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Cuncrete review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘loud and raw’

Cuncrete at Summerhall. Photo: Paul Samuel White Cuncrete at Summerhall. Photo: Paul Samuel White

The basslines are Corbusier-straight, and the drumbeat is as simple and iconic as the outline of Trellick Tower. This is Cuncrete, a thundering, sickly collision of punk rock and modernist architecture. Part-gig, part defiant roar, this takes the germ of #Torycore and pours a new foundation of manufactured stone and steel.

The band are the Great White Males. They’re led by award-winning performance artist Rachael Clerke in her guise as Archibald Tactful – the architect. In his sharp 70s suit with wings formed from the shadows of skyscrapers, Archibald bursts through a cement-grey wall and boldly bellows “I invented the Barbican!” as he leads his band of drag kings through sloping sludgy punk numbers and sudden blasts of hardcore. Lyrically, it’s a controlled demolition of the games that power and privilege play with the urban landscape.

If JG Ballard’s High Rise needed a house-band, these would be the men. Like the band Throbbing Gristle before them, the Great White Males regurgitate the symbols of masculinity and modernism for their own furiously subversive ends. They play loud and raw and throw Thatcher, Right to Buy, sallow utopianism and corporate greed into their churning cement mixer. What comes out is an exhilaratingly bleak swansong for the grey, hard dreams of powerful men.

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Brutalist punk performance by Rachael Clerke and her band of hard-as-cement drag king legends