At the moment Fightmilk are members of a thriving scene within the UK that is hard to define. Rather than being united by genre and sound, what joins this group of bands is their underground nature and queerness – primarily in terms of being strange outcasts. Usually these bands embody the space between power pop, indie rock, and pop-punk, but more than anything they give off an air of warmth, love and the freedom to be you. Fellow members are Nervus, cultdreams, Personal Best, Happy Accidents, Fresh, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Martha, Doe… the list goes on.
Fightmilk at The Victoria was a much needed celebration of this scene, especially for those who had been away from it since the beginning of the pandemic.
Aggro queer punk with a SAXOHPOHNE?! On the one hand GUTTS are rainbows, glitter and love, and on the other hand they’ll fuck you up if you’re a prick. The band say they sing about ‘cultural appropriation, domestic violence, trash dads, white feminism, tone policing, biphobia and more’, and this came across perfectly throughout their set. An intriguing and captivating bunch with an important message, and infinite style, GUTTS won my heart and my mind.
In terms of sound, Gold Baby’s introspective soft guitar based pop couldn’t sound further from GUTTS; however somehow, the two bands covered the gamut of what Fightmilk would go on to perform. Gold Baby sound like Fresh and Soccer Mommy had a baby: the kind of odd baby that would have opened the main stage at Reading and Leeds in 2007. They were soft and slight but never dull. And without the roars of GUTTS, they still managed to convey something meaningful about the social politics they believe in.
You know when a set makes you completely reevaluate the material that the band is touring? That happened during Fightmilk’s. While initially, their 2021 album Contender seemed like a heart-filled power-pop record, it was their live performance of these songs that elevated them to the next level. Emotive, charming and ridiculously catchy: Contender sounded like the album of the year when played live. Songs like ‘Lucky Coin’ and ‘Hey Annabelle!’ provided big singalongs while ‘Girls Don’t Want To Have Fun’ were even more poignant. The highlight of the night, however, was ‘I’m Starting To Think You Don’t Even Want To Go To Space’ which was introduced with vocalist and guitarist Lily’s signature brand of charming but awkward on stage banter, before it erupted into gold once the band began playing.
There’s a line on Contender that goes ‘I’m interesting, and I’m clever, and I’ll always be a contender’. It embodies everything that Fightmilk and their scene stand for: self love amidst the hurt of existing. Their gig at The Victoria felt welcoming, kind and inclusive. If you’re an outcast, you’ll find your place in music like this.
Fightmilk are currently touring the UK, you can pick up tickets here.