A night of ‘Hope…..And Ruin’…..in Brighton

Emily Capell live upstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)


Tonight, The Hope & Ruin on Queens Road, Brighton is a mecca for music fans of all ages. There are two contrasting events taking place. Upstairs on the first floor there were performances from Emily Capell and Joe Slater and downstairs there is Dingus Khan, Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers, and Toast.

We at the Brighton & Hove News Music Team didn’t want to miss a single second of either events, and indeed we didn’t, as we had a team of four (Sara, Cris, Josh and Nick) working in relays running up and down the stairs.

Let’s deal with events upstairs first, which was witnessed by Josh Tubb…

Emily Capell invites us to enjoy a performance of her 2019 album ‘Combat Frock’ at the intimate upstairs room of The Hope And Ruin. She tells blues inflected indie pop tales of life’s frustrations and elations. Whether she’s railing against the wrongs of the world, getting a little frisky or inventing a new dance craze, Emily will pull you around in a spin so quickly, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with dull generic boys with guitars. She is joined by pub singer Joe Slater and Katie Owen (DJ).

Joe Slater live upstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Joe Slater
First to the stage at 8:20 is Joe Slater. Hailing from Croxteth, Liverpool and at just 23, Joe Slater delivers a smooth blend of blues, rock and soul to sooth the ears of listeners. His latest EP was recorded with Rock and Roll royalty. ‘State Of The Ark’ was produced by “Kipper” known for his work with Sting and prior to that Gary Numan, and was engineered by Cameron Craig known for his work with Adele. The record was also mastered at the iconic Abbey Road Studios

He is an acoustic singer songwriter with a brilliant voice that is incredibly deep and well toned. It has a slight drunken slur to it which adds to his persona. Its moody and western as he twangs away well dressed and continuing to deliver this deep gravelly voice. It strikes me how he doesn’t sing with his thick Liverpudlian accent. His set swirls and drifts around the fairly empty space staying musically good and well rehearsed but pretty uninteresting throughout. It’s dusty and intimate but fairly boring. He sings some long hanging notes that reverberate through the air. Towards the end of his set he makes a rude comment about the band playing downstairs, which is pretty poor form for a musician. He was probably just resentful that the band ‘Toast’ was drawing a larger crowd for their first ever gig as a band, due to their more innovative and interesting sound which is more in-tune with sound and scene of the city.


Emily Capell live upstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Emily Capell
Emily Capell is a singer/songwriter from North West London with a story or ten to share. Raised on a diet of Johnny Cash, The Clash, The Smiths, Mod culture and the top 40, Emily’s approach to songwriting is eclectic. Featuring a mixture of blues, indie, pop and punk. Her musical stylings draw from a pool deep and wide and is affectionately described as sounding like the adopted daughter of Jamie T and Billy Bragg, and a distant relative of The Clash and The Libertines.

Emily has had her tracks played on stations including BBC 6Music, Radio X and BBC London. She has performed live at a multitude of venues and festivals across the country. Emily’s new album, the wonderfully titled ‘Combat Frock’ was released on the 5th of October 2019.

She takes to the stage with her band at 9:20 in her classic retro outfit and well styled iconic beehive haircut. All of the musicians outfits match adding to the retro aesthetic.

Emily Capell live upstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)

The set commences with the first song from ‘Combat Frock’ titled ‘101 Walterton Road’ which starts off the rolling and bouncy sounds from a bygone age. It’s enjoyable and cheerful as it goes through its motions. She really is a performer and seems to really enjoy being on stage, having a face that is always beaming a smile over the audience.

The performance room is fairly sparsely populated with an older crowd of fans who seem to be enjoying the music with the slight nods of their heads or taps of their feet. The sound of the venue is really well mixed with the set never sounding muddy or messy with the great instrumentation.

Another stand out track is ‘Ipso Calypso’ which takes a more calypso/ska approach to appraising the tunes of the past. It’s loud and bombastic as it bubbles full of optimism and nostalgia. On the stage there is a cardboard cutout of Joey Barton in his footie kit, the Queens Park Rangers midfielder with a reputation for violence. The cut out peers over from the edge of the stage looking over the audience. I always like it when musicians use props to jazz up their stage, as it makes the space their own and shows off a more personal flair. The drummer for the outfit is incredibly talented and practiced being constantly tight and clean and occasionally delivering some really nice fills.

Emily Capell live upstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

The track ‘I Found A Footballer To Marry Me’ is her biggest song on streaming services and it really goes down a treat with the audience. The song bubbles through how much easier and fun life could be just to marry a rich footballer instead of getting a real 9-5 job even though watching a whole game can be a bit boring. The heavy The Jam and The Clash influences continue through the set, as it continues to speak to the older generations, glossing over the problems of today by looking back with longing to yesteryear. She mentions her defining beehive hair cut again while also gushing about Paul Weller. There are always strong rounds of applause from the crowd. You can feel the louder and more aggressive sounds from downstairs through the floor which can be a little off-putting.

Towards the end of the set, there is a roll call style shout out to her musicians behind her with each having a chance to play a little flourish on their instruments. This is a really nice way of giving back to her supporting band. The bassist plays off the bassline from ‘Rappers Delight’ by The Sugar Hill Gang and the guitarist bounces through the riff to ‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon.

The set finishes on a solo guitar performance from Emily with the song ‘Ode To Uncle Moz’ but not by first exclaiming her dislike of Morrissey and his antics which is a pretty based opinion to have. The last song is really likeable and emotive as it rounds of the throwback of an evening. She finishes at 10:15 and leaves the stage to whooping applause from the audience.

Emily Capell setlist:
‘101 Walterton Road’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘No Worries’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Ipso Calypso’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘I Found A Footballer To Marry Me’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Until Monday’
‘Brixton Prison’ (found on 2013 ‘Brixton Prison’ single)
‘Pinching and Itching’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Joey’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Bombs To The Beatles’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Lunatics On De Run’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Who Killed Smiley Culture’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Bonanza’ (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)
‘Ode To Uncle Moz’ (Emily Solo) (found on 2019 ‘Combat Frock’ album)

Whilst all of the above was taking part upstairs, the riotous events were unfolding down below courtesy of Dingus Khan, Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers, and Toast.

Nick Linazasoro now takes over the reigns from Josh Tubb…

Toast live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)

The first band up this evening on ‘street level’ at The Hope & Ruin are brand new Brighton outfit called Toast. The quartet features Owen Bullock (vocals), Dan Cox (vocals/bass), Leila Deeley (guitar) and Annabel Whittle (drums). I wonder if when telling their parents their new band name whether they immediately thought of the Streetband hit single?

Many of you that are aware of the local Brighton indie band scene will recognise these names, as both Leila and Annabel are also members of LIME and also Wife Swap USA. Also Annabel ditches her drum kit for a bass as part of Swanmeat. Owen Bullock is also in Swanmeat and he ditches his Toast bass in favour of a Swanmeat drum kit. And yes you guessed it, Dan Cox is also in another band too, he’s the guitarist for Swanmeat.

The Brighton & Hove News have reviewed all of these bands in 2020 already! Click on the names to read our gig reports: LIME, Wife Swap USA, Swanmeat.

Toast live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Now back with Toast, who say that they are “The best thing since sliced bread”. Will they be using their ‘loaf’ tonight? Let’s see. They were set up in the back right hand corner of the room, but already the punters were filling the joint. There was hardly room to move, let alone to get to the bar. There was an air of heightened anticipation, especially from Harry from organisers ‘Stoked And Broke’.

Toast took to the stage for the very first time as this was their debut performance and they played five of their proposed six track set, with ‘Burning Down The House’ being dropped because of time constraints one would assume. Your eyes are immediately drawn to tall frontman Owen, as he begins to utter his lyrics for opener ‘Essex Boys’ in a partial spoken word delivery, which is akin to that previously used by such luminaries as John Lydon and Mark E. Smith. I also note Annabel’s drums and their shuffle beat. My immediate thoughts were that these guys aren’t going to be as heavy as Wife Swap USA and indeed they weren’t.

‘Essex Boys’ concluded and I was wondering whether Owen would be dropping the Lydon/Smith delivery for the following number ‘Money/Mummy’. No he didn’t. He announced to the crowd just prior to Toast performing song three, that it was “about having a very questionable w*nk!” and off they set on their humorous lyrical journey with ‘Post Orgasm Blues’. ‘Jesus Christ’ followed with the lyrics “preaching in price jets” or something similar. Their final number, ‘I’m A Celebrity’ was a sarcastically penned ditty stating “I wish I was a Kardashian married to Kanye West”. Well that would be Kim then, unless he was referring to Star Trek’s Cardassian’s?

So “The best thing since sliced bread”? I wouldn’t want to “butter” them up, so in conclusion, it’s early days, let’s wait and see.

Toast setlist reads:
‘Essex Boys’
‘Post Orgasm Blues’
‘Jesus Christ’
‘I’m A Celebrity’


Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Next up, it was the turn of reasonably new Brighton based Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers, who not surprisingly are fronted by Kim Jarvis. I suppose that beanie hatted Kim gravitated to Brighton from Bury St Edmunds, according to his Facebook profile, he states that “I am no longer perfectly content with keeping all this weird music to myself”. Thus Brighton is THE place to start a band these days, would have seemed the obvious choice.

The trio consisting of Kim, Cameron and Sam parked themselves where Toast had been before and performed a seven song set. These modern looking guys were most certainly going down well with the packed audience. They opened with ‘Bloodsucker’ and then announced that they had a song about spiders and not surprisingly according to their setlist it’s called ‘Spiders’. They often had a joint vocal thing going down which was topped with some indie bouncy beats. One of the tunes sounded not dissimilar to The Pogues and they are as yet not a very tight band. They performed a tune called ‘Lo Siento’ which means ‘I Feel It’ in English, and then for one tune a mate came onto the stage and took over guitar duty, whilst the other guy had a go on the keyboards.

Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers setlist:
‘Lo Siento’
‘Let Down’
‘5 Lil Matches’

Find Kim Jarvis on Bandcamp HERE.

Dingus Khan live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

I had not witnessed any of tonight’s bands before, although I had been tipped off that headliners Dingus Khan were going to be a bit of a riot, especially as they had three drummers. I think the word ‘bit’ was a gross underestimation, as they whipped the rammed crowd up into one massive frenzy, the likes of which I haven’t witnessed before at this exact downstairs location. God knows what the Emily Capell punters were thinking upstairs? There was no way in the world that they would not be able to feel the vibrations through the floor and the mass jollity taking place beneath them.

Dingus Khan are listed as a sextet, but tonight there were no less that eight of them, all crammed into the little corner of the room, not that all of them stayed there for the full duration of the set! Their official lineup is listed as Mick Squalor, Josh Court, Tom Armstrong, Adam Toms, Gaz Burney and Ben Ward. Tonight they were joined by Krista Lynch on bass and Nick drums. I am told that there was also a Paul on drums as well and so I’m not sure who was missing, anyway there were eight of them performing tonight. Seven of which were clad in white boiler suits and the lead singer was wearing black.

Dingus Khan live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)

They mainly hail from Manningtree near Colchester in Essex and some of the band are also in SuperGlu, whose lineup is Ben Brown (vocals/guitar), Alex Brown (lead guitar), Krista Lynch (bass) and Ben Ward (drums). They played The Hope & Ruin last October – read our review HERE.

This evening Dingus Khan performed ten tunes and are superbly summed up by one of their fans as “sounds like drunken pub karaoke shouted over a jam session from the cast of Stomp – if this is appealing to you, you probably don’t deserve ears.” They certainly have that loose collective vibe and offered up singalong (footie) chants that anyone could easily pick up on. This was the case right from the off with ‘My Number’ and continued right through their set. A typical example being for ‘Ambulance’, “phone, phone, phone me an ambulance” which was accompanied with a special dance, and more than a nod to The Fratellis ‘Chelsea Dagger’. This was only track three and already members of the audience were crowd surfing. They were seriously up for it and downstairs was buzzing.

‘Ambulance’ was followed by the four singers performing ‘Hiahawayhay’ and it got even more lively! We were informed that it was band member Josh Court’s birthday and a large blue tarpaulin sheet was thrust into the crowd to wave above their heads. SuperGlu’s Krista (the only girl in amongst seven lads) was all for abandoning her bass and post and moshing with the crowd or standing at the back on a large box. This was a massively more lively performance from her than the one I had witnessed with SuperGlu only four months ago.

Dingus Khan live downstairs at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton 27.02.20 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey Photography) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Dingus Khan previewed a new song ‘Hard Rain’ as their penultimate number and ended with ‘Made A List’ and at 10:48pm they were all done. No encore, just tons of contented and sweaty punters covered in beer and the like. If you are possibly feeling a bit down, then this band will most certainly inject some positive vibes.

Dingus Khan setlist:
‘My Number’
‘Kid At My School’
‘Bag For Life’
‘Feeling Violent’
‘My New Hat’
‘Hard Rain’
‘Made A List’

More on Dingus Khan HERE.

Emily Capell tour flyer

Dingus Khan tour flyer

Timings – upstairs (left) and downstairs (right)

Downstairs setlists – left to right: Dingus Khan, Toast, Kim Jarvis & The Bloodsuckers

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