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Best of What's Next: Let's Wrestle

April 27, 2010  |  6:00am
Best of What's Next: Let's Wrestle

Hometown: London
Album: In The Court of The Wrestling Let’s
Band Members: Darkus Bishop (drums), Wesley Patrick Gonzalez
(guitar, vocals), Mike Lightning (bass, vocals)
For Fans Of: Television Personalities, The Wedding Present, McLusky

Mike Lightning and his Let’s Wrestle bandmates might all be barely 20 years old, and they might still live with their parents, and he might do a dead-on Zach Efron impression, but no one here belongs in the squeaky-clean world of High School Musical. These North London upstarts play a scuffed-up brand of twee-punk that begs for Buzzcocks comparisons and doesn’t skimp on the ba-ba-ba’s. They sing an eponymous song that proclaims “pro wrestling is the way forward.” They surf cars on crowded Cardiff streets. And over the course of their short lives, they may have stolen a beer.

Or 288.

Whatever.

Singer/guitarist Wesley Patrick Gonzalez and bassist Lightning met as 12-year-old kids at the same North London school The Kinks once attended. Lightning wore a Kermit the Frog costume to school and Gonzalez thought, “I can dig it”; Lightning respected Gonzalez’s Sex Pistols bag and Nirvana t-shirt. They started playing music together, an early career boost coming soon after when anti-folk singer-songwriter Jeffrey Lewis asked the pre-teen project to open one of his London shows. Let’s Wrestle has since cycled through a few lineups, most recently adding Darkus Bishop on drums, but Gonzalez and Lightning’s earliest meeting still resonates; the band’s debut LP, In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s, pairs boorish sneering with earnest avowals not all that far removed from “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Princess Diana also ranks among their strange cultural touchstones, though the trio’s combined age wasn’t yet 20 when she died in 1997. The guys once found a painting of a girl that looked like a more youthful Princess of Wales, and an homage video captures the same impish glee present in most of the band’s endeavors. Find it on YouTube. They’re just kids on a bed holding a picture of a girlish, cat-cradling Lady Di lookalike, crooning a shambling, punkish tune. Nevermind your senescence, here comes Let’s Wrestle.

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