Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK23rd August 2017
By AJ Phink
It’s back to the Deaf Institute for tonight’s show, a venue that sits in the redeveloped area that surrounds the University area of the city centre, an early arrival is required ahead of the gig as The Punk Site intends to catch a few words with Culture Abuse ahead of their Manchester debut supporting Tigers Jaw. This is a tour that has seen Culture Abuse on the road for the last few months across the USA and Europe, and it follows on from their impressive debut album, Peach, that was released last year and led to their signing to the legendary punk imprint, Epitaph Records. After a brief interview with Culture Abuse, which will appear on The Punk Site shortly, it’s onto tonight’s opening act Muskets, and it’s time the ascend the Deaf Institute stairs.
First up at tonight’s sold out show is Muskets, a band borne of Brighton’s ever growing music scene, they connected with like minded peers who held a shared DIY ethos and influence of grunge, punk and emo sounds, the Brighton based quartet open with a hammering introduction that builds into an impressive driving blast of grunge influenced punk. I’ve not encountered Muskets live before but this won’t be the last, their intense bass heavy slacker punk marks the perfect opening to tonight’s bill, and their set is an unrelenting barrage that combines of punk, grunge and post hardcore that sets the stall out nicely for Culture Abuse to bring their West Coast punk to Manchester.
Prior to their set Culture Abuse file out through the crowd to the smoking area, and return shortly afterwards in a suspicious haze and make their way onstage, the start of their set is delayed only by a malfunctioning bass amp before they launch into Chinatown, that precedes Culture Abuse diving headlong into a full tilt set of their own unique laid back intensity to a by now packed Deaf Institute. Live Culture Abuse are stripped of any polish the studio imposed and they are a hypnotic high speed dose of heady punk rock, it’s interrupted by a broken hi hat that results in a rambling and unselfconscious interaction with the crowd with a frank admission that they’re “stoned as fuck” something I picked up might be the case in the earlier interview.
Their summer feel good single So Busted makes an appearance and hints at what may be to come on their Epitaph Records debut, but it’s when Dream On, one of the highlights from their debut album, is played that the crowd explode into life, a call for light illuminates the venue, a rare thing in the Deaf Institute, they announce “we’ve got two more as we smoked a joint before” and they kick back in with a stunning Turn It Off, and I’m wondering how a band this baked can play a set this intense and, equipment failures aside, relentless. They make a further rambling declaration of their love for the venue, touring and what they do, that was enforced by a broken string, before ending an all too brief set, with another of their debut album’s highlights, Jealous. I’m left hoping Culture Abuse return to our city for a longer less problem strewn set, as there is no one else out there even remotely like Culture Abuse. As they leave the stage the bass hits the floor and the mic lead is thrown into the roof, where it stays, and they exit in a squall of feedback.
Tigers Jaw are pretty much an unknown quantity to me, and they have tough act ahead of them following Muskets, and especially the excellent dose of channelled chaos that was Culture Abuse‘s all too brief set. Unlike the bands that preceded them Tigers Jaw offer a more restrained and melodic alternative to the other band’s on this tour, and tonight is one of the occasions when the support act has well and truly stolen the limelight. As much as Tigers Jaw deliver a coherent set of energetic indie rock I can’t help but miss the hazy chaos that was Culture Abuse, but the reception they receive from am enthusiastic throng at the front indicates they have own solid following who know every word of their songs and who are crammed into the Deaf Instutute, but for me tonight belonged to Culture Abuse.
The Tigers Jaw website can be found here
The new album by Tigers Jaw, Spin, can be ordered here
The Punk Site review of Culture Abuse‘s debut album, Peach, can be read here
Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images