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Cabbage / The Shimmer Band – The Lexington, London, 02/02/2017

Bristol’s The Shimmer Band have been around for a couple of years now, and maybe have the big anthems to follow the sharp ascent of the similarly melodic Blossoms into the public eye. Their music may not be the most original ever heard, but their tune-friendly amalgamation of Kasabian and 90’s should-have-beens World Of Twist has mainstream success written all over it.

Tonight they are accepted warmly by an audience awaiting everyone’s new favourite scoundrels Cabbage, who are here as part of the BBC Introducing series of events to play the kind of intimate venue that they have now surely outgrown .

The (almost) Manchester five-piece are given a suitably rallying introduction from DJ Steve Lamacq, who remarks that this might just be one of those “I was there” gigs as the band are “definitely going somewhere”. Lamacq is almost certainly correct as there is a veritable buzz around the fantastic Lexington venue as the band take to the stage and rip into ‘Dissonance’, with its killer guitar riff and rousing Sham 69 chorus. It is a perfect choice of opener and gets the audience onside immediately.

Despite not having released a ‘proper’ debut album yet, the band have just put out a round-up of a lot of their singles and E.P. tracks thus far, Young, Dumb And Full Of Cabbage, and are touring in support of this. One of its tracks, ‘Indispensable Pencil’ comes along and showcases the band’s more unhinged side, all yelped vocals and 100mph guitars before their big-hit-in-a-parallel-universe ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’ is thrown in early, much to the packed-out crowd’s delight.

Dual singers Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin (who also plays guitar) have a real chemistry; Broadbent coming over vocally as an apprentice Shaun Ryder at times, but with plenty of his own ideas – he has the same kind of deadpan humour and indeed lyrical themes as Half Man Half Biscuit‘s Nigel Blackwell. It is easy to imagine some of Cabbage’s song titles, such as ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ appearing on an album by that band. Martin on the other hand has more of a Pete Doherty angle – but it must be stressed that the band are nowhere near copycats; they have put these ingredients together to create a compelling racket with no little charm and humour.

‘Dinner Lady’ brings a hard-to-stomach school story to life with a rolling Fall-style bass line, while the pensive ‘Grim Up North Korea’ is a stark jolt back to reality with its references to, well, grim stuff wrapped around its languorous musical backdrop.

Cabbage’s manifesto is about topical, black humour married to spiky tunes – ‘Necroflat In The Palace’, with its tag-line “I was born in the NHS / I wanna die in the NHS” hollered back at the band by the delighted throng who actually managed to get in to this intimate show, the likes of which the band may not be playing for much longer if their star continues its ascendancy.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.