“Make bad better” goes the advice from the pre-show tannoy, followed shortly by, ”This is the room where you get better in.” Public service announcements at gigs normally get disregarded, but not tonight. Not this time. Bad Sounds, the indie-pop sensations from Bath, provided a hungry crowd with nothing but better times, and hands down one of the best live shows of the year in Brighton.
With exciting and promising support slots from Dylan Cartlidge and Indoor Pets, it was a night to shake off any of those pesky bad vibes. Cartlidge looks, sounds and feels like a very special artist indeed. Effortlessly cool, he gives the evening a funky start. A perfect opener, the crowd are ramped up from the very beginning. “Time to show yourselves some love” he cries early on, before a set that puts another layer of hype on top of an already exciting act. Keep your eyes peeled for his next visit, and show him some love.
In some respects, it’s a miracle that Indoor Pets are even here following the theft of their entire kit earlier in the tour, let alone sounding this tight, lively and victorious. Frontman Jamie Glass twists and blasts his way through a feel-good set that belies that misfortune, and whets the appetite for that soon-to-come debut album. With a smattering of cuts from that release dropped into a set already resplendent with bangers like ‘Teriyaki’ and ‘Barbiturates’, things are looking up for this addictive band. Returning in April with a headline slot at the Green Door Store, that is looking like an unmissable show already.
Most bands leave all the madness for the end of a show. Not Bad Sounds. A couple of minutes into ‘Wages’, and the confetti guns are already firing. The excitement levels are through the roof, as hit after hit from Get Better are rolled out, perfectly packaged and primed for the dancefloor. Even on the wildest night, the floor at The Haunt hasn’t flexed this much, as the crowd pogos and moshes as one. Two things stand out immediately. One, there is a fairly even gender split in the midst of the throng. Two, and more importantly, all of the macho BS that normally accompanies mosh pits has been vanquished, for one night at least.
The set freely flows, the Merrett brothers (Callum and Ewan) swapping mic duties for a cheerleading role at points, both leaning deep into the crowd to welcome the throng. The whole night feels like a celebration, as it should for a tour that has seen a string of sold out notices, showing that the crowd are not just invited to the show but, rather, made honorary band members for a night. “We haven’t done any jumpy songs yet” they smile before one track, as if the entire crowd hadn’t been bouncing like a pack of E-number powered Tiggers for the last 20 minutes. It’s impossible not to be sucked in, a night of madness that you cling onto as proof that you are really alive.
The best house party that you’ve ever been to winds on, bringing in Spice Girls cover versions, guitarists clambering up the (in)famous Haunt column, singers piggy-backing keyboardists mid-solo, balloons, more confetti guns, band members in the crowd, the entire crowd on the stage, you name it. It redefines bedlam, it redefines the live show experience, it proves a match for anything, anything, that has taken place in Brighton this year. They may aim to make bad better, but they made good amazing tonight.