25th November 2019

Live Review: Squid at YES (Pink Room)

Brighton punk band Squid brought exceptional live music and energy to YES (Pink Room) but were still unable to excite the reserved crowd
Live Review: Squid at YES (Pink Room)
Photo: Jack Kirwin

Genre-bending in music is in vogue and Squid are definitely part of this movement.

Perhaps one of the most exciting young bands emerging right now, Squid share audiences with other notable rising stars such as Black Country, New Road and Working Men’s Club. Hopping between post-punk, math-pop and psych, Squid have very quickly developed a cult following. Their highly anticipated, and sold-out, performance at The Pink Room at YES was definitely a testament to their ever-growing and diverse fanbase.

A band praised for their unexpected and fresh musical take on the punk genre, Squid’s performance was surprisingly theatrical. Drummer and lead singer Ollie Judge brought immense energy to the venue, and definitely carried the rest of the band throughout the gig. As refreshing as it was to see the drummer as the band’s focal point, it did definitely impact the band’s connection with the crowd. Lead singers usually have freedom over the stage and hence can rouse the crowd, however sitting behind a drum kit definitely restricts this.

The band’s ability to switch out instruments faultlessly throughout the gig added a whole other dimension to their music. Furthermore, the transition between songs was seamless; the band blazing through their set with few breaks.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the evening was that the enthusiasm the band clearly has for performing live was completely unmatched by the crowd. With the band breaking a sweat within minutes of getting on stage, it was a shame to see such a reserved and unwilling crowd. The lack of a cloakroom at the venue may be the reason for the lack of movement: rucksacks and handbags weighing down what you would expect to be a vibrant and energetic audience. Alongside this, The Pink Room is an extremely intimate venue, and with a sheepish atmosphere it was arguably not the best venue for a punk band like Squid.

The flat audience, despite being a drawback, definitely did not take away from the quality of the live music as the band played their way through the track list of their newest EP Town Centre. The band also treated the crowd to a large number of unreleased tracks which only added to the anticipation and excitement surrounding the future of this talented young band.

It seems Squid are well aware that ‘Houseplants’ is undeniably their most exciting and well-known song. Placing it in the middle of the setlist it helped to keep the pace of the performance and definitely woke up a few of the more disengaged audience members. However, with their most popular song being the only track that roused excitement with the first few chords, one couldn’t help but question the future of Squid and whether the band will continue to expand their current cult punk following. Perhaps more excitement will come as they continue to release new music, as the band have a very limited catalogue at the moment.

The gig ended on a high with belter ‘Match Bet’, although as the band walked off the stage it was impossible not to feel slightly dissatisfied. Despite the uncharacteristically quiet audience, Squid did their best to deliver a pretty stellar gig.


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