WHAT IF: RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CAME FROM LEEDS?

What if Zack De La Rocha was a northern poet? And the band were born in Leeds, not Harlem. In the grunge multiverse the result would almost certainly be Fudge.

(Checkout Fudge.’s Lucky 7)

Singer Cam, who has the energy, coolness and size of a giraffe, thanks the Nottingham Bodega for coming out on a “school night”. And he does so with the skill of a rock-n-roll-ring master, turning a Monday night into a Saturday, whilst simultaneously making the thought of Queen Liz playing teacup ‘We Will Rock You’ with Paddington Bear seem like a long and distant acid trip.

Cam is also the ultimate front man, jumping into the initially timid crowd shouting “Don’t start running away now dickheads!” Man, he has balls. He then grabs a guy and starts bouncing like a nutter, as the band break into ‘Hugger Mugger’. Where Idles pride themselves in scaring off their audiences, Fudge. prefer to invite you in and stage dive.

Fudge. Live Nottingham

There’s something special about the band and post Covid, they’re the vaccine we really need. They’re funny too, as Cam laments on the pandemic with an elegant “Fuck Covid” before introducing the next track only as the “Covid Song” – I have no idea what it was really called but it was a slice of heavy-as-a-truck pop genius.

The band treat us to a new song, which had hints of early Smashing Pumpkins. Thick with killer riffs, the kind Corgan used to be able to flick out before his ego eclipsed his genius. Fudge. totally remind you what it’s like for a band to care more about their music than their glory.

The Leeds lads further unleash a cover of Rage’s ‘Bulls On Parade’ mixed with Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’. The venue erupts. This gig just turned into a massive party.

Encores aren’t inevitable. Some bands don’t play them. Others don’t deserve them. After much cheering for “More”, Fudge. return with drummer Angus sheepishly apologising “We have no more songs”… “Apart from one!” The Bodega literally loses its shit.

Guitarist Otto brings to mind a young Sergio Pizzorno mixed with Tom Morello. Dedicated to writing great songs, he’s a master of his craft. Cam then takes these riffs and elevates them to new levels. The band are also backed with drums that don’t let go and a bass player capable of flicking out some soulful lines whilst joining Cam in the land of the giants.

By the end of the gig it feels like the band have just not earned an army of new fans but 100 new friends. They stick around to chat, which is a sweet touch after we’ve all been through for last 2+ years. And whilst the government partied, we were stuck inside. The decent people of Britain need this. We need live bands like Fudge.

Tonight we saw a group who are about to be huge. People will be boasting about seeing their first headline tour when Fudge. are headlining festivals.

I drove back from Devon for this gig, and it was worth every mile. Easily one of the best gigs I’ve been to pre-or-post pandemic and I expect nothing less from a band who sold out of Fudge. branded butt plugs on their website, cunningly sold for £69 a pop.

Fudge. butt plug

Rating: Leeds Against the Machine – Balls On Parade

Fudge. are on tour now