I don’t think that the novelty of venue Thekla will ever wear off for me; after all, it’s a freakin’ retired cargo ship for God’s sake! How wicked! That said however, it still takes a carefully chosen line-up of quality to impressive me, and as I boarded the venue on Wednesday evening my anticipations were higher than the ship’s mast itself.
Kicking off the event were Thee MVPs, a punky offering who set the tone of creative debauchery for the evening to come. In hindsight they stood out like a sore thumb in terms of genre, yet there was still something so amiable about their unrestricted energy and vehement music tone. They’re certainly a group to keep an eye on!
Second up: TIGERCUB, one of my favourite grunge discoveries of the last two years.
With an efficacious debut album Abstract Figures in the Dark under their belt, the group have demonstrated their ability to fusion together genres in order to create something distinct and devastatingly beautiful. Upon the Thekla stage this only intensified, leading for a set that was dynamically intelligent, spirited, and artistic beyond all means.
Their intimate and political lyrics sounded particularly poignant, ringing through the air and crushing everything in their path. Highlights included Omen, a bass-junkie’s dense dream; Destroy, a destructive masterpiece from earlier in their career; and their closing track Migraine, which was the most revoltingly beautiful, scream-drenched track that my ears have ever have the privilege to encounter. Frankly speaking, their performance was immaculate and demonstrated that TIGERCUB have nowhere to go but up. It was my fifth time seeing them live and I’m still ravenous for more!
With heavy anticipation in the air, Pulled Apart by Horses soon mounted the stage, and it didn’t take long for the audience to fully lose their inhibitions as the band ignited the venue. It was evident that a night of complete musical quality was on the cards!
Tearing straight into The Haze, the title-track from their new album, the group fiercely demonstrated their ability to translate their loud and meaty sound upon the live stage. Grunge, punk, and experimental fans alike found themselves head-banging until unconsciousness ensued, as the commanding songs kept pouring out of the four-piece. It was enrapturing, addictive, fierce, and the audience were loving every last second of the harsh encounter, with the hypnotic talent vibrating through the floorboards.
Not only was their sound explosive though, for their stage-energy matched this feature entirely. The four-piece are evidently in love with their music, and this adoration carved something quite explosively intense. My personal favourite moment: their performance of Lizard Baby, which sent the crowd into a wild frenzy.
For said audience it was hectic; it was clammy; there were water bottles flying around, and crowd members dehydrating in every crevice, whilst others participated in crowd-surfing. There was no safe area to procure, making it a raw and prevalent experience. All in all, it was perfection incarnate, with enough firepower to sink the venue.
The night concluded and my accompanying photographer turned to me and uttered the words “I need a shower more than I need Brexit not to happen”, thus proving the extent of the sweaty and feverish tone in the air. It may be far too early to name my Gig of the Year yet, but this one is going to be difficult to beat!
Words by Keira Trethowan
Photography by Craig Taylor-Broad