What on Earth did I just witness? A question many people, who haven’t seen Cabbage before, maybe left wondering after yet another anarchic and oh so fun sell-out performance by the five lads from Mossley. As part of the BBC Introducing tour, anti-establishment post-punks Cabbage came to Sheffield’s venue-to-be Picture House Social on Friday with Britpop rockers April and The Shimmer Band in tow. And holy shitsnacks, did they kill it on the evening!
First up, and playing to a half-full venue, April took to the stage and send the crowd pulsating along to their infectious beats from the first riff. Wooing the crowd with their heavy Britpop sound, April clearly have a bright future ahead of them. There was a positive buzz and honest synergy about the band and before the audience realised, their set was over and everyone had limbered up for the craziness that was to come. Watch out for April at festivals, which is where they firmly belong.
The Shimmer Band marched on stage with a reassured aura about them and the musical ability to back it up. Starting with a slower, less punchy set, The Shimmer Band soon picked up the tempo and intensity ending on a banging crescendo of a double-time beat and feedback slide guitar. At this point the crowd was fully engaged with the music, nodding, swaying, and dancing along. The clear and purposeful sound of The Shimmer Band’s live performance bore all the signs of a band on the rise, who can easily sell out venues as headliners. Similar to April, their sound is destined for any of the big summer festivals and any music lover will appreciate their heavy rocking tunes.
After a complete remodelling of the stage and extensive sound-checking by the roadies, Cabbage appeared with big grins on their faces, as to say “Are you ready for this?”. These guys were here to party, go wild, and to make sure for the audience to have an exhilarating and memorable experience. However, it did take Cabbage a while to get used to their surroundings, especially singer Lee Broadbent, who was clearly in an advanced state of inebriation. Towards the end of their opening medley of Dissonance and Indispensable Pencil, the boys from Manchester were playing in perfect anarchic harmony and hitting it hard, to the delight of the now packed Picture House Social.
The rather short set, lasting only 45 minutes, saw a combination of their well known songs, such as the consequent Terrorist Synthesiser and Dinner Lady, as well as songs from the new album Young Dumb and Full of… The fun and lighthearted lyrics of Dinner Lady coupled with the staccato vocals and thumping beat gave the crowd the final push to form an almighty mosh pit in the underground venue. Feeling the wild energy of his own songs, Broadbent seemed to have a penchant for scaling drummer Asa Morley’s bass drum and during several moments of drunken lightheadedness almost came crashing down into the band’s rhythm section.
Cabbage’s hits were now coming thick and fast with Uber Capitalist Death Trade and Grim Up North Korea keeping up the stupendous energy levels and making security work double time to keep band and crowd safe. Next up was the socio-critical and ironic Necroflat In The Palace, throughout which, the crowd went absolutely wild. Not content with only being able to watch, Broadbent finally leaped off the stage into the crowd to be carried around while singing Gibraltar Ape.
The excellent and out of control performance came to an end with Fickle and Kevin. The raw energy and wonderful punk sound produced by these young musicians takes many bands decades to perfect and it is no wonder that almost every self-respecting festival has added Cabbage to their line-up this year. So, no matter how tired you are from days of poor sleep and cheap lager, make sure to see these boys relight the fire under the post-punk genre with their anti-establishment life’s-too-short music.