Cabbage review: An unabashed, unrelenting antidote to the mainstream musical landscape
PUBLISHED: 16:54 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:54 01 May 2019
Five-piece Manchester band Cabbage have never struggled with being shy.
Their riotous blend of indie and punk is politically charged with venomous lyrics that take precision shots at all in their path. Fusing a devilish talent for satirical commentary on present day Britain and their own brand of northern wit into the mixing pot, and you are left with an exhilarating formula unlike most other guitar groups of the moment.
With hilariously titled songs such as Terrorist Synthesiser, Molotov Alcopop, and Post-Modernist Caligula there is both a playful sense of fun, and an apocalyptic voice of doom and gloom at work in their material. Speaking out passionately about the toxicity of newspaper coverage, the arms trade and the divisive fallout of Brexit, there is no topic they are afraid to sink their teeth into.
Their inspired merch reads “Born in the NHS” and they took absolutely no prisoners on Monday night (April 29) as they arrived mid-tour, and in the form of their lives, at The Waterfront Studio in Norwich.
They also conjure up a truly cathartic experience live vowing to play “until they kick us off”. Clothes are stripped off, pints jettisoned into the front rows and instruments flailed around like battle-axes, as they rattle through a greatest hits set of their already vast back catalogue.
Despite having only released their debut album Nihilistic Glamour Shots last year they are already previewing new music and have a wealth of old fan favourite EP's in their arsenal, ready for disposal at a moment's notice.
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There is a practiced chaos about their stage presence and frontman Lee Broadbent resembles Liam Gallagher in his 90s prime, shades on and hands stuck firmly behind his back, chin up, glaring out menacingly at the crowd. There is also a healthy dose of the best bits of Mark E Smith and The Fall in Cabbage's spirited performance and provocative social commentary.
They open boldly with Torture - their most poppy and hook filled single yet. It's a gloriously energetic surf rock banger, teasing a more upbeat pop sound for the soon to be incoming second album.
Preach to the converted and Disinfect Us warm the crowd up nicely too with heavy guitars droning amongst Broadbent's fearsome vocal delivery.
The rallying call refrain of “How long until we take responsibility” is roared back at the band during Arms of Pleonexia, a grungy fuzz anthem about war and destruction caused by the unstoppable greed of humanity.
There may have been heavy and morbid topics on show, but it was a joyous live set and the band are in full party mode, which is a much more accessible way to get their message across to their legions of young fans.
Midway through the frantic set there was a dramatic shift in pace as an emotional and colossal sounding rendition of “Tell me lies about Manchester” is dedicated in a heartfelt tribute to Ray Boddington of the Piccadilly Rats who recently passed away - a working-class hero of their hometown.
Cabbage proved that they are an unabashed, unrelenting antidote to the mainstream musical landscape. They have crafted a genuine voice that represents the oppressed masses of young people in Britain, and perhaps even more importantly they have excellent tunes to complement this perfectly, boldly backing up their every statement and daring proclamation.