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Tonight, Bristol’s Thekla plays home to Portland’s finest quartet Wild Flag. Arriving at around 7:30pm, the venue seems eerily quiet and sparks a questionable atmosphere. Thankfully, by the time support band Peggy Sue take to the stage, the boat has filled a little and the girls aren’t faced with an empty room. The London three-piece are quick to get started, mumbling a few hellos and getting on with material from their latest album ‘Acrobats.’

Rosa and Katy’s vocals are as smooth and impressive as ever, with harmonic elegance flowing through every song. ‘Parking Meter Blues’ is a particular highlight, with its progressive crescendo, making its impact thanks to drummer Olly’s efforts. ‘Funeral Beat’ is a stomper of a track, with intricate instrumentation and a drum beat so powerful, it causes Olly to lose a drum stick half way through. Peggy Sue finish with ‘Cut My Teeth,’ the opening track to their latest album. A dark and dreary start, the song erupts into a raucous of fuzzy guitar and shoutier-than-your-average vocals. Shuffling off stage, Peggy Sue prove a worthy support for the evening.

By the time Wild Flag strut on stage, the room is packed full of an eclectic mix of men and women, young and old. Even though all four members have previously played in various bands including Sleater-Kinney, it’s safe to say that Wild Flag have a following of their very own (if the ear-popping whoops are anything to go by.) Playing material from their self-titled debut, the girls are quick to burst into action. Carrie Brownstein and Mary B. Timony are the ultimate front women, with their combination of sheer talent and riot grrrl attitude. Highlights of the set include ‘Boom,’ for which keyboardist Rebecca Cole gets to strut her stuff. ‘Future Crimes’ shows off Carrie’s screeching vocals and ‘Glass Tambourine’ gets all the girls involved, showing off their harmonic abilities without losing any of their edge. Mary Timony is quick to kneel to the floor for a play around with her array of pedals and drummer Janet Weiss really goes for gold.

Finishing off with a cover of Bobby Freeman’s ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’ the crowd erupt into frenzy of shuffling feet and waving arms. The venue feels like a private party and band couldn’t be enjoying themselves more. Despite their confessed jet-lag, tonight’s happenings prove there’s nothing that’ll get in Wild Flag’s way when it comes to putting on a great show.

Words: Sammy Maine
Photo and video: Yatin Amin