"I Was Born in the NHS, I'm Gonna Die in the NHS"

“I Was Born in the NHS, I’m Gonna Die in the NHS”
Cabbage Live Review / The Loft / 7.2.18
 Oi! Change your trousers, we can see your boner,” shouts one audience member.
This song is for the weirdo at the front,” responds Cabbage frontman, Lee as they break in to ‘Indispensable Pencil’ watching the crowd erupt into a booze-driven frenzy.
Cabbage are not for the faint hearted. Their left-wing performances are causing controversy around the UK and their live reputation is questioned by *cough* Dads everywhere. It’s Wednesday night and The Loft is 2/3 full of a large range of ages. From the old blokes at the back who have heard Cabbage getting their Radio 6 play, to the youngsters at the front who are here to get smashed both in the sense of alcohol and literally smash each other up to the soundtrack of Cabbage’s debut album, Young Dumb and Full Of….
Cabbage’s last gig in Southampton was held at The Joiners almost a year ago to the day, and possessed some finer qualities that this gig is missing. Perhaps it is the slightly less-enthusiastic crowd, the new songs being played or perhaps the simple fact it is a Wednesday. However, the night still contains the grimy, filth-injected corruption that Cabbage project so well. Manchester is known for it’s live music reputation and northern bands arguably have that certain type of performance nailed that us southerners haven’t quite mastered. But something from tonight doesn’t quite match that of The Joiners last year.
The main down side of the night however is the support band, London duo, The Rhythm Method. The indie/pop/dance/electro styles of this Streets carbon copy (without any of the good aspects) leave me questioning if they are either a piss-take or if there is some satirical or hidden message in this performance. Surely, they can’t be for real? I scratch my head for the entire set asking friends and people around me if there is some message I’m not getting or if this is in fact the best thing I’ve ever seen, and I just haven’t understood it yet. But the overall conclusion is that….no one around me likes it. There are the odd clan of young girls at the front singing along and I assume they must be the ones streaming all The Rhythm Method’s songs on Spotify as the high, stream numbers do not correlate to the level of performance tonight.
Cabbage play a full range of tracks from brand new single, ‘Arms of Pleonexia’ all the way back to debut EP material, ‘Kevin’ and the repulsive, ‘Dinner Lady’ that all hint at an early Horrors influence and a post-punk musk. Following the quick success of their debut album, it acts as no surprise with how the crowd respond with Red Stripe cans flying and kids falling to the floor. The stand-out track was ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ with Cabbage adding some sort of dance beat over the top making it a live gift. There is minimal speech between songs meaning fans are literally getting as much music squeezed into this set as possible plus the politically charged five-piece bring a filth-enthused energy that is unmatchable.
With young people today getting more into politics, it could be argued that the influence of politically-driven bands is part of the cause. Music today is disposable. However, bands singing about what really matters such as the NHS, Trump, Brexit and terrorism is what we need. Plus, keeping a political mind set and urging us to form opinions is what’s important. Whether you like Cabbage’s music or not, they are definitely doing that right.

Image taken from band's Facebook page

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