LIVE: Meatraffle @ Headrow House, Leeds
Meatraffle are one of those bands that with their shouty attitude and catchy songwriting it is easy to one day see playing academies or larger venues. Certainly, they have in the past with supporting the likes of Fat White Family across the UK. It is great to see them, at least for now, in smaller venues like Headrow House, a venue which is great at bringing well known alternative bands to the city of Leeds.
With slight leanings towards the avant-garde, the five-piece are still steeped in traditional songwriting and structure that manages to create rich tapestries through their lyrics. Much of their writing is reflective of English life - especially in London - though is somewhat more optimistic than many of their contemporaries. Through their Marxist Leninist leanings, they seem to offer an alternative sort of culture with different ideals and new constructs on how to live, their rhythms half dance-y, half reflective.
Their music is a mesh of various genres - ranging heavily between ska, punk, and psych. This refreshing mix creates a stylistic approach which gets away from the seriousness of most other bands around at the minute, and brings an entertainment without that same self-satisfaction.
Their live show feels slightly haphazard, in a good way, and has that slightly unpredictable nature that gigs should have, even though the setlist seems well polished. As a band they play together with ease - there is a camaraderie between each member that isn’t often seen, and they bounce off one another’s movements and playing throughout the set, with slight changes just becomes part of the gig.
There is something friendly and reassuring about Meatraffle, and their ideas, which invites an audience into their world. Like many of the South London bands that have appeared in the last decade, they are a reminder that there is an alternative way, and that politics can be a part of culture in a non-sneering way, and Meatraffle are the communist pub rock band for that generation.