Live Review | Petrol girls @ The Junction, Plymouth

Words: Keira Trethowan | Images: Craig Taylor - Broad Photography

The venue was the right side of insalubrious; the bands were sound-checked and primed for an imminent explosion; and my whole body was prepared for the boisterous hype that surrounded Petrol Girls. Yet after having the lyrics “touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you” shrieked brutally at me, the night left me questioning whether or not I even like music anymore.

Starting with a bang were a tasty trio from our Cornish music circuit. Honey are a far cry away from being my favourite local band, but in a spirit of grunge-soused exuberance they owned the stage and utterly showed up the touring artists. Their performance was the very definition of everything that the event should have been: bassist Ele Lucas demonstrated a fiery and fiendish energy; guitarist Sarah Tyrrell out-sparkled her sequined dress; and new drummer Tyler Ireson added a fresh and dynamic vibe that took the group to a whole new platform of brilliance. I do wish that Sarah had lost a bit more of her guarded self-control, but their set still left me longing to horde their merchandise. They were the highlight of the night, and without them I would have been left longing to morph into a 300ft lizard with intentions to destroy Plymouth.

honey junction (5)
Honey – @Craig Taylor-Broad

With such a substantial act to follow, pianist solo-artist Perkie didn’t stand a chance. Not only was her timidly quiet performance a bit of a surreal mood-killer after a grunge act, but her under-rehearsed set was a kick in the face of every other talented act who could have filled her spot. Regardless of possessing an amiable singing voice, if you can’t be bothered to remember your own material, then why should anyone bother to listen?

Perkie – @Craig Taylor-Broad

After this disappointment I was eager for something colourful and destructive. Certainly Petrol Girls possessed these qualities – courtesy of frontwoman Ren Aldridge – yet with the remainder of the band playing some maladapted version of musical statues, it led for something vastly disjointed. This aside however, I was willing to live and let live and allow myself to be absorbed in the raucous screamo vibes. This atmosphere was aggressive and uncomfortable, but a passionate channelling of angst is always something artistically majestic to witness. Shortly into their set however, the group lost me.

petrol girls (5)
Petrol girls – @Craig Taylor-Broad

With vast amount of sentiment and thoughts Aldridge is clearly a vocalist with a lot to articulate. What she lacked however, was the ability to do so in an eloquent or even borderline intelligible manner musically. Openly feminist lyricists impress me wholeheartedly, but those who believe the movement to revolve around idealisms of misandry cause me to bite my fingernails down to bloody little stumps in frustration. Somewhere along the way a man has clearly shattered her heart into thousands of tiny little shards, which she now uses to antagonistically cut her audience’s wellbeing to shards. Not only did this rile me up, but it also tainted the performance and made me question the band’s success.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m glad that I watched Petrol Girls. They made me appreciate other, more creatively superior, acts that I’ve seen recently.

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37 thoughts on “Live Review | Petrol girls @ The Junction, Plymouth

  1. Somewhere along the way a man has clearly shattered her heart into thousands of tiny little shards, which she now uses to antagonistically cut her audience’s wellbeing to shards.

    Are you for fucking real? Stick to Linkin Park gigs and having Kerrapp tell you whats cool maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This review pissed me off on so many levels. But the one I want to focus on is how you can completely undermine a feminist punk singer’s ethos by assuming that “somewhere along the way a man has clearly shattered her heart into thousands of tiny little shards, which she now uses to antagonistically cut her audience’s wellbeing to shards”. Even if charges of misandry were correct (which, clearly, they are not – hello male guitarist and drummer, and all her male friends) would it not be fairer to assume that it had stemmed from one or more of many deep-rooted and very understandable reasons ranging from sexual abuse/violence at the hands of men to perhaps seeing female relatives suffer or to, you know, just having your eyes wide open to the global war against women, rather than because she’d been dumped by an ex. We’ve all been through that pain. Sure it hurts, but it’s trite, insensitive and lazy to reduce Ren’s radical feminism to the spite of a bruised ego. Maybe you should consider writing for the Daily Mail’s music section. They’d love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “the night left me questioning whether or not I even like music anymore.”

    You evidently don’t, so please stop trying to write about it as reading this was fucking painful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This guy so desperately wants to be read it’s depressing. Quite apart from everything raised above, the writing is overwrought and sounds much like he’s masturbating to the sound of his own keyboard.


    1. Hey Paul,

      Thanks for your comment and reading the review, but this was written by a female.


      Kieran Webber


      Clunk Magazine


  5. Ah I get it, reviewer has the ‘wrong’ opinion so she has to be bullied by troubled fempunks in the comments. Typical online crybullies.

    Also the amount of blatant sexism here in the comments, assuming the reviewer is a man, is amazing. Because OBVIOUSLY no woman is entitled to express an opinion that goes against the feminist punk group think!

    This is why it will always be a minority sport for damaged people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bullied? Get over yourself. This is the profession the reviewer has chosen. Reviews that upset/anger people result in responses. It’s called the right to reply. If the reviewer chooses to make stereotypical and insulting assumptions, we all have the right to challenge them.
      As for the amount of blatant sexism in the comments: you mean the one bloke who thought the reviewer was a man? Keep your indignation in perspective, please.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amazing: writes “get over yourself” and “Keep your indignation in perspective, please” and doesn’t see the irony…

        Whoever you are “Johnsycash” you seem to have a massive problem with someone not liking this band and quite rightly pointing out the negativity and misadry in the lyrics and the tunelessness of the shouting.

        It must be tough living in an echo chamber, babe.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow. This is one of the worst reviews I have ever read in my lifeet. Does this woman actually like gigs?? Or understand anything about Petrol Girls and their lyrics? Just incredibly patronising and offensive.

    Could she please explain the unfounded accusations of misandry? That is the most disturbing and damaging part of this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Blimey. I’ve been writing for several years now, and who knew that anyone even read my reviews? Still, I appreciate that my often harsh articles will be met with questions and upset. But hey, I’m a music reviewer, and if I can’t handle being critiqued in return then I’m a hypocrite.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, but I’m concerned about the lack of understanding that some of you have surrounding the topic of feminism. Misandry is not feminism, so I’ve written a short and quick piece highlighting what is:



    1. You seem to be persistently conflating righteous and well-founded anger with misandry. And you seem to be labouring under the illusion that you own the definition of feminism. This was a punk rock show. This is how (some) punks interpret feminism. If you don’t like it, at least have the decency to respect it. And your attempt to educate us with that enlightening article is very worthy of Buzzfeed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So if Skrewdriver play in a venue and i review it “I should at least have the decency to respect it” because that’s how they view race relations? No. I’d call them out on their bullshit if I reveiwed it.

        Seriosuly? This kind of feminism is ugly and hate-filled. It’s no better than nazi punk. It fuels division, hatred. I used to be proud to call myself a feminist when it meant I said I could be who I wanted to be and stand on my own two feet.

        Now it’s about being a victim, being obsessed with rape and being downright negative.

        The only brave person in this whole charade is Keira for standing up and refusing to be silenced by the “feminist” mob.

        Don’t tell me, we both have internalised mysoginy? SMH

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Claire, are you for real? Worse than Nazi punks?! Jeez Louise. Petrol Girls are an anarchist/feminist band. They’re all very active in their community in the fight against neo-fascism, against sexism and sexual violence, against power structures, against xenophobia, in support of refugees/migrants home and abroad, they do many benefit shows and they have an inclusive ethos (believe it or not). If you’ve been to any of their shows you would have witnessed this, and five minutes talking to them would convince you that they’re not ugly, hate-filled misandrists. They write angry songs, and they’re not pacifists. This doesn’t make them Skrewdriver for fuck’s sake.
      No-one’s being ‘brave’ here. This is just another online thread to be forgotten about in a week’s time. And the only divisions being made are by you and your ilk for not accepting that some women express their anger differently to you. Nobody is trying to shout down your version of feminism. Petrol Girls and bands/people like them wholeheartedly embrace/tolerate all facets of modern feminism. “Different aims, different means, common ground in between” – to quote another often-hated feminist punk band. But if you’d rather marginalise militant feminism and throw absurd slurs around, be my guest.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reviewing a band for a performance and not liking it it’s fine. Saying what you have said, about the heart thing, and all the concept in general, make me think that you deliberately tried to hit the band on a certain level. You said THAT because you knew what do they believe in and how they express it. As a musician and man I can’t even explain how I am thankful to Petrol Girls to be there, and try to explain (to me in first place) what’s wrong with the world. And it happened to be in a way that I love, the music that they do. But if you write on a magazine, that suppose communicate something, even to one person only, you should never even never dream to undermine such a noble band and cause like Petrol Girls. This was a poor, ignorant attack to something that the world needs now more then ever. We need to take down this kind of press and start acting with a bit more awareness. Petrol Girls are an incredible true band, you were trying to be smart , you ended up showing you are not. The only thing you got is people that hate what you wrote for about 5 minutes, then forget about you forever. Oh…Almost forgot…you suck.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank goodness that we live in a society where individuals can practice the act of free speech.

    I don’t write for 5 minutes of hatred. I write for one solid reason: because I have something to articulate, be it positive or negative. You don’t have to read it. You don’t have to agree. You don’t even have to like it. Slate me if you will, but one individual’s opinion means little in the long-run – and that works on both sides. I won’t lose sleep over a few comments and I’m sure that Petrol Girls couldn’t care less about one review.

    If anyone has issues or qualms that they’d like to discuss then email me and we’ll talk in a civilised manner.


    1. so you had to “articulate”, after said that you didn’t find band and performance any good (fine), some sort of not funny joke about what this band represent which is a movement you should be directly involved in, and that represents the struggle of every woman (you are a woman btw you should tell me). don’t you think that relating your work only to the musical performance side of it would have make it a bit more credible? you are aware that this is the kind of journalism that they do on the Sun right? just so you know…also why would anyone with a bit of taste, write you in a civilised manner after you wrote a very uncivilised review?
      keep hoping anyone will take you seriously. And no, no one read your stuff, it’s just because you spoke about a good band that people got involved. but you knew.


  10. Well if most of these commenters had your way you wouldn’t have free speech. You’d either be in the cult or you’d be told to be quiet. Ugly music and ugly hearts.


  11. What i would like to know is do you actually have any evidence to back up your accusation of missandry? you didn’t even bother explaining yourself. Sorry but that’s just poor journalism, your’re not giving any factual information of the event, you’re just giving your own opinion and leaving readers with no knowledge to make their own judgements. Not to mention the pure irony of making sexist assumptions and then writting an article arrogantly dictating what feminism ACTUALLY means (because you’re so superior and wize). Seriously your review is full of sexist tropes. Maybe try writting for the daily mail? I think they’d love you


  12. you know you could actually try and respond to what I have said instead of embarrassing yourself by childishly mocking a typo. your writing does make you seem like your still doing your GCSEs though so i guess it figures.


    1. I respect your opinion, but you obviously aren’t capable of returning the gesture in a mature manner. Therefore I haven’t the patience or desire to respond to you on this post.

      If you want to cool off and discuss sensibly, then feel free to email me. My address is on the post somewhere.


    2. really? I may have made some digs at your writing but at least i backed it up with some evidence – more than you managed to do in your entire article btw. As a critic you should be able to handle this. I have asked very clear, reasonable questions from you and made very valid criticisms, i have not acted in any more of an imature manner than you or any of your friends have. I will not send you a private message, as you have made unfounded public accusations of a band, so therefor I’d like a public response. Don’t try and take the higher ground here. It’s clear the real reason is that you dont actually have an answer.


  13. I’ve seen petrol girls a few times and they were always very entertaining, musically accomplished and different to everything else on the bill with them. It seems like you’re using your own personal feelings on feminism and how to do it as a reason to bash the band and their performance as a whole so I have taken the rest of the review with a big pinch of salt, even the part where you praise the first act, as this seems like it is just setting up for your attempt at a take down of petrol girls.

    Your points about their politics are super patronising, as is the article on feminism you wrote. There’s no one way to do feminism and even if you don’t think their message is one that you would put out yourself then belittling it in this way, singling out Ren in particular and acting like you know more about feminism than them is fairly shitty on a personal level, generally bad journalism and very misguided in terms of feminist politics. It comes across to me that you are pretty much just tone policing them and trying to shame them for being angry about inequality rather than just portraying a message that is purely saying ‘yay for equality’.

    Calling out men for gender based violence and recognising the patriarchy we all live in is not being a misandrist. There is a huge difference between hating men and hating the actions that men take and the way they abuse their privilege in the world. Your feminism article was full of your own opinions but low on facts that actually show why feminism is important, such as levels of domestic violence worldwide, widespread sexual abuse (in the punk community), pay inequality and other abuses of power that have caused a band like petrol girls to form and put across their message.

    Liked by 1 person

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