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The Pop Group - Komedia - Thursday 16th February

The Pop Group - Komedia - Thursday 16th February

The Pop Group have been long considered pioneers of the post-punk genre, their anti-establishmentarian stance laced with eery electronica is revolutionary in itself and is just one aspect that has defined them as a band. Despite a split back in ’81, the band have returned from the dead as it were and have returned to bring their nightmarish sound to the 21st century. Beware, for tonight’s show at Komedia is one that captures not only the genre’s intensity but also one which will delve into some of the more sinister sides of the human mind.

Tonight’s opener are Interrobang‽, a three-piece who meet the very definition of psychotic. Starting your show at the back of the room with a megaphone is always a positive, and as vocalist Dustan Bruce paces from the shadows through the crowd onto the stage, the entire room is already captivated by what he has to say. Their sound follows the prolific potency that any punk group needs, and Dustan’s well fitted suit only further adds to the character of the band. His stage performance is delightfully enticing as, despite being an older gent, he gladly throws himself around whilst preaching lyrics of revolution and 70s nostalgia, a truly great and unexpected start to the evening. The Woodentops are up next and despite some great instrumentation from all members, the bass in particular holding a distinctively well performed funk, their style of arcade electronic rock perhaps doesn’t quite fit vibes created by the other bands, but nonetheless make for an enjoyable listen.

As the room darkens once more, The Pop Group immediately kick things off with the 1979 hit ‘Thief of Fire’. Despite this band being around for over four decades, they have more energy than almost any teenage band I’ve seen. They move erratically, jarringly and when the riffs begin, expert guitarist Gareth Sager thrusts himself around with such a speed that the eyes blur. Vocalist Mark Stewart is a monolith of pure punk, not only being a giant in stature but his jarred movements emphasise the band’s unearthly aura in such a way he is reminiscent of some kind of Frankenstein figure.

As the track comes to a close, Mark screams: “There is still an underground!” before moving into ‘Citizen Zombie’. This track, in my opinion, is the highlight of the entire show and really captivates just what this band are all about. The combination of anti-establishment and nightmarish imagery works fantastically and, as Mark drudges around the stage with his vacant zombie face and arms raised, the erratic guitar and horrific electronica blend with Mark’s powerful vocals to create a listen which truly sends shivers through the spine. Mark’s vocals throughout the entire set are sublime, having a notable amount of punch to them but still holding his signature unnerving tone.

Being a band with a plethora of material across the decades, there was a selection from the band’s entire discography. Tracks such as ‘Pure Ones’ from the 2016 album are equally met with older 80s classics such as ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ and ‘She Is Beyond Good and Evil’, it is clear from the crowd’s reaction that each is received well and everyone is having a brilliant time. Similarly the age variation of the audience is notable, whilst there are those in the audience who were clear punks back in the day, there is a sizeable amount of younger members (myself included) who weren’t even born when this band were in their prime. If this isn't a clear indication that post-punk certainly has a place in today’s generation, I don’t know what is. If anything, I would say that the level of rawness and revolutionary tones The Pop Group hold easily excels the attitudes of any modern punk bands.

The Pop Group have put on a seriously impressive show tonight and have clearly proven to the world that they still have an awful lot more to say. Every track is like staring into the very face of madness and paranoia and makes you want to fight the establishment. It is evident that punk is by no means dead and there is still a large place in a lot of people’s hearts for the style. The genre is well overdue a resurgence in popularity, I am sure that the underground will continue to thrive, and bands such as The Pop Group will forever be at the forefront of the movement.

Ben Walker

Website: thepopgroup.net
Facebook: facebook.com/ThePopGroupOfficial
Twitter: twitter.com/ThePopGroup





















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