Childcare – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton – 20th October 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

Originally impressing us earlier in the year with a support slot for To Kill a King at The Hope & Ruin, Childcare finally returned to Brighton for an exciting show for Hidden Herd, along with fellow buzz bands Lazy Day and Youth Sector. It’s hard to not be impressed by all three bands, but Childcare’s wonderful fusion of neo-soul, alt-pop and indie-rock is sublime and provided Sticky Mike’s with the perfect Saturday night soundtrack. Already sounding like an exceptionally polished indie band, it won’t be long before Childcare break out of the scene in some style.

Brighton’s very own Youth Sector, fresh from their triumphant headline show at Green Door Store in aid of new single ‘Automatic’, opened proceedings with their 00s indie meets pop-punk sound. ‘Automatic’, in particular, is reminiscent of Dookie-era Green Day, while debut single ‘Dig it and Repeat’ has a touch of nu-rave about it. A varied band, but certainly one from a bygone era, it will be interesting to see which fanbase Youth Sector will go on to find.

A change of pace was had when London band Lazy Day took to the stage. Featuring gloriously gloomy vocals from lead singer Tilly Scantlebury, who originally started Lazy Day as a solo bedroom project but has since fleshed it out into a full-band project, it was an exceptionally atmospheric performance, especially inside the murky confines of Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. ‘Hiccup’ and ‘With My Mind’, in particular, are slices of lackadaisical indie-pop with enough propulsion and lyrical nuance to keep it fresh and inventive. Much like fellow London band Sorry and our very own Porridge Radio, there seems a growing scene of atmospheric and languid indie-pop. As far as Lazy Day goes, the name more than fits the music and it was an exciting and nuanced set.

Having arrived on the scene with their outstanding debut EP Made Simple last year, there’s been a buzz around the South London outfit since and this headline show, as part of a huge tour around the UK, proved to be a celebration of the band from that moment all the way up to new single ‘Man Down (King Kong Shake)’. With influences taken from all corners and genres of the industry, Childcare’s live performance is varied and incredibly unique. From ‘Man Down (King Kong Shake)’ sounding like the recent South London jazz revivalists (Tom Misch and Oscar Jerome, for example) and best song on the night ‘Film Club’, with clever lyrics citing both Disney’s Aladdin and the films of Woody Allen, you’re seemingly subjected to a different genre during each song.

Exciting, unique and with a chocolate box of musical gems, Childcare seem to be South London’s best and biggest secret right now. With a brilliant chemistry and vocal back-and-forth between lead singer Ed Cares and bassist Emma Topolski, they’re one of the most exciting bands around at the moment and, importantly, this was an opportunity to see them in an intimate location, an opportunity that, on this evidence, won’t be happening too often. This was essentially another fabulous night from Hidden Herd, with a diverse line-up featuring some of the freshest indie acts on the touring scene and, once again, featuring an incredibly cheap ticket price.

Liam McMillen