Be Your Own Pet

Sadly, not the chaotic kiss-off we were hoping for. Dingwalls, London (August 26)

All farewells should be sudden. And covered in sick. That’s the way BYOP should’ve gone out: riding their self-immolatory tendencies to their logical conclusion and busting the historic hole in space-time the fans who’ve packed Dingwalls are pining for. And that’s judging by tonight’s several premature stage invasions, each more frantic than the last.

The signs were good. A couple of weeks back at Reading Festival, after BYOP had spent 30 minutes falling apart onstage, singer Jemina had to literally prop up bassist Nathan while they were watching Vampire Weekend. Later, he retired to their dressing room with yet more booze. Whereupon he wet himself. Rock. And Roll.

After they announced they were splitting up, it seemed logical that a band who once hosted a food fight gig would wind down the whole roadshow in a gruesomely amusing way. By the time they were ready to begin, the Pets were already borrowing a drumkit from The Hot Melts, having trashed their own the previous evening. But it wasn’t to be. Instead of going out with either a bang or a thunk, BYOP ended as they began: an OK, slightly-ragged band with half a dozen songs you wouldn’t kick out of bed.

Jemina jitters. Her colleagues rawk shirtlessly. The producer of both their albums, Steven McDonald, ends up onstage for one song. They give a shout out to their record label, rip through a – by their standards – lengthy setlist with due diligence, end on ‘Super Soaked’, then retire to their dressing room to drink label champagne, look at Polaroids of themselves and talk about the future. “If you find a shoe, it’s mine,” informs one uni-shod girl, raking through the front-of-stage effluvia.

“We think it’s time for all of us to stretch ourselves in new directions,” a sweaty Jemina asserts backstage. “They all hate each other,” insiders tell us outside. Was it not always so? The ex-BYOP head out to a karaoke bar. Their fans head home for the last time. The fragile knot of people and histories that comprised this band at last begins to loosen. It doesn’t really matter.

Gavin Haynes