Safety Jacket have been on SOURCE’s radar for a while, so an album launch at a packed Rialto Theatre was hard to resist. These three school friends from Chailey and Lewes have been mucking about and playing music together for years. They properly formed Safety Jacket in late 2019; ‘Honey From The Wasp Nest’ is the resulting album.
While the songs deal with mental health and bereavement, the show and the delivery is both impassioned and infectious. First song ‘Spare Room’ sets the agenda, with its C86 indie style delivery reminiscent of the Wedding Present.
George shows that all you really need is a fender telecaster and one distortion pedal if you deliver everything with raw emotion. The rhythm section holds it all together in a deeply soulful style.
“This is as upbeat as we’re going to get,” George cries as he announces ‘Big Game’, which draws a whoop of recognition from the crowd. The clean guitar signal thrashes wildly over an epic sounding rhythm from drummer Joe Thorpe, while Harvey Cash’s falsetto harmonies carry you away.
George is clearly having fun. “It means the world to us that somebody has paid for a ticket,” he says with a massive grin. Despite this, he dedicates the set both to his recently deceased grandfather whose photo is projected onto the stage throughout the show, as well as another friend who has also been taken too soon. His speech at this point is beautiful and we’re genuinely moved to shed a tear.
The set closes with ‘Tomorrow’, which starts with George sounding like Billy Bragg, and ends with a building wave of crescendos, creating the stadium sound of Arcade Fire. Joe’s sticks fly out of his hands as he hammers home the final beats.
The crowd bay for more. The encore is a new song, and is among the best of the night. We leave happily knowing that this is more than just an album launch. This is a band with ambition who have the charm and musical capability to ensure you won’t want to take this jacket off for a long time to come.
The Rialto Theatre, Friday 12th August 2022
Words by Nick McAllister
Photo by 16 Beasley St Photography