Photography: Tomas Adam

Viagra Boys

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  • Squid
Harvest Sun @ Phase One 22/5/19

Music enthusiasts young and old are steadily piling into tonight’s upgraded venue, reminiscent of the following Swedish punks VIAGRA BOYS have gained over the years. They’ve only released a bunch of EPs and singles since their inception in 2015, gaining some attention through certain indie and punk scenes. But with their debut album Street Worms and their juggernaut single of fun and rage, Sports, crowds of people outside of the hipsters and aficionados have started talking about them. With added buzz from the much-hyped Brighton act SQUID, tonight in Phase One seems the hottest ticket of the month.

Squid set the tone for the night. With a tight bassline groove reminiscent of post-punk bands such as Gang Of Four or early Talking Heads, they break beyond these initial comparisons, standing firm as a band completely unique and refreshing in the current music scene. With added brass and percussion, their beat builds the tension song by song, note by note. You’re waiting in anticipation for the crowd to go mental, but they don’t – not quite. The first signs of wildness begin to show during their blistering single Houseplants, a song that builds and builds with growing 21st-century disillusionment. It’ll be interesting to see where Squid go next. I have a hunch that it will be far.

Viagra Boys Image 2

Mainly playing their new album Street Worms, Viagra Boys’ show is a full-on sonic assault. It’s hard to stand still and take in what’s going on from the front few rows; everything and everyone is moshing, slamming into each other in the aftermath of each chord and snarled lyric. Even if you don’t know the song, you’re dancing along – or practically forced to.

Sweaty. This is how I’d describe the night. Very, very sweaty. I’m pretty sure items of clothing are being lost while bruises are found. It’s almost hard to pay attention to the music being played, but when you hear it, it’s tight. It oh so cleverly orchestrates Beefheart-esque punk. It’s crazy but contained. An artistic paradox resting on loose hinges, clinging on to established stability. Just. With songs such as Just Like You, you can hear it in there.

With a Viagra Boys crowd, it almost seems cultish. You know full well that loads of fans will be over at that merch table at the end of night buying the full Viagra Boys tracksuit. There are people in the crowd who will say it’s the greatest gig they’ve ever been to. Others, however, will say it’s like a fight for survival. You just don’t want it to end. But, in contrast, it becomes too much to handle. I guess that’s a sign of a good punk gig: full of sweat, intensity and mesmerising.

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