KEG @ The 100 Club – 17/11/2022

Two EPs in, KEG’s kitchen-sink personality and performances have more than got the buzz going. Last year’s Assembly caused a stir thanks to its combination of straight and slick ditties, alongside more winding, expanded cuts. All seven play, and often sing, in frenzied unison, producing both the comically geographical chants of debut single ‘Heyshaw’ and the soaring group vocals on the back of Assembly’s closer ‘Kilham’. The riotous playing and bizarre lyricism strongly feature on the band’s new EP Girders. Following the release, they have embarked on a tour of the Isles, eventually lugging their brass, synths and a conch down to the 100 Club.

They’d packed out the place, and things were well-kicked off by Butch Kassidy’s feverish, krauty gothic-ness. KEG took to the stage, immediately commanding an amusing, Madness-like presence. Frontman Albert Haddenham was often moving something like a tased T-Rex and encouraging the crowd to follow suit. Yelps and jolts added to the image, and characterised both the deconstructed groove of ‘Elephant’ and the group refrains of various cities during the ripper ‘Heyshaw’. With the crowd torn-up, Albert begins a take on the big-city story.

“I remember my first time visiting London. I thought the streets were paved with gold. And they fucking are!” This gets the reaction you would expect.

The group dynamics understandably match the tone of the music, with everyone embracing a brash, but fun-loving atmosphere. There are a glorious array of tongue-in cheek comments, noises and dancing on display, for which the band are worth seeing if only for this. The shenanigans were responded to far better by this crowd compared to last time I saw them – midday on the Sunday of this year’s Green Man Festival. Tracks such as ‘Presidential Walk’ and ‘Breaking Rocks’ blast by, with flurries of glitchy synth solos and brassy breakdowns – the bands trumpet/conch specialist has some special lungs, and was seriously sweaty by the end. 

The band’s sound is often close to rocketing into the London sky, but is tied to earth by the lyrics. Place often feature in Albert’s lyrics, with tracks ‘Heyshaw’ and ‘Kilham’ being names of farms his mother has lived on. This specificity lends a personal touch and a domestic charm to the music.

As I’ve made clear, KEG are a joy to watch. They swap the dirge and dystopia for the quirky and celebratory, whilst pushing the tropes of modern post-punk into new and grinning territories.

Words: Dan Webster // Photo: Theo Zeal

Check out more of KEG here.

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