This was the first time that I had been to a gig at the Brighton Hobgoblin since its changing of management, refurbishment and reopening in July this year. Although the beloved squat that was the downstairs bar now resembles some sort of wannabe fashionable gastro pub, gigs have now been moved upstairs to the impressive new venue room.
Clearly a lot of money has been invested into developing the venue and upstairs, with new sound equipment which only adds to the great sound and visual experiences. They have stopped micing up the amps which offers a much cleaner sound with less feedback; opting to just mic up the bass drum provides some extra meat and potatoes to a mix that used to be so muddy.
There is no stage anymore, but I felt this actually added to the intimacy a room this size can offer.
Tonight had a disappointingly low attendance at times due to the White Night Halloween festivities that were going on in town, but however meant there was a large insurgence of The Undead watching creating an interesting and exciting atmosphere.
The gig was only scheduled to run for 2 hours due to a club night that was to happen after which meant that the bands also had disappointingly short sets, but it's a Punk night right? so what does that matter anyway?
The first band of the night to play were;
After having some line up issues in the past Target Girl offer a short but sweet set taking influence from a wide variety of music acts. It almost seem unfair to pigeon hole this band by listing their perceived influences but their sound often lends to the grungey styles of bands like The Pixies and Punk acts such as The Dead Kennedy's, with a dash of Queen's of the Stone Age for all their heavy worth.
Target Girl create and impressively large sound for a 3 piece band, with some tight and well arranged songs that make the most of this line up.
Calum Anderson's vocals were delivered with an heir of cynicism as he stared through the audience members letting his music deliver the message and not the performance. The drummer Joseph Yeates albeit a small guy, is an absolute powerhouse behind the drum kit, really propelling the songs off the stage. With Syd McLay completing the line up on guitar adding an original addition to the group. Syds lead work often lends to the megalomaniac schizo styles of Larry LaLonde of Primus and Robert Fripp of King Crimson. This adds an exciting diversity to the band sounding more like genre evolution than genre overkill.
TG have a strong collection of songs that are really catchy with some odd lyrics that Calum helps bring to life.Their set went from strength to strength and with and impressive climax at the end. During their last song Calum shouted into the audience telling someone to play his bass, which alas turned out to be me. probably the most conservatively dressed member of the audience, looking more as if I was going out for dinner with my Gran than to rock a punk gig. However Syd and Jo gave it as much energy a band can give (so much that the drummer broke a stick on the last cymbal hit) whilst Calum wandered round the audience shouting into people's faces with the mic. Syd overdubbed loads of guitar loops onto his pedal and the band simply walked away whilst noise still filled the venue, which was a very dramatic and exciting way to finish a great set.
Target Girl were my band of the night for their infectiously catchy grove and style and would also be a band I would listen to in my day to day life.
Lack of Joe
Lack of Joe are one of those Punk acts that remind you what the genre was about almost 35 years ago. To those who don't know much about Punk it would be far to easy to pick apart this act, when the point of this act is the message, not the music. This four piece were technically very lax and loose on the timing front but offered energy by the bucket loads. The band in true punk style claimed at the beginning of their set that they 'we're shit' before ploughing through the remainder 20 minutes as fast and as angry as they could.
Half the band were suitably dressed as Punk as you can get, mohawks, drainpipes, bleached band t-shirt with the essential pins holding clothes together with the other 2 members covered in fake blood and corpse paint. This was fantastic to watch and at times it was easy to think we were back in 1976.
Sonically the band bare close resemblance to the Punk styles of old such as Discharge, Sex Pistols and Crass with some more modern hardcore vocal styles.
Although the band didn't interact with the audience very much, with guitar player and bass player awkwardly having their backs turned to the audience most of the time, the audience still loved it with every Zombie in the house grooving to some rootsy punk.
The set peaked when a well placed cover of the Misfits Last Caress was played, showing the bands real potential as an act, having the audience practically in the palm of their hand.
Less Than Joe are a really fun act to watch and I will be looking forward to how they progress and see their performance match the intensity of their music.
Less than Joe haven't created anything new here but if angry old school punk delivered how it should be is your thing, then you will not be disappointed.
Sak-less Jack are always a great band to catch live and definitely had the best stage performance of the night. The four piece were all dressed in undead blood splattered attire to go with the feel of the night, but unfortunately suffered from a dwindling crowd for the majority of their set, which would demoralise most less experienced acts. Personally the one thing that bothers me about gigging in Brighton is the lack of support fans and other bands often give to acts on the same bill, but alas Sak-less played to the room as if it were ten times as full.
Sak-less have a very diverse range of influences to make up their sound, and lie somewhere between Punk, Hardcore and Metal. The rhythm section of drummer Chris and bass player Gregg drives the band with their technical ability and power with vocalist Bill giving it all he can behind a mic. The energy the band give off stage is electric jumping and head banging round the place like crazed orang-utans hungry for their next hit.
Sak-less also inject a good bit of comedy into their set, with guitarist Tom singing into an invisible mic between drinking from his hip flask and can of beer.
The band had to prematurely end their set to adhere to the curfew time of the night and comically play some of the shortest songs i've heard in my life.
Sak-less were a great way to end a night of Punk mayhem and a great band to look out for in Brighton.
This night shimmered in the essence of what punk is about, direct music, store bought lager and stairway puke. It was also good to rebreak my Hobgoblin gig cherry and I am very much looking forward to what the venue has in-store for Brighton.