Gig review: Gen and The Degenerates at The Bodega

Words: Talia Robinson
Photos: Chris Tregenza
Tuesday 11 June 2024
reading time: min, words

Anything but ‘anti-fun’, this post-punk propaganda brought us straight to
The Bodega to witness Gen and The Degenerates do their thing...

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You do not know what a Gen and The Degenerates show entails. You might think you do, and you can live vicariously through this review, but the shark-fueled fiesta is simply something you have to experience for yourself. 

Similarly as elusive in their expectations, supporting the headliners are Gender Envy and Molars. With both bands local to Nottingham, it’s nice to see that they’ve garnered enough buzz to form a slight queue ahead of doors opening – given that they have around ten tracks officially released between the both of them, their pop-punk antics are a sight and sound you must witness. No more clues. Check them out before they make it big!

The Degenerates have made it a motif of reaching out to local acts for each night of their tour – when they last visited the city, they had a suggestion box on the merch table so the crowd could put forward  Nottingham bands to support them. It’s a nice touch. Grassroots deserve it. 

Our "mutually assured destruction" is alive and kicking in this room tonight; we give the floorboards a squeaky polish and leave the room with our shoes a little more worn in, but it’s a deal worth making. In its brightly synth syncopation and rattling rapid-fire percussion, Kids Wanna Dance pulses along with our own dance moves and dad moves as soon as the band enter the stage. The generational impact across the crowd is just one faucet of inclusivity the band ignites within their community, heralded by the vicious quip of vocalist Genevieve Glynn-Reeves.

They’re self-assured in their social commentary and why wouldn’t they be? It’s unapologetically in your face; political without being preachy, the crowd clearly resonates with these charming numbers beyond the instrumentation. Girl God Gun – originally written on their experience of being non-binary – is dedicated to a friend of Gen’s saving up for top surgery. “You’re all such sweethearts.”

Even on their biggest single to date, genuineness is at the core of this band. “If any of you would like to help someone on their journey to becoming themselves, there’s a donation box over at the merch table. You are all so appreciated.”

Queer love anthem after anthem, Gen prowls the stage with a marching-esque pride in Post-Cool. We inhabit a ‘post-cool’ status, if you will, as the band transverses the ambience of their sarcastic wit into an explosive rock chorus. Famous has a funkier drawl to it that we can relegate our shoulders to jiving instead of jostling one another; although the tour may be winding down to a close, the Degenerates certainly don’t dial back on their delivery.

Embellishing the cohesivity of their commandeering is drummer Evan Reeves. His beats bombastic enough to beat the naysayers singlehandedly, he’s flanked by Jay Humphreys on the bass and guitarist duo Sean Sloan and Jake Jones. They’re an intricately joyful union of musicians, full of personality and frenetic energy on par with the audience. With a debut like theirs, they’re hardly fish out of water.

“This shark is called ‘Big Blue’ and you must be very careful with him.” As the inflatable shark is released into the tumultuous sea of arms waving and feet stomping, Gen does attempt to control our fun slightly.

“We don't want him in a million pieces like the mirror ball, so if we could keep him below sea level that would be great!”

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Acid tongued humour prevailing, we’re swaggering into BIG HIT SINGLE. At some point during the night, the band have acquired sunglasses, and a faux-stoic persona is an interesting interval in which they’re not thrashing around the stage. It’s only momentary as the anthemic aggression eclipses their riotous nature. Something their label is acquainted with too well: “They told us to make a song like our biggest hit. You want a hit? I’ll write a hit.”

Titular track Anti-Fun Propaganda concludes the night in that trademarked irony. The anti-capitalist anthem is introduced with a scoff of mirth as they encourage the crowd to buy merch – they needn’t worry about contradictions because when they weren’t playing, each member of the three bands billed tonight could be spotted in the crowd themselves. An
ethos of true camaraderie which could have warmed up the room without the buzz of an amp. Buying yourself a T-shirt or pin is the least you can do.

Punk propaganda prevails!


Gen and The Degenerates performed at The Bodega on 1st June 2024, with Molars and Gender Envy in support.

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