Shrag first came to my attention (musically at least) last year when I saw them supporting Pains of Being Pure at Heart at the Concorde. I fell in love with them immediately – they reminded me of loads of the bands I loved in the mid nineties – Prolapse, The Delgados, Bis and Heavenly. Funny then, that support at the gig was Tender Trap – fronted by Amelia Fletcher, who also fronted Heavenly all those years ago. For most of Tender Trap’s set, Shrag lead singer Helen King stood at the front transfixed. It must be quite an honour to have one of your heroes supporting you at a gig in your hometown. Since this is the Brighton Music Blog, not the Oxford Music Blog, so I’ll skip over Tender Trap’s support and head straight onto Shrag’s set. They played a roughly equal mix of tracks from 2010’s Life! Death! Parties!, earlier tunes and songs written for their upcoming album due to be released next year on Fortuna Pop. The band don’t really aim for professional – the start was delayed by a couple of minutes while the bassist was fetched from the bar, and when a string broke on Bob Brown’s guitar, he didn’t have another spare guitar to swap with, instead having to use keyboard player Steph Goodman’s, which was “impossible to tune”. But it doesn’t matter one jot – I’d rather see a band who are funny, and intense, and who I can relate to instead. Their set was over far too quickly – one of the downsides of fast paced punky indie pop. Let’s hope they play again soon when their album comes out in the spring.