CabbageEVOL @ Arts Club 24/4/19
Cabbage have had a roller coaster of a career, and it only spans just under four years. They first released their EP Le Chou in 2016, receiving high praise from music journos as “Manchester’s most exciting new band”, to calling out The S*n for being a “fucking web of hate and profit”, releasing Young, Dumb And Full Of… in 2017, and touring with Kasabian.
But, just like any roller coaster, you can expect to hit a few inversions. Allegations of sexual assault directed at lead singer Lee Broadbent derailed Cabbage in 2017. The band denied these allegations, and now support Safe Gigs For Women – an initiative with the aim of creating a safer environment for women at gigs. 2018’s Nihilistic Glamour Shots – an album I currently have on constant rotation – is tonally reflective of this period.
Despite being a Manchester band – specifically Mossley, Tameside – Cabbage have always had a strong connection with Liverpool. The band have recorded at Parr Street Studios and performed incredible, chaotic live performances here. Tonight’s Arts Club gig – the first date of their 2019 UK tour – is no exception.
Launching into their newest surf rock-esque single Torture, followed by the politically charged Uber Capitalist Death Trade, the Arts Club audience reciprocates by exploding into a flurry of bodies. There is no pretence to Cabbage’s working-class post-punk revivalist indie rock, just raw and often brutal honesty.
Fickle, Dissonance, Arms Of Pleonexia, Gibraltar Ape and another new tune, Raus, are played with equal ferocity. Cabbage also dedicate Tell Me Lies About Manchester to the late, great Ray Boddington from The Piccadilly Rats. Earlier Mick Chrysalid of Merseyside’s own RongoRongo had dedicated their support set to Mark Hollis, Scott Walker and the band Her’s. Music is indeed a means of catharsis.
The night continues with personal favourites Terrorist Synthesizer, Dinner Lady and the Fall-esque debut single, Kevin. It is easy to draw comparisons between Cabbage and The Fall; Mark E. Smith’s rambling vocal style was often an anger-fuelled commentary on society and Broadbent is no different. Closing their set with Necroflat In The Palace, the crowd chants of “I was born in the NHS, I wanna die in the NHS” reverberate throughout the venue. A roller coaster may have many highs, lows, twists and turns, but the journey is an exhilarating experience