Gig Guide: Bands You Need To See In July

My top tips for bands and festivals to catch across the UK in July. Get ready to party.

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July is nearly upon us! I’m still in the recovering from the heap of punk madness that was June, but there’s plenty more to look forward to.

Here are my recommendations for getting sweaty, bruised and happy in July:

WONKFEST 5: THE OMEN

  • Where: The Dome, Tuffnell Park
  • When: Saturday 1st July
  • Who: The whole extended Wonkfam
  • Tickets: £22 for 12hrs of mayhem from here

This is the fifth annual celebration of the best in UK punk, hosted by the infamous kings of the London DIY mafia, Wonk Unit. This cracking event is an opportunity to unite the whole extended ‘Wonkfam’ in one big, raucous cuddle of good times.

The day showcases 25 bands racing through 20-minute sets with minimal breaks, and a lot of running up and down the stairs between stages at The Dome. This is the perfect set up, although it does mean that if you stop for a piss, a cigarette or a trip to the BBQ you may find yourself missing a band. It goes without saying that you’ll want to watch Pizzatramp, Great Cynics, The Murderburgers and, er, Wonk Unit, etc. For something slightly less obvious, I’d recommend catching Nova Twins (holy hell they’re good), Calva Louise, and Aerial Salad.  Simon Wells, famed for being a founding member of Snuff and the lead in Mod-punks Southport, has also chosen Wonkfest as the release party for his solo album Crime of the Scene, promising to be a bit lighter and thoroughly entertaining.

Attendees are encouraged to bring food bank contributions (women’s sanitary products requested this year). In exchange you will have access to the incomparable Wonk Buffet. There’s nothing like stuffing a vegan scotch egg in your face while watching Pizzatramp throw a giant inflatable dinosaur around, I’ll tell you that. Honestly, I would go for Wonkfest just for the buffet – fuck the bands, hand me a samosa.

Matilda’s Scoundrels will be opening up at midday, so grab yourself some mid-morning train beers and get yourself down early.

Here’s a taste of last year’s madness:

If that’s not enough for you, there is also a Pre-Wonkfest show at The Black Heart in Camden on Friday 30th June, featuring Spoilers, Ming City Rockers, The Decline, Billy Liar, The Dub Righters and Angry Sometimes. So, if you can handle 12 hours of punk on a hangover, get yourself down to that too.

 

Medictation

Not heard of Medictation yet? Don’t feel bad: they’re big news but they’ve been somewhat under the radar. If I have one recommendation for your July live music plans, it’s this one.

Somewhere between Sunderland and Montreal, members of gruff legends Leatherface and The Sainte Catherines created a beautiful melodic union in the form of Medictation. From Leatherface they gained Graeme Philliskirk and guitarist Dickie Hammond, who sadly passed away in 2015, meaning that their post-humously released album Warm Places is one of his final works.

Warm Places was also one of the best records released in 2016; it’s invigorating, melodic and comfortingly familiar – a real achievement for a band straddling a Trans-Atlantic divide. This is effectively a one-off opportunity to see Medication playing it live. They’re doing a single UK tour with Bear Trade’s Greg Robson on guitar, and Spoilers as tour supports. Do not miss this, you  may not get another chance.

 

The Smith Street Band

The Smithies are once again returning to our blessed shores, for a whole host of dates across the country in June and July. They are celebrating the release of their fourth album More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, which they’ve already toured fairly heavily round Australia, America and mainland Europe. They’ll be delivering beautifully crafted tunes and heart-on-your-sleeve shoutalong choruses with their usual abandon.

I’m still reeling from that one time at the Fighting Cocks when, singer, Will Wagner’s sweat dripped on my face (I’ve still not washed…) and I’m damn keen to relive it, so I can’t resist going to both their Norwich and London dates. Much to everyone’s delight, they’re bringing The Bennies – undoubtedly Australia’s best party punk export – and Great Cynics spin-off heroes Shit Present along for the ride. I literally cannot think of a better line up. If I can still feel my own face by the end of this, I’ll be very surprised.

 

Level Up Festival

On top of all that, Level Up Festival is taking place at The New Cross Inn in South London, from July 21st – 23rd. It’s a stomping three-day ska punk extravaganza, pulled together by a trio of promotional heavy weights – Be Sharp (London), Fishlock (Bristol) and El Topo (Belgium).

The headliners are The Filaments, King Prawn and Big D & The Kids Table. Other notable highlights include anti-fash masters Atterkop, London lovelies Popes of Chillitown and my personal favourites, The JB Conspiracy. Colin Clark has done a smashing preview article over at Colin’s Punk Rock World that I recommend checking out. Tickets are £40 for the weekend, £10-15 for day tickets.

 

If that’s not enough for you…

  • PUP are playing an unbelievable free, first-come-first-served show in everyone’s favourite tiny London venue, The Old Blue Last, on July 1st
  • Ducking Punches are at The Waterfront in Norwich on July 2nd, plus Brighton lovelies River Jumpers and Harker
  • Martha are touring with Joyce Manor from July 4th – 14th, including shows in London, Oxford, Brighton, Bristol, etc.
  • Manchester has an awesome Evil Hoof Picnic all-dayer at Gullivers on July 8th, featuring Vanilla Pod, Pizzatramp, Riggots, Werecats, Nosebleed and Incisions
  • The Wonder Years are playing the Kingston Hippodrome on July 9th with Muncie Girls and The Dirty Nil
  • There’s a cracking all dayer at The New Cross Inn on July 16th, featuring The Overjoyed, Burnt Tapes, Eat Defeat, Resuscitators, Fastfade, Triple Sundae, plus quite a few more….
  • If you’re in Ipswich then you can catch a pretty similar lineup at The Steamboat on July 15th without the need to get lost in South London – The Overjoyed, Burnt Tapes, Dogtown Rebels and Paper Champ (and more) are raising money for MIND.

Take it easy, kids. I’ll see you down the front.

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