Culture Abuse @ Actress & Bishop, 18th October, 2018

On paper Gouge Away could seem like a bizarre choice of support for Culture Abuse, playing a packed Actress & Bishop on a Thursday evening, however in practice it makes perfect sense.

Releasing their second record ‘Burnt Sugar’ through Deathwish earlier this year, in the live environment the band prove to be direct and absorbing with their brand of noise rock accompanied by vocalist Christina Michelle’s curdling vocals. Although soft spoken in between songs, throughout the tracks her voice gives the songs a sense of grandeur that perhaps extends more than to venues of this size. Despite not knowing much about the band before this evening, it’s clear that the music they’re producing is clearly on trend within this scene at the moment and that can only work in the band’s favour.

The main draw of the evening however were of course Culture Abuse, hailing from San Francisco, the band recently released their second full length album ‘Bay Dream’ on Epitaph Records. Entering the venue on Thursday evening, the floor was full of balloons donning the band’s logo and it didn’t take long into the band’s set before these were being flung around left, right and centre. Performing a mixture of tracks from the band’s various releases; the band truly looked like they were having the time of their lives. Having played Reading & Leeds and Download last summer, it’s clear that the band are starting to make an impact over in this country and the tour and this show in particular feels like a special moment in the career of the band in the UK. Tracks such as Dip and Jealous highlight what the band do so well and that is combine the catchiest of melodies with grit and attitude to create the wonderful meld that is Culture Abuse.

Although it can’t be easy being in a touring outfit with cerebral palsy, lead vocalist David Kelling is truly the star of this show and works constantly to engage and entertain the packed crowd. Whether the charm of the show comes from seeing such a fantastic live band in such a small room I’m not sure, however we’ll just have to wait for their return to bigger venues to see.

Reviewer:  Dan Earl

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