First on stage at the Hope & Ruin were Cessna Deathwish, who – plot twist – were not a heavy metal band, but in fact were a very proficient riff on the Modest Mouse kinda vibe. All inoffensive catalogue model style jumpers and beards, they wore the American scenery in their eyes. Good solid basslines to soundtrack any interstate drive underpinned Bright Eyes chords. All well and lovely, and then, out of nowhere, this guy singing suddenly remembers a full moon and lycanthropes into a howling presence. His canines exposed themselves out as he belted through some achingly tight crescendos, closing their set on a particularly throaty number that rattled the room and left me propped up on the central pillar.
We reset ourselves with whiskies downstairs and jangled ourselves to some surf rock courtesy of the generously follicled DJ before ascending again to witness the next act clamber up before us. April were five fresh eyed lads all kitted out in proper nineties clobber. Kicker boots and casualwear underneath some impressive bowl-cuts. They brought the ‘choons’ as well, sometimes veering into grittier territory, though always remembering their Roses/Charlatans theme. The drummer was ambitious in his aping of the more complex areas of Reni’s repertoire and he set the rest of them off with a good bounce. The guy on the mic was phenomenally urgent, often wringing himself silly like a football terrace reimagining of Iggy Pop, other times rollicking along to the solid grooves. But the guy that killed it for me, and this is important ‘cos it’s so rare, was the bassist. Never still, he executed a version of a funk inspired strut, sliding around on his Nike Airs and allowing his trouser front centre of attention. Tirelessly they banged through a solid set, it was refreshing to see such vibrant young lads really have it. More of that please Brighton, I’m tiring of the numerous Temples-alikes, sozzo. Mad fer it.
A hard act to follow I felt and maybe it was the flawlessness of April that meant the final act Carnivals seemed a little shy. Barely a smile was cracked, let alone anything resembling a dance, but maybe I’m missing the point. They were peddling some nice sounds though; sort of a wonky psych slant on the Surfaris. I dug it, yeah, but I couldn’t help but think that they’d made it too obvious to us. The lad on the drum stool was sporting a Growlers t-shirt and this was when it clicked into place that I’d heard all this before. Very well executed, boys, but I reckon even you’d agree that Growlers have already done you out of a job. Sozzo once more.
Nice to be reminded though, eh? Get on my train, dearest reader:
By Adam Morrison