Transcript by Madeleine Pirages

Introducing Tigercub, an indie rock trio from Brighton, England. Consisting of Jamie Hall lead vocalist and guitarist, James Allix drums, and Jimi Wheelwright on bass. Memory Boy comes off the band’s 2017 debut album Abstract Figures in the Dark. In an interview with Circuit Sweet, the band explained the reasons behind the album. The album is a reflection of the politcal climate of England during 2016. The members of the band felt very strongly about the referendum and the way parliment chose to handle it. They agreed that when it came to political issues about the wellbeing of other humans, citizens shouldnt be left in the dark. 

Jamie Hall, front man of Tigercub, understood where he fell in the situation as a white man. He felt frsutrated he couldn’t do anything to help the Refugee crisis or the people involved. He also condemned the government for being shady with their decisions and effectively doing nothing to stop the violence against the migrants. 



The UK has always had issues with migrants coming in from other countries associated or close to the EU due to the benefits the UK offers. In 2016 tensions between migrants and white people in England came to a head and people showed their true colors.  

UK citizens were not pleased with the influx of migrants coming in illegal ways such as crossing through the channel and other stow away instances. They felt as if these migrants were imposing on them in some way. Violence broke out as well as protest and to those who werent affected felt this sense of helplessness. Parliament tried to help matters but subsequently made them worse and unable to cater to the needing parties. 

The 2016 referendum also known as Brexit happened, the UK voted to leave the EU in hopes to stop the influx of migrants coming into the country by unconventional means. The vote to leave got a majority vote and nine months later, the UK left the EU. One of the more notable reasons for Brexit was the collapse of the Middle East. The Syrian War raged through the Middle East and left many seeking refuge in the UK to get away from the violence. 

The dehunmanization of the migrants coming into the UK started soon after the conversation about Brexit happened. In an examination of the Parlimentary debates between 2015 and 2016,  it shows how the language used sort of encouraged the treatment of migrants as it invoked an ‘us and them’ mentality. Racist hate crimes happened throughout the UK. In 2016 there were a total of 62,518 total hate crimes across England and Wales, an increase of about 1,000 than the previous year. 79% of these were racial hate crimes. Around the peak of the referendum conversation racial and or religious hate crimes were up 41%. 

This isn’t the first time there have been high racial tensions in the UK. 



It’s the 70s in England and once again a surge of bigotry took hold of the nation. Fueled by the insurrection of the US government, UK government official Enoch Powell added fuel to the fire with his 1968 speech where he said “the postwar influx of immigrants from the former colonies in the West Indies, Southeast Asia, and Africa made the native English ‘strangers in their own land.” 



It infected the music scene which resulted in some harsh words about race from well known names in the rock world such as David Bowie and Eric Clapton. The most notable of these instances was David Bowie calling Hitler the “first rockstar” and that “England would benefit from a fascist leader” after he was seen in a picture doing the nazi salute next to Victoria station. 

This caused a ripple in the music scene and from that we got Rock Against Racism; A benefit concert aimed to create an experience that united fans of all races. In 1976, hundreds of punk listeners gathered on festival grounds and stood in solidarity with people of color as well as to simply just listen to some good music. 



The festival features mostly punk and reggae bands. RAR was headlined by the Clash, and featured bands like  X-Ray Spex and Steel Pulse. 

Headlined by the Clash, the newest punk band on the scene followed in the footsteps of other notable bands like the Sex Pistols who were already known for opposing the UK government openly with songs like “Anarchy in the UK” which was released directly after Queen Elizabeth the II Silver Jubilee. In interjection into politics by the punk movement was coined Punk Politics: meaning a rejection of mainstream, mass corporate mass culture ideals and values. 


As Malcom McLaren, the late manager of the Pistols once said “punk has never shied away from duking it out in mainstream politics”. Punk exists as a rejection of political idealism and RAR is just another notch in the belt of anti-establiment protest. 

The Clash took this literally with the release of the debut single “White Riot”. Upon the release of the song, Joe Strummer, front man of the Clash, made it very clear that in no way were they encouraging violence and just wanted to make a song that reflected on black people’s issues and let them know that they as white people were prepared to help them deal with it. Stepping out of the gate with such a hard hitting stance on racism was risky but ultimately paid off in the long run: This song went down in history as an anti-racism anthem and is still referenced today. 



The Clash and The Sex Pistols took a more direct approch to their musical protest than what we see in the media now but that doesnt mean it’s less impactful. Back in the 70’s there werent things like social media and all of the protests had to be direct in nature in order for movement. Now it’s alittle more complicated than that. We have such a large reach with the internet at our fingertips, we’re all more informed about the intricacies of social protest and the issues at hand about things happening all over the world. Politics are now monetized more than ever. 

Tigercub took a rather interesting stance on protest music with the release of Abstract Figures in the Dark; the whole album touched on several aspects of this new form of social unrest. It dicussed aspects such as internet trolls with songs like Serial Killer, viral videos, and other things going on in the media. 



In Memory Boy, we see a intresting take of the issues through the eyes of a bystander. An outsider who has so much compassion and anger for the situation yet all they can do is sit back and watch. This song works to define a paralyzed generation at the hands of those in charge.

The narrative of the song is told through the lyrics and delivery while the music stays driving and punchy. The music itself is alternative to its core reflecting the influences of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. The anti-establishment sentiments carry over in the song but they take a less direct approach with their retort to the government. 

This song is a response to the decisons made by parliament in the way that they’re declaring they disapprove of the political happenings as they are aware of the propaganda. Tigercub approaches the issues from a place of sadness and anger that hits hard without an in your face sound. It perfectly describes the state of the social justice movement in the eyes of the younger generation making it the perfect example of modern protest music.