Taking over The Garage tonight are two of the most politically aware bands going of the moment, Petrol Girls and Sonic Boom Six.
Playing first were Petrol Girls, and even on such a small stage with only a spattering of people watching, they manage to put on a show that’ll leave you feeling like you have a concussion. Vocalist Ren Aldridge throws herself over the tiny stage whilst lead guitarist Joe York provides some melody to the songs with understated but vital guitar riffs.
As usual ‘Touch Me Again’ was received with deafening approval by the audience, with Aldridge moving into the audience to scream “touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you” near enough in their faces only served to bring their message closer to home, forcing the crowd to become a part of their set rather than watching passively. Being the centre of attention for the duration of their set, Petrol Girls make sure that their spotlight is put to good use and throughout the show are rallying cries of support for refugees, people suffering from mental illness and consent.
Loud and desperate track ‘Treading Water’ is about “the genocide happening in the Mediterranean sea, and I think it’s fair to call it a genocide as people are getting denied entry because of their national identity and what papers they do or do not have“. The explanation given by Aldridge raises a cheer from the audience, and when performing, the sadness and frustrating radiating from the band is palpable: their politics aren’t just for show. This is further backed up by the band encouraging attendees to bring supplies to the gig for refugees that they can drop off on their journey to Europe, with a list including warm items and winter clothing as the days start to grow colder and shorter.
Although in its entirety their set is loud and discordant, ‘Rewild’, a yet unheard track from their upcoming album ‘Talk Of Violence’ is one of the most melodic performances from the band tonight. It becomes almost ethereal lined up next to such violent and aggressive songs, but none of the impact is lost with the lyrics “do you wanna be or be seen?” again demanding the audience to listen to what they have to say, and the harmonies between Joe and bassist Liepa Kuraite further bring the song to life.
Headliners Sonic Boom Six are up next to enthral the room with their perfectly melded combination of genres. Single ‘No Man, No Right’ from their recent album ‘The F-Bomb’ makes the venue feel like a house party, with arms waving in the air and impassioned singing from the audience. Lead vocalist Leila Kahn is more than happy to interact with the audience, and it’s hard to catch her at a moment when she isn’t leaning forward towards fans and getting them to sing into the microphone.
During their set they invite everyone out to party for Barney Boom’s birthday, although it looks as if he’s already had a fantastic day if his beaming performance is accurate to his mood. The dual vocals from Kahn and Barney add an extra dynamic to their already energetic performance and the splicing between melodic vocals and rapping keeps the audience on their toes.
Playing a mixture of old and new tracks, no fan is leaving feeling short-changed as they touch on every era of music they’ve released. Leaving the best to last they play ‘For The Kids of the Multiculture’, the message cutting like glass in a post-Brexit Britain. Full of energy, Sonic Boom Six are going to continue writing and releasing songs that celebrate the good and call out the bad, and with the following they have it’s definitely not going to fall on deaf ears.