Petrol Girls @ Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow, 19 Jan
Petrol Girls declare Nice N Sleazy's a safe space as they bring their well-executed brand of riot grrrl punk to its basement
Huddled below Glasgow’s Nice N Sleazy, a crowd of mullets and leather jackets are doused in red hues which pour from the walls of the basement. The modest stage setup seems a humble altar for Petrol Girls, a self-proclaimed ‘feminist post-hardcore punk band’, but the cramped room serves to perpetuate the sweatiness and ferocity of their performance. Their bolshy, tempered act is reflective of their namesakes, the French feminist pyromaniacs known as the Pétroleuses who watched Paris burn towards the end of the Commune.
One thing which is strikingly apparent from the minute Petrol Girls take the stage is that their brand of inclusion is authentic. The basement is declared a safe space, and the acts which preceded them mirror this sentiment. Lead singer Ren Aldridge announces early on that the front of the crowd is reserved for all women and non-binary folk in the audience. She is so soft spoken in her promotion of equality, that the aggressiveness of the band as they launch into The Sound has a newfound impact.
As their set begins, it's immediately apparent that Petrol Girls are a force to be reckoned with. The vitality of their sharp guitar riffs and howling vocals is maintained through to their closing track, Restless. The crowd, which remained generally dormant – pints securely in hands – until Petrol Girls kicked off, are disordered. Beer licks the walls as Aldridge jostles her audience, met with a chorus of 'Make me howl' emanating from the packed basement. The band have perfected a well-executed brand of riot grrrl punk; every bit of gristle and roughness which gives Petrol Girls their unmistakable character is matched with a level of polished talent, a testament to their capabilities as musicians.