Since the release of their debut EP, Le Chou in 2015, Cabbage have gradually been gaining people’s attention with their political sneering from the side-lines and chaotic live performances. Strolling onto The Joiners stage by ‘Rawhide’ by the Blues Brothers, this Manchester band are halfway through their sold out UK tour and playing tracks from their debut album, Young, Dumb and Full Of…
“This one’s about touching myself”, Joe Martin (vocals, guitar) says over the static and melodic introduction to ‘Dinner Lady’ – a dark but humorous tale of a private school. “Served enough sausage rolls to make me suicidal”, he mimics hanging himself with a noose and then with a quick nod to quiche-wanking, pretends to touch himself with a hand in his pocket.
“Did everyone know its national cabbage day today? Nobody bought me a cabbage so I’m very disappointed” says Lee Broadbent (Lead vocals). Responding to a heckler he says, “Calm the fuck down. This isn’t Coldplay.” With screeching vocals and a distorted backdrop reminiscent of The Sex Pistols, Cabbage ramps up the tension with ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’. With references to Nazis, this unapologetic track makes Slaves seem lightweight in comparison. While Broadbent dances by himself like the drunk Aunt at a wedding reception to the clattering drums and frantic guitars, Stephen Evans (bass) rocks gently similar to John Hassall from The Libertines.
Alongside Broadbent’s sedated and sultry vocals, ‘Fickle’ is best for moshing with its gritty guitar solo and red hot drums. Sulking, spitting and sweating around the stage, Broadbent takes two microphones and wraps them around his neck like a noose. Bashing them together to make a distorted sound, he leaves the sound technician to give up completely on the set.
With their satirical and political references, it’s as if the crowd have been transported back to The Roxy in 1977 where The Sex Pistols were rallying against The Cold War, economic decline and fascism, Cabbage are similarly singing about the NHS, Brexit and North Korea. In a music industry dominated by indie bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen and The 1975, it is refreshing to see a band with balls. A band breaking taboos and actually having something worthwhile to say. Aside from the technical difficulties at the start, Cabbage creates an atmosphere where everyone can feel pissed off together about the state of the world. Maintaining stamina for the whole show, Cabbage thrives off the crowd’s reaction and energy from the first song to the last.
Words by Charlotte Miles
Photos by Emily-Jade Young