Salford’s White Hotel is an unorthodox venue: a stripped-out mechanics garage with sparse white walls and a cold concrete floor, there are a couple of tyres hanging from the otherwise blank uprights.
The first thing you notice is the headliner’s brand, with a huge banner depicting a Stella Artois-inspired logo hanging on the wall behind the drum kit. Despite the harsh concrete setting, the room is a sonic wonder and the low stage works brilliantly for noisy, in-your-face acts like Mancunian hometown heroes, Loose Articles.
Before the main act, the crowd is treated to a great set from TTSSFU: they’re a new band making waves across the alternative scene in the city with a selection of moody rock tunes. Their noise is more robust in a live setting, and the wailing guitars contrast with Tasmin Stephens’ voice wonderfully. The broody, shoegaze tunes fill the room nicely: TTSSFU are one to keep an eye on for sure.
Next up, the headliners take to the small stage. Adorned with fan-made Everton FC signs depicting the Premier League badge with “you don’t know what you’re doing” annotations, and tinnies of Stella perched on amps, the stage décor gives you a good impression of what Loose Articles are about. Football, cans and big fat punk tunes are on the menu, and LA takes no prisoners from the start. They play out a huge set of old and new tracks, covering their career from earliest releases to unreleased songs from their upcoming debut album.
The set is fabulously paced, with new and old inter-spliced expertly. It’s no-nonsense pub punk in parts, as well as some more fleshed out, synthy and sinister tunes: the new and old contrast quite brilliantly, and the sonic range gives the listener a great sense of the sonic development Loose Articles have been working on. The band’s quality comes, in part, from their relentless charm: just as punk tunes should be, they’re brash and loud, critical of the establishment and funny, witty, and charming in equal measure.
There are shades of Half Man Half Biscuit, with Loose Articles musing on themes of political dissatisfaction all the way through to how shit it can be using the bus. ‘Busses’ is a great moment, where the band encourages everyone to shout the number of their local bus; it’s perhaps bemusing to an outsider, but it fits the mood the band are creating here perfectly.
‘Sinead Loves Bitcoin’ is of course a highlight, and the band close off the evening with their brand new single, ‘I’d Rather Have a Beer’, which sees the group launch an inflatable male sex doll into the crowd. They play out the meaty punk tune as the aptly named ‘Randy’ gets manhandled around the venue, thrown high into the air and finds himself in the middle of the pit.
All in all this is a momentous night for Loose Articles: their 2024 is set to be a huge year, with big singles on the way, a debut record and a support slot with Foo Fighters on the cards. The group are in fantastic shape for it, and are set to kick the fuck out of the punk scene this year.
featured image: Sinead Ferguson