Big Society and Bookshop Live – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – 24/3/2015


When venturing down into basements, there is often a enigmatic lure about the environment. Mythical, strange and uncanny. Either something positive, in the form of treasure, or something that is best left in horror movies. Tonight when nipping down into the realms of Sticky Mike’s basement, I was to be confronted by the start of Bookshop’s half hour set. What a set it was. After seeing many, many support bands, there was something so refreshing about seeing a band like Bookshop. Gone was the drab of excess distortion, ineligible vocals and naff clichés that often haunts the live circuit in Brighton. There was a poignant confidence in how Bookshop presented themselves. Within their first track, the line ‘take you down’ reappeared and swum around in a Mac Demarco fashion, a haunting croon over your left shoulder, a subtle, threatening reminder. There was an air of Peter Doherty, 80s indie and a perfect douse of charm, wit and a sadistically optimistic view on everything; ‘Industry Man’ seemed to remind us all that being in a good band ain’t really all that serious of a deal after all.

Next up were Big Society. The big deal. The big reason all you cats came down in the first instance. The diversity throughout the set is what sold Big Society to me as one of the best bands I have seen in this city, they shook you around with no mercy, nothing could be expected. Within ‘To Be Wanted’, there was a gushing chime of guitars, something claustrophobic and impending, something that grips you as you rattle and squirm around within it’s grasp, imagine ‘Living Is a Problem..’ era Biffy Clyro. Third song of the night was ‘Admire’, a ferocious vocal performance demonstrating the fantastic vocal range of singer: Jack. Personally my favourite song of the night, varying time changes kept you hooked as an audience member. There was a real juggernaut fuelled ending, dragging you along as if the corpse tied to the back of a robust Harley – depth, heaviness and intricacy suggested this band have a fantastic knack of writing songs which could twist and turn at any given point. Fourth up was ‘Coughing Fits’, a song that left the frontman alone for much of it. Once again, another shift in sound left us with an air of Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ – that euphoric goodness that washes over you when the outro occurs, something that juxtaposes the tenderness of the former section in such a beautiful manner. Finally, we departed ways shortly after the main reason we were there in the first place – the ‘Nowhere’ single launch. ‘Nowhere’ was the nail in the coffin of a perfect set, further demonstrating the diversity and fantastic talent of this band. What a great night. Be sure to catch this lot sometime soon, they support Demob Happy on the 24th of April at The Haunt.

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