The Tuts – The Cellar, Oxford

Seeing The Tuts live is everything you’d expect: matching outfits, of course (tonight, it’s white knee-high socks and yellow ‘Girl Power’ t-shirts), moments of Tory-shaming (“When I say Tory you say Scum!!!”), and a dozen of righteous bangers from their debut Update Your Brain.

But because it’s so easy to be their fan, I’d almost forget how strange that recipe looks on paper. We have here, after all, a band that covers The Spice Girls right after The Clash; that writes the sweetest pop songs while also being one of the most punk bands out there; that orchestrates a Wall of Death (more about that later) while wearing knee-high socks. You’d be excused for thinking they were taking the piss, either out of cutesy girl groups or out of masculine punk tropes. I think they’re doing neither, because The Tuts are dead serious. They’re showing that you can do both, be cool and cute. It’s a unique extension of the DIY toolkit but if you think about it, there’s nothing more do-it-yourself than matching your outfits every night. And remember it was Kurt Cobain who called The Vaselines “very punk rock”.

It is with sadness, then, that The Tuts announce that this might very well be their last DIY tour. The trio’s at that stage where they’ve become so popular that they have to spend all their time doing band admin, but not (yet) popular enough that they don’t need a day job. From their show, it’s indeed pretty clear that The Tuts are ready for something bigger. Not only are their tunes the best – we knew that already – but they’ve also got perfect control of the crowd. Whether it’s shouting down hecklers (“What’s that, old white man at the back?”) or orchestrating anti-Tory chants, there’s no way the audience can refuse their demands. At one point, they ask us to form two lines down the middle of The Cellar – no one has a clue what’s going on – and when that’s done they announce: “Now this is what they call a Wall of Death. You gotta run at each other at the count of 3. 1, 2…”.

At the end of their main set, Nadia manages to cheeckily say “You gotta make some noise if you want more” before running off the stage. We do want more, so much more. More songs, and more gigs, and finally, The Tuts world domination!

-- Caspar Jacobs, May 17, 2017