Cabbage @ Thekla, Bristol, 18/02/2017

CabbageHaving fully recovered from National Cabbage Day yesterday (if you missed it, save the date for next year) Cabbage hit up the Thekla stage tonight. The Northern five-piece from Manchester have been bringing new life to Britain’s most hated vegetable, not to mention causing a stir with their political commentary projected by post-punk angst. With the phrase “next big band to come out of Manchester” batting around, they’ve been busy in the Northern circuit and are now on their own headline tour around the UK.

Entering the stage to Blues Brother’s “Rawhide”, Cabbage say it all. They’re a joke but not a joke, commenting on the real shit we want to shout about but contained by a dark and comical satire. And they start as they mean to go on: with chaotic energy. “Dissonance” opens their set list suitably with neo-post-punk attitudes, as lead singer and keyboardist, Lee Broadbent, gets pulled into the crowd.

Debut album, Young, Dumb and Full Of... (let’s just say plum) is a socio-political critique of the current shit storm of the world. Commenting on Donald Trump to Uber, there’s no subject untouched by their truthful lyricism. Yet their comical satire also sits within the grotesque and mundane minutiae of English life, ranging from school canteen horrors and cabbage catastrophes to hearing about the Hacienda.

The transition from album recording to live performance exacerbates the true anger of their politically charged vocals, sitting somewhere between the raucousness of The Libertines and Fat White Family, but better and all the more authentic. Raging vocals are layered over intense drums, as well as guitar riffs that could be an amalgamation of early Nirvana and Palma Violets. The clothes off all-or-nothing angst is reiterated by the crowd, dragging singer Lee off the stage at every opportunity.

At the side of the stage, guitars are being tuned rapidly between each song by a weary crewman having to pause regularly to extend mic cables following Lee’s regular bouts in the crowd or wipe up the beers that are getting chucked over Eoghan Clifford’s 9 guitar pedals (moment to admire that please).

Harking back to a Happy Mondays era, Cabbage represents the un-clichéd voice of anyone that hates The Sun, voted Remain or watched Making A Murderer. Raucous and brilliant delivery aside, Cabbage’s live performance was one of the best I’ve seen a while. With my faith restored in the youth of today, Cabbage are one to watch.

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