It’s 9.15pm and we’re getting restless. Not just because Be Your Own Pet haven’t surfaced – even though they were due a quarter of an hour ago – but because no support band has played yet, either. Ten more minutes pass, then it happens. Guitarist Jonas Stein and bassist Nathan Vasquez amble onstage, followed by new drummer John Eatherly and, eventually, singer Jemina Pearl. To say they look happy to be here, though, would be… well, a lie.
Indeed, ‘Get Awkward’ is an appropriate title for their rather-good second record because, despite being a couple of years older, here’s a band who ain’t ready to grow up yet. They still behave like the same snotty teenagers who burst on to the scene back in 2006 peddling short, sharp punk-rock shocks called things like ‘Fuuuuuun’ and ‘Adventure’. It’s that youthful exuberance, as well as the fact they sound like your pissed-off younger siblings playing Yeah Yeah Yeahs covers, that made them a compelling live spectacle back then. But won’t it have got a bit dull by now? “What’s going on Shefffffield?” drawls Pearl before they launch into the ace ‘The Kelly Affair’, a song that takes a swipe at vacuous LA party-people. “Everybody here parties all the time/Everybody here’s got sex on their mind/Everybody here’s popping pills”, screams the singer over a riff straight from The Sonics’ school of garage. ‘Black Hole’, meanwhile, references not only the Ramones’ buzzsaw punk-pop, but also their preoccupation with the mundane (“Living in the city I get so bored… I guess we could go drive around/But what’s the point of this town?”). The slower (ie, played at less than 100mph) ‘Becky’, meanwhile, borrows melodies from ‘The Loco-Motion’. Seriously.
A particularly energetic ‘What’s Your Damage?’ provokes one of Pearl’s trademark vomiting moments. And therein lies Be Your Own Pet’s problem: like much of their performance, it’s just too… predictable. After all, she hurled at practically every gig when touring the first record. The songs are still just enough to convince, but how about some new tricks?