Trash Talk

support Youth Man
author AP date 13/03/17 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Word of Trash Talk’s ferocity must have fallen onto deaf ears in Denmark — why else would such a renowned live act need to be content with a measly turnout of just 30-or-so patrons? The good news is that despite this being something so depressing as a Monday evening, everyone seems to be in high spirits and eager to drink or smoke themselves into the state of mind in which the Sacramento, CA-based five-piece is best experienced.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Youth Man

One of the best parts to attending concerts is discovering new talent such as Youth Man — a self-styled ‘sex punk’ trio out of Birmingham, United Kingdom. With no prior knowledge of the outfit, I am at once struck by how raw and scruffy their take on hardcore punk is, and also the unhinged manner of their performance. The showmanship of the two front figures, guitarist/vocalist Kaila Whyte & bassist/backing vocalist Miles Cocker, is sensual, crazed and confrontational all at once, both musicians convulsing with energy and striking their chords with a diabolical meanness — playing as though tomorrow will never come. Indeed, Youth Man embodies the spirit of punk like few others, serving us a timely reminder that everything need not be so perfect always. The songs come with scratches, screeches and whines of feedback aplenty but this only accentuates their punch and etches the likes of “Sweet Apples”, “Valley Girl” and “Insipid” straight into your memory.

Youth Man comes with a slight disclaimer, thus: you need to be predisposed to finding catchy elements in music that is intentionally… well, not catchy. Everything sounds rather clamorous and unpolished, but even if the songs fail to open up to you, there is still plenty to savour in Whyte & Cocker’s antics. The duo’s twitchy demeanour and cool dance moves have a youthful exuberance about them and watching the two express themselves so freely, so honestly, it is difficult not to fall head-over-heels for this band — if not their music, then at the very least their passion.


Trash Talk

Trash Talk’s direct and unapologetic style may not be Grammy-winning stuff but few can deny that the quintet excels in the live setting. Rooted in hardcore punk and crossover thrash, the bedlam that constitutes their music seldom comes with any particularly defining characteristics, so it is crucial to the band’s viability that their showmanship is in order — indeed, even the most stout critic must concede finding some level of entertainment in their antics. As they treat us to a double-discharge of “F.Y.R.A.” and “Worthless Nights”, guitarist Garrett Stevenson is smoking a spliff hands free, getting through his parts with a zero-f**ks kind of nonchalance and then finishing off with a generous swig of Jameson Whiskey. The level has thus been established and, buoyed by sizeable tax returns this year, one attendee, Ben Townend, feels inspired to raise it further by buying shots of tequila for everyone — band and audience alike — before the show goes on.

Understandably, some of us are still scratching our heads in disbelief when “Dig” sends vocalist Lee Spielman onto the floor to mosh with the crowd — his preferred station for orchestrating the desired reaction from us. A joint is passed around to mark “Hash Wednesday” before the aforementioned Mr. Townend follows up with a round of beer for the moshpit participants, and after the ‘refreshment break’ the discharge of short, angry eruptions of music continues unyielding, unrelenting around the hooded, flailing vocalist. By making it his purpose to cover every inch of the venue, Spielman naturally assumes the role of the focal point in Trash Talk’s performance, but although the remaining musicians — completed by guitarist David Gagliardi, bassist/backing vocalist Spencer Pollard & drummer Sam Bosson — are not as confrontational, their stark expressions and imposing mien nonetheless make them stand out, too.

As “Birth Plague Die” rounds off a setlist spanning 20 songs and 40 minutes of uniform pummel, with Spielman clinging onto a pillar and hovering over us from on top of a table, I am thus left with a satisfied grin. Not because Trash Talk have been extraordinary, but because they managed to boil it down to a proper basement punk show. No pretence, no elitism — just five skater dudes laying waste to a venue for the sake of something so simple as fun.



  • 01. F.Y.R.A.
  • 02. Worthless Nights
  • 03. Dig
  • 04. Feen
  • 05. Walking Disease
  • 06. Manifest Destination
  • 07. Incarnate
  • 08. Hash Wednesday
  • 09. Blind Evolution
  • 10. Babylon, CA
  • 11. Constrictor
  • 12. Slander
  • 13. Destroy
  • 14. Awake
  • 15. The Great Escape
  • 16. (Unknown)
  • 17. Uncivil Disobedience
  • 18. Lepers to Feed the Lepers
  • 19. (Unknown)
  • 20. Birth Plague Die

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