Tonight I’m on my way to see South London punk/sleaze group Phobophobes for the second time. They’re playing at Night & Day Café, which is a consistently top venue, easy to reach, intimate and the best draught Guinness served in plastic you can find in Manchester. This is a Guinness Q-Tip couldn’t refuse. This is a Guinness that a Flann O’Brien protagonist would procrastinate for. This is a Guinness that would take Lee Scratch Perry back to the halcyon days of 2001. This is the perfect atmosphere for a cunt like me to dwell.
Support was provided by Sheffield based FEMUR, whose on stage antics were interesting for five minutes, until you heard lyrics such as ‘Fuck to your favourite tune’, sang by an indie boys wet dream wearing tartan dungarees.
Anyway, Phobophobes are a band that have been around for sometime now, with members and ex-members from fellow South London luminaires such as Fat White Family, Meatraffle and No Friendz. This begs the question why are not as publicised? The Fat Whites have just announced a UK tour with a third album (finally) on the way. Meatraffle plan on releasing their second LP some in time in the near future and regularly play the Windmill, with many members also playing as part of Scud-FM. So what happened Phobophobes?
In 2016, guitarist and songwriter George Bedford Russell sadly passed. This obviously caused a major hiatus with the band. However, last year saw the release of debut LP Miniature World, featuring many songs and written and played by Bedford. According to frontman Jaime Bardolph, they almost called the album ‘The Final Collaboration’, but decided it would be too morbid.
However, Phobophobes are a band that are progressing, and catching up quickly. I saw their previous show at YES a few months prior having little to no knowledge of them. The crowd of the pink room was small, but intrigued. The crowd last night was bigger and far more invested. I’m fairly certain there was also some familiar faces of the Manchester scene from groups such as ILL, Mold and Star Light Magic Hour.
My highlight from the LP is the song Free The Naked Rambler, which was sadly missed out last night. However the newer songs felt right at home, keeping a consistently intelligent, post-punk sound. A song I assume was titled Blind Muscle, felt anthemic and shows a consistency in quality when paired with set closers Human Baby & Child Star. Bardolph’s delivery felt Morrison-esque with an Iggy Pop baritone, with songs that display nothing but raw power accompanied by tender poetics.
The set felt rather short, however, the energy was exactly what you needed on a cold Thursday night for £8. Go and see Phobophobes and while you still can and support the independent venues that put on these events.