The Waterfront, Norwich December 1, 2021
by Niki Jones
It’s a cold and miserable night outside The Waterfront this evening – one for sitting in front of the TV sipping cocoa with a nice blanket. Nobody, however, seems to have passed this news on to Bad Nerves.
Tigercub’s gear has already been set up on the small Waterfront Studio stage and the Essex punks are left with very little room for manoeuvre during their supporting set, but this proves to be of little bother to wiry frontman Bobby Nerves who simply climbs on, and then over, the barrier, choosing to play the majority of the set in the audience.
It sums up the rapscallion energy of Bad Nerves, a band who sound like they’d have been at home at a late ‘80s CBGBs, a band whose singer never removes his Raybans despite the dark indoor setting, a band who have the audacity to start a song with almost a minute of hi-hat taps.
They play tightly wound bursts of highly melodic punk. Songs such as Baby Drummer bristle with punk energy and sparkle with tightly honed harmonies, bringing to mind the likes of Descendents and Ramones.
Bobby Nerves is a perpetual ball of energy, prowling the stage front and precariously climbing the front barrier.
By the time they reach raucous closer Dreaming, it’s safe to say we’re well and truly warmed up and they’ve won themselves a bunch of new fans.
You don’t need to have heard Tigercub to know they’re going to sound huge. Guitarist/vocalist Jamie Hall has a backline of guitar cabs that would make Angus Young drool and an effects board that looks like you could launch a spacecraft from it.
The towering frontman is straight to the front, revving up the already excitable crowd as they launch into new single IWGFU.
Like Muse minus the pretension or Royal Blood plus the guitars, they create a sound which is both soaringly melodic and Godzilla-heavy at the same time.
By the end of their second song – the stomping and swaggering Sleepwalker (or “Sleepwanker”, according to the setlist) – we’re all fired up.
Songs such as Control and the gorgeous In The Autumn Of My Years show they can take their foot off the pedal, adding electro grooves and a melodic sensibility that wouldn’t sound out of place on the main stage at Glastonbury.
The closing one-two of coil and release Stop Beating My Heart (Like A Bass Drum) and Beauty, a song with a riff so contagious we should all be wearing masks, sets the crowd alight and elicits a spot of crowdsurfing from one intrepid individual (although security is soon there to rain on his parade).
With songs this huge, Tigercub deserve to be on stages the size that their pals in Royal Blood play rather than upstairs at The Waterfront, but in the meantime we get the privilege of seeing them here before that happens.