left to go we've had our fill and are staggering out onto Manchester's darkened streets. Roll on Mayhem and Mischief 4!!!

Alex McCann

For more info on Manchester Punk / Emo / Rock Bands
For other locals gigs

Post your reviews / comments on the Message Board