What happens when you throw a TikTok superstar-turned-genre-splicing-artiste, a sex-positive trap-goth in a mask and a 19 year old guitarist channelling 90s alt greats into a sold-out, 500 capacity London venue stacked with adoring young fans? You get a gig that might just signal a sea change in the future of the alternative scene. And you certainly get a lot of talking points.
Here are five of them as we digest an evening spent with Cassyette and pals at the Camden Underworld.
This is one of the most diverse young crowds you'll see at a rock show
It's vindicating to see a room filled with young music fans so emboldened to freely express themselves. Cassyette gigs are one of the most inclusive spaces you could find in the rock scene right now - a safe space for everyone, whether it's the queer community, the sex-positive community, music outsiders or simply misfits who haven't found a family to identify with yet. And everyone is Stoked. As. Fuck. for this show.
AlienBlaze has the songs - the rest will hopefully come
Opening up tonight's show is 19 year old singer-songwriter AlienBlaze, a British guitarist packing a smorgasbord of influences that take in everything from 90s grunge and post-punk to early-00s emo. The friendly warmth with which Blaze and her band are greeted suggests they were a solid pick for this bill, and the reaction to each track aired shows that she's packing songs, too.
What she lacks in stage confidence compared to the two other acts playing tonight she certainly makes up for in potential, and with a few tours under her belt, there could be very cool things to come.
Bambie Thug is surely going to come back and headline this venue soon
Where there was polite interest and a decent smattering of fans in attendance for AlienBlaze, there are twice as many bodies and four times as many heads bopping for Bambie Thug. The hyperpop starlet swaggers out to cheers in a black ski mask and overcoat emblazoned with QUEER in huge white letters, drawing squeals as they tear it all off to reveal a white ski mask and corset combo that could have come straight off the catwalk at a Torture Garden winter ball.
Flanked by hooded backing musicians serving up deep, bassy EDM beats for Bambie to purr, croon and spit over, it all makes for an affecting aural-visual treat - and the Underworld is absolutely lapping it up. Sex positive anthem-in-waiting P.M.P. (that's Pussy. Money. Power) is an ear worm that'll burrow into your cranium for days, while the low-ebb refrain of Birthday is equal parts daft and irresistible.
By the time their half-hour set is over, it's difficult to imagine Bambie Thug not returning to headline venues of this size very, very soon.
Mayhem with @Cassyette and @Bambiethug at The Underworld 😈 pic.twitter.com/z5zX8fynPuFebruary 18, 2022
People are already obsessed with Cassyette
Seriously, it is loud in here when she walks out just after 9pm. Whatever you think of how Cassyette gravitated towards releasing her own music - and let's face it, if you're not accepting TikTok as a legitimate form of music engagement at this stage, it's time to leave the 2019 takes behind - she already has a fanbase hanging on her every move, and they are ravenous.
New song Mayhem - picked as the Hottest Record In The World by BBC Radio 1 just this week - is greeted like an old favourite, while the likes of Petrichor and last year's catchy-as-crabs, pop-rock breakout single Dear Goth are sung full-heartedly by a bouncing rabble of increasingly pumped-up devotees. And speaking of singing, the fact that Cassyette can fucking wail helps, too. All not bad going for someone who doesn't even have an album out yet.
Artists like these are proof that alternative culture is entering a new phase
Are Cassyette and Bambie Thug rock artists in the traditional sense? Not really. They are representative of a generation binging on 50 genres at once and smashing them together to see what comes out. But does this look, sound and, most importantly of all, feel like a proper rock show? Hell fucking yes, it does.
Most of the fans here tonight are no less outcasts than the bullied kids who turned up en masse to My Chemical Romance shows in the 00s, or Korn shows in the 90s, or...well, you get the picture. In a world where we seemingly need Doja Cat's cover of Hole's Celebrity Skin to prove that there is still an appetite for alternative music, it's refreshing to see that the scene's newfound life on platforms like TikTok is finally starting to spill back into real-world venues.
Alt culture is entering a new phase, and in Cassyette, that phase may have just found its figurehead.
@Cassyette was soo good and it's always a pleasure to open the pits and make sure the energy is at the max. Amazing gig with 2 great support acts @Bambiethug @alienblaze pic.twitter.com/z6bRNQnjP4February 17, 2022