Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 23/02/17
Cabbage have arrived and as I hastily scrawled this, lead singer Lee Broadbent threw himself into the audience, like Iggy Pop with bad trousers.
‘Dissonance’ kicks off the sellout Leeds gig with suitable energy, and special praise must go to the guy whose responsibility it was to keep the lead singer’s mic lead from garroting a member of the audience... He had a long night; Mr Broadbent spent more time launching himself into the crowd than cavorting on The Brudenell Social Club’s hallowed stage...
‘Indispensable Pencil’ has an early Arctic Monkeys feel to it with some top draw thrills and spills from the excellent Asa Morley on percussion and a killer riff that would make even the oldest of farts agitate their hip replacement. Thankfully, Lee’s vocals are more early Dave Vanian than Alex Turner, who seems to have spent way too much time in the land of ‘opportunity’ and looking at himself. It’s a ferocious start, signaling an intense set with hardly a moment to draw breath.
‘Necroflat in the Palace’ is a vicious and scathing attack on the Royals bizarre relationship with celebrity, which prompted the NME to ask “What the hell is a Necroflat?” Well I can hazard a guess, and it involves one of Jimmy Saville’s rather distasteful hobbies. Leeds audiences have little time for Jimmy these days, so there was a palpable air of catharsis in the room upon the rallying cry of “I was born in the NHS, I wanna die in the NHS...And my body won’t be taken to the Necroflat in The Palace” Delightfully vicious stuff.
After another sweaty sojourn into the arms of the general unwashed, Lee leads the band into ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ a refreshing take on the city’s obsession with continuously congratulating itself for past glories. Let’s face it, we’ve all met the person who’s ‘had a pint with every person who’s ever played in The Fall’ or was THERE when The Stone Roses played in Chorlton B&Q... For a Leeds crowd it’s gratifying to see a band from Manchester laughing at Manchester, and it’s about bloody time.
‘Grim Up North Korea’ is about an imaginary Northern Republic of Communist England, savagely comparing working class Post Brexit Britain to Kim Jong-un’s DPRK, with swirling cymbals and a spaced out psychedelic tango. It’s groovy as fuck with lyrics even Morrissey would be proud of: “Dennis Skinner carries a coal on his back, the police don’t care for the Hillsborough facts...”
‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ scissor kicks its way into our hearts with even more impact than the quite excellent EP version. This giant fuck you to austerity will no doubt become their anthem and through a whacking great PA this works a treat
Following this theme ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’ according to the band “...was created in our indignant dissent earlier this year when the UK voted to bomb Syria. What made this decision all the worse was then leader of the time (the bloke who wanks over animal farm) called the good people of our nation sympathisers of terror. Nuclear weapons create nuclear music. Injustice creates opposing attacks and this is our contribution to the ever-growing class divide and destabilization of the earth...” Can’t say fairer than that, and yes, it’s fucking good live...
They end, (somewhat prematurely) with the dystopian debut single ‘Kevin’, sadly missing out the fabulous cover of ‘These Boots were made for walking’ and The bonkers country rock of ‘Free Steven Avery’ played at previous shows. Leeds had a blast despite being deprived of so much more.
Audiences love these horrible urchins because they are having the time of their lives, and that is infectious… So infectious it could make a man dress as badly as they do… (Primark crossed with Stolen from Ivor, and your older brother’s ill-fitting hand-me-downs). Fashion aside, these lads have taste, and you can hear it in their music. Cabbage aren’t afraid to sound like Zappa in one tune and Biafra in the next, and that makes them very, very exciting. They should be everyone’s new favourite band, I’m so sold, I’m off to Primark to buy some new kecks.