perfect pussy

A small queue formed by the entrance of the venue. Cold as it was, the crowd stood awaiting a band notorious for their frenetic displays of melodic noise, grab-and-go punk rock and an invariably hip look, Perfect Pussy. Inside were the vague outlines of both the young and old, scattered across the noticeably dark room. At a closer glance you notice the overgrown beards and shaven-at-the-sides haircuts. From the moment of entry it seemed as though this place had been thoroughly occupied by the cultural ruling class, the “culturally-aware” master race of suburbanites. You could even taste the potent odours of stilted bourgeois attitudes that seemingly filled the room.

Out of the darkened veil comes the first support act, USA Nails. As the crowd moved up front to see the spectacle, it all sounded pretty good at first. Unfortunately, the bombastic drumming greatly overshadowed the simplistic guitar playing and superficial monotone vocals.  Each song sounded vaguely similar though at times, sounds switched from grunge-edged quasi-QOTSA tracks to light hardcore tracks that were only really kept together by the works of a good drummer. The crowd vacantly bobbed their heads in tandem to each song, expressing both tolerance and an equal lack of care or significant engagement.

Next up was Cardiff’s Joanna Gruesome, a punk band made for the dissident loser who have been making waves across the UK with their fragrant mixture of twee-pop and punk ferocity. Though they took their sweet time getting set up, they spared no effort in showing off their fragrant hook-filled damage pop with opener ‘Graveyard’, an angsty death-wish that ruptures with Alanna McArdle’s lung-puncturing scream. The violently twee edge seemed to flow throughout their showcase occasionally slowing down with noisy ballads like ‘Wussy Void’ and ‘Candy’. Moments of amateurishness do pop up when lyrics are forgotten and bassist Max Warren forgets how to play one of their newer songs, his arm still wrapped in cling film from a fresh tattoo.

Perfect Pussy’s lead singer, Meredith Graves, also came on stage to sing one of Gruesome’s better known songs, ‘Secret Surprise’ which seemed disappointedly shallow through the use of echo effects on the vocals, greatly softening the original punch of the vocal delivery. Still, this produced little movement from the crowd, with the only one group of thrashers at the side. This was great music, but the lack of exothermic reverberations coming off these people seemed concerning and oddly oppressive.

After the short thirty minute set there was a drawn-out wait for the main act and equally for a loud ruckus to move the people. Perfect Pussy are a band with a well-known vernacular of white noise, distorted vocals and the indie-tinged noise punk. The first few songs were a vehement flurry of scratched up noise pop as guitarist Ray McAndrews strangles out the feedback-ridden licks across the room as Graves turns to expressive throws akin to a theatrical séance. They were going all out, it was difficult to tell if they could go any further. Each song continuously flew out at great speed like a hasty Lurcher. After noise warped tunes like ‘Big Stars’, ‘Driver’ and ’Inheritance Fits’, the abrasive drumming and breakneck bass-playing was brought to close with ‘Advance Upon The Real’ which ended in a collapse of pure white noise, Graves painfully beating her mic against her heart.

Although this was a disappointingly short set, this was a real display of a rich punk sound that’s been opened up by bands like Perfect Pussy and Joanna Gruesome. However, with such an overwhelmingly dead, cross-armed audience that throughout the night refused to show as little engagement as pond algae, it really created a mood that felt increasingly oppressive and produced a somewhat puritanical attitude towards those that broke out and moved to the frantic tunes. This is not Sun 0))) people! Be free! Express yourself!

Satisfied by the sounds and sights onstage, but utterly disappointed by the oppressively elitist people this scene has managed to produce, there really was an undeniable feeling of a slightly unfulfilled night which lacked the movement needed for such a raw and raucous act.

Callum Quinn

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