Pop is Still eating itself...wonder what it tastes like now
Pop is Still eating itself...wonder what it tastes like now

Pop is Still eating itself...wonder what it tastes like now
Pop is Still eating itself...wonder what it tastes like now

Pop Will Eat Itself
Academy 4
Oct 14th 2011

The reformation of Pop Will Eat Itself is a strange one, as it’s not so much a reformation as it is an evolution. Now the new incarnation call themselves Pop Will Eat Itself (Mark 2), consisting of original member Graham Crabb joined by Mary Byker fronting the band.

Arriving at Club Academy, I’m the youngest person in there, with 40 something old punks and electro-dance geeks filling the room. There’s a serious case of diversity in the audience, as together no one seems to belong to a particular scene. A band like Pop Will Eat Itself clearly appeals to sub-groups across all genres and attract a crowd of an eclectic mix.

On stage, the band members appeared, looking as cool as ever with a clear image relating to their music. The giant bass player, Davey Bennett took over the stage with his overpowering looks and huge dreadlocked hair. Instantly, the crowd started moving and jumping as he played the first chords and continued to pound his bass with extreme rock and roll presence throughout the show. Mary Byker began jumping around onstage, looking as if he might hit the roof. The crowd started chanting ”ËœP.W.E.I’ to the beat and together with Crabb they pushed each other and fed off each others energy, whilst getting the crowd pumped simultaneously.

The band played classic track, ”ËœWise Up, Sucker’, in getting the atmosphere dancing and jumping, even at the front you could see the hardcore, die hard fans reaching out to the stage as both Byker and Crabb leant out into the crowd screaming “She loves me, she loves me not”. Near the back the atmosphere was more dance orientated with people totally engrossed in the music and the sound that was coming from the speakers. Even at this stage of their career, during their reformation and latest era, the band sound as energetic and raw as ever. For a group with middle-aged frontmen, they managed to stick out the show for a good hour and a half and not stop the vigorous visual and audio spectacular.

The variation of new and old material used by the band for the gig really did offer a broad selection for the audience to enjoy. This isn’t just any old reunion, this is a second phase. Their latest material sounded much heavier than you’d associate with the old band, with incredibly complex riffs and drum solos. They seem to be a band worth following over the next few years or so, as they seem as creative and innovative as they ever were in their peak, always looking for something new and diverse to shock or keep the interest of their followers.

As they played old tracks, such as ”ËœTheir Law’, it was clear they could still play tracks that certain members of the audience were interested in, whilst keeping the performance away from being tedious to themselves. Byker finished the set with a running stage dive into the emphatic wild audience. If you can catch The Poppies on any of their dates this year, then I certainly recommend it. Pop Will Eat Itself (Mark 2) are as interesting as ever.

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Manchester-based writer and promoter. Currently putting on gigs for Glass Onion. Contact me at joshnicol@live.co.uk. Follow me at @JDNicol.


  1. I went to that gig with a large group of old school Poppies friends, it was almost like a Ritz on a Monday night reunion. We were really excited about it. I’m guessing by the general audience that we weren’t alone in our quest for an evening of nostalgia. We didn’t get it though. Don’t get me wrong, they were brilliant and energetic live, we did enjoy ourselves, but they didn’t look after us in the way that we anticipated.
    I have the new album, I really like it, which is fortunate as they played it extensively. Nowt wrong with that either. The thing that disappointed us is they they neglected to play most of their major back catalogue anthems, the anthems that inspired us to buy our tickets in the first place. We felt a bit cheated really. What I now wonder, is have the band shot themselves in the foot by doing this, because if I’m honest, I can’t see some of those friends going back for a second helping should PWEI roll up in Manc again. Now that’s a shame, I don’t think they’ve thought it through. I hope they can address this slight flaw before they alienate their fan base and end up disappointed…

    • By the way, I don’t mean that they should have just played loads of their old tunes, nooo, I just think a few more of the bigger old hits should be dropped into the set here and there. It was a good gig, just could have been better!


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