Kicking off their Healing Brexit Towns Experiment Tour, the ever-exuberant Cabbage play Holmfirth’s heritage venue, The Picturedrome.
It’s been an eventful year for the fivesome. A Kasabian gig brought them to national attention for all the wrong reasons, as they found themselves at the centre of a sexual assault claim. Main man Lee Broadbent spent time in a wheelchair after a fall broke his leg. And more positively, they supported The Courteeners to a 50,000 strong crowd in Manchester.
All the action of the last 12 months seems to have dulled the band’s spirit a little. Once coined ‘the most exciting live band in the UK’, Cabbage seem to be a little more reserved in their actions. No- one took their tops off, no- one climbed the rafters. There wasn’t even a classic ‘spit water into the crowd’ moment. One can’t help but wonder if their personas have been reconsidered as so to avoid any more negative press – and if it has, it’s certainly harmed their live show.
Perhaps the band are trying to shake up the image a little, to bring a little gravitas to the act. A malfunction, early on, is quickly repaired, showing off just how well-oiled and professional the act is. Still though, conveying a sense of maturity is a challenge, especially from a band named after a vegetable, singing songs about their own drummer.
Whilst the physicality of the performance has become dulled down, the live renditions of their songs stir up a defiant notion. The call and response of ‘was born in the NHS, I want to die in the NHS’ during Necroflat in the Palace harks back to the 80s heyday of socialist solidarity. There’s something distinctly British about the band, and it’s fitting that their tour takes place across towns that nearly all voted in favour of exiting the European Union. The throwback to the punk culture that defined anti- establishment British attitudes is fitting for a tour being played to towns that probably voted to retain ‘British culture’.
Free Steven Avery (Wrong America) gets a new rendition tonight, with the lyrics being changed to ‘free Charles Bronson’ and ‘death to the infidels’. A woman in the audience puts her fingers up to singer Lee Broadbent and chants the original ‘death to Donald Trump’. ‘Oh alright’, he groans, as he joins in.
They close the set with their first single Uber Capitalist Death Trade. A stage invader almost knocks bassist Stephen Evans to the floor, as he grabs a microphone and chants the chorus out, to the delight of the band.
Cabbage failed to really kick the tour off with a bang, playing for just under an hour. But their uniqueness and hilarity is enough to keep you coming back time and time again.