Martha and Radiator Hospital At Exeter's Cavern

by Alice Woods

Photographed is Radiator Hospital.

Last Thursday night at Cavern had an excellent showcase of talented bands, ranging from indie to punk rock. Headlined by Radiator Hospital and Martha, it was an event which was perfect for those wanting to discover new talent, both from Exeter and further afield.

The two local support artists, Honeypot and Selfish Son, are definitely worth a mention. Honeypot sound a bit like their name implies; a languid and sweet duet, producing beautiful songs that sound like they belong on a movie soundtrack, or played as the sun goes down. Selfish Son, conversely, had a brusque, headbanging, grunge sound. Nevertheless, they managed to capture the attention as much as Honeypot, and the voices of the two singers blended well together, creating an enjoyable performance. Both artists would be worth checking out and seeing in Exeter again.

The first of the headline acts to take the stage was Radiator Hospital, an indie-punk band from Philadelphia, US. Performing songs from their last album Torch Song, the lo-fi sound of their music was perfectly executed in the intimate atmosphere of Cavern. Each song was delivered in short, sharp bursts, some songs barely reaching past the two minute park, but Radiator Hospital delivered them in rapid punches, creating an energetic atmosphere. Songs such as Cut Your Bangs were just as engaging in real life as they were on the album, perhaps even more so. Due to the brevity of the tracks, however, the set felt like it was over too soon. Furthermore, it would have been nice for RH to have had some more interaction with the crowd, though given that it was the second-last night of the tour, some fatigue is excusable in the face of how well they performed.

Next to the stage was Martha, from Durham (very close to my home town, therefore I already had a positive impression before the night even began). Indeed, the soft, North-eastern twang is sporadically noticeable in their music, giving it a somewhat nostalgic touch for me. Their set combined their self-proclaimed “DIY Punk” with hints of Bikini Kill, as well as cynical lyrics about GCSEs (1997, Passing In the Hallway), gender roles (Sleeping Beauty) and growing up. All the talk of spud guns, school hallways and exams is poignant to listen to, especially as a student on the cusp of adulthood.

Overall, if you didn’t manage to make the gig, you missed out on an excellent showcase of some incredible up-and-coming bands, but fear not, they’re all available to listen to on Bandcamp/Spotify! Each band was impressionable enough to make you want to see them again, and act as another reminder that Exeter’s music scene is thriving, and it’s always worth heading down to the Cavern to check out what’s on. Who knows, you might find a new favourite band.