The Lovely Eggs at The Brudenell on 26 May: DIY is Not Dead

Victoria Connell delivers more than just a review, with thought-provoking reflections on the artists’ world of music.

“I’m with Leeds Living.” I say, my voice quivering as the ticket taker checks the guestlist for the third time. Nope, still not there.

“One moment.” She says and rushes into the venue.

Beside me begins the long queue of Lovely Eggs Fans. They’ve seen and heard this entire interaction. I consider making a little joke or small talk, but decide against it, continuing to stand by the venue door instead.

Fortunately I don’t have to stand long before hearing the welcome words of my deliverance: “If she’s with Leeds Living that’s fine.” Phew.

I get a little blue stamp and enter the hallowed grounds of Brudenell’s famed venue. Heading to the bar, I order a pint (the Loose Articles would be proud) then sit down to take it all in.

The first thing I notice when I look at the stage is a blow up sex doll propped behind a synth, wearing a Loose Articles merch shirt. I wonder if this Article is there purely for a joke or if she holds any special significance. I would find out soon enough.

As the place fills up I take a look around. I see five or six faces around my age, but generally the crowd looks to be around thirty five to sixty, all representing the alternative scenes of their respective generations: punks, metal heads, hipsters, grunge enthusiasts. I spot a stray mohawk, lots of Guinness, even more beards, a selection of artsy hats and eccentric glasses frames. Headbangers and Shoegazers alike, The Lovely Eggs seem to be a band to unite them all.

As the place gets busier I decide to walk myself and my quickly reducing drink to the centre of the pit. I feel a gust of AC on my face- preparation for the dancing and possible moshing to come. While never having been to an Eggs show before, I had read that mosh pits were encouraged and after a quick glance at the footwear, it did not seem entirely unlikely.

Loose Articles

Without introduction, Loose Articles take the stage. They seem a little sheepish and don’t acknowledge us as they quickly pick up their instruments.Their visual aesthetic is rock and roll glamour meets grunge carelessness, an explosion of colours and patterns: fishnets, yellow hair, tiger print and smiley faced jeans, the drummer Abbi rocks a bright green Ireland t-shirt.

The moment they start playing they are in the zone and all initial nerves vanish. They open with the title track from their upcoming debut album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster and the crowd nods along with respectful curiosity. But performing their music has brought the Articles out of their shells, and Natalie, the lead vocalist and bassist, is ready to demand more. Indeed, after receiving a rather tepid cheer on introducing themselves, she yells, “You can do better than that!” We can and do.

“We are from Manchester!” She declares. Predictably, there are a few boos and cackles. “Is this football related?” She rolls her eyes, bored with it.

Without delay, they break into Buses, a song about their hatred for this particular form of public transport. This is where the band fully comes into their own and the four piece (five if we include the sex doll) prove themselves both musically and in their performance. Natalie lifts the bass high above her head, effortlessly playing the electrifyingly relentless bassline. The guitarist Erin strums the melodic surfer-esque guitar melody, swaying her hips in time. The keys player Anna is bent over the sound desk, joyfully headbanging, long black hair bouncing to the beat. Abbi meanwhile is having the time of her life, euphorically pounding away, holding it all together while providing vengeful backing vocals.

The band is unapologetically loud, unapologetically northern, unapologetically female and unapologetically unbothered.

“This song is about drinking beer with your mates instead of those shit shags, because those pints last longer than those shit shags.” Natalie gives us a long look before adding, “That’s something to think about on the way out.” Perhaps she’s thinking about it herself. This introduction leads into I’d Rather Have a Beer, another punk rager with an infectious opening riff.

But it’s not quite enough to get the people moving. Perhaps sensing from the admittedly restrained crowd that a mosh pit is not on the cards tonight, at the end of the set the band attempts to get us dancing by challenging the quarters of the audience to a dance battle. But good old British reserve wins again and while a few people do jump around a little, including myself (though still in a muted fashion, I must admit) there is no dance fever tonight. The diagnosis is simple: still too sober.

Despite this, their set ends on a high and it’s doubtful that anyone in this room will be forgetting the name Loose Articles any time soon. I know I won’t.

Violet Malice

After a brief interlude for going to the bar, ordering another pint and going to the toilet to expel the last one, it’s time for Violet Malice. All instruments have been removed from the stage for this. There are no props either; just a few notebooks piled on the floor.

Violet takes the stage, dressed in an outfit that sits somewhere between a kinky Londonguard and Cheryl Cole in the Fight For This Love music video. She picks up one of the notebooks and with no foreplay whatsoever, violently penetrates us with her words. One hand staunchly placed on one hip, with fearless deadpan delivery in an exaggerated Northern drawl, the Brudenell audience is treated to half an hour of the lewdest combinations of adjectives I feel any of us have ever been subjected to, and we love every torturous second of it.

The audience doesn’t know whether to laugh, cringe or leave. That appears to be exactly what she wants.

These days, we often forget that the poets most celebrated in our time were controversial in theirs. The lines that now seem tame to children in classrooms were shocking when they were published, fearlessly tackling the societal taboos of their day. Violet showed that poetry, particularly spoken word poetry, can still have that place and deserves attention; that to sustain this place it should not be rigid. It can and should pliable, funny, poppy even- anything you want it to be, a malleable artform which thrives on unique voices.

Editor note: Victoria took the opportunity to spend a little time with Violet during the evening. Our Violet Malice piece will tell you more in a few days’ time.

The Lovely Eggs

There is another break and the place really fills up now. I look behind me and its heads as far as the eye can see. There’s a giddiness in the air, everyone is ready for headliners The Lovely Eggs.

When Holly and David take the stage, the crowd bursts into excited cheers. The duo appear completely at home. They know the stage is theirs; they’ve been at this long enough to know that
They rip into Death Grip Kids, a song from their latest album Eggsistentialism – and the performance is electrifying. Holly’s voice is raw and powerful without having to scream and growl. Its power stems from its uniqueness. Her performance is equally captivating in its idiosyncratic style. She bends her leg and holds it there as she shreds the guitar like a punk flamingo.

Crowd participation is key to an Eggs show. Holly explains that the pair bought MDMA from their dealer in Lancaster, and that when David hits the gong, a mist of MDMA will envelop us all, getting us into the dancing spirit whether we like it or not. These humorous bits of crowd work, including challenging the audience to join her in spelling baboon to the tune of DISCO puts everyone at ease, particularly when she messes it up herself.

Unlike most shows I have been to, the separation between audience and artist is paper thin, and throughout the performance the Eggs seek to rip even this distance apart.

Over the course of their careers the Eggs have built up impressive underground credentials and could have aspired to mainstream success. They’ve enjoyed airplay by the BBC since their inception and even collaborated with Iggy Pop back in 2021. But unlike many bands after their ‘big break’ whose dream it is to ‘make it’ (with making it generally meaning earning lots of money and moving to Los Angeles) The Lovely Eggs position themselves in complete opposition to this idea of success. Lyrics in songs such as I am Gaia prove this, as Holly proudly declares, “I have lived in this City (Lancaster) for so many years/ I will die in this City in many years to come.” There is a pride in the power of being from ‘nowhere’ and that wealth and fame are not the measures by which success should be judged.

There is an idea that to be successful we must break out of our small, culturally irrelevant towns and start a new life somewhere cosmopolitan. The Eggs believe success can be found right where you are. This philosophy is something that binds audience and artist in a truly communal experience, empowering everyone. As the line in Wiggy Giggy goes, “And no, I’m not ashamed to say that I still live round here.” Most artists say the best years of their careers were the ones right before they made it, when their lived experience was still the same as that of their audience, The Eggs knew this was the best place to be from the start and have made it their mission to retain this connection. This becomes really clear during Fuck It, the debut of this song being a testament to their philosophy. It was released on a bank holiday Monday, which meant no DJ’s could play it and nobody could buy it, chart success be damned. The song is interrupted momentarily when an audience member starts shouting “Leeds, Leeds, Leeds”. There was a match on that afternoon (Leeds lost, by the way). Holly enjoys this heckling and despite being Lancastrian, gets the whole crowd bigging up Leeds before continuing the song, which appears to be their anthem. The crowd is euphori;, there’s not a dry eye in the house. This number clearly means something. They all do but this one is special.

The venue becomes a true Northern choir and the final chorus is rapturous – everyone is jumping, crying, dancing and laughing. The audience was with them from the start but are now completely on their side – much more than the Eggs are used to. “It’s quite quiet for Leeds” Holly remarks, “Usually we get a bit of abuse from you lot.” She seems disappointed. Apparently, she was looking forward to teasing rude hecklers
There is decidedly no mosh pit either, just a lot of thumbs in the air for another Eggs classic Don’t Look at Me (I don’t like it). Holly goes on to praise the support acts, calling them ‘Proper’ “This is a collaborative experience,” she says, another testament to the band’s philosophy, “where we play some tunes and you are a part of the whole f****** thing you know and them playing with us is really important to have a really good f****** night full of interesting stuff that I hope you dig, so try and support them tonight at the merch stall.” This whole statement for me truly encapsulates what the Eggs are all about. The unwavering belief that art in its purest form is a communal and symbiotic experience, in which fan can become artist and artist can become fan. The boundaries that divide the two should be limited, if existent at all.

Keeping these values in the arts is hard, it always has been, with each decade providing new challenges. We’re living in an interesting time at the moment – the biggest musicians are wealthier than ever, while it is becoming harder than ever for smaller artists to make a living. This has created a divide that I believe has made everyone but these top artists worse off. Take merch, for example: it has always been an important avenue for performing artists to get their name out there and support themselves, but in the current climate, where streaming has made making any money from recorded music virtually impossible, it is now more important than ever. But it has become somewhat tainted by the powers of big business. The Rolling Stones, for example, have opened a whole shop in London,dedicated to selling as many swollen tongues as possible all to maximise those sweet, sweet overheads.

The need for chart success by these big artists has also caused exploitative practices in music sales. One example is the plague of Vinyl variants. To single out the Stones once more, they released forty-three variants of their latest album Hackney Diamonds, each in different colours and containing different artwork, but with the music inside being exactly the same. Dolly Parton released her last album Rockstar in nine coloured variants and Taylor Swift released six variants of her latest album, Tortured Poets Department.

These practices leave superfans scrambling to buy everything to have a complete set, while more casual listeners are left overwhelmed by choice and ultimately decide not to buy in at all. The devaluation of these products unfairly impacts small artists, who may find fans less likely to buy their specialised merchandise and records, things they actually put their heart and soul into producing.

This disconnect between big artists and audience is felt most acutely in live shows, where owing to demand, stadium tours are the norm and the greatest measure of success is how many bodies one name is able to cram into a football stadium. These practices have diminished the role of the fan. We are supplicant to the untouchable artist and have in many ways accepted this role. But this disempowers us greatly. If we internalise that to achieve success is to become untouchable, we will never be able to recognise the successes we’re making in our own lives right here and right now.

It’s because of this mindset that small venues all over the country are shutting down; it’s because of this that pursuing a career in the arts is viewed as frivolous and selfish when actually it can be the complete opposite. The arts can empower our communities as well as ourselves.

The members of the Loose Articles are juggling working day jobs with pursuing music. As Natalie said, “This is Erin’s school holidays because she’s a teacher, she’s a DT technician, so we have to find time between holidays and then doing a lot of weekend gigs” Their sex doll keys player, nicknamed Brandy, is a stand in for their usual keys player who is a mum and couldn’t get the time off this time. But these women aren’t just after a music career to support themselves, they are about empowering women in their local community. “We got a tour called kick like a girl, and it basically inspires young women to get into music.” That is what they are all about, and that’s what they hope their debut album, Scream if you Wanna Go Faster, will achieve,.

“It’s a lot of emotion of what goes on in our lives… It goes from us basically being told we can’t do it as women, being told ‘oh, is that guitar your boyfriend’s?’ Presuming we had boyfriends anyway. Going from that of women can’t do, to we can.”

Violet Malice champions the same need for empowering everyday people to create, “There has to be stuff that’s really interesting and that not everyone’s gonna like and these unique voices because we all have different experiences and we don’t hear them. Maybe one of the reasons people found me interesting tonight was because they don’t hear that voice very often, you know, and actually if we could all look inside and try and express ourselves I think it would be a richer place and to do it with integrity….. I think small is good and maybe if we appreciated that more the world would be a better place.”

The gig ends on a high and everyone is happy. There are no encores. The Eggs are staunchly against the practice of fake encores. Everyone knows this and no one asks for one, in fact everyone clears the pit with almost military efficiency, all wanting to prove that they know this is the deal and avoid accusations of being just another corporate mainstream shill.

Some fans leave right away. They were here for the music and that’s what they got, so now it’s time for a drink and bed, maybe a quickie if Violet’s work got them in the right state of mind, while others stick around for another drink, they buy merch and and enjoy casual conversation with the artists.

I came to this gig to see a band and write a review but I left with a new sense of purpose, feeling empowered to create. I hope you do, too.

The Lovely Eggs‘ Eggsistenialism is out now. It is on streaming but CDs and Vinyls are also available on their website

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster, the Loose Articles debut, is out 26th July 2024! It can be pre-ordered here

Violet Malice can be found at where you can buy copies of her collection The Hole Thing. She has over 500 printed and – quote – “needs to get rid of them” so do her a solid and get one.

Photography by Victoria Connell.

Further reading BY

Do you have a story to tell?
We want to hear your stories and help you share them.