Live review: Drunk Mums in London, 30/3

Aussie punks Drunk Mums have just kicked off their UK/Euro tour and our Alex was there for their London show with a host of other great bands.

Here at Punktuation Towers, we doff our caps not once, but twice, to the Shake Some Acton (no, not Action!) folks. First, for having the bravery to put on a gig in Harrow (a part of London not exactly renowned as a rock n’ roll mecca), and secondly, for making quite the success of it, with The Trinity increasingly packed as the evening progresses. It’s a small venue with great sound, and on entering, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been let in on a well-kept secret. 

Deptford punk crew The Phobics kick things off. Originally formed in the late 90s, they’re a great example of a veteran band still playing and recording for the right reasons – for the love of it all – and that’s probably why the likes of ‘Don’t Lay Your Flowers On My Grave’ and ‘Really Gotta Listen’ have a certain youthful quality to them.

You get the feeling they’d be happier with a bit more space onstage, but they still deliver their addictive tunes in fine style tonight. Check out their ‘Burnt Rubber’ album on their Bandcamp – it’s good stuff.

The Phobics. London The Trinity, March 2024. Pic by Alex Goose.

Manchester trio Fruit Tones follow, with a set of taut, jangly and ultra-catchy garage pop tunes, all of which are greeted with a sea of heads bobbing about enthusiastically. There’s a playful edge to these guys; why else would they suddenly pause mid-song, mannequin-still, for half a minute? Such madcap antics wouldn’t warrant a mention, though, if there weren’t songs of the calibre of ‘Over The Hill (But Not Under The Ground)’ and ‘I Don’t Speak A Language’ to back them up.

Imagine classic Stones blended with prime New York Dolls, and then imagine no longer, because their excellent ‘Pink Wafer Factory’ LP awaits your ears.

Fruit Tones, London. March 2024. Pic by Alex Goose.

Tuppenny Bunters truly are a sight to behold. There are only two of them, Fiona and David, they’re both very sharply dressed, and they take turns beating the hell out of their drum kit and pounding away at a vintage keyboard. Oh, and they share vocal duties.

There are echoes of 60s pop, garage punk, music hall and new wave in their sound, and they mix those influences like a particularly skilful bartender; the end result being delectable musical cocktails like recent single ‘T-Time’. The crowd’s initial bemusement rapidly gives way to delighted applause, not least as the duo play with an intensity to rival any of the three other bands playing tonight. Your listening homework is 2022’s ‘The Tuppenny Hangover’.

Tuppeny Bunters, London the Trinity. March 2024. Pic by Alex Goose.

There must be some kind of rock n’ roll spirit in the water in Melbourne, Australia, because the city seems to be teeming with great bands. Last year’s London show from The Prize proved to be this writer’s gig of the year, and tonight is definitely in the ring for 2024, particularly due to a superb headline set from Drunk Mums

They look pretty cool, all resplendent in dark sunglasses, but make no mistake – this is no bunch of posers we have here tonight. They don’t waste a second from the moment they take the stage, ripping into ‘Ode To Death’ with almost palpable glee. They’ve been together for over a decade, and all those years of punishing tour schedules have honed them into a tight rock n’ roll unit. 

The crowd have been relatively sedate so far, but they burst into action down the front; showered as they are by fuzzed-up guitars, shout-along choruses and the kind of swagger that suggests Drunk Mums know just how damn good they are live. They’re touring new album ‘Beer Baby’, and it’s a belter, with the punked-up mayhem of ‘Mutant’ and the vitriolic ‘New Australia’ hitting the spot dead centre. Their set seems to fly by all too briefly, and before we know it, we’re stumbling out of the venue with dazed grins and the sound of the closing ‘Adderall’ ringing in our ears. 

So, four different bands, all taking old sounds and doing a fine job of breathing new life into them. Suffice to say, it’s been well worth the trip on the Metropolitan Line, and we’ll happily be back for more!

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