LIVE: Bad Cop/Bad Cop / Traits @ The Key Club, Leeds

By Tom Walsh

Today is Yorkshire Day, so what better way to celebrate this momentous – slightly dubious in its origin – date on the calendar than heading into a sweaty Leeds club to watch a gang of Californian punks? And it would not be a show in Leeds without an American band looking on in bemusement as more and more inebriated members of the audience chant the words “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” during even the briefest of respite.

“Oh that’s where you’re all from,” Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s Jennie Cotterill quips as a moment to tune guitars becomes the perfect opportunity for the Leeds crowd to confirm, indeed, where they hail from. The quartet are currently on a sojourn across Europe taking in the major festivals, but have taken time out to squeeze in a few club shows. Freed from the shackles of time-sensitive scheduling of the larger events, it provides scope for a much more varied set.

While Bad Cop/Bad Cop may have been somewhat confused by the repeating howls of the name of an English county, it is something Leeds natives Traits are well accustomed to. The quartet set the benchmark for three-part harmonies for the evening with a high energy set. Possessing Ignite-style soaring vocals and the painfully positive lyrics to match, they rev up the baying punks in attendance.

As the heat inside this city centre basement intensifies – thanks, longest heatwave in decades – Bad Cop/Bad Cop signal their entrance with a guttural scream from Stacey Dee, catapulting straight into ‘I’m Done’. They continue the trend of the evening by hitting delightful three-part harmonies for the opening song from 2015’s ‘Not Sorry’ LP – ‘Nightmare’.

What is designed to be an intense performance, delivered at breakneck speed, is continually at risk of being derailed through sound problems. However, they manage to battle through with double time versions of ‘Why Change a Thing’ and the feminism anthem ‘Womanarchist’.

Taking a moment from whipping up the crowd with calls of “getting this place moving”, Dee explains her delight at being able to perform songs that they simply aren’t able to at festival slots. It allows Bad Cop/Bad Cop to play a poignant version of ‘Victoria’, which leaves Dee visibly emotional as she admits the difficulty of performing a song that means so much to her.

“If there is anyone you know in trouble, talk to them,” she adds. It is an unexpected touching refrain from what has been a thrashing punk show. Allowing herself a breath to compose herself, it is back to the trademark snarl in ‘Joey Lawrence’.

Alongside The Bombpops and The Interrupters, Bad Cop/Bad Cop are the next in a line of female-fronted or all-female bands making huge waves on the punk scene. Swapping vocal duties for each song provides a unique flavour, from Dee’s rasping anger on ‘Kids’ to Cotterill’s offer on everyone raising a glass on the ultimate singalong ‘Cheers’.

Delving into the back catalogue for closer ‘Rodeo’, there is only one way Bad Cop/Bad Cop could round off a show on Yorkshire Day – by being serenaded with repeated chants about England’s largest county. What else?