LIVE REVIEW: Benefits, Scrounge, Irked @ The Cluny, Newcastle (30.04.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Warming the stage for an act as forthright and formidable as Benefits is a daunting assignment – yet it’s one tonight’s supports rise to with aplomb. Building a reputation to supplant the tag of ‘local punk supergroup’, Irked surge with momentum as they build towards their nascent studio recordings; and while a certain intangible ingredient can occasionally seem absent, there’s plenty in London duo Scrounge’s urgent DIY clamour to assuage any suspicion their name simply looked good on the tour poster.

Already a punishing live act, Benefits’ own performances have leapt several leagues in the year since I last caught them at Newcastle’s Head of Steam. Perhaps the single biggest factor is their added physicality. It’s there in the pulverising muscle drummer Cat Myers has added to their white noise assault, along with Kingsley Hall’s command of space and full-blooded embrace of his frontman role. A supremely gifted communicator, Hall addresses injustice and social turmoil with seething force and crystal-clear clarity. The likes of Flag, Traitors and Warhorse rightly draw acclaim – but ironically it’s a quieter moment which proves most impactful. Harkening back to the group’s spoken word beginnings, the spectral Council Rust proves there’s genuine reflection behind the throat-ripping roars and bulging veins.

There’ll always be something worth being angry about, but with this potent emotional core, Benefits can not only be a band of our times – but one that transcends them.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout