It has to be said that the Islington Academy’s abundance of shiny fittings and polished surfaces don’t make the ideal environment for a dirty rock n’ roll gig. Still, Ladyfinger soon banish such concerns from our minds, testing the early arrivers’ eardrums with raw nuggets of twisted, bass-heavy rock n’ roll. Impressive stuff, but this party’s only just getting started.
Winnebago Deal are clearly not out to take prisoners as they rip full-tilt into ‘With Friends Like These’; with drummer Ben Thomas a mass of flailing limbs and long hair, and vocalist/guitarist Ben Perrier seemingly in possession of Satan’s own larynx for the evening. Arguably sounding louder, faster and meaner with every gig they play, there’s an almost tangible aura of aggression to the Oxford duo’s musical maelstrom, and it’s a joy to watch as songs like ‘Cobra’ constantly teeter on the brink of pure sonic warfare.
However, it’s the headliners’ party, and tonight The Bronx are nothing short of a revelation. Not since the heyday of the Icarus Line has LA spawned a band that thrives on chaos as much as these guys, whose arrival heralds utter mayhem in the pit. Vocalist Matt Caughthran tears around the stage (and occasionally into the crowd, too) screaming his throat raw as his band make like the bastard children of Black Flag raised on a diet of cheap speed and Stooges records. If you’re wondering what happened to the menace and danger in punk rock, then it appears that the Bronx have snorted it up and spat it out in the form of vicious mini-anthems like ‘Shitty Future’ and ‘Heart Attack American’
Clearly realising that a conventional three-song encore would be pointless after the bruising full-stop of ‘History’s Stranglers’, the band’s return only lasts about thirty seconds before Matt hurls himself into the drumkit. As finales go, It makes for a brief but highly potent fuck-you to convention – and heaven knows that’s worthy of applause.