Test Tube Babies ‘Banned From The Grotto in Brighton!’

Posted On 29 Dec 2019 at 11:58 am

Smelly with his belly invades the Peter And The Test Tube Babies gig (pic Pete Craven)


It’s that time of year again…The mince pies have barely had time to digest before it’s time for the Peter And The Test Tube Babies annual Christmas residency at The Prince Albert in Brighton. This great pub/venue is located under the arches and literally a stone’s throw from Brighton train station, which makes it a very viable stop off for out of towners who fancy a bit of punk rock with their Christmas roast, The Prince Albert is one of my favourite venues in Brighton and it serves a good ale too.

This was day one of the band’s two day party and it was reported that one dedicated fan from France even turned up for the gig. That’s dedication for you!

Peter And The Test Tube Babies (or Test Tubes for short!) need little or no introduction to the punk fraternity, but here is a quick lowdown for the uninitiated. They are a Brighton punk band who were originally formed by a couple of ‘Peacehaven Wild Kids’, by the name of Peter Bywaters and Derek ‘Strangefish’ Greening, in the grand old year of 1978. After completing a Peel session, their first recorded release was to be featured on the legendary ‘Vaultage 78’ compilation album, which was a showcase of local punk talent at the time. Since then, they’ve released at least 14 albums with a new one on the horizon called ‘FUCTIFANO’ on Arising Empire Records (release date 6th March).

They’ve been constantly touring the world over the years, and most notably, recently played a festival in Colombia which went down a storm. These particular gigs come hot on the heels of their annual tour of Germany which had a fancy dress theme of icons from the year 1969. More of that later…

Skurvi live at The Prince Albert, Brighton 27.12.19 (pics Sonny Tyler)

First up tonight, were local band ‘Skurvi‘ who have been performing their brand of anthemic sing-a-long punk rock since 2008. The singer, Jimmy Skurvi has been co-presenting a radio show on Radio Reverb with Del Greening for years and the band’s tunes sit very well next to Peter And The Test Tube Babies in a live scenario. I suppose they are The Test Tube Babies, babies maybe?

Their current line up is Jimmy Skurvi (vocals), Perry (guitar/backing vocals), Liam (bass/backing vocals) and Craig on the drums. I first saw them when they were nippers at The Cowley Club, playing songs like ‘Daily Hate Mail’ and since then, they’ve come on leaps and bounds. They kicked off proceedings with ‘Geezer’ and started as they meant to go on. Jimmy is a confident frontman and they soon got the crowd going with their boisterous brand of punk rock. They have their fair share of anthemic choruses and their song ‘Skinhead’ is no exception. It’s about the fact that some people of a certain age become skinheads through default and follicle evacuation. ‘Skurvi’ had certainly got the crowd fluffed at this point, for what was to come next…

Skurvi’s setlist reads:
‘Till We Die’
‘She’s Coming’
‘Skum Rises’
‘Better Way’
‘Gun Shots’
‘Never Say Die’

You can find Skurvi on Bandcamp.

Peter And The Test Tube Babies live at The Prince Albert, Brighton 27.12.19 (pics Pete Craven)

As I mentioned earlier, Peter And The Test Tube Babies have recently returned from a successful tour of Germany and a fancy dress theme has always featured in these performances. Over the years, I’ve seen them tackle themes such as Star Trek, Wizard Of Oz and Johnny Cash and the Wild West, and this year was to be icons from 1969. Del Greening (lead guitar) was dressed as Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones, Nick Abnett (bass) was a very convincing Charles Manson, Sam Fuller (drums) was the Astronaut Neil Armstrong and brace yourselves……Peter was Sharon Tate! Peter left his dress and wig in Frankfurt to be auctioned off for charity.

The church bells had now rang out at 10pm, the eggnog was flowing, and it was time for Peter And The Test Tube Babies to take the stage. They were in their plain clothes tonight, so we can only imagine what the German crowd experienced. They kicked off with the classic ‘Moped Lads’ and the crowd erupted. Before we had time to catch our breath, they launched into ‘Run Like Hell’ and ‘Jinx’ which are both firm fan favourites. ‘Never Made It’ is a personal favourite and the packed room seemed to like it too. Soon afterwards, they unleashed their new secret weapon, in the form of new upcoming single, ‘Facebook Loser’ (released in January). It’s the first time I had heard it, and it’s an instant hit that I imagine will be in their set for years to come. It’s a song about people obsessed with Facebook (as if you hadn’t guessed) and if Santa was involved in social media, it would’ve sent him straight back up his chimney.

Talking of Santa, local punk mascot ‘Smelly’ was in attendance tonight, doing his best to disrupt proceedings in his own unique way. Before you knew it, he was rallying the mosh pit troops, jumping on stage comparing beer bellies with Peter and hijacking the microphone.

Peter was on form tonight as were the band who played a very tight set. Del has always known how to pen a catchy guitar riff which never fails to get stuck in your head. Nick was rocking on the bass and Sam was at one point drumming whilst drinking (respect!) and doing the twiddly stick thing. They played ‘Maniac‘ and I even stumbled around to ‘Banned From The Pubs’. They ended with ‘Blown Out Again’ but the crowd were not going to let them leave the stage. They encored with ‘Hocus Pocus’ by 70’s rockers ‘Focus’ which is always fun to watch. Good to see their yodelling skills!

A great festive punk rock time was had by all, roll on next year….

Peter And The Test Tube Babies setlist reads:
‘Moped Lads’
‘Run Like Hell’
‘Never Made It’
‘Every Second Counts’
‘Facebook Loser’
‘My Unlucky Day’
‘In Yer Face’
‘Up Yer Bum’
‘Spirit Of Keith Moon’
‘None Of Your F*cking Business’
‘Keys To The City’
‘Keep Britain Untidy’
‘Shake My World’
‘Banned From The Pubs’
‘Blown Out Again’
‘Hocus Pocus’ (Focus cover)

Official website: www.testtubebabies.co.uk

The Test Tubes are back again tomorrow to do it all over again! Read our review by Mark Kite HERE.

Tonight’s setlists: Peter And The Test Tube Babies (left) and Skurvi (right) (pics Sonny Tyler)

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  1. Shep Reply

    Talk about puff piece

    Mates of yours?

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