They hate the Tories, they hate the police…but The Oozes LOVE to rock!
Railing against injustice and prejudice, they have no time for inequality or the patriarchy. Change is coming and The Oozes are the vanguard. Sweeping away the old with a wave of queer punk rage and charm. The Oozes are so very now. Backseat Mafia heads for Camden Underworld with the swear-box ready…
Camden Underworld is a heaving mass of late teens and early twenty-somethings. An unthreatening, safe space. Refreshingly dominated by the non binary, awaiting the rage about to hit the stage.
I’m crouched on that stage – there’s nowhere else to go and no-one wants an old bald CIS bloke cramping their style squeezing in the front row. Scattered amongst the tightly packed and rather euphoric crowd are The Oozes uber-fans – the ones in clown make-up imitating singer Tom – further proof of the ardent adoration this band commands.
The tour manager wasn’t kidding when he said The Oozes get lively! Tom (vocals), Ciara (bass), Olly (drums) and Cherry (guitar) consume every space with their every move. Fiery punk, so urgent and punchy it’s often reminiscent of that great anarchist collective Crass – but there’s always an undercurrent of fun.
Early on it’s clear Tom doesn’t like the police. The rant against them is well-deserved. That’s the racist, misogynist, bully boys with the truncheons – not the fashion police – even if Tom is dressed like a clown tonight.
There are tender moments. New song Just Wait has that cathartic, broken emotion that Porridge Radio also do so well. Afterwards, Tom wants the party vibe back, “f’kin’ hell that was a bit much wasn’t it really? Shall we lighten the mood a bit?!”. Then right on cue a hand-knitted woollen hat gets launched on to the stage. Another uber-fan! Tom is impressed, “who just threw this at me? You’re f’kin’ awesome!” – then by way of gratitude launches into The Oozes cover of Abba song Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight).
After showing off their music theory knowledge, “did everyone hear that, that was a tritone, everyone” – aka ‘the devil’s interval’ – Tom is keen to kick out the old and play something new.
Talking of kicking out the old, Tom shouts, “now I want you to scream if you think the Tories are a bunch of old f’kin’ c*nts. I’m gonna go ‘three-two-one’ and you’re gonna go.. ‘f*ck the Tories!’”. The Underworld erupts as one! This generation truly brings hope that the stale old hierarchies, patriarchies and class inequality may some day end.
That age old question: are you a witch or are you a w*nker? gets asked on the song…W*nker and Tom cannot hide their disdain, roaring,”I’m not for the eyes of a Tory, go look at your stolen money or jack off to your royalty…”. Don’t hold back Tom!
The rest of the band try to convince Tom to fall back in love with their 2022 track Sickening. Cherry reveals, “Tom over here has decided he doesn’t like this song – boooo – but our plan is to make Tom like this song again, we need your help to dance and scream and mosh and go f’kin’ mental…”. The Camden crowd needs no encouragement! The Underworld is shaking.
The Oozes energy really is relentless. Lady Gaga gets the queer punk makeover on the cover of Applause before the “wonders of modern technology” of the silicone penis is praised in Strap. There are no boundaries here.
Transgender rights are at the heart of The Oozes very existence. Before introducing Ready, Tom sensitively takes a moment to address the Camden congregation – “this next one is very very important to us. It goes out to any trans person who is not supported by their family. We want you to know that if that is the case for you, then we are your new supportive family, We f’kin’ love you so much and you deserve unconditional love no matter who you are, especially if you’re a trans person…”.
The Camden night draws in and Tom issues the “two song warning”. I get another swear box ready. Tom asks for help with the penultimate song DBSAC – “I need your help with this one as I seem to be forgetting what I might say to someone if they’re being a c*nt…?”. The resounding response back is: “Don’t be such a c*nt!” – hence DBSAC!
The “very fast, very fun” finale swirls in as Bitchboy gets the loudest, longest cheer of the night. It really is the last song as Tom is keen to explain, “we don’t do encores because we’re not into edging..”.
For all the justified ranting and high-octane punk the night has really been about love. The Oozes love their fans, their fans love them. Unconditional love. If only the rest of society would catch up. F*ck the Tories and anyone else who stands in the way.