Live Review: Strummercamp Festival (Sunday), 27th May 2018, Oldham Rugby Union Club, Manchester, UK

  • Phinky posted
  • Reviews

Strummercamp Festival (Sunday)

Oldham Rugby Union Club, Manchester, UK - 27th May 2018

It’s the final day of Strummercamp and the sun is blazing down on Oldham, The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment kick things off with their own mix of punk, dub and strangeness, as usual their line up is fluid and it means I’m essentially seeing a different band than the last time I caught them. Brighton’s The Meantime Collective open the TNS Records stage and they build up the intensity of the dub and punk before launching into a set of ska infused hardcore that wakes up Strummercamp, and most of the surrounding area.

The Papashangos bring their punk rock mayhem to the afternoon, balloons are everywhere as is their singer, Lolly Shango, who is off the stage and running amok amongst the crowd like a man possessed. The Papashangos bring a hyperactive set of chaotic punk rock to Strummercamp, and I doubt there is any other band out there that could get a set of punks dressed up in ponchos. It’s back to the TNS Records stage for The Kirkz who are hammering out a set of socially conscious melodic hardcore, their anthemic and brutal set keeps the momentum that was built up by the opening trio of acts going.

The incredible start to the final day continues as the temperatures sky rocket and Matilda’s Scoundrels take to the main stage for a set of rousing raging folk punk that is just made for festival afternoons like this, one that results in a row boat that spans the length of the main stage tent. There’s just time for a break for a beer and an unexpectedly good pizza before hitting the Shangri La! tent for Werbeniuk, a band that utilise anything for percussive effect, up to and including a hospital bed pan, to deliver a post punk new wave set of strangeness that’s in contrast to this afternoons sets over on the two main stages.

Roughneck Riot make their appearance ahead of the planned sabattical, with a set of folk punk that straddles the two genres perfectly, meanwhile Thick Richard is delivering his own brand of rapid fire unrestrained spoken word bile over on the Shangri La! stage. The last band to grace the TNS Records stage is Bandits, they bring their infectious, intense and inclusive ska core into the line up before Straighten Out channel the spirit of the original line up from the men in black, one that is so accurate it gave my photographer a flashback to watching them in a field back in 1978.

A return to Shangri La! sees Uke Punk tearing it up with a unique ukulele inspired set of DIY punk rock that avoids slipping into the trap that every Uke cantered punk band, and there’s more than you’d think, falls into. We head over to catch Eliza P And The Disco Misfits delivering the finest tribute to The Clash of the weekend with a stunning version of White Man in Hammersmith Palais, that is followed by songs that cover everything from the undead to racism and animal rights, that is all delivered with a northern laidback charm that encompasses ska, punk and rock ‘n roll with a b movie sheen, before the The Urban Voodoo Machine shake things up with penultimate set of the weekend.

The Urban Voodoo Machine bring a touch of bourbon soaked rock ‘n roll to Strummercamp, the seven strong line up bring a twisted version of the spirit of New Orleans into the closing hours of Strummercamp. An unexpected downpour at the tail end of the festival sees everyone crammed together into the main stage tent, something which adds to the atmosphere and as unlikely as it seems the rain, which normally kills the atmosphere at an outdoor festival, brings everyone together for the final two bands of the festival.

Finally The Members close Strummercamp for another year, it’s fitting that a band that was formed In punks year zero and who embody much of the clash’s ethos close the weekend, songs like Offshore Banking Business and Solitary Confinement are as relevant as ever and The Sound Of The Suburbs is a classic single from that era that sounds as good as ever, tonight’s rendition of their best known song sees them joined onstage by the whole of The Urban Voodoo Machine. The Members have delivered a set that has brought a warm and welcoming weekend in North Manchester to a close.

What has struck me about Strummercamp is the friendliness and the positive atmosphere that pervades the festival, the all ages family friendly event occupies a unique niche in the UK’s festival circuit and after this weekend I’ll be back next year. Strummercamp is not your average punk festival, the variety of acts and the open and friendly attitude of every single attendee I met over the long (mainly) sunny weekend has won me over and unless grass roots festivals like Strummercamp are supported we’ll be in danger of losing them, so hopefully I’ll see you there next year.

The Strummercamp festival website is here

The TNS Records website can be found here

The Shangi La! website is located here

Live photography is by Gary Hough, his Instagram account is located here and you can click on any of Gary’s photos to view a slide show of the images