- The Shimmer Band
‘CABBAGE are the most exciting band to come out of Manchester for years’ – I read that a lot. A bold claim indeed, but from early on tonight in EBGBs all the signs of this possibly being the case are shown; people setting up camp early to get a good vantage point. Liverpool loves Cabbage, and the feeling is reciprocal; Cabbage play in the city each month, or so it seems.
The crowd doesn’t need much warming up, but indie shoegazers APRIL hold attentions well, though bringing rather more of the 90s with them than necessary. THE SHIMMER BAND are up next, and in the ladies’ loos I take a quick straw poll about the band, where singer Tom Newman is described as a “mix between Mick Jagger and Ian Brown”. I know where the women of EBGBs are coming from on this, Newman strutting about on stage, and in a shirt that could well have clocked up serious mileage during the (second) Summer of Love. My own view doesn’t stop The Shimmer Band from being very entertaining indeed, but – and please don’t shout at me – they still sound too close to Kasabian for true comfort, whether you want to admit it or not.
Cabbage come on to theme of 1950s TV show Rawhide, the bold bellow harking back to a time where all men were ‘manly’ types, everyone knew their place, and the world existed in the safe and reassuring realms of black and white. The song raises a chuckle in the venue, its camp bravado at odds with northern working class men like Cabbage. I know they are northern and working class because they tell us all so, a few times, and whip off their shirts early on to prove it.
And indeed, Uber Capitalist Death Trade shows Cabbage at their naked chest-thumping best, and Terrorist Synthesiser live turns into a venomous chant. It’s Grim Up North Korea goes on a bit, to be fair, but in Because You’re Worth It, they take a trick out of the Sex Pistols’ book of cheeky wordplay “men are at the cunt-ry club…”; the guitar work of Bill Ryder-Jones adds a pleasing, drunken melancholy.
Cabbage have great song titles, the banter between songs is abrasive and witty, and the straining men holding up the flimsy crash barrier up to protect Cabbage’s guitar pedals against a surging crowd adds a fun theatre to proceedings. The band’s sloganeering is rousing, and taken straight out of the Joe Strummer way-of-doing-things. I imagine Strummer nodding approvingly on, if he was able to do so, in the knowledge Born in The NHS looks great on a t-shirt. There’s plenty there to be angry and shout about in 2017, after all.