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Live / stage review

The Bug Club at Sidney & Matilda

The Bug Club provide a masterclass in frenetic, joy-filled rock’n’roll.

3 February 2022 at

The Bug Club begin their set at a sold-out Sidney & Matilda with no introduction, greeting or fanfare.

They launch into a 15-second blast of rapid fire spoken word before the chugging riff from album opener ‘Word of God’ kicks in, the first in a long line of playful, uplifting, garage rock nuggets. About 30 seconds later they dive headfirst into the punishingly catchy ‘My Baby Loves Rock & Roll Music’. Seemingly unable to keep a lid on the joy the song emits, it reaches its climax with a face-melting solo before the band and the audience have a chance to catch their breath.

From then on, the night is pretty much an experiment in how many earworms the band can fit into a 30-minute set. The Bug Club seem quite happy to wear their influences on their sleeves, taking inspiration from the primal element of the rock’n’roll cannon.

‘Checkmate’ sounds like Moby Dick if Led Zeppelin had spent their time inhaling sherbet dib dabs instead of hard drugs, while ‘Vegetable Garden’ mixes the rawness of The Kinks and The Modern Lovers. Some of the softer moments, like ‘All of The Scariest Monsters Live in London’ and ‘Jonathan’s Gone’, bring to mind the bittersweet harmonies of bands like The Go-Betweens, The Moldy Peaches and bands from the C-86 era.

What stands out whilst watching The Bug Club is the way they seem to feel every note of their music. Bassist Tilly Harris pouts and gurns her way through the set, her enthusiasm infectious. Drummer Dan Matthew cannot stop smiling. Guitarist Sam Willmet is a one-man production line of class-A guitar riffs and solos. They are the perfect antidote to a freezing cold February night.

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