Chubby And The Gang
Kantine am Berghain
13th April 2022
West London punks Chubby And The Gang swap the Uxbridge Road for Warschauer Strasse, putting boots on the ground in Berlin for a night at Kantine am Berghain.
The 5-piece, who all cut their teeth on various hardcore scenes around the UK, hit the road in Europe coming off the back of a UK tour supporting The Chats. Ever since the release of their first album Speed Kills in 2020, they have garnered a reputation for 100mph shows that come and go in a flash.
Joining them on their tour is special guest Romeo Taylor, who, with a set that features a mix of tuned up rave and indie classics, is more of a compere than a traditional support act. But the strange mix seems to pay off. Rather than a support band being drowned out by people’s murmuring, the raw entertainment value of Romeo Taylor – a regular in the Glasgow DIY scene – gets people’s attention.
Some say sex sells. But honestly, don’t underestimate the power of a Scotsman shouting down the mic from behind a drum kit, almost berating the crowd with a cover of Don’t Look Back In Anger, to peak people’s intrigue.
After a short while, the compact venue starts to fill and there’s a buzz around the place. On stage, Chubby And The Gang appear through a cloud of mist and kick things off with Coming Up Tough, the lead single from their second album The Mutt’s Nuts. The throbbing drums and bass fill the room as frontman Chubby Charles introduces the members of his gang – Maegan Brooks-Mills, Tom ‘Razor’ Hardwick (presumably no relation to Neil ‘Razor Ruddock), Ethan Stahl and Joe McMahon.
Half an hour flies by as the band plough through a list of tacks from their latest album, stopping occasionally to mutter through the mic while the crowd catch their breath. But there ain’t no rest for the wicked and without a moment’s notice their off again like a runaway bus hellbent on destruction crashing through shop windows.
Truth be told, after some time members of the crowd aren’t quite as energised as they could be, opting to simply nod along or offer up a poor imitation of the pogo, rocking back and forth from heel to toe. But we’ll put that down to lack of practice during lockdown. Still, a fair few keep up with the band and there’s even the occasional stage dive from some hyped-up skinheads.
Next up Pariah Radio, a song from their first record which is already considered a classic in the group’s repertoire. As the crowd realise what song is being played the atmosphere becomes more intense and any lingering tiredness disappears. Chubby Charles
perches himself on a speaker, the whites of his eyes luminescent in the fog as he lords it over his leather-clad followers who shift about amongst themselves, like a mad scientist revelling in the destructive capabilities of his own creation.
From then on, it’s a sprint to the finish line, ending aptly with Speeds Kills.
It takes a lot to leave your mark on a city like Berlin, but with an enthralling set of high octane songs performed with genuine professionalism that is somehow both rough and clean – not something so common amongst fast playing punk bands – Chubby And The Gang manage to leave theirs (probably a boot print on some poor lad’s forehead).
The group have been plucked out of London’s DIY scene, thrust into the limelight kicking and screaming, and whenever the day comes they’ll probably leave it just the same.
Verdict: Chubby and the Gang rule, ok?
All words by Nicholas O’Leary, who is new to Louder Than War
Photos by Svenja Block