PLASTICS + STERILIZATION + BODILY FLUIDS – COWLEY CLUB, BRIGHTON 30.01.20
What better way to kick off the new year than watching local punk rockers ‘Plastics’ celebrate the release of their new demo tape ‘Plastic World’ at Brighton’s legendary Cowley Club. I gave the new demo a listen online and it sounds pretty special, so was looking forward to tonight’s knees-up. Two other bands from both Brighton and London were here to support them, but before we talk bands here’s a quick lowdown on the venue itself.
The Cowley Club is a completely volunteer run D.I.Y anarchist and social centre situated in London Road (Brighton) and has been in existence since 2003. They support anarchist principles such as mutual aid, solidarity and collective responsibility as well as hosting live music nights several times a month. It’s also one of the cheapest bars in the city. The space is also used as a radical bookshop/library, community café, English classes for refugees, vegan food bank and a whole lot more. I’ve been here many times over the years and think it’s one of the city’s most important venues. I’ve seen lots of bands from other countries play here that I would struggle to see anywhere else in Brighton and not forgetting the valuable help they put into the community. Long may they continue, I say.
Unfortunately, London based band ‘Saliva’ had to cancel tonight due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s a shame because their demo sounded good to my ears. All of the support bands tonight, had names that seemed to be plucked from a medical journal, so we still had ‘Bodily Fluids’ and ‘Sterilization’ to fill out our night, so my punk rock stethoscope was primed for action.
First band on tonight were new local band, ‘Bodily Fluids’ who soon got the room pumping with their own brand of Black Sabbath-esque sludge core. Before you knew it, ‘Bodily Fluids’ were flowing all over the stage to an enthusiastic audience of head nodders. I recognised the bassist from another local band called ‘Never’ who are also worth checking out. The vocalist had heavy cavernous reverb on his microphone and because of this, I spent most of their set with my finger in my ear in a folk club fashion. A friend advised me to grab some earplugs beforehand from the bar, but I foolishly laughed in the face of deafness. Overall, a cool and heavy set from this band that certainly woke up a mid-week crowd on a cold and drizzly night.
Next up, were another new band from the big smoke called ‘Sterilization’. By this time, the room was filling up nicely with enthusiastic punks and noise worshippers. This band had a more speedier hardcore approach to their sound with a drummer that hit his drums like Thor would. Respect to the band too for handling the perpetual stage invader that was forever trying to grab the singer’s microphone in an attempt to share their dulcet tones with an unsuspecting audience. Seems like a singer turned up and forget to bring their band with them (rookie error). All in all, a good energetic set that went down really well with the audience. I celebrated the fact by banging my head on the P.A speaker.
(Diagnosis : Concussion)
Last up, were tonight’s headliners ‘Plastics’ from Brighton. The band consists of Oli Carter Hopkins (vocals), Sam Rack (drums), James Clarning (guitar) and Louis Orm (Bass). They’ve been garnering quite a reputation in the local punk scene and this was my first experience of their live onslaught.
At this time of night, the room was packed and anticipation was high. The young punks were in the frontline of the mosh pit and the older punks were ready to bring up the flanks. As soon as they launched into their first song the place erupted to the ‘Plastics’ beat. It’s tricky to describe the new Brighton punk sound but there certainly is one. (Vile Spirit, State Funeral. Gutterknife and Never, all worthy of a mention).
‘Plastics’ sound at times like 80’s New York hardcore colliding with Rudimentary Peni, which can only be a good thing in my book. Metal breakdowns with anarcho punk sensibilities maybe. The singer Oli, has great onstage charisma and the band certainly know how to deliver these short bursts of punk rock.
They played songs from their new ‘Plastic World’ demo plus a few new songs too. All of tonight’s bands had short sets and ‘Plastics’ were no exception. My friend didn’t even have time to finish his pint during their set which is unheard of in our circles. They played a blinder of a set and left the crowd shouting for more. As I was leaving the venue, crowds were queuing at the merch stand to buy their new demo tape, so mission accomplished. I look forward to catching ‘Plastics’ at a gig again soon. What better way to drown out the impending sound of Boris’ Big Ben bonging Brexit blues.
(Diagnosis: Punk Rock)
‘Plastics’ setlist reads:
‘Sitting And Stewing’
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