DESTROY BOYS + LAMBRINI GIRLS – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 8.3.22
Eagerly anticipating a headline set by California punk-rockers Destroy Boys, one of the most prominent bands to emerge from 2016’s Riot Grrrl revival, fans arrived early to Brighton’s Green Door Store last night.
Well before even the support act played, the bar became a hub for alternative nonconformists. A sea of brightly coloured hair and statement shirts showed a crowd with a penchant for standing out and standing up for each other. Last night’s sold out show was advertised as an ‘International Women’s Day’ event, but really, a stage full of women and non-binary people at a punk gig isn’t all that novel round here. Feminist punk thrives in Brighton’s punk subculture, with prominent examples including Destroy Boys’ support act, Lambrini Girls.
With their uncanny ability to whip up a calmly tipsy crowd into a frenzy, Lambrini Girls prove themselves to be any punk band’s dream openers. Frontwoman Phoebe Lunny was quick to break the fourth wall between stage and audience, dragging her mic and guitar into the middle of a swiftly forming pit for their self-aware ode to getting legless, ‘F*ck Myself’.
Their revelry seems almost antithetical to their purposefully abrasive sound, all jagged edges and fuzzed-up guitars in the grand tradition of DIY punk, as well as the serious topics their lyrics cover. Comedic titles like ‘Big Dick Energy’ evolve into a powerful spoken word interlude on the impact of street harassment, while fan favourite ‘Help Me I’m Gay’ is packed with whip-smart commentary on the sexualisation of lesbian and bisexual women.
Audiences seemed particularly invested in ‘Boys In The Band’, probably Lambrini Girls’ most serious song tackling the frustratingly hush-hush issue of abusers in the punk scene. Cathartic cheers punctuated Lunny’s delivery throughout the song’s insistent chorus in a real show of solidarity. A healthy mix of newcomers and regulars graced the packed front row, sure to add to Lambrini Girls’ growing cult following in Brighton’s alternative community.
Lambrini Girls setlist:
‘Big Dick Energy’
‘Help Me I’m Gay’
‘Boys In The Band’
White Van Man’
Lambrini Girls are on Instagram.
Once the audience had taken their cig breaks and narrowly avoided sweating off their graphic eyeliner, it was time for our headliners. Destroy Boys took to the stage with an opening track that, like Lambrini Girls, takes a sardonic look at drinking culture. For the gravity of its subject matter, ‘Drink’ is a pretty danceable track, kicking off the show with moshing and carefree dancing almost immediately. It’s a delight to see a pit as diverse as theirs, too; Destroy Boys’ fanbase here was a multiracial and gender-diverse one, united by the urge to raise a middle finger to authority. The explicitly intersectional feminist lyrics of Destroy Boys in songs like ‘Duck Eat Duck World’ tend to scare off the kinds of creeps who’d make a mosh pit feel unsafe, resulting in a real atmosphere of freedom and self-expression.
A defining quality of Destroy Boys’ set was its involving nature. Vocalist Alexia Roditis embodied the emotions they were singing about with their whole body, using the full stage to show their freedom of movement and amplifying screams of injustice with a good emphatic stomp. It was an active invitation to rage along with the band as they encouraged chants from the audience. Closing track ‘I Threw Glass At My friends Eyes And Now I’m On Probation’ stood out as the best embodiment of this; one of their best-known tracks thanks to its viral success on TikTok, almost everyone knew the track’s signature rambling verses well enough to sing them at strangers in the crowd.
Amidst the anger, though, there’s something comforting. The onstage banter between Roditis and guitarist Violet Mayugba, as well as the happy birthday rendition for drummer Narsai Malik, shows a group with a lot of love for each other. Tenderness also comes out in the group’s love songs, whether it’s the flustered queer romance of ‘Vixen’ or the heartfelt portrait of familial love and heritage in ‘Te Llevo Conmigo’.
The band’s rage is pointed righteously at systems of power, but they’re unfailingly friendly to both other members of the band and the audience. It’s a cool older sibling sort of vibe. In their stage patter, Destroy Boys are perched in your desk chair telling you that yes, you should keep making art, yes, you should keep kissing pretty girls, and no, your messy room isn’t a poor reflection on your character.
Destroy Boys setlist:
‘Duck Eat Duck World’
‘Locker Room Bully’
‘Te Llevo Conmigo’
‘I Threw Glass At My Friend’s Eyes And Now I’m On Probation’
Find out more at www.destroydestroyboys.com