IAMWARFACE + PORTAL23 + CORLYX + HOW TO LIVE – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 03.08.19
With all the total chaos surrounding the ‘controlling and suppression’ of the general public in Brighton yesterday, especially around Brighton railway station, I arrived at the Green Door Store, not in the best of moods, having been directed in the totally opposite direction. Time for a beer me thinks!
Anyway, my journey to the venue and even worse, journey back home (just don’t go there OK!) was majorly stressful and really need not have been. However, this pales into insignificance when you suddenly realise what had actually happened to this evenings headlining act IAMWARFACE.
So let’s set the scene. You’re a band and you are releasing a brand new album and so you decide to organise an album launch event with the assistance of Blue Door Productions and local artist Billy Chainsaw. You rehearse solidly for a few weeks until you get a really tight set of a majority of tunes from your forthcoming album. You book a town centre venue so that punters can easily get to the venue and you call on three support acts to turn the evening into an action packed event. What could possibly go wrong?
Well my friends this is what occurred. The night before the gig is due to happen, you get a fateful phone call regarding your drummer (Adam Stanley) saying that he has got an appendicitis and has been rushed into hospital. It’s late at night, you’re a key band member down and everything is set for tomorrow, what the hell do you do?
IAMWARFACE frontman Matt Warneford frantically gets on the phone and calls around for a local available drummer who can immediately adapt to their electro rock sound. After several goes, he comes up trumps and gets one. Yep that’s easier said than done. You’ve found yourself a drummer, but he hasn’t got a clue how to play any of your tunes! What on earth do you do?
You get everyone together at the Godforsaken hour (at Brighton Electric Studios on Coombe Terrace, Lewes Road, Brighton) and have a full on five hour session with the available drummer. Step forward into the limelight …one Henning Brand. Will he be able to save the day? Henning has gravitated to Brighton via Nordhorn in Germany and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and so has travelled around quite a bit, but surely this must be the latest callup that he has ever experienced?
The band all arrive at the Green Door Store with Henning in tow. It’s going to be now or never! The band members of IANWARFACE are mingling in the crowd surprisingly are appearing to be relaxed with the whole occasion. Do they know something that we don’t know? Lead vocalist Matt Warneford is busying himself greeting the faithful that have turned up. Distinctive synth player Tom Howe is sporting a cool looking bleached blond Mohican with a slip and pink leggings and the other guys Mike Smith (bass) and Lou Matthews (guitar) are a tad more conventional.
The scene is set and it’s time for them to take to the stage. Matt informs the crowd of ‘drummergate’ possibly to convey that they might be a tad rusty or just to let the punters know that they have pulled out all the stops to put this evening’s event on. I tell you what, if he hadn’t said a word, I reckon none of the eclectic crowd would have been any the wiser as Henning absolutely nailed it! Well done sir! The band posted on their Facebook page this message…..“Last night was utterly fantastic. Huge thank you to everyone who came to see us. Couldn’t have wished for a better turn out. Much love. And a massive thanks to Henning Brand, you are a hero mate.”
IAMWARFACE was formed in Brighton and London in 2016 and the name is a metaphor for singer Matt’s own style of bombastic high-energy, groove based, electro-rock – aﬀectionately branded “RockTronica” by none other than legendary DJ and Virgin Radio host Eddy Temple-Morris. They have taken the pop route but keep it dangerous with a fusion of 80’s style vocals, abstract guitars, moody layered synth riﬀs and pounding drum beats. Their inﬂuences include Depeche Mode, Gary Numan (who they have supported on a couple of occasions), Kasabian, Muse, Nero, Queens of the Stone Age, Tears For Fears, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Keys and MGMT. They would certainly go down well at Leipzig’s ‘Wave-Gotik-Treffen’ gothic rock festival.
Tonight the band unveiled Satan’s requiem in the form of eight tunes akin to Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan’s current output, with some obviously being lifted from their brand new platter ‘Year Of The Dragon’ which is set to drop next month on 6th September. Tonight’s setlist consisted of their 2016 single ‘Say My Name’, (which incidentally has picked up over 40,000 plays on Spotify and was used by Sky Sports for the opening of The Champions League), ‘Black Room’, ‘To Die For’, ‘Bleed Out’, the current single ‘Fear The Future’, their 2018 single ‘Closer’, ‘Red Queen’ and ‘Trigons’.
I understand that Matt and the guys were trying to get a moody atmosphere going, but for long periods we were without any lighting and I would go as far as to say that this was the worst lit gig that I have witnessed at this venue. At one stage Matt even asked the engineer to turn them off. Having said all of that, were we there for lighting? Errrr no, it was the music that had come for and there certainly wasn’t any faults with that whatsoever!
As I said, their debut ten track album ‘Year Of The Dragon’ will be released on September 6th 2019 and the running order is:
‘Say My Name’
‘Don’t You Love Me Anymore’
‘To Die For’
‘Fear The Future’
‘Get So High’
‘Atomic White Gold’
This is a very consistent album with no fillers whatsoever. It will appeal to every Gary Numan fan who adores Mr Webb’s recent albums. It’s got those wonderful synth sounds (especially on ‘Get So High’ and ‘Atomic White Gold’) and is heavy to boot and at times even has a middle-eastern feel to it.
This is a MUST choice for darkwave and industrial enthusiasts too. So if you enjoy the likes of Psyche, Project Pitchfork, Diary Of Dreams, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly, Clan Of Xymox and also the heavier side of Depeche Mode, then you need to check IAMWARFACE out! Their next gig in Brighton is on Sunday 17th November at the Hope & Ruin with LegPuppy, Fake Complex and Androids In The Mist (who was present at tonight’s gig in the audience) – details HERE.
There were three support acts on tonight, with the first up being How To Live, who are a multi-instrumental London duo made up of Thomas Anonymous and Rich Summers, who specialise in making rhythmic, minimal, cinematic music with a tribal edge, something along the lines of Psyche or Soft Cell. I liked the circular single-pad analog drum synthesizer which reminded me of those hexagonal ones used by Gary Numan in 1979. We, the punters, were their guinea pigs for around 25 minutes as they calmly worked their way through their passable set, with the highlight being ‘Discovery In The Woods’.
Next up were Corlyx who were certainly more to my liking. They are a photogenic male/female duo consisting of singer songwriter Caitlin Stokes and producer/guitarist Brandon Ashley. They formed in Los Angeles in 2015 and immediately set about writing music together that was inspired by their love of 90’s industrial rock/alternative and modern Electronica. These too would go down a storm at Leipzig’s ‘Wave-Gotik-Treffen’ gothic rock festival, as they have both the sounds and the image to suit.
It turns out that Brandon Ashley is also the frontman for dark rock sensation ‘The Dark’ and so must split his duties between projects. Corlyx released their first EP ‘One Of Us’ in 2016 and then moved to Berlin to work on their first full length album ‘Music 2F2’. Berlin brought so much inspiration to their music and songwriting, the grotesque landscape of the inner city allowed the duo to fully express their darker inclinations. They have now relocated back to the UK to work on their second EP ‘In2 The Skin’ which is set to drop on 16th August.
Tonight, the guitar plus synth guitar duo with their laptop entertained the punters to their brand of seductive chugging synth sounds, whilst pulling the moves to keep the photographers happy. I’m sure Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik) would approve of these guys. Although not musically, but certainly in style and manner they are akin to Lords Of Acid and Sheep On Drugs. I for one are pleased that they are currently based in Brighton.
Just prior to the IAMWARFACE set, we were treated to an ‘art performance’ from mystery act Portal23, which turned out to be tonight’s likeable promoter Billy Chainsaw who was backed by Tom Howe on keyboards. Consider this one song intro along the lines of an acid house mix with impromptu vocals including “Bang on target” and “That’s your life”. It was all very KLF if you catch my drift. Crowd loved it and set IAMWARFACE up rather nicely.
So yes indeed it was a great night out in the end, just don’t mention my journey to and from the venue, that’s all.
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