LIVE: Petrol Girls – Shacklewell Arms, London 25.04.18

Loud, lethal and life-affirming, Petrol Girls‘ headline show at The Shacklewell Arms on Wednesday night was a  furious, raw, frenzy of noise. The band, who recently signed to Hassle Records, packed out the venue with the help of their friends Pretty Pistol and Screaming Toenail (aka our new favourite band.)

Adorned in a Dream Nails band tee, Petrol Girls’ front-woman Ren was energy incarnate, pushing girls in the crowd to the front with electrifying stage presence. Fans of Dream Nails’ may have noticed the familiar face of their vocalist Janey in the crowd too, stood at the front alongside several other fans, all of whom had their eyes fixed on the stage.

Together, Liepa, Joe, Zock & Ren tore through a set-list that included tracks ‘False Peace’, ‘Treading Water’, ‘Restless’ and ‘Phallocentric’ – all taken from their 2016 debut Talk Of Violence. The songs topics range from militant disregard for oppressive patriarchal values, to a refreshingly loud promotion of female sexual pleasure. On new single ‘Survivor’, the band continue to tackle the issue of sexual violence. Ren prefaced the track with words of solidarity to survivors of this abuse and urged them to remember that just because something bad has happened to you – you are not defined by your trauma.

Between songs, Ren also spoke of her activism – which includes an essay in a collection titled ‘Nasty Women’ – and told her crowd that it’s okay to say “NO” to fascists and oppressors, whether that’s in political or personal spheres. It seems there’s no differentiation between the two for Petrol Girls and closing song ‘Touch Me Again’ proved how vehemently they believe this. The track’s visceral live delivery made it impossible not to chant in unison with Ren as she repeatedly screamed the line “Touch me again, and I will fucking kill you!” She finished the gig on her knees, sweating, smiling and probably exhausted, but the crowd around her and her band mates lit up with rounds of congratulatory applause.

Petrol Girls are a talented band with an uncompromising ability to motivate, entertain and inspire listeners to speak out against all forms of injustice. Their furious blend of aggressive, cathartic, punk songs had more than the desired effect on their crowd at The Shacklewell Arms, and we can’t wait to catch them live again. See you at the front next time.

Follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington

WATCH: Petrol Girls – ‘Survivor’

Inspired by the growing movement against sexual violence, PETROL GIRLS have shared their riotous new single ‘Survivor’. It’s another much-needed anthem from a band who are dedicated to shouting back against the damage of patriarchal oppression.

Produced by the band’s vocalist Ren Aldridge, the accompanying video for ‘Survivor’ is a collaboration between Andrew Northrop and painter Mariah Pearl. Ren explains: “The way that Mariah’s paintings play with the surface of the canvas gives me a really strong feeling of a clandestine power that refuses to be captured or identified. For me, this reflects whisper networks and the erupting movement against sexual violence. It’s like the tree roots that push up through the tarmac.”

Ren and her band mates’ passion for social justice has led to PETROL GIRLS being signed to UK-based independent label Hassle Records, and the band will head off on tour this month to share new track ‘Survivor’ with their fans.

Watch the video for ‘Survivor’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Apr 20 – Glasgow @ St. Lukes w/ Propagandhi
Apr 21 – Edinburgh @ Girls To The Front Fest
Apr 22 – Liverpool @ Sound
Apr 23 – Sheffield @ Picture House Social
Apr 24 – Nottingham @ The Bodega
Apr 25 – London @ The Shacklewell Arms
Apr 26 – Cambridge @ The Portland Arms
Apr 27 – Bradford @ 1 In 12 Club
Apr 28 – Newport @ Le Public Space
Aug 24 – Reading Festival
Aug 25 – Leeds Festival

Kate Crudgington