It always happens right? You work a bunch, so much in fact your days off start to seem like the surface. Holding your breath buried under work, minutes feel like hours as you scrape and push towards it. But you get there, a day off. And you wake up feeling like you’ve gone twelve rounds with someone stronger and quicker than you. You’ve got the filth whatever filth disease you half remember your work colleagues were spitting into tissues and wiping on the mugs all week.
So what? Well I wanted to explain my mood as I walked through the veil of fine rain past the wet neon puddles of Brighton on a Thursday night in February. Sure I could, and from how every cell of my body was screaming for duvet, probably should have stayed home But alcohol is an anaesthetic of sorts and I once beat swine flu in couple of days with only swearing and whiskey. Besides according to a study that I have just made up it was proven that loud distorted guitar can kill most known viruses.
The Hope and Ruin is a small size venue and although the venue upstairs is relatively new it's already started to gather the psychic patina of a thousand squeals of feedback and glazed sweat. The crowd is mostly student with the occasional dad and a sound tech that pops out of the booth to check the levels when not air drumming along with the bands.
The first band, Sun Scream (FB link), is tomtom driven psychedelia with a 90’s shoegaze edge in places, which is galling as I suspect some member of the bad were probably fetuses when the fireworks went off and the millennium bug bit. Swirling summer music. There's something a little heartbreaking about summer music in the guts of winter, but when done right it can offer hope that the sun will come out again. Kept tame and together with the looping keyboards riffs Sun scream stay tight and professional which saves them from the normal indulgent psychedelic noise band nonsense.
I wasn't quite ready for the second band, St Agnes. Petrol drinking garage rock. Stomping fuzz beat fronted by a chiselled leather cowboy and a red crushed velvet switchblade siren. Blistering doom with Zeppelin swagger and Cramps rawness with the lead singer throwing herself from go-go silhouettes to poses from horror movies where satan speaks through the creepy little girl. Music carried of with toe capped boots and a black candle mass.
I would not like to follow that act on stage or into a public rest room past midnight. But if one band can its the Death Valley Girls (FB link again). B-movie surfadelia, glam organ rock with strobing drum sticks. The stage manner is charming with squeaky voice girliness belying chuck mason-esque vicious sharp lyrics and a building rock and roll sound. I love the cape wearing glam and the fishing sharp hooks. Strong sleaze keyboard leaning into the music making a big sound that managed to engaged a cold and sober Thursday crowd into a jumping mass.
Did it help? Well no, next morning I felt like id been push through a cat flap and painted with cold piss. But it was worth it. Going out is the new staying in. Push on through.