Reviewed: Popaganda, An Indie Paradise?

The Tab hits up UCLU Live Music Society’s Popaganda

With a name like Popaganda, you’d imagine the UCLU Live Music Society’s regular event to be frequented by bubblegum Aqua groupies rather than guitar fans. Thankfully, this wasn’t true when I went to take a gander  at Popaganda on Thursday night. The room was packed with flicked up hair, scuffed Vans and trousers rolled up at the ankles. Not to mention the oh so quirky members of the audience wearing sunglasses inside. But like me they had braved the rain to form a steady stream of soggy and bedraggled students hoping for a night of good music at Mully’s Basement Bar.

Walking in I was greeted by the familiar sounds of Hard-Fi, The Fratellis, Snow Patrol and…Soldier Boy? Wait, this is an indie night right?

The first band, Shout Timber, performed an acoustic set with just two guitars and a shaker. With a decidedly Vampire Weekend vibe the style was right up my street and with upbeat songs with great harmonies such as ‘Louise’ there were quite a few heads nodding. Oddly enough, their best song ‘Colonial’, had a different feel, going down a slightly more folky street that wouldn’t be out of place on a Mumford and Sons album. Alex, TJ and Sam gave it their indie best and can be proud to say they had a good few people after their set asking for a free copy of their EP, including me. Perhaps they were a little nervous though, as song lyrics were forgotten at the beginning of a song about Grace Kelly. Don’t worry though guys, it happens to the best of them.


Shout Timber, photo by Hubert Libiszewski

Shout Timber can be found at or listened to at

Next came Canary Swing, a slightly more mainstream sounding indie band that wouldn’t go unnoticed in today’s charts. What stood out for this band was that the lead singer George, brought personality and dare I say it, swagger to the night. His voice also put me in mind of an English version of the lead singer of Between the Trees. Obviously a showman, he along with band mates Corey, Harry and Sam quickly won over a suitably warmed up audience with their witty lyrics in songs such as ‘The Day the Fat Boy Lost His Titties’. The highlight was most definitely a rocked up version of The Jackson Five classic ‘I Want You Back’, and I could definitely imagine this band playing at larger venues and still having the personality to carry it off.

Canary Swing, photo by Hubert Libiszewski.

Canary swing can be found at

After a sufficient break the night’s headliners, The PJP Band, took to the stage. By now the audience had moved on from polite taps and nods and made their way on to the dance floor to rock out with the band. Having travelled all the way up from Cornwall what immediately struck me was the funky tie-dyed cloth set out on the keyboard and the quite incredible tattoos they all sported. I’ve never seen a band completely feel their music before, it was actually mesmerising to watch. I’ve also never seen a drummer so intense before. I couldn’t help thinking of Animal from The Muppets. The band had a rockier sound which went down like a house on fire for the students, now half dancing, half moshing on the floor. What I really liked about this band though, was their intensity and their powerfully emotional and contemplative slow songs.

The PJP Band, photo by Hubert Libiszewski

Check out The PJP website at or find them at

Overall it was an excellent night of live music and left me feeling disappointed that we couldn’t stay for longer!