“Back from the dead!” announces Jemina Pearl as she begins the second consecutive night leading Be Your Own Pet in Hackney. Judging by the ragged band of fans before her the previous night was a suitably raucous resurrection of the Nashville punks who first started their love affair with London some 17 years ago.
London still loves Be Your Own Pet. One pogoing mosher at the front will clearly do anything to get close to Jemina, Jonas, Nathan and John – including dispatching the snappers at the front with some hardcore assaults…or ‘dancing’ as it was renamed back in 1976.
Jemina shares the love, “we’re so excited to be in London. London means so much to us – we really cut our teeth here…so to come back after all these years feels special to us – so thank you for being here and supporting us!”.
Jemina is older and wiser but just as exuberant as her teenage self who first formed the band back in the noughties. Early into the set bassist Nathan launches himself into the boisterous fray.
The song that has launched a thousand road trips Adventure gets a surprisingly early outing with Jemina proclaiming “we are adventuring, we are adventurers, we’ve been to every place, everywhere in the world” and now they’ve been to the melting, cauldron of the Moth Club.
Guitarist Jonas is flattered by all the adoration but cautions “don’t call it a comeback you motherf*ckers!”. A voice from the heaving mass shouts back, “you never left our hearts” and Jemina replies, “you never left ours!”.
It seems set lists are “guidelines” or “a suggestion” so the hand scrawled set-list is quickly crumpled by Nathan and drops into the increasing amount of punk perspiration pooling on the stage. Jemina insists it’s not needed “we’re all along for the ride”.
Jemina makes a move into the crowd and withdraws quickly to avoid colliding with the wheelchair users at the front. The grumpy old mosher didn’t dare move them out of his way earlier. Jemina tries again and this time seems to glide and float effortlessly into the arms of the punked up core of the crowd. Energetic throughout Jemina writhes, lies and crouches on the stage. Jonas is ever grounded though and reminds her “we’re no longer teenagers!” and Jemina quickly ripostes, “don’t draw attention to it Jonas!”. These Nashville teens are all grown up.
Jonas hopes the new songs are “vibey” enough especially the ones about Nashville and “growing up in a shithole that you hate!”.
Two wheels are definitely good though and the cycling anthem Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle rings a familiar bell and the Hackney hipsters are in heaven.
Jemina is visibly wilting in the heat, “hot in here isn’t it? I see fans but none of them are turned on!” – quick-witted as ever Jonas says he “sees lots of fans and they’re very turned on!”. Jemina is surprised drummer Johnny is still wearing his shirt as the night before he quickly stripped off. She feels so hot she gets Nathan to pour water over her!
New single Worship The Whip is all “about the bootlickers across America” and someone shouts “F*ck the Tories” in solidarity back at Jemina. The London love-in is nearly over. Jemina is overwhelmed by the support for Be Your Own Pet – “it’s just so nice to be back in London – you’re always the best!”. Jonas tries to echo that sentiment but in typically sardonic style says “I just want to say personally from the bottom of my heart that I apologise to all of you for getting the band back together!”.
In spite of the mutual adoration an encore isn’t guaranteed because Jemina is hobbling after exacerbating a twisted ankle injury she picked up last month. She does hobble back on and the band bash through their rendition of The Damned classic Neat Neat Neat. By now, fans have shed several kilos of sweat and Be Your Own Pet really are back from the dead. They are adventurers once again.