Kagoule only played the Soup Kitchen a month ago as part of Carefully Planned festival and were the highlight of the entire weekend. This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard their recent album Urth, considering it’s probably the best debut album of the year. They kick off this return visit with the alternately chugging and writhing riffs of ‘Adjust The Way’. The meaty intro twists into guitarist Cai Burns’ fiddly verses punctuated by the stabs of bass from Lucy Hatter on the opposite side of the stage, alternating between providing more melodic backing vocals and throwing around her brilliant pink hair. As on record they go straight into ‘Glue’, the song that probably best reflects their strengths. Everything’s so tight, like an elastic band ball of frustration. The restraint going into the chorus makes the point of release so much more powerful and the final reprise of the chorus is huge.

Again following the pattern of Urth, they calm things down slightly with ‘Damp Sand’’s elegant restraint. They say they hadn’t heard of Smashing Pumpkins before they got together as a band, but with songs like this you can’t help but wonder. Live it’s heavier, everything cranked up louder and the focus is on the running bassline and its jagged interruptions from Burns’ guitar. They’ve lost a little momentum but Burns introduces their next track, ‘Greenbeefo’ as being “about Manchester” despite being instrumental. It’s only a couple of minutes long but the raw power on display ignites the room. This gives the band the confidence boost they’ve needed and they plough straight into ‘Centralwing’, finally hitting their stride with its Laurence English’s drum roll fills propelling them along.

Burns introduces a new song by explaining that it’s “about Manchester” again, and then goes on to say that he completely re-wrote it the day before so this tour is the only time they’ll be playing it in this format. It seems a shame because there’s a real groove to it that isn’t present for the rest of the set but it’s indicative of the way they’re developing as songwriters. If it seems premature to look forward to what they release next that’s only because they’re so exciting at such an early stage. They bring the set to a close with the fried grunge of ‘It Knows It’, the verses shuddering by on a solid bassline and pounding bridge all leading to another spacey riff. It’s surely too early to be finishing after just half an hour?

The band seem to feel the same way, Burns climbs back on stage to announce that they would play another song but somehow in the few minutes they’ve been off Hatter has disappeared. Someone shouts that she’s nipped to the loo but she seems to re-emerge from behind the bar and they tear through the most visceral 78 seconds on Urth, the blistering punk blast of ‘Empty Mug’. It’s the first time I’ve seen an encore at the Soup Kitchen, not to mention a mosh pit, and some of the kids down the front seem to think now’s the best time to have a smoke. Hatter’s throat ripping screams of the chorus on record are more affecting live, the first of the two choruses are coolly dispatched and the second is blood curdling. And with that they’re done, leaving us wondering if we’re too old, complaining about indoor smoking from kids who aren’t old enough to have gone out before the ban? We decide we need to recapture some of the punk spirit of youth and go upstairs to drink a pint of something called Anarchy Antichrist. Punk as fuck.

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at http://dead-pheasant.blogspot.com if you want (you should).