LIVE: Muncie Girls / Birdskulls / Skeleton Frames @ Cavern, Exeter

By Alex Hall

The support in Exeter for local punk-pop trio Muncie Girls is easy to see. Whilst the band has, in recent months, gained increasing fame outside of their hometown, enthusiasm for this band has bubbled under the surface in Exeter since their foundation. Everything bassist and vocalist Lande Hekt does is embedded in the community that surrounds Exeter Cavern, and the evidence is clear in this packed-out show celebrating the release of the band’s new record, ‘From Caplan to Belsize’.

Skeleton Frames open up the gig with an extraordinarily tight performance. This band have made waves in the South West over the past year, delivering ten-tonne-heavy riffs with thousands of effects pedals, creating a tone to blow your socks off. Think Sigur Ros meets My Bloody Valentine and Nirvana. The vocals are tonight far clearer throughout, than in previous performances and soar over the bombardment of guitars, making this probably their standout gig so far.

These high standards set early on do not drop throughout the night as the second support slot falls to grunge revivalists Birdskulls. The set flows smoothly through the band’s back catalogue, displaying gritty vocals and bouncy hooks. The crowd, evidently eager, continues to fill up the room in anticipation for the headliners.

Clearly excitable following their sold out show at the Lexington in London earlier in the week, Muncie Girls are on top form. Luke Ellis consistently pulls it out of the bag in whatever band he is in and tonight lays down a solid performance on drums. Guitarist Dean McMullen continuously bounces around the stage, taking full advantage of the energy permeating from both old and new songs, all of which are similarly nailed by Lande.

A noticeable distinction in the night’s crowd is the female to male ratio. The above-average female representation is probably a result of Lande’s work as a role model in the community, helping girls in the music scene, including through annual School of Frock workshops. This theme, and other aspects of socio-political commentary are explored in the new Muncie Girls record, which clearly resonates with the local scene as the crowd sings along to ever song, even the very new.

Above all, it’s inspiring to see a local band do so well. Lande humbly comments half-way through the set that it feels strange playing Exeter as it feels a bit like going back to see your old friends who still know that you’re a dork, after trying to reinvent yourself as a cool rockstar. It seems however that this band are looked up to, perhaps even more so by their peers, who after packing out the venue stick around to congratulate the band on an exceptional performance.