Second annual Utopia all-dayer rocks Brighton’s Green Door Store

Utopia 2019 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)


“Utopia – an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect” – That’ll be The Green Door Store in Brighton then!

The Green Door Store, must surely still really be buzzing after the conclusion of the second Utopia All-Dayer event held this Saturday 8th June.

Heavy Lungs headlining Utopia 2019 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Beers in hand we entered the concert room to be greeted by the wafting smell of incense and can report that everything ran like clockwork throughout the day, which is incredible really, as there were no less than ten bands performing in an eight hour musical fiesta from 2:25 pm in the afternoon right up until 10:25 pm in the evening.

Organising ten bands kit on and off stage with ten soundchecks can’t have been easy, but I would suggest that things were well planned and all of the acts knew exactly what they were required to do.

I felt that the day was nicely held together by the psychedelic visuals of Lewes based Innerstrings, whose specialist combination of liquid and live feed projections behind the musical acts, gave the whole event a feeling of unity right across all of the indie bands. I particularly thought that posting the band times onto the wall in between each act was a great idea.

Utopia 2019 in full swing (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

There were eight new acts this year and two returning bands from the inaugural Utopia All-Dayer last year. The running order for this year was as follows:

Heavy Lungs 21.40 – 22.25 (45 mins)

Hotel Lux 20.35 – 21.15 (45 mins)

Nancy 19.45 – 20.15 (30 mins)

Beachtape 18.55 – 19.25 (30 mins)

Skinny Milk 18.10 – 18.40 (30 mins)

John Myrtle 17.25 – 17.55 (30 mins)

Public Body 16.40 – 17.10 (30 mins)

Mystic Peach 15.55 – 16.25 (30 mins)

Rainn Byrns 15.10 – 15.40 (30 mins)

Buddha Blood 14.25 – 14.55 (30 mins)

Heavy Lungs live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Heavy Lungs: Heavy Lungs are one of an increasing number of successful bands emerging out of Bristol. Formed in 2017, they came to general notice when they bagged a support slot to fellow Bristolians, IDLES. However, Heavy Lungs are very much carving their own riotous path. Frontman Danny Nedelko takes command of the room as, with arms flailing, he stomps around the stage and through the crowd in virtually equal measures. It’s an entertaining and fierce performance with an urgency which feeds a very eager and receptive crowd. From guttural squalls and pounding drums, pummeling guitar and bass riffs and fierce vocals, Heavy Lungs produce a clever wall of sound – it’s punk with a little 80’s pop thrown in. SLB

Hotel Lux live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Hotel Lux: Hotel Lux are virtually impossible to pigeonhole into one musical genre. Their music is very much driven by frontman Lewis Duffin’s graphically visual lyrics which would happily be at home in an Irvine Welsh novel or Ken Loach film. Lyrics which provide a bleak social commentary tackling some of the more knotty issues straight on. It’s spiky and gritty old school punk attitude mixed with accessible driving rock riffs and atmospheric layers of influences from throughout the decades. Forming their own generation of British subculture they are commanding attention. SLB

Nancy live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Nancy: Nancy is the new alter-ego of long haired tash sporting man-mountain Jamie Hall of Brighton’s Tigercub fame. I’ve never seen anyone duck to get into the Green Door Store until now! He was accompanied by 4 guys on stage, however he threw everybody by bursting in from behind the crowd. The set was eclectic and fun with decent drumming and with more than a whiff of Pulp, Divine Comedy (especially on ‘Blood In My Shoe’) and Mike Flowers Pops (as in that ‘Wonderwall’ cover). ‘Teenage Fantasy’ was arguably a highlight of the set. Jamie kept saying “How you doing boys?” to his band on stage behind him as he crooned on the dancefloor with the punters. The first lively mosh of the day came as a result of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. Jamie has hit on a USP with this act and I’m pretty sure you will be hearing a lot more from Nancy! NL

Beachtape live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Beachtape: Beachtape were one of the acts that I have previously seen live, with the last time being at the sadly defunkt Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar last November when they were supporting the boisterous Aussie bands Skegss and Dumb Punts. Beachtape are the Brighton based quartet of Rory Sear, Leo Kenyon, Andy Kemp and Dan Mcauliffe. They offered a melodic slightly fuzzy style of indie rock, straddling the middle ground between hazy beach pop and anthemic guitar pop. NL

SKiNNY MiLK live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Skinny Milk: Skinny Milk (stylized as SKiNNY MiLK) are Johnny Hart (bass and vocals) and Tim Cox (drums) and they formed in Brighton in early 2016. The shirtless tattooed duo perform loud energetic psychedelic garage fuzz punk. Their raucous set was one of the highlights of the day and featured a brand new track called ‘Bones’ which is a corker of a tune and has a fast heavy repetitive beat. With their echoey mic and instruments to the max, these two borderline heavy metal kids put in tons of effort and must surely be the loudest duo in Brighton. Check them out on Bandcamp. and catch them next in Brighton on Sunday 23rd June supporting Flat Worms at The Haunt – tickets HERE. NL

John Myrtle live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

John Myrtle: John Myrtle had brought three of his mates along to perform with him and his guitar, for a more demure set as opposed to the other rocky acts. John’s has a melodic sound something in the region of The Bluebells. Whereas his tracks ‘Foggy’ and ‘Cyril The Slug’ both have a trippy Blur feel going on. ‘The World Will Keep Spinning Around’ has a serious nod to Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ and ‘Spider On The Wall’ strangely reminded me of Bobby Goldsboro. John is a pleasant fellow who will be releasing his ‘Here’s John Myrtle’ 5-track EP on 6th July – find it HERE. NL

Public Body live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Public Body: Local band Public Body only formed last year, and this was to be the first time that I had caught them live. They have been described as a crossover between post punk, math rock and indie rock. They certainly have an interesting, sometimes quirky Gang Of Four style sound with several tracks pittering out and sometimes with shouty vocal style. Their off-kilter sound would by some be referred to as possibly falling within the IDLES and Ditz bracket, but I’m personally not totally convinced. Having said that, for a new band they have certainly found their feet quickly in what is a competitive Brighton music scene. I can see whyTalking Show was chosen as their debut single. NL

Mystic Peach live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Mystic Peach: Mystic Peach are Curtis Gale, Joe Ingram and Jimi Allen. It’s fair to say that this trio are undeniably one of the most exciting bands to have come out of Southampton over the past few years. This was my third helping of Mystic Peach within three months and each performance has simply blown me away. Visually there appears to be a clash of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and Steve Coogan going on tonight. It dawned on me that the quieter vocal moments have the tension and expression of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s live version of ‘Sebastian’, except that Steve Harley doesn’t headbutt the mic several times. The trio supported today’s headliners Heavy Lungs back in January and I for one would certainly firmly place these guys in the same bracket as Bristol’s IDLES and Brighton’s Ditz. Mystic Peach’s second single ‘Across The Pond’ is a live favourite and the track embodies the band’s raucous performance and is both harsh but melodic and full of energy bursting into an intense, urgent end. If shouty filled expressive vocals delivered with angst, backed by a certain amount of noise/shoegaze is your thang, then you can do no better than checking out Mystic Peach. NL

Rainn Byrns live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Rainn Byrns: Rainn Byrns is a London based singer songwriter who grew up in Swindon and has only been making music since May last year, however he has already performed his first headline show last month in London, so he’s on the right path. Today he was performing with his relatively young live backing trio ‘The Byrnouts’, which includes Nicole, who could easily pass for Cher’s granddaughter. Rainn who at times has a warbly vocal style, draws inspiration from psych folk, baroque and has that jangly American feel about. In fact if you heard him on the radio, you would more than likely believe he is from the States. He has released his debut single ‘How Can I Get You Out of my Life’. NL

Buddha Blood live at the Green Door Store, Brighton 08.06.19 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography)

Buddha Blood: Brighton’s Buddha Blood formed in 2012 and share a passion for psychedelic fuzz and dreamy melodies, such as the Stone Roses, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Tame Impala. Their Green Door Store set at times consisted of distorted vox and guitar/bass work a la Warsaw and early Joy Division meets Velvet Underground, whereas at other times it was arguably more like Iggy Pop. They mainly ran one song into another without pausing for breath and for the finale the drummer swapped his kit for vocals and guitar duties on a mighty fine speedy final number. NL

And there you have it – Roll on Utopia 2020.

Find out more about Utopia HERE and enjoy their 2019 Spotify playlist HERE. Further information on the Green Door Store HERE. Learn more about Innerstrings HERE.

The running order

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  1. Charlie Stokes Reply

    This really was a great day of Music recommend anyone to attend in future, my highlights were Buddha Blood I must say I was blown away by them shame I couldn’t hear the vocals at times mind but that’s being picky at best. Great Article for what was a great day out. Cheers

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