LIFE + NIGHT FLOWERS + OUR FAMILY DOG – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 11.11.19
Tonight was date 15 of 19 of their current UK tour, but to be fair to Hull based 4 piece post punk band Life, they have actually been on the road since September 23rd including a tour of Europe, to promote their critically acclaimed new album ‘Picture Of Good Health,’ which was recorded in London over a four week period and released on September 20th. It has been a regular on my playlist in anticipation of seeing them return to Brighton.
They have been busy and Mez even found time to be interviewed by Liz Kershaw on Saturday as part of the ‘Legend in your Own Lunchtime’ feature. Having recently finished work at the Warren Youth Centre after 15 years I have to say I was mightily impressed with his honesty, openness, attitude and compassion, which warmed me up nicely for tonight’s gig. You can give it a listen on iplayer from 1:07:10 HERE.
Three years and one day ago I discovered the band Life when they were supporting Slaves at De La Warr Pavilion. I reported via social media that there had been some mild moshing down the front before the madness of the circle of death during the main act’s set. That was the first and last I had heard of them until a friend suggested going to see them at The Forum Basement (Sussex Arms) in Tunbridge Wells in June 2018. I had actually forgotten that I had seen them previously, but rest assured after that gig I would not be forgetting them anytime soon, as they played one of my most memorable gigs of last year. It was like they were in my living room, as they played to an audience of 35 people and got right in amongst the crowd. I met with them afterwards and got a very personalised signed copy of their first album ‘Popular Music.’ I also spoke football with Liverpool fan Mez, but after Sunday’s rout I was not planning on revisiting that topic. Tonight they were in Brighton to entertain a sold out 200 strong audience and apart from seeing how they had blossomed musically over the past three years, I was intrigued to find out if they were still sleeping in the 2001 Mercedes ‘Tour Van’ after gigs?
Having arrived in plenty of time, it turned out that parking was at a premium and though luckily we eventually found a space very near to the venue, we then decided to take the scenic route on foot resulting in missing the opening song of the first act’s set. I had only visited The Green Door Store once previously and for the life of me I can’t remember which band I saw, so the chances of me finding the venue at the first time of asking was always going to be a tough call. A great little venue which I intend on visiting more regularly in future. We eventually arrived shortly after 8 and walked into an unusually busy room for a support act.
‘Our Family Dog’ met at Brighton University and only formed just over a year ago. The band members have come from all over, but they are based locally, which is good news for fans of the Brighton music scene. This was my first encounter with these six young men who describe themselves as post adolescent post punk and they certainly hit hard from the beginning of the second song at least, a storming ditty called ‘Layer Cake.’ What a date this was set to be!
They just about all managed to squeeze onto the stage, but you could still feel the energy from the band in spite of the restricted space, though I should imagine they would be even better on a larger stage when given the space to unleash themselves. Lead singer Billy barely stopped dancing Ian Curtis style all set, which was impressive especially as he said he was struggling with a winter cough and feeling under the weather and yet he still put on a decent performance including a cymbal headbutt. You also know the music is seriously good if a band member can carry off a pudding-basin haircut with such style. There are no weak links and the sound they produce has a serious groove to it.
They also played their new single ‘All My Friends’ which is due for release on November 22nd and is well worth a listen. A good sign is that it was difficult to choose a favourite track though I did particularly enjoy their final song ‘Bus.’ The general consensus of the audience members that I spoke with was that these boys will be going places and by the end of their set I could see why there had been such a large turnout. Catch them for free before they do at The Hope and Ruin on November 21st. You won’t be disappointed.
Our Family Dog are: Billy Marsh (lead vocals), Jake Stobbart (lead guitar), Harry Tegg (rhythm guitar), Noah Fox (bass guitar), Sean Gill (drums), and Ginge Caselton (keys).
Find out more by visiting www.instagram.com/ourfamilydogband
Next up were Indie Pop band ‘Night Flowers.’ They have been around considerably longer than both the bands on show tonight. Guitarist Greg introduced them as the soft filling in the punk sandwich and he wasn’t wrong as the pace slowed down and the mood in the room changed. They seemed a bit apprehensive about playing to an audience type they are probably not used to, apart from on this tour, and though the room was not as busy, the crowd were still appreciative.
I for one was captivated by Sophia’s dreamy vocals and the band definitely started to enjoy themselves more as they settled. Despite being very cold outside Sophia had sufficiently warmed up to perform the set barefoot, whilst Greg and Zeb were sporting more seasonal attire in the form of beanie hats, though Greg pointed out that Fred hadn’t received the dress code memo that they weren’t wearing all white tonight.
Their second album ‘Fortune Teller’ was only released on October 25th and tonight they played ‘Lotta Love,’ ‘Merry-Go-Round,’ ‘I’ve Loved You (Such A Long Time),’ and my favourite, the serene ‘Perfect Storm’ (recorded on an iPhone in a Hackney kitchen) from their most recent record. It was perfect music to which to drink my Passion Fruit Rekorderlig Swedish Premium Cider (vegan and gluten free, not that I am either but just in case anyone is interested) I was now suitably chilled out and if ever there was a calm before the storm then this was it.
Night Flowers are: Sophia (vocals & keys), Greg (guitar & backing vocals), Beal (guitar), Fred (bass guitar), and Zeb (drums).
Find out more by visiting nightflowers.co.uk
The dry ice machine was in full flow as ‘Life’ took to the stage with the room full to capacity. Mez took centre stage after the rest of the band had filled their places and got the crowd straight onside commenting “Brighton Excites Me” as an introduction to the opening song. With 9 of the 12 track set coming from the new album, it is lucky that it is such a good record, as inevitably most bands will delve into their back catalogue to satisfy the crowd. Mind you the three tracks off the first album went down a storm.
‘In Your Hands’ was for the youth as the future is in their hands, though Mez was hard pressed to see much in the way of the younger generation as he looked out into a sea of bald and greying heads only to eventually find some of the younger generation towards the back of the room. For ‘Euromillions’ Mez ventured into the crowd and sent them into raptures. Finishing off the set with the wonderful ‘Popular Music’ was always going to be the way to satisfy all and sundry, and this time Mick was off into the crowd.
There were some heartfelt moments including ‘Half Pint Fatherhood’ with an emotional Mez opening up about being a single parent, and then ‘Never Love Again’ where he thought he would never find another love, but now he has. Goosebumps all round. Mez had us eating out of his hands and I was right at the front for the duration, digesting all that was on offer. My only disappointment was that there was no encore as I wouldn’t have minded one last mosh to ‘Ba Ba Ba,’ but the crowd were satisfied with what had been a momentous gig and I have to say a latecomer in the running for my personal gig of the year. Life say that they play every gig as it is their last which makes tonight’s performance even more amazing considering their heavy schedule.
When I saw them in Tunbridge Wells last year Lydia was playing bass guitar in one of her first gig with the band and she was rather timid and took a backseat whilst the rest of the band took all the adulation. Tonight was a different beast though as Lydia took control with her expert bass playing, take a listen to ‘Bum Hour,’ and exuding so much energy and confidence, it is obvious that she is now a fully-fledged Lifer and vital component of the band.
Stew was relentless on the drums as ever and Mick made good use of various accessories on his guitar, even using his comb once he had finished combing his hair of course. They both enjoyed exchanges with the audience in between songs. Mick with the love of his black polo shirt with red piping on the pockets and collar, and Stew exchanging ‘Hullisms.’
The secret to the band has to have something to do with their compatibility. They appear to get on so well as a unit. Mez has his best friend Stew on drums, along with his brother Mick on guitar, and Lydia has blended in so well that they just seem like a happy family. The rapport with the audience is like everyone is a best friend. They won’t judge you and are happy to speak with you making you feel at ease. I even discussed the fateful football result from the day before with Mez and he didn’t even resort to gloating. Another signed album and the offer of attending the Tunbridge Wells gig on Wednesday was too much excitement for me, but it was sadly derailed when I realised that I actually have a table tennis match on the same night.
The answer to the question that is on everyone’s lips is that the tour van is off the road at present though they have hired another van. Sleeping arrangements have therefore temporarily been upgraded from a van to no frills hostel accommodation.
The next time that Life play in Brighton they will be supporting the Kaiser Chiefs on January 30th in front of 4,450 people. Grab your tickets HERE. Based on tonight’s performance, I can’t think of many other bands more deserving of being thrust into the limelight, though rather selfishly I would much rather continue to see them up close and personal but who am I to deny them success?!
‘Excites Me’, ‘Good Health’, ‘In Your Hands’, ‘Half Pint Fatherhood’, ‘Never Love Again’, ‘Grown Up’, ‘It’s A Con’, ‘Euromillions’, ‘Don’t Give Up Yet’, ‘Bum Hour’, ‘Moral Fibre’, ‘Popular Music’.
Life are: Mez (vocals), Lydia (bass), Mick (guitar), and Stew (drums).
Find out more by visiting www.lifeband.co.uk
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