It would be interesting to see how many of Brighton’s venues Tigercub have graced, because it must be the majority of them by this point. Whether headline shows, as the support act, or festival performances, Tigercub have become a live staple in our great city and, for a very long time, they were Brighton’s secret. As frontman Jamie Hall puts it,”We’ve come further in nine months than we did in six years”. Now, after the release of a terrific album and EP in the last two years, they’re ready to take on the world, but not before a very special hometown Concorde 2 show, which was every bit as sweaty, terrific and euphoric as you would expect. As most of Concorde 2’s audience knew, Tigercub are an almost unbeatable live prospect, with their impressive mix of monstrous riffs and delicate vocals.
First up, though, on the terrifically put together bill by Lout Promotions, were Londoner’s Calva Louise, who stepped in at the last minute for Our Girl, who, it has to be said, left the line-up a tad weaker. Nonetheless, Calva Louise are a tirelessly tight three-piece that are clearly influenced by Dead Kennedy’s knack for an impressively rapid rhythm. However, latest single ‘Getting Closer’ combines the punky vibes with a tinge of glittery pop. For the first band on, playing to a half-empty Concorde 2, they were an impressive unit and worthy of all the plaudits they’ve received from the likes of Metro and This Feeling.
Newcastle-via-Brighton’s Sick Joy were up next. There’s a considerable mixture of power and dynamism from the drum and bass, ensembled with guitar lines that stream seamlessly from melodic to elegant. Described by the band as “Pop’s ugly sister”, there’s a clear 90s influence to the band, predominantly Nirvana. Latest single ‘Smiling Shame’ was most certainly the highlight of their set, with its infectious, irresistible chorus likely to be sung back to them in the very near future.
The last band before the hotly anticipated headliners were Glum. Another band formed in and around the excellent Brighton music scene, they are a similar band to Sick Joy. With their sounds formed around the same 90s grunge music scene, they offered scuzzy riffs, murky basslines and a dishevelled live performance. After this performance, they are sure to have gained more fans, and with a headline show at Green Door Store already lined up for next month, it’s likely to sell-out.
Then came the time for Tigercub to reach the top of the alternative music mountain. Arriving on stage earlier than suggested, no doubt to give their fans even more bang for their buck, they stormed into their set with ease. Interestingly, an early chunk of their set was dedicated to their older stuff. The likes of ‘Antiseptic’ and ‘Destroy’ proved to be fan pleasers with their addictive basslines, while Abstract Figures in the Dark opener ‘Burning Effigies’ went down a storm too.
This performance in particular showcased how much of a varied band Tigercub have become. Last year’s EP Evolve or Die took them in a new direction, and for their live show, it brought them a whole new level of depth. For example, ‘The Divided States of Us’ sounding brilliantly electronic, with awesome lighting reminiscent of a heavy EDM show. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of place on a Prodigy setlist. Throughout, the band rolled back the years with a bunch of old favourites, too. An exciting highlight came from one of their earliest and, in my opinion, still one of their best, ‘Centrefold’. This time performed with Steven from Blood Red Shoes, it was electric. With its grunge-heavy chorus and slick vocals, it was a reminder to the packed out Concorde 2 why they fell in love with Tigercub all those years ago.
Later on in the set the band slowed things down with a few gloomy singalongs. Evolve or Die track ‘It’s Only Love’ saw Hall, and the 600 strong crowd, crooning along with the chorus. Likewise, 2015 track ‘Pictures of You’ provided its trademark introductory hypnagogic, spooky off-key serenade before its emancipation of intensity. Finishing up on ‘Control’, arguably their most euphoric song, was a masterstroke. Looking around, it was a symbolic moment, with the escalation of exaltation reaching fever point by the end of the song.
It was a spectacular show and there was one moment that encapsulated the entire performance. Halfway through their set, Ben Thatcher, of Royal Blood fame, came on stage to deliver drinks to the band. Not only was Ben there (and it’s not the first time I’ve seen him at a Tigercub gig either), but members of other Brighton-based bands such as Amber Run and Strange Cages made up the crowd. It felt like everyone was behind the boys to succeed, and succeed they did. It was a special Brightonian moment for a truly fantastic band. As a band they’ve given everyone some amazing nights across this city and at Concorde 2, their hundreds of adoring fans returned the favour.