Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pigbros - The Mermaid, Birmingham 8/5/1987

Formed in Birmingham in 1984 by former Hysterics-era Nightingales guitarist Nick Beales, Svor Naan (sax, ex-Cravats), Jonathan Cooke (bass) and a teenage Fuzz Townsend who would enjoy commercial success later with Pop Will Eat Itself and Bentley Rhythm Ace.

Between 1985-87 Pigbros released four 12" eps and one lone long player during their brief career, as well as recording two sessions for the John Peel show. However, with the odd exception, none seemed to capture the excitement and intensity as their live shows, as this excellent audience recording will hopefully demonstrate.

Their sound conjured up images of a group perfrming in a disused warehouse on an isolated, vacated industrial estate post-Orwellian nightmare. The bari(mono)tone of Nick Beales vocal delivery sounded like Ian Curtis impersonating a heavy smoking Dalek with binary coded lungs saturated in phlegm! However, any permeation of pervading doom was lightened with the powerhouse - at times funky - grooves of Fuzz Townsend.

In fact the group were not adverse to dabbling with showmanship; whenever it was time to play Excessive, Fuzz would bring a tin bath onto the stage to bash out the rhythms on.

Like Bogshed, Pigbros have yet to receive the digital reissue treatment and were disappointingly not included on the recent Scared To Get Happy box set.

Many thanks to Paul Symons from The Yeah Yeah Noh Ropey Audio Emporium for the recording.

Past Caring
Face Of Baby
In Doubt
Still Goes On
Immensity Home
Hedonist Hat
Cheap Life
War Food
Word Up

Both the group's Peel sessions are available to download @ Cliff Richard's Neck


  1. Paul sent me a copy of this some time back - great stuff. I have to agree about the records sounding pants compared to their live sound, although Cheap Life came pretty close to capturing their sound.

  2. Personally, I think the first Peel session is their most realised studio moment.

    Anyway, all set for The Nightingales @ W&H tonight. Hope to see you there.

  3. Gah, I've been toying with the idea of posting The Blubberhouses for some time now... Oh well, you snooze, you lose, etc. :)

    I haven't played this yet, but I notice that "Immensity Home" is on it - the Peel session version of that song is possibly the best thing Pig Bros ever recorded IMO, a vast & ominous abandoned aircraft-hanger of a tune - awesome!

  4. Phoenix Hairpins had posted the complete Pigbros discography a few years back, but I think now most, if not all, the links are dead. Would love to hear Blubberhouses again.

  5. Blubberhouses still seems to be up at - the album's gone tho

    Thanks for this one

  6. Any guesses as to what the identified track is?

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  8. Thank you very much Sterling Cale for posting this. I am so glad this recording exists. I don't think I have ever heard any Pigbros gig recordings. This begs the question: is there anything else out there? From a single listen this seems to have been a great gig. As with the John Peel sessions (now also posted on YouTube) I think it gives a pretty good account of a band whose legacy has not been served well by their vinyl releases.
    Thank you again.
    PS anyone interested please go to the Pigbros Facebook page.

  9. Thanks for the feedback Richard, and for the heads up regarding the Facebook page.

    I'm not sure if I'm getting confused with The Mermaid gig, but I have a vague recollection a Pigbros live recording from Burberries, possibly from March 1987 was in circulation back in the day. The recent unearthing (again thanks to Paul Symons) of The Capitols gig from the same month (also posted on this blog)seems lend some credibility to my fading memory.

  10. that would be great to hear too. Lee Thacker has mentioned that Paul Symons also has the Portland Club gig from November '86. That was a line up:- Pop Will Eat Itself, The Wonderstuff, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Pigbros and .. er a couple of other band I can't remember - sorry other bands. Perhaps someone can remind me.