Fully aware of what happened the last time a Northern record label started up its own pop-punk themed fest, AH was eager to see what the inaugural Pinky Swear Festival would have in store.
There was a definite buzz in the air to great AH’s arrival at Sound Control, but things got off to a fairly inauspicious start with our first band of the day, Liverpool’s Waster putting in a distinctly hit and miss set. The five-piece churn out plenty of energy and noise, but with both the bass and guitar lines to each song sounding fairly interchangeable, and more than a little like a heavier yet still quite generic take on the Neck Deep influenced side of the UK scene, this wasn’t a set that was as memorable as the band would have hoped. Given Waster have an impending date opening for one of the finest pop-punk bands in the world Fireworks at the same venue, they’ll need to up their game or risk sounding painfully outclassed. (2.5/5)
Next up was Leeds’ duo Kamikaze Girls on the suitably grungy basement located second stage. In theory things were stacked against the pair as KG have only played a handful of gigs since relaunching themselves as a duo (after formerly being three-piece Hearts and Souls), completely reinventing their sound in the process. Throw in to that vocalist Lucinda Livingstone having switched from bass to guitar in a short period of time and drummer Connor being one half of Pinky Swear Records; along with Lee Burgess, and this was a band with plenty on its plate approaching this set. But it showed not one bit as KG promptly blasted their way frenetically through an electric set, their new found brand of punk-inspired indie-grunge sounding fresh, exciting and rivetingly unpredictable. In a set highlight first single ‘Tonic Youth’ showed there could be really special things to come from Kamikaze Girls. (4/5)
Despite having a tough act to follow, Milestones gave a strong account of themselves also on the second stage. Their sharp and confident pop-punk bossed by a charismatic and on point performance from frontman Matt Clarke won them plenty of new friends here. (3/5)