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Makky Still Likes To Waffle

Reviews and more on film, music and TV

My Own Depression and Relationship With Music

Warning: this does get deep, very personal and speaks about depression and suicidal thoughts.

Recently my friend Sarah over at Shout Louder posted an article about depression and why she goes to gigs so much, more as an answer to the people that ask about her why she frequently travels to see so many bands. I found the article scarily relatable and you can read said article here.

It got me thinking about my own relationship with depression, going to shows and the path that I’m on now. I realise as I write this that this isn’t exactly to copy you, Sarah, this is purely to unload on some of my own similar thoughts.

I go to gigs as my real outlet in life, I’ve pushed myself towards exhaustion to see bands, I’ve put myself into debt to see bands, and I know to some people, the number of times I’ve been to gigs is just crazy. It became a joke to people used to work with “how many bands this week?”. I calculated recently that I’ve seen almost 700 different bands and almost 1500 different live performances in just over a decade. More than your average gig-goer for sure.

In 2011 I once left my house at 8am, travelled 71 miles to Slam Dunk Festival, spent at least 10 hours there seeing bands before travelling back. I then showered and went to work from 3am until 11am having not slept. I then slept for maybe 4 hours and went to see my mates play a battle of bands competition an hour from home. I got home at 1am, having to be up at 6am for work the next day. It’s not healthy behaviour at all. I know that.

This isn’t to boast at how hardcore I was, this is to show that I agree that I’ve done silly things and pushed myself to limits to see bands I love and support live music. Why do I do it to myself? Quite frankly it’s my only true release in life, my only moments of pure happiness are when I see some of my favourite songs played live, at least in the time that I’ve been going to gigs. Nothing else has ever come close.

At the time I didn’t realise I was depressed, maybe I did and didn’t want to admit it, I don’t know or sure. But I kept those feelings to myself, my life became earphones in, volume up, ignore the world. Then I would express myself at gigs. Between 2007 to 2011 I basically worked full time so that I could afford to go to gigs, that was the only thing I lived for. It’s where every pay packet went. Give It A Name Festival, Taste of Chaos Tours, Downloads, every year without fail as well as other tours, because “I must see that band”.

I’ll take you back to a few months before that Slam Dunk Festival story. I wanted to kill myself. I came very close to just jumping off a bridge and ending my life. I spent the entire day repeating the album ‘What Separates Me From You’ by A Day To Remember. At first all the shitty thoughts came pouring out and I related to all the negative lyricism, one line in particular “My friends don’t give a fuck” stuck in my head for hours as I stared out to sea. At that point in time that was exactly how I felt. I was alone and nobody truly cared. Yet at the same time, the album felt very uplifting. That you can fight through those negative thoughts and get on with your life. At least that’s what I took from it.

I don’t flaunt my depression, but I don’t hide from it either. At least not now. When I was at my worst, I had friends but I felt as if I was alone because I didn’t tell people how I felt. And when it came out that I was suffering from depression I got the exact two responses I was expecting; those who were supportive, and those who thought I was attention seeking and faking it. Some to this day still think just that, and people still wonder why the topic of depression is taboo and hard for people to talk about.

Turning this back towards music, and towards Sarah’s message of knowing she is mortal, that’s how I felt. I knew at that point I could have killed myself, my life could have been over, but it wasn’t and it was music that got me through it, not people. I trusted music more than anything, it doesn’t let me down like plenty of things in life do. And I felt like I owed it to myself and to music to see as much of it and support it as I can. I needed to be as much involved with it as I can because none of us knows when our time will be up and we should keep doing the things we love.

Now I’m not saying people haven’t helped me since. I’ve been lucky to have the support I have from friends and family to get past those darker times.  Mum if you do read this, you are an absolute rock and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have ever done for me.

I’m lucky to have gotten to know people in the various punk, metal and hardcore scenes over the last decade of going to shows on a fairly regular basis. In the last few years, in particular, since becoming a music journalist I’ve gotten to know and become friends with some of my favourite emerging artists, and at times when I’m at certain shows with them, I feel like that’s where my family is and that’s where I really belong. Reading that back it sounds so cliché to say it, but it’s true.

Events like Mammothfest, Pie Race, Wotsit Called Fest, Manchester Punk Festival, Dugstock, Level Up, Chinatown/Diss-Order Alley at Boomtown. It’s like being at home, just with people of like-minded music tastes. I don’t think I can ever get enough of events like them and the atmosphere they bring. give me more. It is an addiction.

In the last six years, I’ve gone back into education and I’ve pushed myself towards a career involved with music, whether that is writing about it, promoting it, or helping bands make a name for themselves, just because of my love for it all and my need to be involved. I push all my focus into these things because a lot of the time I don’t have much else going on in my life or things that keep me happy, I feel like I can rely on it more than I can anything else.

I don’t have a love life (not without trying), when I’m not at shows I like to stay in and binge TV, most of the time alone. Apart from when I’ve got a gig to go to I’m very introverted and self-conscious, full of anxiety about everything that I do, worried about judgement even when I know people aren’t even looking. I’ve also come to learn that people can’t always be there because they have their own lives. Music is my one constant and easier to deal with. My urge to support this scene as much as it has supported me is a bigger priority than a lot of things in my life. I mean why else would I feel the need to pay for things that I’m getting sent for free?

Some will understand or relate to this, some won’t. I’m kind of hoping that the one thing that people take from this is find your love and focus on it. It could be the best thing you ever do. For now, it’s mine. As far as the depression lays, it never truly goes away. But going to shows or putting them on, writing about them, meeting new bands and friends, it’s a way of keeping my own demons at bay. It certainly fills a very dark hole for me. It keeps me alive when sometimes I haven’t wanted to be. I hope that even if music doesn’t have same effect on you, that you find something that does.

 

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Makky’s Choices For Manchester Punk Festival 2018… If He Was Going

Right, this is not particularly a preview, this is a more me unloading, and semi sulking at the thought I’m not going to Manchester Punk Festival this year. This is a decision I made because I’m in my final year of uni and the festival is too close to final hand ins, I can’t afford the time off from working on assignments for 4/5 days.

That’s also a reason I’m not doing this through Rockfreaks or Broken Arrow, this is more of a blog post than a feature. So, here i go waffling on the bands I’d be watching at Manchester Punk Festival 2018… If I was going. Influenced by episode 4 of the Shout Louder podcast

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Thursday

Over at Rebellion, i’d watch the first few bands; No Matter, Captain Trips and Crazy Arm. All bands i’ve seen associated with Umlaut and Dugstock over the last couple of years. They have some wicked energy, especially Captain Trips, who have the best shreds I’ve heard in punk since early Morning Glory.

I’d then head over to catch Roughneck Riot at The Bread Shed, who are one of the best folk punk bands going at the moment. But the one I’d be looking forward to the most is Random Hand. UK skacore at its finest, a return from hiatus, this will be a very special set, and the biggest thing that makes me wish I was going.

Friday

Saturday has far more clashes going on for sure, but I’d definitely see Eat Defeat at Rebellion. Every time I see them they always pull something awesome out of their butts. Whether it’s beach balls or human pyramids, they will get you involved somehow. Right after them is Aerial Salad, a local raw punk trio to Manchester who have been taking the scene by storm in the last year or so, I’d expect a massive crowd for these guys.

It gets to the point I’d be navigating through various stages. I’d head down to Gorilla to catch the technical punk wonder that is Sounds of Swami, I’ve only seen them once like 4 years ago supporting Random Hand, but they really impressed me. Then over to The Bread Shed to catch Throwing Stuff, they put out a really raw, close to home hardcore punk release last year that and I caught them a bit at MPF last year, they are worth it if you like your angry sounds. Amusingly they would be followed by stoner ska punks, The Bennies, they would be incredibly fun to watch. Expect some crowdsurfing. I think I’d watch Stand Out Riot, though I don’t know a lot about them.

The tough ones comes from the double clash, Waterweed or Wonk Unit, then Death By Stereo or The Restarts. I think I’d go to Rebellion and do the double of Waterweed and Death By Stereo as I’ve never seen either before. I’ve just discovered the Japanese lot in Waterweed, but they are ferocious hardcore punk brilliance that just grabs your attention. It’s a hard one as I love Wonk Unit. Then Death By Stereo, as I can’t remember the last time they came to the UK. It’s weird that I don’t even suggest Lightyear, based on how much I love ska, I just never got into them. Also Spoilers, Kent’s best skate punks, I’d be gutted to missed them too.

For the after Party I’d go with the trio at The Bread Shed; Rotten Foxes, Start At Zero and Pizzatramp. My god, Pizzatramp are going to be brilliant, it’s at 1am and Jimmy is going to be amazingly drunk, a set not to miss.

Saturday

Saturday has even more crazyness and even more dodging and ducking through all the different venues. I’d probably start my day off at Zombie catching Bobby Funk, purely because they have a record out shaped like an avocado, that along makes them an interesting choice. I’d follow that up with Forever Unclean at The Breadshed along with my favourite crust punks from Ipswich Casual Nausea. It then comes back to the hard choice between Darko and Atterkop, two bands that aren’t necessarily alike, but plenty of people love bother. I think i’d have to make the choice on the day, whether I wanted techy skate punk or proggy skacore. I think Darko might win though, just. I’d probably then head over to zombie to catch PMX.

Then guess what, I’d take a break until seeing local favourites, Revenge of the Psychotronic Man tear up the MPF stage one last time. Last year it was an epic set and I’d expect the same again. I’d follow that up with hardcore band, Natterers in Zombie, they really impressed me at Wotsit Called Fest as the frontwoman crawled under the stage while still performing a song. Then I’d head back to The Bread Shed to see Culture Shock, the big talk is Propaganhi or Iron Chic, and I’m just not that much into either, and I can imagine both would be stupidly crammed.

I’d then finish the festival in the same place to catch the trio of Beat The Red Light, ska and metal crossover brilliance on a comeback, followed by Chewing On Tinfoil and The Minor Discomfort Band. I don’t particularly know Uniforms so I’d probably give them a miss due to exhaustion.

Well, there you have it, those are all the band I 100% recommend you catch. It’s a fantastic lineup and I’m jealous of everyone going

For those that are going, have a great time and make it a success so I can go next year.

Makky – writer for Rockfreaks.net, Broken Arrow Magazine and Down For Life Magazine.

 

 

 

 

A Waffle On Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Right, it’s been five days since I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and I need to unload my thoughts on it.

Spoiler free review first.

I enjoyed it. But didn’t love it. I felt the storytelling was lazy and rehashed, reliant on knowledge from previous films and references, but not delivered with the same charm as The Force Awakens. The whole saga talks about balance. And that’s what this had. Some really cool moments. But some pointless drivel that made the film longer than it needed to be. Some of the acting was great. Some of it was quite robotic and emotionless. As a sci-fi adventure it’s a decent watch that is great for family viewing. But in context of Star Wars films and how previous stories were delivered, it’s a bit weak and rather confusing. 3/5

Now for the spoiler review – please do not read any more if you haven’t seen it

Continue reading “A Waffle On Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Figure It Out – Silence Isn’t Golden: Review

“Silence Isn’t Golden” consists of only four tracks, so It’s over pretty quickly. But you do get a taste of what the Arizona-lads have to offer, from the happy-go-lucky opener to the touching closer; for a pop-punk release, it has a bit of everything. It’s a decent listen, and especially the catchier opener really grabs your attention, so more of that on following releases would be a good thing. Still, it’s nice that not all tracks on the effort sound the same.

For the fans of: Sum 41, State Champs, Blink-182

Find the full review at Rockfreaks.net here

Siberian Meat Grinder – Metal Bear Stomp

“Metal Bear Stomp” is thus a fun release with tracks that are more designed for the live experience than to sit and listen to at home. Each track has the intention to get your blood pumping, to get you rocking and losing your voice to the numerous shout-outs. The quality of the songwriting and the production has improved since the previous releases, as expected, and the album is heavier and more aggressive than past material, while it still remains incredibly hooking.

For the fans of: Municipal Waste, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer

Find the full review at Rockfreaks.net here

Haema – Insurrection: Review

Overall, ‘Insurrection’ is bound to rub some people (elitists) the wrong way purely because they would rather forget about the nu-metal scene and bands that were roughly associated with it. On the other hand, this is a solid listen, there are moments that make me want to just lose my shit and destroy everything in my path, and then to counterbalance that there are segments just to sit back and appreciate the musicianship, such as an out of the blue guitar solo in the title-track, or the impromptu synth rhythm in ‘Free Man’.

For fans of Korn, American Head Charge, 00s era Machine Head, Rammstein

Find the full review at Broken Arrow Magazine here

ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives: Review

“A lot of this album reminds me of All Time Low, mostly from the catchiness, but the technically intricate drum patterns filter through the guitars in a track such as ‘Playing Fiction’, and for the most part the vocal melodies are rather reminiscent of the late 00s era of pop-punk. ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ is a step up from ‘Backbone’ and push to the mainstream that ROAM deserve for their hard work, the quality of this material is a sign that the Eastbourne lads are 100% worthy of having toured with the likes of genre leaders Sum 41 and New Found Glory in the last year.”

For fans of: All Time Low, Sum 41, Neck Deep, New Found Glory

Find the full review at Broken Arrow Magazine here

Just Say Nay – Logistical Nightmares: Review

“The production of the release is an improvement on the predecessor, mildly. You still get that vibe that this band has some way to go to sound polished, but that takes nothing away from the fact these are still very enjoyable songs. These four tracks are very fun, perfect to get a crowd moving. “

For The Fans Of: Streetlight Manifesto, Lead Shot Hazard, Call Me Malcolm

Find the full review at Rockfreaks.net here

The Crash Mats – 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics: Review

“The Crash Mats have unleashed an amusing album and a decent listen overall, a lot of it feels rather novelty, but it’s a nice distraction from the serious subject matters a lot of punk bands unload with. None of the tracks overstay their welcome, most of them don’t even make it past the two-minute mark. You blast through twenty-two songs in about thirty minutes and you don’t even realise. “69 Peruvian Panpipes Classics” sounds like three mates having fun and not a lot more. ”

For The Fans Of: Wonk Unit, The Liabilities, Asbo Retards

Find the full review at Rockfreaks.net here

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