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Porridge Radio @ Foundry

“This might be a good time to start a pit,” mutters Dana Margolin, with a knowing look in her eye. It’s almost as if the Porridge Radio lead singer knows exactly what her fans are thinking.

The band have a connection with their fans that feels different to other groups. For their current UK tour they set aside discounted tickets for those struggling to afford one due to the cost of living crisis. Tonight at Foundry they were also raising money for the Trussell Trust foodbanks – a gesture which was announced to the sound of a few derogatory chants towards our ruling political party. This writer will remain politically neutral, of course.

Porridge Radio’s setlist tonight drew heavily from 2022’s Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky; an album full of sharp tales of love and loss, despair and joy, anguish and hope, set to driving post-punk and slacker indie guitars. It’s full of earworm one-liners and close-to-the-bone lyrics that clearly struck a chord with crowds like this one.

Interaction with the Sheffield audience was pretty muted throughout, with Margolin and the rest of the band seemingly pouring all of their energy into the live performance instead. That energy within the group, however, was matched in the near-capacity crowd.

The slow-burning ‘Birthday Party’ and pleading vocals of ‘Give Take’ both draw big reactions from the audience, and the set slowly gains in momentum as they draw on more material from 2020’s Mercury Prize-nominated Every Bad. The close bond Porridge Radio have with their fans is even more evident in an intimate venue like Foundry, with a committed bunch at the front screaming back every word with every bit as much anguish as Margolis herself.

By the time set closer ‘Sweet’ comes around and Margolin’s polite request for a mosh pit has been gleefully accepted, it feels as if the distance between band and audience has disappeared entirely. And in a year where the cost of living and our reliance on foodbanks has only increased, that personal connection feels more valuable than ever.

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