Brudenell Social Club, in Leeds, was packed out for the loud-mouthed political angst of Cabbage. The gig was part of a tour to promote their critically acclaimed debut album “Young, Dumb & Full of… Cabbage”. Before the headliners exploded onto the stage the rowdy and age diverse audience were treated to sets from April and The Shimmer Band.
The first of the warm up acts was April. Imagine if Ian Brown called in sick one day and The Stone Roses got Shaun Ryder in as cover, this will give you a gist of how April sounded. Their sound was a composite of many Mancunian influences with the odd bit off the psychedelic thrown in.
April were followed by The Shimmer Band, a heavily stylised creation from Bristol. As they arrived on stage, the majority of them clad in sunglasses, they seemed full of confidence, the lead singer had a swagger comparable to Liam Gallagher. It was a set comprising of big atmospheric anthems which the crowd enjoyed, but I found it to be lacking substance.
It was then time for Cabbage, perhaps the polar opposite of The Shimmer Band, shabbily dressed but definitely a case of substance over style. Their high octane set begins with “Dissonance”, with singers Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin sharing vocal duties. These two deliver very different styles, Broadbent looms over the crowd in intimidating fashion while Martin seems more timid and awkward. Despite these contrasting styles both had the crowd well and truly stirred up. Broadbent opts for a more confrontational style insisting that he had worked in an abattoir that was more fun than this audience.
The first huge audience reaction of the night came as they unleashed “Terrorist Synthesizer”. Cabbage are gloriously shambolic, out of tune, and constantly on the verge of boiling over. Tonight was comparable with those early The Libertines gigs for its untamed energy and unpredictability. Another comparison to the heady days of Doherty and Barat is the bond with the their fans, despite moments in which it seems like they have genuine contempt for them, most notably during the infrequent spitting both at the crowd and at each other. Regardless of the phlegm projectiles every time Broadbent entered the crowd, which he regularly did, he was given a heroes welcome. When he walked amongst us there was a wall a jabbing arms desperately trying to make contact with their idol, and when he launched himself onto the crowd they proudly raised him aloft.
As the set built increasingly towards a frenetic climax the crowd, and the band, got more and more boisterous. The energy in the room was palpable during “Necroflat In The Palace” and it was almost on the point of becoming a riot during their final track “Kevin”. Whilst “Young, Dumb & Full of… Cabbage” is a fine album, and one I have listen to many times, it isn’t a patch on the exhilarating experience of seeing Cabbage live and not being one hundred percent sure you will live to tell the tale.