LIVE: Crash Doubt Festival 2012

By Maryam Hassan

No Trigger

Now in its second year, Lincoln’s Crash Doubt Festival has a lot of potential. With bands spanning a number of genres including punk, ska, hardcore and a smattering of indie, this two-day booze fest could end up being one of the most highly anticipated weekends of the year.

Right now, it’s nearly there. Apart from minor sound issues at times, there wasn’t much wrong with the organisation of the event, but for reasons which aren’t initially apparent, turnout wasn’t as high as one might expect. It’s hard to see why though – with around 80 acts over three stages, and set times staggered to allow for minimal clashing, punters can really get a lot out of the two days. That’s if the alcohol doesn’t cloud your decision making too much…


Having unfortunately missed GREAT CYNICS due to arriving later than planned, FAIR DO’S were the first band on the ‘to see’ list. The five-piece are definitely one of the most technically impressive groups on the scene at the moment, with dual guitar riffs good enough to excite the most cynical musician. The eye watering speed is reminiscent of the likes of Belvedere and A Wilhelm Scream, and while they might not yet have the songwriting ability to back up their technical excellence, that may hopefully come in time.

TIM VANTOL is one of the best acoustic acts out there at the moment – that’s a given. Obvious comparisons of Chuck Ragan and (the artist formerly known as) Tom Gabel might sound lazy, but his musicianship is up there with the best of the genre. His sound was lost a little in the large room which held the Punktastic Stage, but it was still apparent the man can write a number of excellent rousing folk punk hits.

Over on the Time Will Tell Stage, and Norwich’s BROKEN WINDOW EFFECT were blasting out their brand of intelligent emotive punk rock. Led by Ducking Punches’ Dan Allen, the quartet comes across as a very English-sounding Samiam, which works very well.

OUR TIME DOWN HERE were the first band to really stir things up, unleashing their dark yet catchy melodic punk to the receptive audience. Their sound was unfortunately pretty muddy, but it didn’t detract too much from the set. Group sing-a-longs early in the afternoon when only a couple of 2.8% lagers have been drunk is an impressive feat.

BAD IDEAS, an ex-Lincoln lad, was next to impress. His pop take on the acoustic punk genre is refreshing, and with a voice up there with the best of them, you’ll have his slick and catchy songs in your head for days.

Worcester four-piece WATCH COMMANDER have risen fairly quickly through the ranks, from unknowns to one of the most respected bands on the scene. It’s clear to see why – they play an impressive and passionate mix of more conventional punk rock and melodic hardcore similar to the likes of Make Do And Mend and Balance And Composure, complete with excellent songwriting and great group vocals.

ATTACK! VIPERS! were one of the most viscerally exciting acts of the day. Despite the disconcertingly low turnout for them, the band tore every appreciative audience member a new hole in their nether regions with their aggressive and frenzied hardcore punk. It’s always hard to believe there are only four members – more specifically one guitarist – as the wall of sound which hits you is something else.

Lincoln darlings THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS were always going to get a great crowd turnout, and they didn’t disappoint the packed room. Their constant touring has led them to hone their sound, with a set packed with tight pop punk numbers.

BANGERS, up next, were one of the bands of the weekend. It’s not like they did anything different to what they usually do – more like what they do is always brilliant. With a great mix of old and new, the trio reminded everyone why they were one of the best bands in the UK.

ANTI-VIGILANTE may have stuck out a bit on the bill, but that didn’t put them off. Playing a hard-hitting style of skacore, the Milton Keynes quartet paid homage to their local contemporaries Capdown while also drawing heavily from the likes of Five Knuckle and Random Hand.

As if we were being eased into it, ska punk ensemble THE JB conspiracy took to the stage next. What has always set them apart from others in their genre is the thought which seems to go into every song. It’s never throwaway pop-ska; instead it’s strikingly intelligent yet still memorable, and very easy to dance to, which was evident from the antics of the receptive crowd.

If there was an award for which-band-had-the-audience-eating-out-of-their-hands-the-most, it would have definitely gone to CRAZY ARM. Despite having been around for years, the band have only recently risen to become one of the most popular acts in the UK. It’s remarkable how all-encapsulating their sound is, while still being relatively ‘folky’ in places. The band aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but tonight it was evident they were certainly a lot of people’s drink of choice.

HEARTSOUNDS had a lot to live up to, and unfortunately didn’t deliver the same level of urgency and hunger the previous act had. The band’s style of technical punk was by no means bad, but for a lot of the crowd it was a little uninspiring.

By contrast, NO TRIGGER showed everyone how it was done. A true headline band, the quintet smashed through song after song of punk rock brilliance. It was criminal the band weren’t playing in front of more people, but it didn’t seem to matter to them. Playing a good mix of their catalogue, the band thrilled the audience with their complex-yet-catchy riffs and sing-a-long vocals. Best band of the weekend.


After a somewhat chaotic night at the after party, people slowly filtered back into the venue during the first few bands. Welsh quartet DIVIDERS were second on the Punktastic Stage. Their brand of passionate pop punk is full of charm – enough to look past the odd sloppy moments. Not every song is a hit, but the good ones are really good – one of the best Iron Chic-esque bands in the UK right now.

Up next was one of the surprises of the weekend, Austria’s THE LIBERATION SERVICE. They had a reasonably sizeable crowd, especially for a band who are a relatively unknown quantity in this country. The band play a fairly unique style of folk punk which sounded honest and heartfelt. The violin player added an extra dimension to the songs, which were anthemic and catchy.

The next act that couldn’t be missed was THE CUT UPS on the Time Will Tell Stage. It was their first gig in a number of months, but it certainly wasn’t noticeable. The band powered through a mix of new tracks and songs off their excellent album ‘The High and Mighty’, displaying their top songwriting skills.

Second Austrian band of the weekend ASTPAI took to the Punktastic Stage next. Put simply, these guys are criminally underrated. If technical, catchy, thought-provoking music is your bag, then look no further.

WITHOUT FIRE followed, a band with a considerable following around these parts. The five-piece have a polished live show and know how to excite the audience with their punchy and aggressive melodic hardcore / pop punk crossover. Fans of bands like Comeback Kid, Four Year Strong and No Trigger should give them a listen.

ABOVE THEM were next up, a band that don’t really need much saying about them: it’s powerful, genuine and brilliantly-written rock music. The recent addition of a second guitarist has beefed up their sound and helped add an extra layer to the tracks. These guys should be huge.

Technical punk rock in the form of THE HUMAN PROJECT was next. The four-piece don’t set the world on fire, but they certainly know their way round their instruments. Their talent can’t be denied, and a couple more stand-out tracks could really help push them into the spotlight.

APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE are another firm favourite across the country – and Lincoln isn’t an exception to that rule. The band had one of the best crowd attendances on the Punktastic Stage but it’s easy to see why. The quartet just know how to write crowd pleasers. There’s plenty of passion and energy, which is impressive considering the mid-pace tempo of most of the songs. This was another band who have obviously nailed their live performance.

It feels like RANDOM HAND have been around for ever. It wouldn’t have been surprising if they got a terrible turnout considering they were one of the least ‘in’ bands on the bill, but a decent amount of people enjoyed their typically frantic blend of punk, metal and ska. It’s obvious why this band can pull a crowd – it’s the perfect music for towards the end of a drink-fuelled festival.

Over to the Time Will Tell Stage, where TELLISON made a welcome appearance. Another band which gave a bit of variation to the proceedings, the quirky indie punksters showed everyone why they should be playing to packed out crowds across the country. The band are starting to grow quite an impressive back catalogue, and the likes of ‘Wasps Nest’, ‘Gallery’ and ‘Collarbone’ all sounded excellent.

Punktastic Stage headliners THE SKINTS have had an exciting year. With big support slots under their belt and an upcoming sizeable UK headline tour, it might not be long until the London four-piece break through the pesky glass ceiling. Their latest album isn’t as engaging as their first, but the more laid back reggae tunes came across well in a live setting. Also, there was a good dose of songs from their debut which the crowd lapped up gratefully.

A quick foray to the Big Cheese Stage afterwards, and MORE THAN LIFE were just coming to the end of their set. Having only caught one song it would be wrong to give them a full review, but it was a passionate and striking number which made for a good end to the weekend.

The great thing about Crash Doubt Festival is that, even if none of the bands reviewed are your bag, there were a whole host of other bands plying their talents. If word gets round about how high the quality of bands were this year, I’m sure next year will be a sell-out event.


The Skints
The Skints

See more photos from the weekend over in our galleries section, and check out the video roundups (featuring interviews with many of the bands playing) – Saturday // Sunday