Ratboy - Anson Rooms, Bristol
Ratboy are no friends of security guards. A tradition of a Ratboy show is everyone (the band included) causing security as much grief as possible - crowd-surfing, stage invasions, giant props thrown around. By the end of the night the venue's team are trying desperately to chuck everyone out the foyer, shouting about graffiti in the dressing room. The unruly crew are fronted by 20 year old Jordan Cardy, Ratboy himself, named so after a reclamation of a childhood nickname. His outcast days are over however as he's now the subject of thousands of teenage obsessions. Together the band have rapidly risen to the forefront of the indie scene, recent singles 'Get Over It' and 'Move' have seen strong radio success and they were considered a must-watch at many of this year's festivals. This show was the final of a UK tour, their live performances are their main attraction, but now it's over there's no doubt they'll be back in the studio finishing the much-anticipated album, rumoured to be named Scum.
Something you can't ignore at a Ratboy gig is the sheer mass of infatuated fans adorned in t-shirts, caps and even socks all adorned with the bands name. As a talented artist Cardy has been smart to create a brand, merchandise featuring his drawings is sought after by fans and every show ends with people thrusting him objects - phones, shoes, takeaway boxes - to doodle on. As one of the hottest new indie acts he has an intense following, the dedication demonstrated as the crowd sing along to songs like 'Sportswear' and 'Hanging Round' which are only available on an old mixtape made by Cardy on his mum's laptop.
Lyrically Cardy provides a candid narrative on his generation, mirroring the style of artists like Jamie T with frank observations about the state of the people around him. The themes can seem predictable of someone targeting a teenage audience - fake IDs, drug dealers, GCSEs - but even if the cheesy rebellion alienates older audiences it certainly resonates with the young listeners. There are times where Cardy takes a more probing route with acute reflections on unemployment, the class system and even the monarchy - these lines emulate the attitudes of a whole generation, and fans want to hear these lyrics as much as the ones about stoned mates.
From the second the band walk on-stage to the sound of police sirens until they finally say their goodbyes after a rambunctious encore, the energy of the crowd is relentless. The small number of adults in attendance are banished to the edges as the young crowd jump, fall, and push around without pause - Cardy helps by repeatedly asking for the crowd to split for big mosh circles much to the security's dismay. It's difficult to look around at an entire crowd left sweating, injured and ecstatic about it, and doubt any future success.