C.A.M.P., Old Street
There was only ever going to be one way to get me inside a Penguin Prison show, and that was to trick me. Admittedly, it doesn’t take much these days; seemingly the sentence, “Oh, that band you want to see are on at 10,” does the job. Expecting baroque, electro-nuts ColouringIN but getting New York funk-popper Penguin Prison is a heart-in-the-mouth kinda deal. Gordon Brown must have felt a similar sensation as soon as he realised his microphone was still on. What’s most bizarre, and yet oddly respectable about PP – real name Chris Glover: a man somewhere between a Lee Ryan disco comeback and a Jackson 5 Butlin’s tribute – is that he plays this major label, pre-packaged pop of his own volition. He clenches his fists and pulls them to his chest of his own accord; lets out JT, sharp “ah”s into the mic without training; fronts his Maroon 5 lounge indie with no shame. And, actually, he’s extremely good at it. His bassist clapping above his head is perhaps pushing the FM pop star clichés a little too far, and sure, I’ll be saying, “Are you sure it’s the band I want to see???” from now on, but if, for some ungodly reason, you like Penguin Prison’s previous singles, you’ll scream like a teen at his live show.
By Stuart Stubbs
Originally published in issue 17 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2010