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  • Writer's pictureLeon Riccio

GIG REVIEW: Shit Present at The Exchange


Bubblegum-grunge outfit Shit Present played a charming bedroom-y set at The Exchange, Bristol, just a month after releasing their latest single - the first output from the band since 2016 - to an overjoyed crowd over the past weekend.


Performing hand-in-hand with Brighton’s ME REX, The Exeter-based trio, consisting of frontwoman Iona Cains (formerly of Great Cynics), Thom Weeks, and Ben Cottam, were the third act on the bill to play The Exchange. This venue has previously hosted the likes of The 1975, IDLES, Four Tet, Haim, and so on.

Before Shit Present took to the stage that nippy Saturday night, their set was preceded by a shy but spacey performance from Welsh “quiet-grrrl” band Murder Club. Despite their up-and-coming status, the crowd showed up for the four-piece, equipping snazzy 80s synths and wonderfully dynamic vocal harmonies floating above the driving guitar and bass on tracks like the shoe-gazey ‘Sour Candy’ and sarky ‘Big Green Truck.’

Next on the lineup was Dave House, playing a live show for the first time in almost a decade. The ex-The Steal/Lucky Thirteen band member played a slightly shaky, rusty pop-punk-inflected acoustic set. While the songs themselves, stemming from his 2009 album ‘A Permanent Record,’ may not have set the room alight – as is almost inevitable with most acoustic performances – it was evident Mr. House was having a good time on stage, which seemed to resonate with the crowd.

However, the first band to knock it out of the park that night was Shit Present. Iona oozed cool and careless energy as she floated through emo-twinged opener ‘House – Breakdown,’ and turned to barely-contained bitter rage on latest single ‘Fuck It.’ The tune, released only last month, leans toward punkier guitar and vocal delivery while keeping its dance-ability intact. Shit Present played through the rest of their breezy bedroom-rock setlist, including ‘Melbourne,’ ‘Evaporate,’ and closing with fan favorite ‘Anxious Type,’ sending a tidal wave of good vibes through the crowd.


Headliners ME REX closed off the show, soaking up all the best elements of BBC-Radio-friendly indie pop music from the 2010s and (thankfully) cutting out the fat. Delicious synths, meandering harmonies, frantic vocal deliveries, and rolling drums dominate the stage, slowing the crowd with stand-out, intricately arranged tunes like ‘Robotswalkonwater’ and ‘Sinkhole,’ then bringing all back up to speed with ‘Skin, It Itches’ and ‘Jupiter Pluvius’ – the latter being Spotify’s most popular, harking back to Foals’ Antidotes-era of Alt.

The packed-out show ended in massive applause, and the crowd herded around the merch table beside the venue doors. A job well done and a phenomenal performance from some of the best indie-pop/rock bands we’ll see this decade.

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