Music review: Big Joanie, Mono, Glasgow

With their sound heavily influenced by The Vaselines, The Pastels and The Jesus and Mary Chain, this was something of a spiritual homecoming for London-based punk band Big Joanie, writes Malcolm Jack

Big Joanie, Mono, Glasgow ***

Right-wing reactionaries, meet your least favourite new band. “We are Big Joanie,” bellowed drummer and backing vocalist Chardine Taylor-Stone, by way of a belated intro to the fast-rising London trio during the fuzz and thump of Fall Asleep, “we are a black feminist punk band.”

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Formed by singer, guitarist and songwriter Stephanie Phillips out of frustration at the lack of intersectionality in the DIY music scene, Big Joanie’s provocative raison d’etre is standing tall and playing loud for the things they believe in, placing them in a long lineage of great feminist punks from The Slits to Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. At different points in this sold-out show, they gave shout-outs to everyone from trans rights activists to striking workers.

Stephanie Phillips and Chardine Taylor-Stone of Big Joanie PIC: Keira Cullinane / Loud Women

The type of music Big Joanie choose as a vessel for their fiery, inclusive, very non-GB-News-friendly view of the world happens to emanate overwhelmingly from Scotland. “I’ve ripped off this city a lot,” joked Taylor-Stone, before explaining how important the likes of The Vaselines, The Pastels and The Jesus and Mary Chain have been in shaping their ramshackle indie sound (she even plays drums standing up in specific homage to original JAMC drummer Bobby Gillespie).

A bit of charming wonkiness is all part of the style, albeit there were moments – the wobbly electronic beats of Confident Man, for instance – when it felt like a bit more time spent tightening songs up in the rehearsal room could have done them better justice. Big Joanie’s two best numbers arrived back-to-back mid-set – the noirish, synth-strings-shaded Your Words, which had hints of The House of Love, and a discordantly reimagined cover of Solange’s Cranes in the Sky. Soaring closer In My Arms was preceded by an empowering rallying cry for would-be punks in the room too afraid to try forming a band for themselves. “You can do it,” Taylor-Stone reassured them, “because we did.”