Sisteray – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 4th October 2018

Photo by Jamie MacMillan

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.

Modern Age Music have collated a fine supporting cast of Brighton talent for them, beginning with Fond Of Rudy. Compared to the fire and fury that was to come, they definitely sit at the poppier end of the spectrum – their tropical vibe reminiscent of fellow locals Fickle Friends and Island Club. Latest single ‘Imagination’ is the highlight of a set that shows plenty of promise but probably needs a couple more bangers to truly set them apart from the crowd.

Following them, Beach Riot, who look like an entirely new band due to their regular drummer Jonny Ross’ absence. A quick shuffle of the pack puts Jimmi Suza on drums, while frontman Rory O’Connor takes over on bass. You would not have known that there was an issue, such was the level of performance. ‘Serial Scruff’ is still a slamming single, the cherry on top of another enjoyably scuzzy, grungey set that continues to mark them out as ones to watch.

Fine Creatures appear next, adding an infectious sense of fun that continues to light up the night. They are instantly one of those bands that you can just tell love playing live, singer James Hall effortlessly geeing up a crowd that are surprisingly reluctant to cut loose. Playing in more of a straight-up indie-rock style, there is a good feel to them with much of their set coming from their recent Electric La La Land EP. Not the finished article yet by any stretch, but lots of potential from these ones.

Finally, Sisteray announce themselves with the suitably frenetic ‘Fast Food’, and keep that fierce pace up for the remainder of the night. There is a little bit of the classic British punk greats about them, though in truth there is more to them than just that. With tracks like ‘Gentrification’, ‘Famous For Nothing’ and ‘Algorithm Prison’ taking a look at modern life and finding it, well, rubbish, they follow in a rich heritage.

While singer Niall Rowan stalks the stage, guitarist Daniel Connolly and bassist Michael Hanrahan kick up a fierce sound around him. Behind them all, Calum Landau propels the night on (particularly on the superb ‘Rumour Mill’), the four between them bringing a real sense of urgency to a night that already has a curfew closing in fast. That curfew wins, ultimately, cutting the set short slightly – but it does not prevent Sisteray from putting on a vital and blistering performance, one that shines a glaring light on the current world.

Jamie MacMillan