Lout Promotions have really pulled off another stellar line-up with Brighton’s SNAYX playing alongside the hotly tipped Panic Shack at the Prince Albert. The excitement is palpable downstairs as SOURCE arrives nice and early for this gig which has been sold out for months. As the bike is safely attached to a fence, soundcheck can be heard thundering down the street.
In the pub, the tightly packed queue is stretching from the upstairs venue door, down the stairs and almost back out onto Trafalgar Street. Local gig regulars are all talking about how their mates couldn’t get tickets, and joking about how there were queues-to-get-on-the-queue-to-get-on-the-waiting-list to have a sniff of a chance of a resale ticket on Dice.
While technically SNAYX are supporting Panic Shack, this is their hometown so it feels like a double headline. This is almost certainly the last time either band will play a venue this small. That said, both bands are clearly having so much fun, so we may still be in luck.
Fresh off the bus from touring with Kid Kapichi, SNAYX know the drill when it comes to warming up a crowd, and the love for them is strong in the room. The drum kit is pushed so far to the back of the stage Lainey has trouble getting onto her stool. The reason for that is clear though. Natural born showmen, Ollie and Charlie like to prowl. It might not be complicated or subtle but who cares when it kicks like this?
“This one goes out to the boys in blue,” Charlie growls, as a feisty punk girl shouts “ACAB!” behind us. The track this announces is a particular high point.
Panic Shack are all in the crowd dancing. “We love you Panic Shack!” shouts Charlie before launching into a rowdy cover of Slowthai’s ‘Doorman’. The set then comes to a close with the thunderous ‘Fayx’.
Seconds later Panic Shack are ready and leap on stage, all wearing matching SNAYX t-shirts. “Ready girls?” Meg Fretwell asks with a wry smile before the band launch into ‘Baby’.
Panic Shack play whip-smart punk reminiscent of Buzzcocks and The Undertones, mixed with a healthy splash of Kim Deal and topped off with 60s girl group harmonies. The simplicity of SNAYX really accentuates the classic songwriting on display here.
By the fourth song even “I Don’t Really Like It” bassist Em Smith, who has so far stared down the audience in a fearsome posture of effortless aggressive attitude, is beginning to smile.
Meg then declares that last time they played Brighton it was “the best day of their lives so far,” before Sarah Harvey leads the charge into ‘Jiu Jits You’ and Romi Lawrence starts the band off striking comedy martial arts poses in a kind of robot dance style.
The band get more and more relaxed. Banter is flowing with the crowd. Members of the audience buy them shots of Tuaca and there are lots of jokes about cowbells. By the time we get to ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’, Ed Baker, Panic Shack’s excellent drummer, is stood up on his stool whilst still kicking out the rhythm. Everyone is dancing.
The set is brought to a close with a cover of ‘Gay Bar’ by Electric Six, and fun as it is, it actually serves to show just how good Panic Shack’s songwriting is. Their set doesn’t need a cover. It was already perfectly formed and full of songs other people will cover one day.
We stumble downstairs where the party continues. Both bands hang out with their crowd for a long time. Nothing feels forced. Everyone is just enjoying themselves. The empty bottles of Tuaca pile up.
The Prince Albert, Thursday 16th February 2023
Words by Nick McAllister
Photos by Time For Heroes