Two Nights with Destroy Boys, Part 1

One band, two gigs, three albums, and four immense sets. This is how I won reading week seeing Destroy Boys live.

If nothing else, the last couple of years have been good for giving me loads of time to discover new music. One such discovery of mine was Destroy Boys, who grabbed my attention on YouTube with the name of their song ‘I Threw Glass at My Friend’s Eyes and Now I’m On Probation’ (I even mentioned them ages ago HERE). Catchy, huh? Between blasting through four powerchords like an 80s punk band and lyrics that were cutting and funny in equal measure, I couldn’t not be hooked. One and a half years on, and I’ve seen them play Camden Assembly and Green Door Store on consecutive nights as part of their small UK headline run, following supporting Alkaline Trio and Taking Back Sunday. It was absolutely worth the wait.

But first, we must open as shows tend to, with the support act. Lambrini Girls may not yet be widely recognised as one of the best rising punk bands in the UK, but with the amount of shows and quality of music they’re playing it surely can’t be long until they are. There’s a disarming fun at their surface, with a set made of tracks with names like ‘Help Me, I’m Gay’ and ‘Craig David’, yet under that surface and just beyond the haze of frantic guitaring there is always an important message. Unfortunately, they only have a couple of songs out so far, so I guess you’ll just have to go and see them live to find out more. Given how mad Brighton went for them I reckon you’d struggle to leave disappointed.

When the time comes for Destroy Boys to start, whatever energy had manifested for Lambrini Girls has long been surpassed. The London show at Camden Assembly went off, but the intensity of the crowd at Green Door Store in Brighton made the night before looks like The Wiggles reunion tour – no offence to The Wiggles. A Destroy Boys show is a full-on punk show, have no doubt. They get proper running-around circle pits going for fudge’s sake, something I didn’t think I’d be part of outside of a Frank Carter show. Even better, they’ve got a proper anti-establishment attitude, using ‘For What’ to highlight the wilful failure of governments to do what is best for their citizens.

It’s not just the audience that goes hard when the pit opens up. The sound engineer was for sure cranking it past a conventional 98db, reaching volumes that start to head towards being felt as much as heard. The gut-punch intro of ‘Te Llevo Conmigo’ hits on the record, but live it caries So. Much. Heft. You’d practically have to mosh forward to not get blown away, whether via London’s preference of bouncing around or Brighton’s slightly more intense post-circle crush. To the engineer’s credit, everything still sounded clean and balanced as the volumes increased, something I’m sure is helped by just how tight a band they had to work with.

What was especially excellent is that every member of the band is clearly having a wonderful time on stage. Guitarist Violet seems ecstatic to recount the worse moments of relationships past during ‘Cherry Garcia’ sing-shouting “I’m the yin to your stupid yang – THEY REALLY SAID THAT TO ME” with absolute glee, and Narsai and Julian (drummer and bassist) slow dance through the one break in the set, as Alexia goes solo for ‘Lo Peor’. Destroy Boys simply make live music more fun. Every lyric screamed, every cymbal thrashed, every guitar string taken to its fuzzy limit is a good time for everyone involved.

With a set made of constant bangers it’s no surprise I left the start of the week slightly battered and bruised, but that’s how you know it was going off. I can’t remember the last time I attended a gig of that size that got quite so intense and sweaty. Possibly Black Honey in Bedford, all the way back in 2017? Either way, the point is that it was a pair of awesome shows. Slightly more so Brighton, purely on the strength of it being a longer set, with ‘American River’ and ‘Honey I’m Home’ making it into an encore that London missed. More most assuredly is more when it comes to rock’n’roll.

To conclude? If you get the chance, go see Destroy Boys live. I made the most of what I anticipated to be the only chance I’d have for a very long time, but hearing them talk about wanting to return to these shores makes me think you might get the chance sooner than later…

Oh, and keep an eye out for part two: the interview, coming soon to a uni magazine near you.

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