Sick Joy – Green Door Store, Brighton – 23rd March 2018

Photo by Ben Walker

Following the release of their debut EP, Amateurs, Sick Joy are one local Brighton band who are continuously proving that they’re next in line to make it big. Securing themselves a sell out support slot earlier in the week with Feeder’s Brixton date, the boys are back with their largest headline show yet. I promise you now, this show was a phenomenal evening of classic grunge that has more than proven why you need to have Sick Joy in your playlists.

All three supports tonight are fantastic, each bringing something different to the table. Opening is LazyBones whose ferocious delivery of such sharp lyricism and harsh beats bares a great deal of resemblance to Marmozets’ sound in the best of ways; they definitely got the ball rolling tonight and gave an incredible standard for the other bands to bounce off. CLT DRP follow and introduce an aspect of harsh distortion and brilliant pedal work to the venue. Their sound is quick, sharp and equally as fanatic as LazyBones, another brilliant Brighton talent worth keeping an eye on. Finally, Forever Cult pave the way before tonight’s headliners, bringing with them a brilliant style of upbeat fuzz which I couldn’t help relate to older Arctic Monkeys’ material, there is a great sense of realism and warmth to their sound which you can’t help but dance along to, setting the stage perfectly for Sick Joy’s set.

With the room fully packed and the lighting blacked out, Sick Joy enter and immediately unleash their ferocity through a tidal wave of aggressive poundings on their instruments. Both vocalist/guitarist Mykl Barton and bassist Danny Pitson fill the stage with a great deal of movement under some highly intense strobe lighting, whilst supplying a truly deafening noise. The crowd are already more than on board and are bouncing around, moshing into one another and unloading an equally great deal of energy upon the venue. From here the set only continues to grow in stature, bringing out some older numbers such as ‘Stars’ which only continue the room’s state of pandemonium, while demonstrating Mykl’s uniquely enticing vocal tones.

With the set fully underway, the room only continues to become more and more rowdy and, despite it being release day for the EP, you can already see most of the audience chanting along to the new tracks. It’s clear that for many, this isn’t their first Sick Joy set. Amateurs holds everything that you want from a short debut EP, and hearing the material in a live environment only makes the raw energy behind each song pop that little bit extra. You can truly see the level of work that has gone into each of these tracks and the level of intimate riff work which drives each song is executed brilliantly. Now is the perfect time to get on board with Sick Joy’s sound for anyone who hasn’t heard it before. The sheer size of tracks ‘Smiling Shame’ and ‘Senses’ are truly overwhelming and could easily be the start of an all new wave of modern grunge.

Tonight has been an undoubted success from start to finish for the Sick Joy lads, my only complaint is that their set wasn’t longer. The audience are clearly hungry for more as the crowd surfers were flying right up to the last note. It feels as though we’re being teased with the Sick Joy sound and are always left craving more, but this only suits the band’s mysterious image that little bit further. I genuinely remember the first time I came into contact with Sick Joy, playing an opening support slot at The Hope & Ruin and being instantly blown back by their sound; a year on and it’s brilliant to see them finally gaining the appreciation they deserve and being able to pack out their own shows. There is no stopping their sound and I think many would agree with me when I say that this angst-filled trio are setting themselves up to be the next big name to come out of Brighton’s shores.

Ben Walker