Cabbage at EBGS - Review
Cabbage at EBGS, Liverpool, Friday 10 February 2017
The nation's current state can be characterised as something akin to a furious amnesiac riddled with neuroses - its stitched mouth desperate for an intervention/course of psychotherapy.
We are manically revelling in the confused landscape of austerity Brexit-Britain and constantly pounded with stories of NHS crises, Trump walls and celebrity deaths. We are anaesthetised and emasculated by aspirational TV shows, exhausted and defeated by our zero hours contracts and fattened into catatonic stupors by our fat-rich saturated food stuffs. We endure this because we have to and we endure it to the soundtrack of market friendly pop.
However, as my grandmamma used to say ‘where there is Cabbage, there is hope’ and last night in Liverpool’s EBGS, hope sprung eternal. After their last visit to Liverpool, vocalist Lee Broadbent attested to being surprised by the crowd's positive reaction. This is of course in part due to their Manchester alignment. However, the power of their music and subject matter allows the band to transgress such nagging tribalism.
To dispel any doubts, Liverpool was waiting with a raucous welcoming committee. The gig at EBGS sold out weeks ago and the hallowed, sweat-drenched arches of its basement provided the perfect setting for the ensuing chaos.
Cabbage have toured relentlessly. These songs were collected (in part) in their recent release ‘Young, Dumb and Full of…’ – a record confirming 2017 as the year of the Cabbage. Their repertoire of songs are founded on a post-punk dynamism that smashes into you, forcing you to confront it. Through this, there is an unmistakable talent for melody and song construction running through every note like a DNA code.
Songs such as ‘Necroflat in the Palace’ and ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ give you an indication of what this Manchester five-piece are all about. These songs were spat out over the wave of tumbling and jumping bodies as the EBGS crowd unleashed their inner mosh-heads. There was fury in all its forms. There was sincerity “I was born in the NHS, I wanna die in the NHS” - and humour too – ‘Dinner Lady’ is a raw and sardonic track, delivered in a sort of ghoulish whimsy and containing a culinary quiche tip Mary Berry would find very original.
It was not long before they’d whipped their shirts off and were diving into the crowd – creating an almost frenzied state amongst the audience who seemed intent on shaking the foundations of the building. Frontman duties were shared and delivered by Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin through a scowling raised eyebrow. There was also a guest collaboration with Bill Ryder-Jones – needless to say, that went down quite well with the Merseyside faithful.
The dynamism of tracks such as ‘Dissonance’ and ‘It’s Grim up North Korea’ are performed unflinchingly and serve to confirm Cabbage as a band that live up to all of the hype. Inevitably, their subversiveness means there will always be the comparisons to The Fall and their live performances do bring to mind the Fat White Family. But like all great bands, Cabbage will soon shed any lazy categorisation to carve their own road.
Cabbage is good for you. Get as much as you can.
Cabbage are currently on tour and have today released their new single ‘Gibraltar Ape’, produced by James Skelly