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Coming from the wrong end of Wales (them, not me 😉 ), and being slightly before my time (that’s saying something!), this was a first opportunity for me to catch a veritable legend of anarcho-punk in Icons of Filth. Their relatively short periods of existence off and on from the late 70’s had perhaps preserved the esteem they were held in for the seriously politically motivated bite that they delivered back then. 
Sadly robbed of their iconic frontman Stig by his untimely demise they now have a new guy in, but largely I’m all about tasting the proof in the first hand pudding, so off to Manchester it is…

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The leafy suburbs of Levenshulme as it turned out, to discover the Klondyke Club.  With open grounds and picnic tables full of punks, this social club had a great vibe especially as it was an excellent turnout right from the start.  Feral Existence from Sheffield had just started up when we arrived, a three piece charging along with some really driving dirty hardcore, reminded me of Endless Grinning Skulls a bit.  They seem good humoured between the harshness of their set, a nice steady onslaught of an opener.  Next up locals Vitriolic Response (above) who I haven’t caught for at least a couple of years.  They may well have just shifted up to two guitars at that point but now they have definitely expanded their sound from the crusty punch they still pack, to more progressive and emotive structures, and this sounds great.  Someone asked me if they had an album out, I ask too! Get on with it.

Not so long since I’ve seen Burning Flag (below) but they remain a groovy joy every time, d-beat blues seems an apt description.  Ang is a powerhouse vocalist but it’s the incisive lyric hooks and backing vocal boosts that really give some excellent dynamics to their songs.  Their forthcoming second album is definitely looked forward to…  On vinyl hopefully!

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Warwound (above) amp up the intensity all the more, with a ferocious fast d-beat hardcore attack.  Bundles of old school experience in the band and this reformed version has had the time now to shape up into a fearsome rampaging beast.  Rat’s spat vocals are impassioned and Ian on bass is full of infectious energy.  Their new and timely album “Burning the Blindfolds of Bigots” captures this really well, check it out.  Finally Icons (top) to finish, with a relentless undercurrent beat that the like of Cress do so well too (although this is live, not machine!), pummeling us while the insistent lyric messages are hammered home.   It still retains a stripped down old school simplicity at times, and also a some real grooves and lead guitar rock-outs but the spirit and intent is straight up anarcho.
Ably helped up to date with a live mixed projected back drop, which is hypnotising and cleverly done mixing reality horror and humour.  They do play a long set and I’m flagging at the end but it’s still a pleasure and reassurance that they’ve got positive power in their hands and it’s a good inspiration.

A top notch collection of bands, in a great location.  Manchester punk is strong and maybe be even getting more so,  I’ll be back to savour more soon!