Cabbage: O2 Ritz, Manchester

An almost symbolic drizzly Manchester evening welcomed the return of Cabbage, five boys from Mosley, who only a week before had ruled Glastonbury’s John Peel stage.

It seemed fitting that the political post-punk band, who sing of austerity and fairness for all, hosted the gig on such a miserable rainy night, as crowds flooded in to the venue from the cold dejected streets, nothing could lift spirits more than the night Cabbage were about to provide.

The night began with supporting sets from local bands, starting with Strange Bones, who have recently finished a UK tour with Frank Carter and the Rattle Snakes. They were then followed by The Blinders, who are not only fully capable of carrying their own headline show, but have sold out venues doing so. With these two bright talents and Cabbage leading the way, this was not a line up to be sniffed at.

Strange Bones opened the evening sporting a hand-written ‘burn the tories’ t-shirt before later pulling on a balaclava, a perfect indication of the impact they planned to make. They were nothing short of a pure punk-rock band, with strong anthemic songs clearly influenced by the early 70’s punk scene, setting up the crowd nicely as the mosh pits had already began.

A tough act to follow, but Doncaster’s finest were up for the challenge. The Blinders have been making waves across Manchester for a significant amount of time now, and so it was no surprise there were a noteable amount of Blinders fans in the audience, including fellow rising band Crimsons who had come to support their peers.

The crowd were captured by the bands unique sound, heavy bass; dancing guitars; and intensely rasp vocals which fed their audience poetic verses filled again with angst and disappointment about today’s politics and the world that we live in, with lyrics such as “in this bitter city there is no hope”.

The bar was set high for the headliners who had watched their predecessors in amongst the rest crowd, assisting their ever growing image as a true band of the people.

As Etta James’ ‘At Last’ rang through the speakers, Cabbage one by one entered the stage to immense cheers and applause as if they had already put on the show of a lifetime. The crowd hit the roof as the first chord of ‘Kevin’ was played, and they didn’t come back down until the after gig had ended.

Cabbage have a sound that is not too dissimilar to that of fellow Mancunian band The Fall, the difference being that – where The Fall are of course known for their, to put it lightly, wild slightly chaotic performances, Cabbage’s performance was incredibly tight.

Tight, however, does not by any means mean timid! Co-front man Lee Broadbent was seen on several occasions jumping into the crowd, bouncing around the stage and being generally reckless.

The set included hits such as ‘Fickle’ and ‘Terrorist Synthesiser’ which, no surprise, received huge audience reaction. The mosh pits continued to grow and NHS t-shirts were waved during ‘Necroflat in the Palace’ as Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin sang “I was born in the NHS, I wanna die in the NHS”. Alongside the usual hits, the band pulled out a rare appearance of ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ especially for their hometown.

One of the most memorable performances of the evening was Lee Broadbent’s rendition of ‘Because You’re Worth It’ which came after a speech from the singer promoting the labour party, which was greatly accepted by the Mancunian crowd as they sang along with their arms in the air as if it were a national anthem, you could feel the passion for change oozing out of the venue, from on and off the stage.

The band finished on a high as they played ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ but the crowd would have stayed all night had it been possible. The atmosphere in the room was electric with the set exceeding all expectations. If this is the start of Cabbage’s career, I can only imagine what is still to come from these fearless Manc lads.