Wotsit Called Fest 2016 – Faintest Idea, Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, Nosebleed, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Bono, No Ta, The Barracks.
Venue: The Union Bar, Hastings
Date:3rd September 2016
Wotsit Called Fest follows the growing trend of Hastings punk shows with large lineups; much like Hastings Punk Fest has over the last couple of years. Toxic Wotsit promotions, run by a couple of members in Matilda’s Scoundrels, had the brilliant idea of bringing their friends from up North down to party with us in the South.
It was an early start as locals lads The Barracks were on at half five in the evening. Immediately the few punters that were in The Union Bar took to the open space in front of the stage to hear the Bouncing Souls-esque punk anthems the band are known to deliver. The quartet wasted no time with crowd banter, the aim was clearly to play as many songs as they could in the opening slot. With that, sadly came little reaction from the crowd apart from the odd cheers and applause. It was very early on in the day though.
Gradually more and more people were starting to turn up and fill the venue. The Barracks‘ set was very much straight to the point. It was raw and energetic punk with an angsty yet fun attitude. A couple of the songs were about getting pissed, one aptly named, ‘Drinking Song’. It suited the mood as most of the audience was chilled out with pints in their hands. The highlight of any set by The Barracks always seems to be when ‘Fuck You’ is played. It’s a fun song with a catchy chorus where you get to say “fuck you” a lot. What more can you want? Anyone who knew the song was happily singing along. It was a positive way to start the show. 
No Ta followed up with a more aggressive attitude; Lots of short, shouty hardcore punk songs with killer riffs. All delivered with a fun vibe. The Leeds lads, who dub themselves as whimsical hardcore, were treated to a fairly packed out crowd. A few people were dancing towards the front, but it was obvious that some people were still getting their drink on before getting involved in the action. Most of the audience was happy to stand back and appreciate the music on show. 
Bono stood out like a sore thumb as easily the heaviest band on the lineup. The Norwich lads delivered a mixture of vintage hardcore punk and 90s metalcore. There were hints to Gallows and Reign Supreme in their sound as they delivered vicious shouts and awesomely distorted riffs. It wasn’t just meaty chugs though, some decent fretwork was hidden underneath the incredibly loud angry noises the erupted from the stage. Vocalist Dan Hinds prowled the floor throughout the set and even came further into the crowd to get right up close in everyone’s faces. It was all very intense. 
Matilda’s Scoundrels were the real turning point of the evening. Until their set, the show had little crowd response, but that was about to change as friends from the North and South gathered in front of the stage to dance and sing along. Kicking off ‘Sinking In Their Sins’, people were all but happy to sing the words ‘Row Row Row Ya Bastard’. The fun vibes had really started. The Scoundrels‘ chirpy folk-punk vibe showed the great variety of punk styles on show at Wotsit Called Fest. Going from an angry atmosphere during Bono to the happier sounding Matilda’s Scoundrels was a huge switch, It certainly kept the show interesting.
Maybe the alcohol had kicked in enough at this point, because gradually throughout the set things got rowdier. Fans were dancing harder and singing louder. It was guitarist/singer/ flautist Jason Stirling’s birthday celebrations too, which included the band putting up a banner with the words “Bodacious Hips” as a form of backdrop. The joke would be that this was the Scoundrels‘ name for this set. By the time the Hastings lads unleashed ‘Pissheads Anthem’ the crowd was ready to explode as the words “Buy Me Whiskey, Buy Me Beer….” rang around the venue and it was carnage towards the front. This was by far one of the more enjoyable times I have seen the guys perform. 
Nosebleed kept the energy high as they donned the stage in white tuxedo suits; It was as if they were from the 1950s. With that in mind, they produced a sound that resembled a mixture of hardcore punk and rock n roll. It was angry and loud but also incredibly fun, a theme that has flowed throughout the evening. The pits opened up at the front and more carnage ensued. From the music to the crowd reaction, it was all highly entertaining to watch. It was starting to get silly as Wotsits were getting thrown around.
It was starting to get silly as Wotsits were getting thrown around the place, alcohol was getting spilt and drunk punks were starting to crowd surf more and more. Ben and Eliott, the guitarist and bassist came out into the crowd as far as their cables would let them, with the guitarist leaning against the bassist whilst perform an awesome guitar solo. That’s some brilliant showmanship right there. I thought Matilda’s Scoundrels would be hard to follow, but Nosebleed raised the bar of expectations for the final couple of acts to beat. 
Manchester hardcore punks Revenge of the Psychotronic Man wasted no time in trying to better that. As soon as the trio hit the stage there was a call for birthday boy Jason to crawl through the venue’s circular hole in the support wall as if he was coming out of the vagina again. This act that was copied many times throughout the set. Recently Revenge of… released their album ‘Colossal Velocity’, which is seventeen tracks played in twenty-one minutes. This gives you an idea on how fast and intense the songs were.
‘Small Minded NIMBY Prick’, was a stand out track purely for its aggressive nature, in which the title words are shouted loudly by everyone on top of heavily distorted riffs. More crowd surfing ensued, but the highlight was when local punter Les was picked up in his wheel chair lifted above the crowd. The Union Bar had outdone itself this time with its craziness. 
Finally, it was down to Faintest Idea to finish off the night in sublime fashion. The ska punks had played in Hastings six months before this show. (reviewed here) To put it bluntly they were phenomenal. so expectations were high for this to be equally as impressive. The Norwich lads kicked off with their usual ‘Back To The Assylum’ intro piece which had everyone dancing instantly. This let straight into ‘Circling the Drain’ and ‘Cocktails’, in which fans were singing at the top of their voices, pumping their fists and skanking hard.
The setlist was almost identical to their set at Boomtown just a few weeks prior to this show. Crowd favourites such as ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Youth’ had massive chants and an incredible reaction with the crowd. Towards the end of the set I was even losing my voice. The atmosphere was so positive, even with the politically charge themes – the music was all out infectious. Faintest Idea are growing to be one of the most enjoyable ska punk bands to see live in the UK at the moment.
The Ska punks did a sort of encore. After ‘Bull In A China Shop’ teasing they would play a last song, and stated because there was no backstage to go to, they would simply stand where they were until there were chants for more songs. This led to the band finishing off with ‘Corporation’ and older hit ‘Too Bad’. 
Overal this has been one of the funnest shows I have seen at The Union Bar in a long time. A massive shout out to Dan and Jens at Toxic Wotsit for organising the show. Also huge credit goes out to the Manchester and Leeds bands for bringing their mates down to the south coast. Never before have I seen so many cheesy puff snacks thrown around at a show, or has the TUB wall hole been used to signal a rebirth. Wotsit Called Fest, you have been a strange but wonderful event. We all await the follow up in 2017.