Ears were left ringing and limbs were swinging to the sound of Bloody Knees at London’s Sebright Arms last night. The Cambridge grunge rockers played a knockout set to a full house at the newly refurbished venue, along with Abattoir Blues, Birdskulls, and Broadbay.
It’s no secret that small music venues are struggling to survive across the capital due to gentrification, but thanks to VICE & the team behind Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last, venues like the Sebright Arms are now safe from this threat. The only thing they need to worry about is overcrowding; downstairs was rammed with curious fans who were ready to see Bloody Knees perform their first gig in months.
Broadbay kicked off proceedings, and seemed surprised that most gig-goers had ventured downstairs at 8:30 for their opening set. Their modesty paid off, as listeners swayed about to the entirety of the Brighton/Northampton band’s “pop slop” fuelled show. Up next were Brighton trio Birdskulls, whose fragile name belied their gritty, heavy sound. Bloody Knees’ bassist Sam made his way to the front during their set to instigate a mosh pit, and any previous gaps on the floor were quickly filled for the group’s remaining songs.
Third on the bill were Abattoir Blues (also from Brighton), who unleashed their razor sharp vocals and moody basslines on the crowd. Vocalist Harry didn’t hesitate to break the fourth wall and step in to the mosh, and their energetic set paved the way for headliners Bloody Knees. From start to finish, the mosh was a riot of out-stretched limbs and grins, and fans had the freedom to crowd-surf, invade the stage, and thrash about to their favourite songs including ‘Daydream’ and ‘Bury Me’.
Everything about the band’s performance was frenzied and immediate. ‘Hesitant’ is not a word that can be applied to their fans; they are fierce, loyal, and happily endured an accidental shoe to the head from militant crowd surfers. Bradley, Sam, Christian & Tom tore through their tracks and left no room for a breather. At the end of the gig, fans joined them on stage for hugs, pats on the back, and to share a few words of praise.
Bloody Knees’ show at Sebright Arms proved that there’s still an unquenchable thirst for raw, live music, and there’s no way that bands (or their fans) are going to let gentrification crush their precious subculture.