As far as I’m aware Slumb Party are genuinely the most punk-rock band in the Midlands right now. Not in terms of actual music – they don’t sound like the Sex Pistols or anything – but its clear from watching them perform that they pretty much embody the spirit of ’77 in terms of not actually caring what anyone else might think, good or bad.
It’s like they’ve swallowed a pill that allows them to see beyond the reality of the importance of Soundcloud followers and Facebook likes. Without hammering this truth down anyone’s throat through rhetoric, they somehow manage to induce audience members into feeling engaged when watching rather than like passive spectators. I don’t know how they’ve done this, I mean there are literally layers and layers of simulacra to penetrate through in this crazy ol’hypereality but they’ve done it.
Slumb Party should be made world leaders or something. Perhaps the world is just ready for an injection of post-punk as reinterpreted by millenials, perhaps post-punk will prove itself to be the most inherently anarchic form of music in the not-too-distant future, who knows?
All I know, is that watching them, I realised that sometimes you just get bands that comprise of real good people and that this must translate into the collective energy and music that’s created. Tonight’s show contains all the unbounded chaos that they are beginning to become known for within the indie circuit, everyone has a role but everyone sort of does what they feel and each song is delivered with as much gusto as the next. Saxophone playing and off-kilter time signatures ensure that Slumb Party will never be a danceable band (at least not in a conventional sense), there’s no predictable structures here that anyone could find themselves falling into a groove to. But if groove is in the heart (as Lady Miss Kier suggests) then the heart of Slumb Party is one in which real musical experimentation beats at the core of and that’s no bad thing.
Rapid Tan are up next, they’ve traveled from Glasgow and their presence brings along the city’s generous and unpretentious spirit.
They are, in a nutshell, loud. It’s the ear-splitting screaming mostly, although don’t get me wrong they’re not actually a screamo band or anything, music-wise we’re talking art-punk/new-wave here. Vocally they hold an uncanny similarity to early ’00’s Brighton-based indie/pop act Help She Can’t Swim. I don’t imagine that this is remotely a conscious influence at all. Help She Can’t Swim were a pretty obscure band based on the other side of the country to them around ten years ago and an anecdote to indie lovers who were tired of the all the psuedo-Libertines junk that was being released at the time but all the same, to the attuned listener it’s a fun resemblance.
Stewart’s drum beats are fast and Mcmillan’s shoeless feet attempt to match the pace as she bounces back and forth in time to the music, both dispersing and acquiring energy in which to release glass-shattering screams. During a song interval, she laments wearing a jumper round her waist because it’s a bit warmer down here than in Scotland but also seems too exhausted to bother removing it, the band offer some unintentionally comedic banter about the venue being the cleanest place they’ve ever played and about enjoying the in-house cheese toasties, before plunging into more noisiness. Comments about how endearing they are float around the general discourse after they’ve played and I have to agree, it’s really hard not to want to adopt all of Rapid Tan, ear-splitting screams included.
Find Slumb Party:
Find Rapid Tan:
Images by James Robert Birtwhistle: Indiehorse