20th September | Exchange

Raging, vitriolic post-hardcore straight from the capital – following other recent storm fronts, Petrol Girls whirlwind down to the Exchange this September 20th, leaving just enough time for the venue to secure the roof and reinforce the walls.

Taking a strong feminist stance, the band rallies against a climate of toxic masculinity, sexual violence, and systems of power built on rhetoric and propaganda. It’s biting content, though Petrol Girls aren’t coy going toe-to-toe on such topics. Take ‘Touch Me Again’ from their 2016 debut Talk of Violence that ends with vocalist Ren Aldridge screaming out the same blunt refrain, “Touch Me Again And I’ll Fucking Kill You,” both a warning and a promise to would-be abusers.

There’s no smoothing down the edges on this music; whatever cuts is intentional. Racism, sexism, xenophobia… these aren’t pretty ideologies, nor are they congruent with respect. So it begs the question, why should we service these people with niceties? Maybe, as Aldridge ruminates on ‘Big Mouth’, it’s time we rejected this culture of being “quiet and polite and nice,” or “just fucking getting on with it,” to favour more direct action.

And this is what 2019’s Cut & Stitch emblematises: voices for the voiceless, the discarded and unwanted, united in kinetic revolt. There’s even some playfulness in this unified protest front. For instance, on ‘No Love For A Nation’, which chides clownish nationalist politics with a wheezy, kazoo rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ at the close. It practically begs to be played at volume to some 17,410,742 people, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Listen to ‘No Love For A Nation’ here: