Cabbage review – Manchester's next great hope? Not just yet ...

New Adelphi, Hull
The anarchic group deliver a few thrilling moments, but end up sounding a little aimless

Things end tonight the way, one might argue, all great gigs should: three members of Cabbage are topless, one is scrapping about in the moshpit and, despite being 20 minutes over curfew, those left on stage are manfully fighting through a discordant, discombobulated post-punk version of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.

If only the whole gig had been like this. Cabbage – “it’s the best anti-band name,” according to singer Lee Broadbent – want, by their own admission, to be “a Marmite-type entity”. They’re less interested in your love than your reaction. Playing live, they said recently, is like “driving round with a circus cult trying to anarchise people”.

The trouble is, at the New Adelphi – a sticky, sweaty end-terrace about the size of your dad’s shed – they kind of fall into the category best labelled “meh”. Their neo-funk shanties are decent enough – think the Coral and Fat White Family on a jolly boys outing – but, for a band often described as Manchester’s next great hope, it’s all a little aimless. Lyrics that scamper from the state of the NHS and austerity injustice to, er, having a wank in a quiche are neither pointed nor funny enough not to grate after 35 minutes.

Though they do have their moments. Debut single Kevin is a stomping piece of Fall-esque finery, for instance, and you can’t argue with their more thrillingly chaotic on-stage moments. But what stands out most tonight is the sheer incongruity of a single line in the hometown homage Tell Me Lies About Manchester. “I don’t think much to the Gallaghers’ songs,” croons Broadbent. “I could have wrote them all.”

For now, he wishes.


Colin Drury

The GuardianTramp

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