13th October | Crofters Rights
Photos: Jess Greenwood
“What’s more punk than a gig on a Sunday?” we asked in the preview for this show. Then Steven King defied all odds and wore a cardigan on stage. Others in the crowd opted for something a little more traditional: band tees, heavy jewellery and Doc Martens were favoured amongst Fangclub’s fanbase.
The back room of The Crofters Rights began to fill with punters. To get everyone in the mood, the PA system was playing a selection of old-school punk anthems, including a questionable cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’. The room quickly filled and Fangclub strutted onto the stage. An emergency broadcast, akin to ones you’d hear on the radio, boomed out of the massive sound system, before the band hurtled into ‘Vulture Culture’. The title track from their latest release was quite epic and definitely caught our attention. Our feet were vibrating from the sheer power of it all.
“We’re from Dublin; has anybody ever been to Dublin?” frontman Steven asked the crowd, hair dangling in front of his face. A very obvious Irish accent from the back of the room stated, “Yeah, it’s shite!”. It felt as though Fangclub’s moody, sombre aesthetic was all smoke and mirrors. They all seemed so down-to-earth and the night was filled with funny anecdotes and quick-witted responses. They were nothing like your average masculine punk/metal outfit. They didn’t take themselves too seriously. It was easy to warm to this.
Playing older material such as ‘Dreamcatcher’, which had undercurrents of math-rock intertwined, sparked much interest. After a while, their song structure became a little predictable, with verse-chorus-verse-solo-chorus-pause for two seconds-massive breakdown-abrupt end. Saying that, they then performed a sincere ode which was definitely a relief to collective eardrums after the solid trashing. ‘Last Time’ talked of the troubles the band went through and took them onto the cusp of breaking up. It was just vocals and guitar – ornate and delicate. A manic breakdown then ensued. The quiet was nice while it lasted, however. I’m glad they broke the night up with something a bit more left field.
Fangclub have a solid following here in Bristol. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and delivered punchy tunes. At times all the riffs did meld into one and it was difficult to distinguish any difference, however their warmth won me over. If you’re a big fan of the genre then you’re guaranteed to guffaw when you catch them live.
See the video for ‘Vulture Culture’ here: