Live Review: Warmduscher, Faboo TV & Sportsbanger + Benefits at The Forum, Kentish Town

Many years ago, there was a band called Black Daniel. Now I loved this band, stalked them and even ended up playing bass for them at a few gigs. They were unique – somewhere between the Butthole Surfers and the Beastie Boys with some Brian Jonestown mixed in. But what they had above everything were killer tunes, killer, and a mental moustachioed frontman from Cape Cod called Craig Higgins – one night a drunk girl tried to pull that moustache off in the 12 Bar Club. They supported Brian Adams too but I digress. 

I love to support friends bands. I will buy t-shirts and music whenever I can afford to. When Craig became Clams Baker and started talking about Warmduscher I was interested. I went to see them at the Windmill with Meatraffle. It was a crazy night. Everyone was another level wasted, and to be honest I didn’t really get it. Then suddenly I did. The recorded output was amazing. Unique, Clams’ lyrics are incredible. Like a sleazy Massachusettsan (is that a word?) Carter USM. The beats and the songs and the hooks were incredible. The bass sounded like it was lifted directly off a Motown record. We went to see them at The Dome in Tufnell Park with the late great Jack Medley. I was a convert. They had Adam from the FWF on guitar, that guy can really play – nasty, nasty fuzz and slide guitar.

Fast forward through a pandemic to 2022.  I am cooking something from Hello Fresh in my suburban kitchen, I am 45 years old, BBC 6 on my Alexa and I hear the dulcet tones of Clams himself in conversation with Mark Riley about a gig at The Forum. I had to get tickets. I wasn’t going to ask for guest list or a press pass. Always pay to see your friends bands if you are in the position to do so. I wasn’t for years. I am now going to make up for it. 

We walked in early, what to expect from the supports? A northern angry man shouts from the stage. He looks like Vinnie Jones , sounds like a football hooligan and really doesn’t like flags. This is Benefits. They are great. They are angry , they mean it, their lyrics are angry and they are about now. The keyboardist has “I still Hate Thatcher” on his t shirt and you know that, unlike those  trustifarians you see adorning trendy squats in London, his family didn’t benefit from her legacy. They might “hate Thatcher” but if their parents hadn’t  done so well in the 80s due to her policies they would have to go to work like the rest of us, I digress. Not this lot, they are for real. Nice dance beats, I am not qualified to comment as I know nothing about dance music. It made be nod my head. I wouldn’t fancy a fight with him so I am glad our views are the same on Brexit.

What follows is the most incredible drag cabaret I have ever seen from Faboo TV & Sportsbanger. Now I am no expert in drag cabaret but from the reaction of my other gig partner Kyriaki, who clearly is, this is excellent. I was blown away by it. They seemed to be sponsored by Slazenger, is that a thing? When I was 12 I had a Slazenger gym bag, there ends my fashion input. Incredible singing , dancing, make up and energy culminating in a cover of the handbags and the glad rags where the only words used were “Handbag”. If this sounds mental then it was. It was magical and unique. 

Not much ado, Pete, the legendary sound band from the Windmill catches my eye. He is checking the levels on a bass. Out walk the band, all dressed in white boiler suits , I turn round for the first time this evening, The Forum is packed, full, there are kids, old people, people of every single ethnic and gender background, yelling and cheering. The band spark up, out walks Clams. He gets the adoration he truly deserves. He walks onto the stage like he always did whether it was the O2 or a Tuesday night at the Brixton Windmill and he absolutely has it. He owns the crowd from the first second. Off comes his shirt to reveal a Cleveland vest. This band that were tiny and new are now a massive massive force for positivity, joy and funky bass-driven banging tunes. The crowd move in unison. Smiles are everywhere. There are songs I know and new tunes that I don’t and they flow seamlessly into each other, at one point there is a full blown mosh pit. There are lights and bass and I witness a future Glastonbury Main Stage set that will go down in history. The set is well over an hour but goes by in minutes. Get out and see this band. They are the disco funk Idles with far better tunes. I sent a message to Clams, It just said “ That was magic” It was. They are supporting Parquet Courts in a few weeks. I am afraid for them. No band can go on after Warmduscher. 

See Warmduscher live at the following UK dates – tickets + details of further European dates here:
17th June: Brewery Arts, Kendal
15th July: Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival, Stirling
31st August: Stylus, Leeds
1st September: Newcastle University Students’ Union
3rd September: Manchester Psych Fest

Find out more on Warmduscher’s official website

Review by Jim Rhesus

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