Lambrini Girls

The Lexington, London

31st May 2023

Photography by Bridie Florence

Tash Saunders

Tash is a music-lover based in London. She is particularly passionate about fresh new bands, chaotic live shows, and crowd-surfing. When not at a gig, she can be most often found writing about them.

Brighton punk outfit Lambrini Girls spew queer rage and, you guessed it, Lambrini in their genre-defining Lexington set

The Lexington: An unassuming pub stood on a corner near King’s Cross. According to Wikipedia, the bar specialises in Bourbon and American craft beer; but I’m not here for any of that. I’m here to drink Lambrini.

The reputation of Lambrini Girls precedes them. I’d heard of vehemently unhinged antics, and they were quick to live up to this – their entrance is as rude as their music. I turn to look at the stage just in time to catch frontwoman Phoebe chucking her beer all over me. Shocked, but not surprised.

They kick things off with Help Me, I’m Gay’, and that’s the only lyric I catch: Phoebe’s in the crowd, someone else is holding her mic slightly too far from her face, and everyone’s looking at each other like: “are you seeing this too…?” With the same irreverence and irony expressed in their music, she clambers onto an audience member’s shoulders and asks said audience member’s mate if she can have some of his drink. He gratefully obliges.

In this way, the gig is more about the performance rather than the music itself. Phoebe invites numerous gay audience members to shout “I’M A GAY LEGEND” into the mic. Is this some kind of queer support group? Yes, in a way. Perhaps it’s just punk. The audience serves as a prop, constituting part of the show: we’re used, as and when the band need. The lines are blurred between audience, art, and artist, and not only is it thrilling, but deeply effective.

Boys in the Band, fresh off their recent EP ‘You’re Welcome’, is the standout song; it becomes a moment for self-reflection, as the band take a second to throw a spotlight on the issue of sexual assault in the grassroots music industry. It serves as a battle cry: the straw to finally start the mosh. It’s tempestuous and aggressive, but – if this is even possible – in an uplifting way.

The power Lambrini Girls have over their audience is palpable, and impressive. Towards the end of the set, Phoebe parts us like Moses parted the red sea; we’re absolutely under her thumb. ‘White Van’ finally drops and the long overdue wall of death erupts – the chaos, the energy, it’s catharsis. Any good gig provides this, but with Lambrini Girls, it’s on steroids. To top everything off, Phoebe finishes with a crowd-surf and manages to do a backwards roly-poly right over my head.

By the end, not only was I showered with queer power, but the bassist covers me in Lambrini too. I suppose, after everything I’d just seen, I should have expected as much. Out in the bar after the show, I’m left feeling elated, if slightly soggy. Lambrini Girls don’t just put on a show, but an experience: a furious, unrelenting, queer rage-party. I wonder what it will be like to go to a normal gig again.

Listen to ‘You’re Welcome’ here: