Team Penetration @ The Hare & Hounds, King Heath – 31st May 2008


Team Penetration are a real surprise. I’m not generally into the whole dance-punk scene and I was all ready to slate an unknown band from that genre. After listening to a few sample tracks on myspace I thought I’d better hold my horses. There is an immediacy and freshness to Team Penetration’s sound which stemmed my cynicism. Listening to the myspace tracks I still wasnt sure about the punk label, hearing very little punk ethic in the tracks. The whole thing made much more sense live, where the energy and organised chaos of the band really hit you. In the same way, while on ‘record’ the vocals sounded a bit whining and grated on me, I grew to like them when I heard them in the flesh.


Vocalist Gavin is a great frontman, all draping limbs and flailing mic stand, in a tradition stretching back to Ian Brown and ultimately Iggy Pop. The band are relentless, kicking out bass heavy grooves, which do border on the dance/disco, but keep it edgy with playful synths, screaming guitars and the constant swagger of the vocals. The harmonic breaks, dense rhythms and changing time signatures suggest a strong pure muso influence. Some of the rhythms and time changes are bordering on prog. After talking to the band it turns out that a couple of them are graduates from some pretty prestigious musical institutes, which makes complete sense. Their technical musical savvy is nicely melded with the attitudinal lyrics and delivery and the raw force of the band’s presentation. The energy of the set reached a high point with ‘Campaign For More Sound’ with its sloganlike lyrics. This song feels like it could be a mini anthem.


Team Penetration really deserved more reaction from a slightly indifferent crowd (I don’t count as im a snooty amateur music journalist snob). From about halfway through the band’s set some punters started filing in, and there was a modest crowd by the end, though still a little sparse. While I didn’t stick around for the rest of the night, there were two more bands plus DJs. The setup as a whole was impressive, a really commendable attempt at doing something fresh and exciting in a great little venue. There were washing machines arrayed out front of the stage with strobes inside them and the stage was strung with washing lines full of clothes. This gave the night a really cool idiosyncratic touch and caught many peoples’ eyes right from the start. The last time I visited The Hare and Hounds for a gig was back in the summer of 2006. Since then, the ownership has spent a hell of a lot on refurbing and overhauling the venue and it really shows. The sound system is fantastic, clear, crisp and powerful. The lights and general atmosphere are great. There are some nice drinks promos which helps too. The Dirty Laundry night is still young and I hope it builds to bigger and better things.


After the show I had a very quick chat with the band. Offstage, Team Penetration are an endearingly unpretentious group of lads who ‘just want to be famous like everyone else’. They’ve made a good start. Now they just need a few lucky breaks and friends in high places. Like they say, they’ve got their own unique style, ‘but so does every other c**t online’. A small gripe. The brightly coloured hoodies and stripes of facepaint are pure New Rave gimmickry. The band apparently want to steer clear of such labels. If so, I dont think things like this do them any favours in achieving that. Team Penetration are a lot better than many of the bands which ride the coat tails of the new rave explosion. They could do with working even more to distinguish themselves as an original outfit with something more to say than the hedonist message of electro-punk, new rave, or whatever you want to call it. Hedonism is a good start though. Team Penetration will penetrate your consciousness.. and they dont use protection.

Review – Adam Moffatt
Photos – Tom Horton

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *