LIVE REVIEW: Squid, Kaputt @ Newcastle University Students’ Union (27.09.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Squid by Holly Whitaker

Even in the most successful bands’ life cycles, few occasions can match the zeitgeist of that first big, sold-out tour off the back of an all-conquering debut album. It’s an experience which only comes around once, and before a zealous, refreshingly youthful crowd, an environment in which Squid are patently built to flourish.

While the UK’s post-punk scene increasingly resembles a weighty, overloaded bandwagon, Brighton’s tentacular five-piece have succeeded emphatically in cutting through the flab, initially via a string of rapturously received EPs, and latterly with May’s outstanding full-length, Bright Green Field. Imbued with jazzy flourishes, a motorik pulse and plenty more besides, it’s a record whose sonic and structural adventure has elevated Squid far above their contemporaneous hordes – supplemented by a reputation for delivering formidable, fire-starting shows to match. Indeed, with singing drummer Ollie Judge’s theatrical yelp less of a divisive, distracting factor than on-record, the live stage offers a platform for both his bandmates and their taut, incendiary grooves to shine all the brighter.

Fuelled by irrepressible forward momentum, tonight’s performance showcases a group resolved on seizing their moment. It’s improbably accomplished for an outfit many would still class as newcomers, but this doesn’t prevent Narrator and Pamphlets standing out like spotlights in the ocean’s depths. Simultaneously the lengthiest and purest distillations of all they’ve offered to date, their late appearance makes for a sensational closing salvo; a lofty benchmark Squid must exceed if their seemingly inexorable rise is to persist.

It’s essential they’re on such fine form too, as Glasgow’s Kaputt offer a calibre of support primed to embarrass headliners enduring an off-night. Built around their own impressive – albeit less heralded – debut album Carnage Hall, the effervescent sextet assert themselves with irresistible verve and dynamism, pairing pointed political substance with effervescent hooks, splashes of sax and violin and the urgency of an old-school punk act. A pitch-perfect warm-up, it’s the type of set which suggests a wider breakthrough of their own mightn’t be too far over the horizon.

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