Opus Kink live – never rageful, but gleefully feral

words Ed Charlesworth

Opus Kink alternative band

Brudenell Social Club was awash with the scent of pot pie, sweat and stout on Wednesday, the aftermath of Opus Kink’s headline show in Leeds.

Enforced by the post-punk bite of charismatic five-piece Dim Imagery, ‘The Kink’ delivered an expectedly cataclysmic performance.

The onlooking crowd, once a diverse group of individuals, quickly homogenised. Art students, forty-something year old men and gender-queer folk merged into one heaving mass of sweaty bodies, that moshed until the final trumpet blared.

Opening with suitably chaotic new track Sunday Shoes, the band hurtled through a comprehensive setlist, tumbling from one crowd pleaser to the next, all led ferociously by frontman Angus Rogers.

Clad in a woollen hat and midriff baring suit, Rogers conducted the tireless audience with sweeping, balletic arm movements. He addressed the writhing mass with his trademark confrontational scorn interspersed with moments of quiet affection, a kind of tough love.

One second, he was spitting a mint back in the face of a dumbstruck audience member, the next, he was sprawled in the arms of the adoring crowd. Granted, however, this moment of intimacy was curtailed as he reached down his pants and hurled a fistful of genital sweat at those closest to him.

Opus Kink though, is not, and was not, just Angus Rogers. The funk-punk band operated in totality as an overwhelming force, with each individual member contributing something vital to the musical chaos that unfolded on stage.

Jeering from behind a heavily synthesised keyboard, Jazz Pope bared his teeth whilst yelling backing vocals, shirtless and palpably damp. ‘The Horny Boys’, the affectionately named brass section, squawked along to each song with raucous joy. Sam Abbo steadily plucked away at the bass, his grin widening as the audience grew increasingly more unhinged, whilst Fin Abbo, Sam’s brother, hammered relentlessly away behind the drum kit.

As the band arrived at Wild Bill, a floor stomping riot, even the most hesitant of participants were enveloped in the dizzying flurry of ‘The Kink’.

The mosh pit, which had materialised during the opening track, expanded to consume all remaining corners of the venue. No attendee was immune. Winter coats were tossed to any available safe haven, the crowd stripped down to bare essentials and the sweat began to pour.

However, whilst the gig was both emotionally and physically intense, it was never rageful, but gleefully feral. The band approached this cultivated chaos with a sly wink and half smirk. They riled, tempered, and tamed the audience as necessary.

St. Paul of the Tarantulas was a particular highlight of the evening. A gloriously boisterous track released last year, the song has swiftly become an Opus Kink standard.

Fin Abbo’s rumbling drums announced its arrival, to the excitement of the communal mosh.

Soon the floor began to quake once again. Plastic exploded as the reusable pint glasses that littered the floor were crushed under the mass of 400 people thrashing in unison.

The band continued to bound through track after track, landing penultimately on the one-two punch of 1:18 and This Train, Rogers and the group cranking up the chaos to unprecedented levels on the latter.

The climax of the evening was a soulful, poignant, rendition of The Pogues 1986 classic A Rainy Night in Soho, in tribute to the late Shane McGowan.

“This one’s for the best friend I never met” announced a sombre Rogers, as a hush fell upon the crowd.

Sensing the shift in tone, the audience settled down for the track, exchanging the mosh for a side-to-side sway.

The atmosphere was melancholy and Opus Kink performed the song with a misty-eyed swing, ending their boisterous headline gig at Brudenell Social Club with a restrained, unifying tribute to a beloved artist.

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