Another great small venue the 100 club in Oxford St has seen them all over the years. The Sex Pistols seemed to pretty much have a residency in mid 1976 . Nowadays a lot of the gigs are tribute bands (not sure how I feel about this although a work colleague thought that if the originals are no more then why not).
On this particular night three new bands. The supports were interesting. The first band “Slow Knife” had an essence of “The Fall” about them with a sullen faced singer ,(reading from his notes) as the band had a surrealist vibe , including home-made guitars and some kind of foot pedal contraption. Also you don’t see many bands these days with a bongo player. The songs tended to be lengthy with no discernible start or end point in some cases , and without pause for applause ,we were back into the next song. At one point the guitarist thanked the audience which drew a scornful look from the vocalist. Quite funny.
The other major influence was “Joy Division “, at least visually, as the vocalist was the reincarnation of Ian Curtis with eyeliner. For the older members of the audience this may have all seemed a bit too derivative but we are 40 years on so more people likely to think this is unique and cutting edge. They were entertaining and need to see if they are “the next big thing”.
In terms of the crowd quite young with a good smattering of teenagers ( there for the headliners predominantly).
Second support were “Rhythm Method”. Good competent band they covered a number of genres but had a strong dance music underpinning. All three members shared vocals with lead singer encouraging the audience to join him in dancing to each number. Describing themselves as a political band they channelled echoes of “The Style Council” with subtle messaging whilst vocally I was thinking of “The Streets” meets “Madness” in some points , with some good harmonies from the female vocalist . The third member shared some vocals but also seemed to be the brains behind the musical accompaniment. One of those bands that currently hard to label ,and maybe that’s the point. You could also regard them as a positive uplifting band who could quite easily play at your mate’s wedding. And that’s not to denigrate them as everyone would have a great time.
Finally onto “Cabbage”. Last time I reviewed them I was feeling that maybe they were moving into a more mainstream position , playing musically with there classic songs and perhaps losing their immediacy by musical meandering. The performance at 100 Club saw them in an environment that I think really suits them more( ie intimate, small ,scuzzy) They played about 50/50 old to new songs ( some of which I hadn’t heard) . But the set gelled really well and they did a stand out rendition of “Tell Me Lies”. Joined for the final song “Uber capitalist death trade” by Angus Knight from”No Friendz” the set ended in anarchic chaos. This is the fourth time I have seen them and I am re-callibrated for the fifth based on this outing (venue dependent I would say). As mentioned earlier they played songs such as “Dinner Lady” and “Kevin” with appropriate enthusiasm , whereas last time I saw them they seemed to be tiring of these tracks and either racing through them or elongating them to the point of boredom. They seem to have thought about this in the last few months. Also a point of interest was the harlequin patterned jumper worn by the vocalist. Was this a reference to the recent passing of Mark.E.Smith, another Mancunian , who was a muse of the anti-fashion look. Something that can only be enjoyed by the young I;m afraid
So have the “Cabbage “ boys joined the halls of 100 club fame with their picture joining some of the past generational. Time will tell I guess but it was a good night out and confirmed that these guys are still maintaining the right balance of catchy song writing and edgy performance.