Catching up with the Petrol Girls to check out what their call to arms is all about, and to find out if the furore they cause with what they say and do is really worth something or not, didn’t disappoint.
The mood of the imperious Petrol Girls and the Menstrual Cramps, in performance, flanked either side of the bill by War On Women and Peach Club, offered up the epitome of what is worth being alive for, to be caught up in and be threatened by the zeitgeist sound of an increasingly virulent new wave punk scene.
The effect is explosive, and with detonation triggers cocked both bands give it their all.
Humming jack-leads mix with murmurings on the dancefloor to crank up the tensions before Emilia and Menstrual Cramps stun in an instant with their distinctive, naturally authentic ’77 punky sound as “The Smash” went for the jugular of anyone twiddling their thumbs, thinking a revolution is useless, and a litany of buoyant, gobsmacking ditties and feisty jibes aimed at corporate meanies, nasty neo-Nazis, and the state of failed politics thrilled the baying mass of the crowd.
Petrol Girls act up a maelstrom of fury to tell it as it is, feel it as it goes and let nobody, not anybody off the hook, not even themselves.
Fronted by Ren Aldridge, Petrol Girls offer up a heavy-duty punk cum thrash-metal trip, gloriously littered with more than a dose of the right kind of infectious spite.
Masked by unassuming and gentle appearances the final reckoning from the band, musically and live, is an insatiable outpouring of tight and complex signature time changes that intrigue from Joe York’s guitar, with Zock Astpai, on drums and Liepa Kuraitė on bass, jettisoned into another place by the outer-stratospheric vocal ecstasies, passionate poignancies and unearthly forces from Aldridge’s voice.
From the best of the lyrics, the fixation to destroy insipid patriarchies and ruin the cosy comforts of armchair cynics with “No Love for A Nation” and “Naïve” worked brilliantly and then the call out to tread in solidarity and dignity over binary sexual and political hedgemonies with “Touch Me Again (and I Will Fucking Kill You)”, “Weather Warning”, “Big Mouth” and “Tangle of Lives” inspired.
Throughout, Petrol Girls amassed a palpable force of insurrection and delight, taking along with them a packed out and wonderfully violent, in the nicest of possible ways, audience, high on adrenaline.
Photos by Reen Quartermann