Selfish Cunt, Working For A Nuclear Free City, The Permissive Society

Benjamin Short 29/06/2006

Every time I cover a gig at Night and Day, I begin by bemoaning the bar prices. And this review is no exception. Seriously, 3 for a can of Red Stripe is taking the piss! Sort it out guys, we're not in London, y'know!

Moving on to the music: Apologies to The Permissive Society, who's set I almost missed due to being held up at work. In just two songs, they proved themselves to be an impressive band of fret-wankers, combining grunge with the riffs (and the hair) of Led Zeppelin.

Selfish Cunt strike the ultimate glam-punk balance between the Sex Pistols and the Velvet Underground. Flashbulbs abound as the most photogenic rock 'n' roll preacher since Richey Edwards takes to the stage, accompanied by a half-naked Gwen Stefani clone. Livewire vocalist Martin Tomlinson is everything Pete Doherty wishes he was and more. The words 'performance' and 'art' spring irksomely to mind. Every so often, you see something which reaffirms your faith that music can change (or at least shock) the world. Tonight is one of those occasions. As the show reaches its chaotic climax, the four Cunts take a bow and their wannabe Stefani douses the audience in water.

More impressive still are support act Working For A Nuclear Free City. Granted, they don't play most of the set in nothing but their grimy y-fronts, but nevertheless subtlety triumphs over controversy with ease. Due to the absence of their bassist, WFANFC (not the catchiest moniker, but bear with me…) perform an idiosyncratic improvisational set which recalls Radiohead at their most obtuse. Polyrhythmic percussion, frantic vibratos, metallic post-punk guitar lacerations, and urgent, painful synthesisers collide, verging upon shock and awe sonic terrorism. A band which fits just three songs into a 45 minute slot is never likely to become enamoured with the mainstream, but WFANFC are without doubt more intensely atmospheric than contemporaries such as Hot Chip and The Postal Service.