In many ways, it felt right that Avalanche Party should play one of the first gigs at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar since it was announced it would be shutting down at the end of the year. Perfectly matched in almost every way, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar has been the breeding ground for lo-fi garage rock and punk sounds, and that’s exactly what Avalanche Party brought, alongside co-headliners Canshaker Pi and Brighton-based Comforts. Inside the dingy basement of the iconic venue, it was a frenetic and intense showcase of thunderous rock and roll from a bygone era.
Album anniversary shows, hey? Always there to bring one or two emotions along, either of fond reminders of a glorious past, or as a shocking realisation of “Has it really been that long?” Tonight at The Old Market, Glasvegas managed both. Ten years have passed since their eponymous Mercury-nominated debut record reached number two in the UK Album Charts, their fuzzy rock sounds and aesthetics striking a chord with indie fans who were looking for something a little darker.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s aesthetic and Brighton go hand-in-hand quite beautifully. There’s something about the San Francisco musical project led by Anton Newcombe’s brand of psychedelia that strikes a chord with Brighton. As such, every time they roll into town they cause an immense buzz and, this time, they even sold out Concorde twice over. As such, the band’s first show at Concorde 2 was a riotous affair, boasting an incredible performance from the band that was both lengthy and incredibly technical. Make no mistake, The Brian Jonestown Massacre play live as if nobody’s watching them. Incredibly insular, but an outrageously technical display, there’s not a single band in the world like The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
In 2018, Limerick trio Whenyoung have been quite the fans of Brighton. Having played here with Public Access TV back in February, as well as a terrific, packed-out show for The Great Escape at The Haunt, there’s been a lot of love for the band on the South Coast. “It’s good to be back in Brighton, we always love coming here” stated lead singer Aoife Power, “we didn’t get a chance to go for a swim this time though,” she continued. With an unfortunate clash with similar indie-pop buzz band Anteros playing at Sticky Mike’s, the room was only half full but, that aside, it’s hard to ignore the momentous propulsion the band are exhibiting. With doses of brilliantly addictive indie-pop, and Power’s heavenly vocals, Whenyoung are an absolute delight.
“We never thought we’d get to play venues like this as an unsigned band” stated Izzy Phillips on Black Honey’s momentous, celebratory homecoming show at Concorde 2. It’s funny, really, because the moment we first discovered the band – which is well over four years ago now – we knew they were destined for great things. Their Concorde 2 show, too, was arguably the best they’ve ever been. Dramatic and cinematic, with a set-list covering early singles as well as fresh album cuts, it was, without a doubt, the most euphoric show of the year. If you were in any doubt that Black Honey were the real deal, then this show, which boasted incredible lighting and a Twin Peaks-style backdrop, would convince you in a heartbeat.
Erupting onto the scene earlier this year, Mildlife’s introduction to the world of music heads in-the-know, appeared to happen overnight.
Championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson on Radio 6 Music and Worldwide FM, it wasn’t long until presenters at Brighton’s most loved underground radio station, 1BTN, had caught wind, and were ferociously playing out the tightly locked-in-grooves and ethereal tones of Melbourne’s newest exports.
12 Stone Toddler continued on their steadily upward trajectory with a sold-out show at The Haunt, Brighton, to launch third album, IDIOLALIA, released on local indie label Freshly Squeezed. They set the scene with a wonderful opening performance from Tankus The Henge singer, Jaz Deloreon. Jaz performed solo, accompanying himself on piano whilst standing askance, cutting a bit of a Buster Keaton-like figure in a three-piece check suit, as he led the crowd into a series of sing-a-longs. His set climaxed with a rendition of ‘Henge song, ‘You Can Do Anything’, sung back at him as he left the stage by the growing crowd. It takes some skill to get a room full of people singing a song many had never heard before, a feat Deloreon pulled off with ease, expertly warming the crowd and stripping them of any lingering inhibitions.
When music or cultural historians look back at 2018, what will they see? Chances are, it is the sounds of the disaffected and enraged that will resonate for the longest. Another band who sit firmly in that camp are Sisteray, who kicked off their UK headline tour with a night at The Hope & Ruin. Coming the day after the devastating Sticky Mike’s news, there could be no better time to catch the East London band to remind us that live music is the bedrock of this country’s rich music scene.
Brighton may have to wait until they support The 1975 in the new year to see them again, but indie favourites of the moment, Pale Waves, dropped in just up the South Coast and showed why they have been provoking so much love and attention recently. Bringing two other bands with plenty of buzz under their belts along for the ride, it was an evening that promised much. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
The three year gap between 2015’s Double Down and this year’s 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart (which we called “a triumphant return”) has caused a decline of sorts for Darwin Deez. Having played at Concorde 2 on the Double Down tour, they hit Komedia on their latest tour. Nevertheless, judging from the flocks of teenagers waiting outside before the doors even opened, and an exuberance for the music – both old and new – that you don’t see everywhere, Darwin Deez are still a force of nature in the indie world. With a set spanning all four of his records, but still with a focus on his most popular debut, Darwin Deez gives his fans exactly what they want.