Live Review: Porridge Radio + Pet Shimmers at The Bullingdon, Oxford

It’s always good to see a bit of handmade backdrop adding a textile layer to musical layers.  Tonight, Brighton/London four-piece Porridge Radio’s snake-patterned backdrop, inspired by the artwork off their latest album Every Bad, does just the trick. The band open with first track off said album, “Born Confused,” and immediately make the impression on us that they are a band who do things their way. Singer Dana Margolin boldly repeats the song’s lyrics, loudly and proudly, for the entire second half of this song, in a long lament. This paves the way for a recurring theme in Porridge Radio’s set: a strong focus on a message, with lyrical recycling (repetition) driving it home. Tonight their set includes some of their newer songs as well as “7 seconds” and “Give/Take” – just a couple of examples of great melodic indie song writing, often including three-part, call-and-answer harmonies, reminding us a little of The Cure. Tonight, crowd favourites include “Long” which builds nicely from a simple, straight rim shot beat to a disco frenzy powered by their drummer.

As predicted, and like all bands with any kind of punk edge/raw power, Porridge Radio are, in our humble opinion, best experienced in their live state.  The ability to capture attitude and personality on record is a rare skill.  Live, singer Dana Margolin is the epitome of cool and a striking front woman. It’s no wonder that the band were nominated for the Mercury Prize last year and are tour support for IDLES next year.

Porridge Radio end with “Lilac”, which leaves us with their final message “I don’t want to get bitter, I want us to get better, I want us to be kinder, to ourselves and to each other.” Food for thought in today’s hectic world. 

Support band Pet Shimmers are a 7-piece Bristol-based who are fabulously quirky and a delight to watch and hear.  Tonight they play us songs with topics ranging from our government to their last song about a Pomeranian Dog. They shine brightly indeed we look forward to hearing more from them.

Review & Photography by Caroline Low

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