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Live / stage review

Chubby and the Gang at Delicious Clam

London’s most full-throttled, fun-loving gang visit the Clam.

19 November 2021,
Chubby 3
Ben Russell.

"I thought it was some dodgy speed but it turned out to be Covid,” Charlie Walker (AKA Chubby) explains.

His band were already supposed to have completed 13 shows of a monstrous 39-date run of the UK and Ireland, but a recent bout of illness means their show at Delicious Clam is Chubby and the Gang's first of the tour.

Seeking to waste no time in making up for lost ground, the band are raw power encapsulated. Pummelling basslines, gang vocals, primal drum beats and breakneck guitar lines fill the room. It’s pub rock-meets-hardcore-meets-glam rock, all played at lightning speed.

The band provide a solid bedding for frontman and vocalist Chubby to dominate the room, prowling the stage, spitting, snarling and barking his way through songs from the band's first two critically-acclaimed albums. Opening with ‘Chubby and the Gang Rule OK?’, the greeting call of “Hello, hello, we are the gang!” lights the touch paper for audience involvement as Delicious Clam turns into a seething mass of tangled limbs and sweaty bodies for the next 30 minutes.

For all the band’s aggression and full-throttled energy, their rawness of spirit often hides a sobering message. Songs about worker exploitation, mental health issues, anti-facism and empowerment fill the set.

‘Pressure’ outlines the process of being alone and facing a breakdown before a screeching, psychedelic guitar solo intensifies things further. The glam stomp of ‘Coming Up Tough’ tells the story of Chubby’s uncle, who was sent to prison by a criminal justice system with no interest in rehabilitation: “How can you prove 'em wrong / If no-one even gave you a chance?”

Pausing for breath midway through the set, Chubby is keen to extol the virtues of Sheffield’s DIY scene: “You don’t know how lucky you are to have places like the Lughole and Delicious Clam.”

He’s right. It’s these venues that fuel the fire of Sheffield’s alternative music scene – and where else could you see one of the hottest new bands in the country play to a packed-out room of 80 people, buy drinks for less than £3-a-go, then party till 4am with the band as the venue turns into a karaoke bar?

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