Lobster/Young Culture Band @ Night Owl, Birmingham – 4th November 2023


Young Culture Band

Young Culture Band are according to themselves a group of close friends who share a love of conscious reggae music. They play some very authentic reggae and really connect on stage and with the already packed room. The vocals and harmonies are spot on which makes their tunes very infectious. I must admit I was a bit taken aback as although I was aware of them, I had never seen them live.

Opener ‘Generation’ set the tone for the set as they took us on a journey through some of their recent releases such as ‘What a Joy’, ‘Possibilities’, ‘Herbalist, the wonderful ‘Higher Heights’ and the just released ‘Promised Land’. They are accomplished musicians and their songs have a cool vibe with plenty of percussion, great harmonies and some amazing playing from every band member.

They have played some high level supports and you can see why. This was great stuff and had the same effect on me as when I saw the likes of Steel Pulse, Misty in Roots, very early Aswad and UB40 back in the day.

I will catch them again for sure.



As the Young Culture Band said themselves this was Lobster’s night. Given the album has only taken 14 years to make this was a massive night for the band with people clutching their signed vinyl long before the band took to the stage.

They love doing this stuff and always have ever since I first saw them all those years ago playing a charity do for my friend and playing punk and ska gigs at venues such as the Wagon and Horses and the Rainbow in Digbeth when as they admit they weren’t even old enough to get into the places they played.

For the most part they aim to play their album as it was recorded with a few variations thrown in. The atmospheric album opener ‘Intro’ gets the mood set and they follow up with trumpet lead ‘Queens Head Hunter’, ‘Messiah’ and the atmospheric reggae groove of ‘So Tired’, The loyal following are now on board but the band joke that next track a reggae/ska cover of Black Sabbaths ‘Paranoid’ was needed to really get the crowd to react. But they and we realise this has recently become somewhat of an anthem for the city. As they recognise themselves ‘It’s a Brum ting’.

Although there is a lot of banter with the audience their songs have a serious message and they always have been politically and socially aware which probably accounts for the punk link. They have informed lyrics which ‘Approprihate’, ‘Dialect Disrupt’ and ‘Workless Work Songs; with reference to zero hour contracts and minimum wage are real examples of. Their harmonies are cool too.

‘Bob and Weave’ has a cool dance vibe and some clever lyrics – this is a killer track. The drum intro brings in ‘Knowledge’ which to me is pure ska others would be proud to have written. ‘Plebxit’ is a straight dig at the MPs of the day with the trumpet making the song groove along and ‘Punk Reggae Style’ to me is what Lobster are all about they are political and mix ska, reggae, hip hop, punk and rock all rolled into one.

‘10 Year Song’ is a celebration of their journey to this album, you just have to listen to lyrics, ‘Tomorrow is the encore we might never get’ ‘sit back and enjoy the set’. This track is a classic and produces almost the perfect end of the show with the wailing lead guitar, drum riffs, killer bass, keys and trumpet and leaves the audience thinking that was the end of the show.

In the encore we are treated to a great version of the Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton’ and a crazy impromptu mash up with one of their friends joining them on stage. This was a great moment and seemed totally unrehearsed. The way they held it all together shows how good they are as a band. 

This was a triumphant night and a great celebration of years of hard work. Lobster have come a long way since those early days but have always had the ability to ab lib which looks so cool live. If I’m not mistaken there was definitely a few bars of the Cracked Actors ‘Captive’ in there somewhere.

Both bands were on top form, and this was probably the best six quid I have spent on a gig this year, there’s a joke there somewhere if you look hard enough.

I hope the next album comes around soon.

‘Year of the Lobster’ was released on November 4, 2023

Lobster are:

Will ‘Spud’ Moore – Guitar & Vocals

Charlie Moore – Bass, Vocals & Additional Guitar

Adam Boulton – Trumpet & Vocals

Alisdair MacTaggart – Lead Guitar

Nathan Lewis – Keys & Vocals

Joe Cook – Drums


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