It was the eve of the apocalypse, so we decided we would spend our last night on earth doing what we love to do best – discovering new music while everyone is tucked up tight.
Okay – so the ‘end of days’ turned out to just be some dust that Ophelia threw our way, but the search for the next band to get us enraptured remains as real as ever.
We’ve banged on about how This Feeling have helped Brighton bands break into the festival circuit; this time they came to us with the Alive Tour, featuring Sons, Blackwaters, Bang Bang Romeo and The Shimmer Band.
With the tour massively hyped on social media, we were curious to see how the bands would fare down here. For every raucous gig we report on where the frontman crowdsurfs into the sea, there is always the danger of a Brighton ‘smugger than thou’ type crowd.
No such concerns here when we walk into Sons’ set, on their second song. It’s a sensory overload – a wall of noise, sweat-inducing humidity (seriously, our camera lens steamed up instantly) and a small but already dedicated mosh of people shaking Patterns’ tiny little barriers.
Having seemingly brought half of Brighton along, it was refreshing to see the only local band of the night clearly connecting with their audience. Grunge-esque riffs cross with thudding punk ferocity, all the while frontman Lee Meldrum looks like he is absolutely loving life. New track Zealot goes down a treat, whilst Reptiles induces a singalong and crowdsurfing that is frankly great to see at 7:30 on a quiet Sunday evening.
Next up are Guilford-based four-piece Blackwaters, endorsed by none other than Carl Barat. They are fiery, fresh, doe-eyed and a bit snarly. Their tunes have a great narrative of youthful angst (a lot of their music is inspired by their own uninspiring surroundings), offset by youthful nihilism and a love to party.
Simply put, they absolutely steal the night. Lead singer Max is a fantastic frontman – if Jarvis Cocker, Joe Strummer and Ian Curtis were to have a mad bender together they would end up owning the stage like he does.
From the call to arms that is ‘Fuck Yeah’, to ‘Down’, ‘So Far Out’ and ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, what strikes us is how good the songwriting is, with big singalong choruses to blustery Libs/Fidlar-esque punk rock sound. The set finishes with guitarist David playing on top of the audience’s shoulders, virtually kissing the lighting rig with every riff played.
Sheffield based four-piece Bang Bang Romeo were up next. Described to us in the smoking area beforehand as music to soundtrack a Tarantino number (sentiments echoed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens btw), we could not shake this description throughout.
Frontwoman Anastasia Walker commands the stage; her voice and performance mesmerise at times. The music is polished and well rounded; new tune Natural Born Astronaut goes down well.
Closing the Alive Tour are headliners The Shimmer Band, one of This Feeling’s flagship bands from recent times. Striding on stage in trademark sunnies and hooded jacket, frontman Tom Newman stands with his back to stage, mic aloft, waiting while brooding synths set the tone.
‘What Is Mine’ provides a stunning opening that sets the tone for the gig – massive electro rock’n’roll with choruses that keep arms in the air throughout the set. ‘Jacknife And The Death Call’ is perhaps the set highlight, and a small but incredibly enthusiastic mosh is a testament to the strength of the tune.
Patterns, Sunday 15th October 2017
Words and photos by Ashley Laurence