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Live / stage review

Squid at The Leadmill

Supercharged and exhilarating, Squid’s live rendition of their debut post-punk influenced record Bright Green Field mesmerised Leadmill’s main room, marking an epic comeback for gigs.

1 June 2021 at

Sitting in pairs in a Covid-secure layout, Leadmill’s main room was glittered with delighted faces following support act Sheafs.

Quickly getting a last drink in via the app, ecstatic cheers were heard as Brighton five-piece Squid walked onstage. To hear the chart topping album Bright Green Field live for the first time was uniquely transfixing. Softly easing the audience in, the atmospheric intro gradually expanded into vast, warped synths and lingering, rhythmic moments of brass.

Squid defy genres, but their krautrock sound was a definite highlight, while newer material such as ‘Documentary Filmmaker’ and ‘Peel Street’ showcased the band’s punkadelic and inventive melodies.

Ollie Judge’s crisp drumming on the latter was emphatic and, as always, their stirring lyrics and tumultuous instrumentation were at the foreground. The setlist continued with a range of tracks from the debut, notably ‘Paddling’. The words, “Just do what you're told,” pierced through as the band pursued a variety of nuanced synths and tempos.

The sold-out show finished with the signature ‘Pamphlets’. Known for their frenzied live performances, the energy-spilling, electronic elements of the closing track dazzled fans as Ollie punchingly sang, “That’s why I don’t go outside.” The singer-drummer’s scathing delivery rang out as hands waved and feet fiercely tapped the wooden floor. There was an irony laced within – now finally being sat in a safe yet full room, the lyrics that reflected on the isolation and paranoia of the past year prompted contemplation.

Squid have come on leaps and bounds since their pre-Covid shows and they consistently deliver. The set was polished but still very much true to their punky roots. It’s great to have live music back - and to have such a band kick it all off.

by Sahar Ghadirian (she/her)

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