Phonotonal
Three Day Benda - Sounds of the Suburbs

Three Day Benda
Live (Chub / Humungous Douglas / Zero Consent / Pickled Dick)

For a while now Three Day Benda have been plugging tonight’s album launch party to me, but they need not have badgered me quite so relentlessly. As a keen admirer I was always going to be here, not just because of my fondness for the music but also out of my curiosity as to what sort of a crowd they draw and how the occasion affects their performance. Before all that though there is the small matter of support bands. First up are Chub…

…whom I miss, so we’ll say no more about them and go straight to Humungous Douglas, a punk band infamous for having an electric violin as part of their setup. Occasionally this is a marvel of ingenuity, providing interesting nuggets of sound that really enhance the otherwise average flat out punk songs however, more often that not it merely makes it all sound a bit more Celtic. Rather than using it sparingly Douglas use it to underpin the rhythm guitar, shadowing every chord that is played. This results in a performance void of any dynamics, which is disappointing, but which can and probably will be ironed out in time.

Last time I saw Zero Consent they were being supported by Three Day Benda at Southampton’s Joiners, so perhaps this is them returning the favour. The problem I have with their quirky pop punk style is that I value musical ability as the single most important thing about live shows, whereas ZC seem to think silly voices and fart jokes will cover for their uninteresting brass-tinged brand of punk. The frontman’s Napoleon Dynamite shirt kept my attention at the Joiners show, but he isn’t wearing that tonight. Time for a beer then.

A lot has been said to me about Pickled Dick in the past, all of which has been good but always accompanied with a warning. ‘They’re amazing’ I’m often told, ‘but as poppy as butterscotch popcorn’ (disclaimer: not a direct quote), a tout that I fear but really need not, as tonight PD succeed in changing my views on sickeningly sweet pop-punk. This three piece are as tight as the guitarist’s floral dress and as mad as his poodle-topped head, thrashing through three minute wonders that utilize the flawlessly executed Less Than Jake inspired vocals from the man on the bass. A low point is reached when the guitarist gets his ‘goods’ out, but is quickly compensated with a genuinely funny thank-you to his own guitar solo for being ‘incredible as usual’. Pickled Dick; I am a fan.

So, now is Three Day Benda’s time; headlining the Wedgewood Rooms and promoting their newly released album entitled Sounds of the Suburbs. The cover of the album displays the Spinnaker Tower, a structure synonymous with Portsmouth as well as TDB’s affinity with the town that is obvious from the moment they kick off their set. Trombones and trumpets are thrown about and flash in the overhead lights as the deceptively menacing-looking singer skulks within his stage territory ready to snarl and croon through the headline set. As they do it’s clear that anyone enjoying this performance can’t possibly be enjoying it as much as the Benda guys are.

Highlights include ‘Conscious, but no Conscience’ with it’s sleazy brass-let intro, and the ska-tastic ‘The Understanding’ which provides an excellent excuse for all the skankers in the audience to get their groove on, which of course they do.

Truth be told, there is not a weak song in the set and there is no need for the Feeder cover that they have apparently been rolling out recently. The album is brought to life tonight by a band that play as if their lives depended on it; probably one of the reasons why Positive Impact Records agreed to distribute it nationwide. Go see Three Day Benda whenever you get the chance, because it may cost you a few bob more in the not too distant future.

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