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.
One of Brighton’s newest bands opened the night. Comforts, who are promising their debut single will be “out soon”, provided a solid display of early 00s rock and roll. Evoking the likes of The White Stripes and Kings of Leon, in particular, they’re an impressive outfit with lead singer Samuel Dembowicz’s brilliant lead vocals coming as the highlight. Confident, and in front of arguably the biggest crowd of the whole evening, Comforts certainly look like a band to keep an eye on.
Next up, playing as main support this time on a tour that switches headliners, were Amsterdam’s Canshaker Pi. A band that played The Great Escape this year, and have toured with Brighton’s FUR, their sound is one that comes across as distinctly Brighton. A sound steeped in a post-punk, the likes of ‘Indie Academy’, ‘JALS’, and ‘Pressure From Above’, evoke post-punk heroes such as Pavement, Television and Interpol. However, there’s more of a mainstream element to the band’s catalogue, with catchy choruses and jangly guitars in abundance. ‘JALS’, in particular, includes an incredibly captivating rhythm section with joyous: “Oh, oh, oh’s” throughout.
The band, boasting two new members, were surprisingly tight and looked to be loving being up on the stage. Boasting vocals coming from two different directions, there’s an intense chemistry to the band. A highlight came when brand-new guitarist, Nick, started playing his guitar with a glass beer bottle. Oddly satisfying, and a sound that’s both iconic and modern, Canshaker Pi were incredibly impressive.
Unfortunately, the crowd had filtered a little by the time headliners Avalanche Party made their way to the stage. Nevertheless, the band didn’t let that stop them putting on an absolute clinic. Acting as if they were playing Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage, the amount of energy the band brought was incredibly impressive. Constantly moving throughout, and forever joining the crowd for an intense mosh, Jordan Bell and Jared Thorpe on vocals and guitar were forces to be reckoned with. At one point completely getting rid of the barrier, it was a set that looked like it could, and at times did, go in directions you were never expecting.
Constantly causing an absolute racket, Avalanche Party revel in making raucous, maniacal rock and roll. However, new single ‘Million Dollar Man’ allowed the band to show their more dramatic side. With a vocal opening of: “Please allow me to introduce myself” with a haunting, slightly mesmerising rhythm section, it sounds more like Kasabian than their usual punky endeavours. Ending their set over the barrier and with the crowd, Avalanche Party provided a wild and fierce headline set that should certainly have been seen by more people.