‘Live Is Alive!’ part 2 – Brighton Dome rocks!

Posted On 25 Oct 2020 at 5:31 pm

Wife Swap USA celebrating being able to play live again (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)


It’s a miserably dull and wet Saturday night here on the South Coast, but 288 fortunate concert-goers couldn’t care one hoot about that as they entered the Brighton Dome Concert Hall.

Yes folks there’s more live music on offer again this week, under the banner of ‘Live Is Alive!’ which is aimed at supporting and protecting Brighton and Hove’s vibrant music scene and local venues. Tonight is the second instalment of four consecutive Saturday night happenings. Missed last week’s review then read our report HERE. This evening there were certainly no big tour busses outside the venue as we are talking up-and-coming homegrown talent here. It was the turn of a night of dramatic grunge punk from Brighton’s indie underground scene.

Melita Dennett at the Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)

This week’s ‘host with the most’ is well known and respected radio broadcaster and freelancer Melita Dennett. Like myself, Melita always has an ear to the ground for brand new emerging local music talent. Her ‘BBC Introducing the South’ programme on BBC Radio Sussex and BBC Surrey always features new music by unsigned acts right across the region and is broadcast live Saturday’s 8pm to 9pm. Melita also produces and presents her own weekly live show ‘Thursday Live in Brighton’ on the terrific RadioReverb community radio station. Her show highlights the arts in Brighton and Hove and promotes cultural and community events, often with live studio guests and location reports. Tune in live 5pm to 6pm every Thursday, or catch the repeats at 10pm Thursday and 9am Friday.

Melita Dennett at the Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Mike Burnell) (click on pic to enlarge)

This evening, it was her enviable job to instruct and engage with the public for the two hour event. Suffice to say she delivered with aplomb. She ‘bigged up’ (namechecked and thanked) all of the venues that had worked in collaboration in order to bring us this evening’s proceedings. Once again this week, The Dome staff were most courteous and helpful.

Wife Swap USA live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)

The evening began in some mighty fine form from Brighton’s top notch nouveau punk sextet Wife Swap USA. Harry (vocals), Kim (bass), Leila (lead guitar), Matt (rhythm guitar), Phoebe (keys) and Annabel (drums) were being presented by The Hope & Ruin, and were the ideal band to get the crowd going.

I have followed this vibrant carefree outfit right from day one, when I was fortunate to have witnessed their debut concert on 6th December last year. I just had the feeling that they were going to be an enthralling prospect and so I actually left my colleague at the Brighton Centre that night to cover the headliners (Squeeze), whilst I legged it up West Street and Queens Road to catch ‘Wife Swap’ at The Hope & Ruin. Read my review HERE.

Harry from Wife Swap USA live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Mike Burnell) (click on pic to enlarge)

Harry and his chums are a very likeable bunch, but would they be able to pull it off this evening at the socially distanced event? Pre-lockdown there would be a sizable moshpit from the crowd and Harry would often be paraded around the venues (in just his shorts) by the punters above their heads. Clearly this wasn’t an option at the moment, but it seems according to the people I know that attended this evening, that the proximity rules and the like did not detract from their energy fuelled performance. The sets are 20 minute showcases and ‘Wife Swap’ rattled through no less than 11 tracks. I doubt whether anyone will beat that on the third and fourth ‘Live Is Alive!’ bashes.

Tonight, charismatic frontman Harry, with his sense of humour, got the crowd to crouch down and slump in their chairs and to bounce up again on command. This was a pleasant interaction. He discarded his t-shirt (with homemade wording) and was bare chested as normal. Keyboardist Phoebe and guitarist cowboy Matt also disrobed, so it was business as normal for the band. Matt even had his usual solo ‘Cowboy’s Hokie Pokie’ guest slot, which this time around was ‘Does Your Mother Know’ by ABBA as they had won the Eurovision Song Contest on the same stage 46 years earlier, although that was with ‘Waterloo’.

If you like punk, you will love Wife Swap USA. If you like bands with the humour of Amyl & The Sniffers, Peter And The Test Tube Babies and The Chats, you will love Wife Swap USA. I’m so looking forward to their debut single release in the near distant future!

Their setlist was:
‘Bad Day To Be A Beer’
‘Sniffin’ USA’
‘I Love The Pub’
‘Tuaca On A Stick’
‘I Don’t Wanna Work In A Bar Anymore’
‘I Wanna Play In A Punk Rock Band’
‘Cowboy’s Hokie Pokie’ (namely ‘Does Your Mother Know’ by ABBA)
‘I Lost My Virginity’
‘Too Sad To W*nk’

Find out more about Wife Swap USA HERE.

Lambrini Girls live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)

Next up were the Lambrini Girls who were presented by The Prince Albert. I was fortunate to have caught ‘The Brinis’ performing a storming set back in February at The Rossi Bar on Queens Road, so I had an idea of the mayhem that would ensue.

On entering The Dome stage tonight, it was noted that there was a 25% deficiency in ‘Brini’ numbers since I last saw them. Vocalist Flora Kimberley was no longer in the outfit. This meant that the shy and retiring (sic) Phoebe Lunny has stepped up to the mic. She was still on guitar duties and so there would be no loss of overall sound. Phoebe had just come off stage with Wife Swap USA and was having her second bash of the night. Could she get any more outrageous? Errrr hello, is The Pope Catholic?

Completing ‘The Brinis’ trio is Fox Foxington Fox (bass/backing vocals) and Catt Dampier (drums).

They obviously acquired their name from the light and fruity perry that has been manufactured in Liverpool since 1994 by Halewood International. But are they ‘light and fruity’? Let’s just say that they wouldn’t pass the Trade Descriptions Act – light and fruity my arse! Raw modern garage punk being the order of the day!

Phoebe from Lambrini Girls live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Mike Burnell) (click on pic to enlarge)

For this performance Phoebe had borrowed a pair of trousers from someone, but had accidentally split them at the rear, which she joyfully showed everyone just prior to their banging set. Worry not dear reader, as the trousers and her top didn’t last long as Phoebe performed most of the set in her bra and panties. She’s that kinda gal! Not content with that, she announced that her mum was in the audience and then announced that she was gay. Yep, it was one of those memorable sets! In fact at the end, Melita took to the stage and quoted their performance as a “Big beautiful gay mess”.

I have previously likened ‘The Brinis’ to Pussyliquor, but now that they are a trio, The Slits would certainly fit the bill. Phoebe’s rapid guitar playing and shouty vocals certainly fit the mould and Catt’s relentless drumming holds it all together in a nice compact bundle. They are an exciting, vibrant, loud, ‘lesbian’ band who are demanding to be heard. Expect these three scrappy girls to drop their forthcoming single next month.

Their setlist was:
‘Help Me I’m Gay’
‘Sex Toy’
‘Lady Boner’

Learn more HERE.

DITZ live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)

The next act to hit the stage was the wonderful DITZ who were presented by The Hope & Ruin.

As far as I can recall, I first saw DITZ performing live on 19th September 2018, when they were supporting the tremendous Sextile up at The Hope & Ruin. Clearly there was something in the air that night. However it was just a month later (on 21st October) that I was well and truly bitten by the DITZ bug. They were performing at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar (RIP) in support of The Coathangers, and boy they were brilliant. I was right at the front and recall singer Cal slapping me around the face with a long latex glove. Clearly knocked some sense into me!

DITZ shows are always an event and since their reorganisation, they have gone from strength to strength. No wonder IDLES frontman Joe Talbot has said DITZ are his favourite Brighton band. DITZ do sound like IDLES, so if you are a fan of Bristol’s finest quintet, then you will also be a fan of Brighton’s finest quintet!

DITZ comprises Cal (vocals and new style haircut), Anton (guitar), Caleb (bass), Sam (drums) and former drummer Jack (guitar).

Cal from DITZ live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Mike Burnell) (click on pic to enlarge)

This evening they took to the Brighton Dome stage in their usual no nonsense fashion and launched into their half dozen post-hardcore and noise rock set. Half of which was interestingly enough brand new material. I can report there certainly is no drop in music quality with the new compositions. Which incidentally all three newbies are still as yet unnamed.

I’m sure those fans watching live via the global stream (courtesy of the Latest Music Bar), were just as captivated as us lucky 288 in the building. The session was building up to their usual pedal effects-a-go-go message distortion on the final number ‘No Thanks I’m Full’. I always enjoy this track live, but tonight the hairs on my arms stood to attention during track fourRole Model. Thus becoming the best track of the night for me.

DITZ were so clearly at home on the larger stage this evening and really deserve to play venues of this size in the future – They belong here! I would say, ‘words out’ on this lot and they are most certainly building an avid following as they flourish.

Their setlist was:
“New One 1” (as yet unnamed!)
“New One 2” (as yet unnamed!)
‘Role Model’
“New One 3” (as yet unnamed!)
‘No Thanks I’m Full’

Jump aboard with DITZ HERE.

LibraLibra live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Jamie MacMillan/Brighton Dome) (click on pic to enlarge)

Final act of the night was LibraLibra who were presented by Komedia.

The quartet are Joe Caple (drums), Daniel Martell (guitar), Guy Jones (bass and keys) and Beth Cannon (vox).

We last reported on a live performance by LibraLibra at The Great Escape launch party last year on Brighton seafront on 8th May. Prior to that, we had first encountered the dramatic delivery style of vocalist Beth when she appeared with former Cocteau Twins and Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde’s Lost Horizon outfit, up at the Rialto Theatre on 18th November 2017 and again at the Komedia on 17th September 2018. For the latter appearance we observed “By now it was becoming apparent that Lost Horizons were a fluid musical collective as for song three, which was ‘Give Your Heart Away’, Beth Cannon took over vocal duties. It’s fair to say that Beth feels the music through her body and gesticulates with her hands as she feels it and then her voice simply explodes with energy. Boy does she have a powerful voice and she held vocal duties more than the other singers”.

Beth from LibraLibra live at Brighton Dome 24.10.20 (pic Mike Burnell) (click on pic to enlarge)

So this evening we knew that for the final handful of numbers, we would be in for an amazing vocal delivery from the lady in the trademark silver sparkly outfit. As we had observed in our previous LibraLibra gig report “….you certainly don’t forget a voice as unique or powerful as hers!”.

LibraLibra are more funky than the previous three bands tonight and delivered some bouncy beats with a hint of glam rock. But not so much ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ as ‘Solid Silver Easy Action’. Was that a sax I heard on opener ‘Woman’? Very Glitter Band.

Their first four tunes were arguably similar in style, but it was when Beth decided to sit down on stage and the guys switched from guitar and bass to keyboards, that their pièce de résistance (and final number), took us to new heights. The composition being ‘Listerine’ which saw the light of day in August as the closing track on their six tuneHail Mary EP. This is their ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the style of Kate Bush masterpiece. It was a tune that deserved to be No.1 in the Singles Chart. Christ what a way to end the night. No wonder they went last.

Their setlist was:
‘Lonely Girl’
‘Fancy Car’
‘Juicy Lucy’

Find out more about LibraLibra HERE.

I had wondered why the bands had been selected to perform in this running order, as I would have more than likely swapped a few around. They may have simply chosen lots? But I have to say that by the end of the night, it appeared to have worked out just fine! There were, once again, no bouncers, no crowd barrier, no moshing, but no matter! Well done to all concerned including staff and the bands. Roll on next week!

  1. Helen Peel Reply

    Excellent review as ever, Nick! Can’t believe we didn’t see each other at the 1st 2 LiveIsAlives – maybe next week! These nights have been amazing. Totally agree with you re Listerine -it had me in tears!Helen

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for your interest in our review Helen.

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