In the age of post-post punk, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly where this musical movement is going next. There are bands like Cowboyy who are taking the genre in an arty, jazzy direction, the stalwarts of the scene like Shame and Fontaines who have matured like fine wine and produce critically acclaimed works. Then there’s The Chats – and there is nothing “post” about this punk band. No frills, no moody contemplative melancholia, just big, meaty punk tunes delivered with gusto.
The mulleted trio took to the stage late, 10pm, by which time Manchester Academy’s main room was packed out. A simple, resplendent backdrop reads “GET FUCKED” – the name of the band’s latest record, but also an embodiment of the attitude of the group. There’s no delicate, fleet-footed use of complex lyrical structures, or stacked metaphors here; with The Chats, what you see is what you get.
‘6L GTR’ is an early favourite, seeing the band race through their songs is an utter delight. They play like a proper punk band too, low slung guitars are hammered, the drums are beaten to absolute fuck, and the noise is simply sensational. They motor through their tunes too, there’s no self-indulgent solo-ing or aggrandising crowd interaction. No foreplay with these guys, just infectious punk banger after infectious punk banger.
A particular highlight is seeing pints go totally flying at any given opportunity. It’s a fiver for a can of Red Stripe at the academy, so seeing that much airborne “premium” lager is a testament to how fucking great this band are. ‘The Price of Smokes’ is a high point in a set of high points, with the lager-soaked Manc crowd especially relishing the line “those bastards in Parliament ought to be hung by their necks”.
Not many bands whip up a frenzy like The Chats, but Manchester Academy has never seen a pit like it. Students in mullets and sports-shades clatter into old school punks who relish the chance to give some back to the young pretenders: quite a crowd, but it’s only fitting for a band like The Chats.