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Bodega, Model/Actriz, Panic Shack. Band on the Wall. 27th May 2024

This has to be one of the best line ups I’ve seen in a while… maybe ever! Those in earlier than me have already been treated to Deaf Deaf Deaf and Déjà Vega. Regrettably I’ve not been able to catch one of my favourite bands, but I feel confident in saying that the DV lads were amazing, as they always are. You can tell by the buzz in Band on the Wall that something great has just happened. Although it could also be the anticipation for Panic Shack.

It’s warranted. This lot are always amazing and this set is a bit special. Old favourites, a spot of choreography, new songs with audience participation, they really are upping their game. Which is pretty staggering as they were great from the get go. Proper punk is played by a gang who just happened to also be a band and this lot are that. Tight riffs and razor sharp lyrics about the perils of negotiating society as a woman, babies, clothes, meal deals, they’re fucking brilliant. In Sarah Harvey they’ve got a genuine powerhouse stage presence, she’s undoubtably the focus, but the entire band are fabulous and if you don’t love them after half an hour then there’s something seriously wrong with you. Even if you don’t think you like punk music, trust me seeing Panic Shack live will convince you otherwise.

It’s almost cruel to ask anyone to follow them and that daunting task falls to Model/Actriz. I first saw this lot last summer on a blistering hot day at Wide Awake. Where Panic Shack are sort of venomous with a side of humour. This bunch of Americas are just pure danger. I previously compared them to NIN meets Selfish Cunt and 12 months on I’ll stand by that. Frontman Cole has a delivery reminiscent of Martin Tomlinsons drawl, but mixed with some James Murphy cool on record. Live though everything is more intense. They’re seductively aggressive. Bass and drums cut through with some staggering guitar venom. Jack Wetmore makes his battered guitar sound like a sequencer one minute, before unleashing hell the next. When they hit, they hit hard (blowing the power after three songs). Cole screams like Reznor, but with long tasseled gloves. He feeds off the room that is soon whipped into a feral frenzy. I wondered how they’d do following the Welsh girls, but have no fear… Model/Actriz certainly don’t. They turn BOTW into an intimate industrial sex club. Don’t get me wrong, all the music intensity is coming from the stage, but with Cole spending half the set out in the crowd, stalking, teasing, orchestrating, he’s what people are going to dream about tonight, or have nightmares. After a lengthy break for that power out, they go at it with even more gusto and deliver as set brutal as any I’ve heard. Last summer they didn’t make as much sense out in the midday sunshine, but in a dark room they’re dynamite.

It can’t get better can it? Oh yes it can. Bodega have a new album out and it’s as fantastic as those it follows. They’re keen to let us hear some of live for the first time and I’m all ears! They start with ‘ATM’ a new spiky monster with thick bass riffs and shouty lyrics that are instantly infectious. Before the more familiar ‘Shiny New Model’ introduces those big summery guitar mekodies. ‘Stain Gaze’ is one of my favourites off the new record and that follows quickly with Nikki’s agitpop vocal delivery. It’s quite and opening. They really don’t mess about. There’s quite a lot going on with Bodega’s sound, but they never sound overly complicated. They’re a party band after all. I quickly lose track of song titles as the new mix in with the older and a mosh pit breaks out, which is not something I think I’ve seen with them before. Perhaps the other bands on the bill have amped things up, but they seem to play with even more energy than usual. They definitely seem harder and louder too! The sound desk has had its work cut out tonight with glitches, but they’ve kept the show on the road and all the bands sound superb. Bodega deliver everything I’d expect. There’s plenty of space, especially on ‘Tarkovski’ with guitar soloing and a Stone Roses interlude. They’re all smiles as they lock in, clearly enjoying it as much as we are. ‘Thrown’, Statuette on the Console’, ‘Doers’ the bangers just keep coming. I’m sure I’ve left Bodega gigs in the past thinking “Wow that was incredible, but if they’d only played…”. Not tonight, everything is there for me. It’s a near perfect gig with a mind boggling line up. Hats off to the venue and the promoter Now Wave for wrapping the bank holiday weekend in style.


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