Live Music + Gig Reviews

Be Your Own PET @ ULU, London

21 April 2006

There are unwritten rules at gigs. Some are patently obvious. You know for instance that showing up with a bottle of water to hydrate oneself is perceived serious enough to warrant a manhandling and strip search.

Should you choose to invest in a 3 can of lager the very least you would expect is the bar staff give you some decent head (check, on the second attempt). Then there is crowd etiquette. If a timid, nu-folk hippie type such as Cake Bake Betty shows up, then it means you clap, whistle and warmly welcome them.

Then there are the gigs where you are met with support bands who hit you with lots of noise and poise and not much else, like Londoners Black Time. Somehow they drew firm approval. Seeing as scuzzy, tramp rock is the soup du jour it wasn’t surprising. Or maybe this scribe is just out of touch.

That’s one way to look at The Rogers Sisters, who consistently flouted every gig going rule bands should adhere to. You do not take 30 minutes to come onstage to open with a seven minute dirge fest. Your animated bassist cannot wear a tight, stripey shirt and bounce around stage with that kind of beer gut. You can’t rip The Cramps this much and get away with it. And they didn’t.

Jamin Orrall is of ‘legal age’ this evening informs Jemina Pearl, but he breaks the cardinal rule and comes onstage bellowing: “USA!” and “Fuck George Bush.” The kids loved it, but I couldn’t help feeling like I’d been here before. As ever the argument wasn’t advanced. No matter, Be Your Own PET were on storming form.

We’re barely five minutes in and Bunk Trunk Skunk is sending the floor into overdrive. The band are dripping as the ULU’s confines work its pressure cooker magic. Crowd surfers are launching themselves onstage with the urgency of Iraq’s insurgency.

We’re 10 minutes in and the band are having to tell people to calm down and look after each other. But how can they when BYOP are tearing the place down so ruthlessly?

As ever, security think they’re the police and barge by, kicking crowd surfers out the backdoor, much to the band’s obvious disdain.

Damn Damn Leash tips the gig on its head when a booze-fuelled cretin creeps onstage and plants a big wet one on Jemina Pearl’s cheek. Pearl obviously goes nuts. The buffoon narrowly misses out a right hook from Jonas Stein because security have dragged him off. How many gigs have we witnessed where an over excited fan gets onstage and kisses the lead singer? No questions asked, just good old fun. Make that singer a woman then things can get nasty, and it was quite disturbing to see.

What better way for Pearl to unleash her anger by spitting through Fill My Pill. “This is the longest set we’ve played,” she pants. Heck it’s only been 25 minutes, and with the 59 second encore of Let’s Get Sandy BYOP don’t extend it much more. On a night like this however, we’d seen more than enough insanity to rip up the rule book and throw the scraps up in the air.

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Be Your Own PET @ ULU, London
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