Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

If the NME was still in print, Cabbage would be its new cover stars.

In years gone by the legendary music paper would announce the future of music with headlines about then unknowns like Oasis or Arctic Monkeys.

Cabbage - an angst driven indie punk gang - have just seen their debut album strike at 21 in the charts.

It’s premature to suggest that ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ will become a key part of indie music folklore like a ‘Definately Maybe’.

But even before the Tameside born group arrived on stage there was a heady buzz of anticipation in the Cumbrian air.

A three-band Friday night extravaganza at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre (BAC) saw Mold get things underway.

Mold, a punk-goth three-piece sound a bit like The Cure at their Pornography darkest. They boast more make-up then Robert Smith and look scarier than horror movie baddie Pennywise.

Ludicrously thin and in serious need of a good meal, they got a good reception and hopefully some Kendal Mint Cake to keep them sustained until their next gig.

Next up were Liverpudlians She Drew The Gun with a remarkable blend of wonderful songs and inner-city-Scouse-swagger.

Front-woman Louisa Roach has a tyrannosaurus picture on her guitar and is pure dino-mite.

She wore a green and red sequinned hoodie which made her look part-flyweight-boxer-part-Furbie.

Songs like Since You Were Not Mine and If You Could See are brilliantly crafted psych-pop gems.

But what sets Roach apart from other singers is her politically-driven lyrics.

In Poem she takes apart governments, police, tourists who turn a blind eye to the homeless, and society’s work ethic that drives us to “…a 40 hour week”.

Cabbage were greeted on stage by the Jeremy Corbyn chant.

And within seconds the headliners turned the venue into a manifesto of moshing. 

Crowd surfing Adidas clad kids tumbled left right and centre.

It’s hardly Anarchy in the UK, but it’s not far off.

The first thing you notice about Cabbage is the noise. Louder than war.

There is a fantastic rage to their being, fuelled by purpose and politics. And contradiction - they seem to both love and loathe life.

With songs like Uber Capitalist Death Trade and Terrorist Synthesizer they have big ideas to top the charts and topple governments.

In Necroflat in the Palace they sing “I was born in the NHS and I want to die in the NHS” - and it feels like this is the indie anthem for right now.

Cabbage are not ones for fluffy lyrics. Their songs tackle rail privatisation, crisis in the NHS and the Hillsborough disaster. 

It's great that there are singers out there prepared to discuss things that matter. 

Their set brought a cacophony of chaos to Cumbria - restoring one's faith in music and mankind.

As one crowd surfer bellyflopped in the swaying throng his feet actually touched the ceiling. 

It's thrilling to watch. And there's a wider social message here.

How joyful that kids of today still want loud music, beer, and bands that have something to say

This celebratory relationship between a band and its fans is the real deal.

Co-frontmen Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin took turns delivering Cabbage’s brand of punk indie rock.

The music has a mix of The Fall/Joy Division/ Sex Pistols/B-52s. But is way louder.

And there’s not a mobile phone in sight to capture this scene.

Modern day gadgets have no place in this electric atmosphere which felt more 1980s than 2018.

The 72-minute set ended with no encore.

And at 11.02pm people departed with ears ringing in wonderment at what they'd just seen.

Dickie Felton @dickiecharming

Buy the new Cabbage album.

Kendal Brewery Arts Centre always offers a fabulous feast of music.  



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