The Membranes came to Liverpool in support of their ninth studio album, Getintothis’ Lewis Ridley caught the punk mainstays in action.
Despite shapeshifting somewhat over their time, The Membranes remain one of the UK’s most recognisable punk bands.
Their latest album, What Nature Gives/What Nature Takes Away was released last month and sees the band notch up yet another release almost 30 years after their debut single in 1980.
A band with a catalogue this extensive, then, was more than deserving of taking a Liverpool Saturday night slot in Phase One this weekend.
A gig of this ilk, as we’ve seen before in this venue, also gives a tremendous opportunity for one of the city’s homegrown to impress.
Clarke cuts an eyecatching figure on stage, and it’s easy to see why a frontman like The Membranes’ John Robb would find him a suitable colleague.
It was part way through when Clarke announced that the dog mask on stage left was actually a placeholder for their absent lead guitarist – missing through LIMF duties.
He, however, took control of the set with charm and honestly, speaking his lyrics in endearing fashion.
The next band, Salt The Snail, were different to that. They were raucous, in-your-face and edgy – three qualities that perhaps make for success in this city.
On this night, though, the set saw those that weren’t prepared to catch tennis balls with the names of tracks on, or be wrapped up in microphone cable, head back to the bar.
By the end of their set they became less concentrated on musicianship and more on acting up on one of Phase One‘s sofas.
There’s no doubt this band are a fine one, but this wasn’t the best example of it. Perhaps a headline show of their own better recieved their antics, that is quite understandable.
Then it was time for The Membranes. Here are a band that know the winning balance of musicianship and stagemanship.
The aforementioned Robb is on top form, his trademark bare arms, pertruding eyes and that haircut – you can’t take your eyes off him.
The highlights are Snow Monkey and A Murder of Crows, where each member of The Membranes showcases their own talents. At one point it’s as if there are 3 frontmen on stage, each equally deserving of taking the plaudits as they jam into a sonic punk state.
When the night ends, fans leave Phase One knowing they have seen a band that refuses to rely on their discography, but instead sweat to produce memorable performances each and every time.
— Lewis (@lewisrids3) July 21, 2019