The Snuts at Koko
It can’t be easy for any even vaguely political band taking the stage this week after the unbelievable few days we’ve had in British politics, let alone if your new album is called Burn the Empire and begins with a sample of a Tony Benn interview. Fair play to Lothian band The Snuts, then, who played a punchy set at Koko last night.
Opening with a video montage of protests and rallies – overlaid with quotes from radicals such as Benn and Martin Luther King Jr about education being our greatest weapon and the power of bringing people together – they are a band who wear their politics on their sleeves and are uncompromising in the directness of their message (a chant of “f*ck the Tories”, not the only one of the night, is met with a delighted “Perfect!” from singer Jack Cochrane). If this makes them sound grim and didactic, they are absolutely not: it is a ridiculously fun and generous set, with tracks from their latest album sitting comfortably alongside older tracks.
In fact, the newer tracks (which arguably suffer from a little over-polishing on the record) gain a real bite and swagger live. Sturdy grooves from rhythm section Callum Wilson and Jordan Mackay take centre stage in tracks like the blissful Hallelujah Moment, and Cosmic Electronica is kitted out with an almost Chemical Brothers-esque electro pulse.
Cochrane keeps it restrained with the inter-song patter and is refreshingly honest with the cheerful crowd. Before 13, about a childhood friend turning to crime, he urges us to “start screaming” about issues such as the closure of mental health services and the removal of benefits but asks us to remain quiet during the childlike, mournful tune. The screen behind them shows the sobering statistic: “80% more crimes were recorded in the most deprived areas”.
You are never too far away from a banger with The Snuts, however, and they navigate a bolshy, bouncy set with energy. Finishing with the title track from Burn the Empire (accompanied by a horrific animation behind them of various world leaders morphing into each other like David Cronenberg demons) and the baggy, Primal Scream-tinged Fatboy Slim (which cheekily mixes in a sample of Praise You to ecstatic effect), they demonstrate their ability to balance excoriating political sentiments with, well, a good bop.
The Snuts’s central thesis seems to be that just being together is a political act – one could not help but be moved by the number of blokes putting their arms around each other and smiling at each other during Somebody Loves You as a prime example – and that by making enough noise, and making it together, we are doing something genuinely radical.
Who knows, at this rate The Snuts might even be in Number 10 by the end of the week.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit The Snuts’s website here.
Watch the video for the Burn the Empire here: