Jesus & His Judgemental Father @ Maguire's, 1 Dec
On this bitterly cold December evening, the back room of Maguires provides the perfect setting for a DIY punk show to raise the temperature. Red Winter warm up the modest crowd sufficiently with their 2002-style pop-punk and demanding presence. Although the songs sound pretty same-y and a few bad taste jokes go down like lead balloons, some actual comedy redeems the band as they break into the now-unmistakable lyrics of Smash Mouth’s All Star – an homage to the internet meme that saved 2016 – before switching into one of their own songs for the finish.
Pardon Us play a tight set of preppy punk – the sort that requires each guitarist to stand with their legs as far apart as humanly possible and for the drummer to utilise every inch of the kit, showing her obvious skills. Fuzzy and fast, with communally shouted lyrics, they're energetic and enthusiastic. Their penultimate song begins with the lyrics 'I’m fuckin’ fumin'!' – no one would doubt this band's attitude.
Aside from having one of the best band names in existence, Jesus and his Judgemental Father also have an overwhelming passion for what they do – not only a given from their general presence, but also through their dedication to plough on despite technical issues (including a reluctant bass amp and a proper punk mishap involving one member’s hair getting caught in the tuning pegs of their bandmate's guitar). Luckily they laugh along with the audience, adding to their infectious charm. Gingerly sidestepping any awkwardness, the Leeds four-piece turn in a faultless set: poppy punk with aggressive riffs and punchy lyrics which defy societal heteronormativity and gender stereotypes. By the end, everyone's firmly on their side.