The Pop Group – Rough Trade, London

A facial- fuzz-free gig in Shoreditch – that might be a 21st century first.

The beardless fans gathered after a long wait to see a legendary cult band. 35 years it’s been.

The Pop Group popped up from the West Country on their tractor (us Cardiffians know all people from Bristol drive tractors) for a free in-store run-through at the mecca of indie music.

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Their hajj was worth it and their self-renewal decades from their heyday, if they ever had one, is welcome especially if you somehow missed them, as I did, first time round. Good stuff never dies.

New number and name of the new album Zombie Nation kicked off with manic Mark Stewart, the vocalist, ranting through a microphone in the crowd before joining the rest of the band on the stage. Still a glowering on-stage presence he looms like a particularly fierce French lock row forward from the 70s.
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Three minutes of that track is on the above video. It’s a long song heavy on the funk, Led Zep riffing, chaotic. Good opener.

It was followed up by Mad Truth, the new single.

The song that inspired Nick Cave’s journey into darkness We Are All Prostitutes finished it off, appropriately enough, just a few hundred yards from the City types which the band have for so long fulminated against.

Thirty minutes’ free entertainment and it was all over by the signing of the merchandise.

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The Pop Group take to their tractor for a world tour next month and tour the UK in May. Dates below.

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