Brighton is so saturated with sickeningly fantastic bands. Everyone was fucking loud. Kicking off the night were Lodge. They also only played three chords really, but for ages and ages on the same chord, they were good at it. It was sort of trancy at times, but sometimes I sort of wondered when it was going to change. Just a little. I actually thought it was super good. It reminded me of Pontiak, it was doom and they wore plaid shirts. Their nervous glances at one another deceived their confident solid sound, but the guitar slide and open tunings meant that was not reflected in their sound.
Brain Queen open up with a super demented, almost heart-wrenching tune with a quality that I have not heard before in their stuff. It reveals a sort of teetering emotive sensitive side to them which is welcome amongst the otherwise fairly raucous and jumpy scuzzy gurney sound. They were loud. By the end of the set I’ve been referencing Pavement in my head and can’t help thinking about the other Brighton band Tigercub who also have a huge frontman that headbangs a lot. The set ends with a song about “have you had enough” and the clumsy swizzle bass sound at the end is really sexy. Guitar player, Jordan takes it out on his guitar with his feet right at the end. You show ’em, dude.
Next up, Gang destroy from the off. In my opinion, out of all the bands, these are my favourite. Something about them gels very well on stage. They look like they crawled along the same grimy stretch of the hedge to get here, and they don’t apologise about it. The sound is huge, the groove is with them, and they seem to be having the most fun. The songs are decidedly sweetened by harmonies in choruses that margin that teeny grunge sound that BSM and Alchopop are sort of known for. Any thoughts you may have of them being teeny boppers however, are pretty much drowned out by their definite pubescent shouty ending where they tell us all we are “already dead!”
So Pitted turn out to be the colourful weird looking folks who have been floating around the venue all night. You know those sort of people you see wandering around sometimes that are still really colourful 90s throwback type-a-folk? Friendly, but dis-serviced looking? I really like those kind of people. They have wigs on all night and glowing light things in front of their eyes. It’s fun.
They take the stage, slightly a cut above the rest, with their own installed glittery sparkly lights. It’s very effective, small touches which make a big difference! It’s the most presented and thought out stage presence of the night, but it’s hardly try-hard. The band is made up of three people, the drummer and guitar player change over between songs all the time, and guitarist number two played a super down low, droned out fuzz sound. I like this set up, I think my attraction to it resonates from my absolute dedication to loving two Brighotn bands that use that configuration, but So Pitted don’t come from the same place at all – they’re way more demented and have way more shout / scream / disturbed vocals whereas the Brighton bands are instrumental / minimalist on the vocals.
So Pitted are primal in their angst, but it’s something that feels more frustrated than angry if you know what I mean. I guess North America has that feeling at the moment. Either way, the band have deceived me a little in what I was expecting. The album is presented as very dark, and it’s credentials are such that they remind me more of sludge bands from the 90s, but by the time they reach the stage, what I am hearing in my ears is more fun and zany, something along the lines of Primus, Butthole Surfers, Ween or whatever.
The drums are enforced with some metallic drum triggered samples, that really make things feel more industrial, but in a playful way, kind of like painting chrome on a cuddly toy. It works again to separate them in terms of their presentation techniques and pro-delivery.
They’re really cool about everything on stage, drummer 1 / guitar 2 states that “this is a song off our record, we released a video for it today and I didn’t even know about it.” After this brief interlude, he returned to the drums to continue in his Devo-esque way, playing simple reinforced, rigid, straight backed repetitive manner – something I hardly expected from the record which cuts a dark, super negative down trodden feeling in the listener, doomy and stark.
Words by Andy Halliday
Categories: What We Caught in Brighton