A night of beautiful chaos in Brighton

Posted On 27 Jul 2021 at 8:00 am

(Left) Monakis live at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21. (Right) Wife Swap USA live at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)


Post covid lockdown and Brighton town centre has once again become a veritable hive of musical activity. It’s been far too long in coming and many regular local gig goers have certainly had withdrawal symptoms as though it was a medical condition. It has been a struggle to say the least. It’s been crucifying for Brighton’s music venues and their employees, as well as the local promoters literally having nothing to put on and thus no revenue!

The after lockdown crowd are letting their hair down with a little moshing at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)

So now we find ourselves at the other end of the spectrum, whereby there are many rescheduled concerts taking place in Brighton and new ones being added all on the same night! Our city continues to thrive as a hotbed for musical talent and as well as enticing international and well known artists here. The poor Brighton gig punter is suddenly spoilt for choice. Thus there are many concert clashes! Which ones do you decide to go to? What are the band performance times? Are you able to run between venues in order to endeavour to catch your selected artist? Will the other gig(s) that you chose not to attend be better than yours? Will the bands that you have missed make a welcome return to the city? It’s suddenly a minefield of decisions! With possibly no definitive correct answer to each one.

Punters revelling at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (pic Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pic to enlarge!)

This was our quandary at Brighton & Hove News Music Team on Friday night. There were four different concerts in the offing and decisions and sacrifice had to be made! The answer was set in place the previous night, when we attended the four punk sisters Maid Of Ace and two punk sisters Bratakus concert at the Green Door Store. We had received a much needed injection of live punk music and we wanted more! Read our report HERE.

Thus, anything this time that wasn’t punk, wasn’t going to get a look-in. Compounded with other team members being away at a music festival and some choosing not to return to concerts just yet, this meant that the celebration for Concorde 2‘s 21st birthday gig on the seafront with Carl Cox was sacrificed (see Mike Burnell/iso400.com shot below) as well as the industrial/goth music night at The Prince Albert featuring Inertia and The Danse Society.

Carl Cox DJing on Brighton Beach 23.7.21 (pic Mike Burnell/is0400.com) (click on pic to enlarge!)

This left us with the first ever ‘Garageland Brighton’ punk club event at The Pipeline and the Monakis first ever headline gig at The Rossi Bar. Hmmmmm decisions, decisions! The compromise would be to dip into both events in the hope of catching the desired bands. The set times were acquired from both sources and it was only really possible to catch two or three acts for the night, due to the walk between the venues and acts playing at the same time. The winners were the brand new lineup of Wife Swap USA making their debut at The Pipeline and Monakis making their debut headline performance at The Rossi Bar.

(Left) Wife Swap USA live at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (Right) Monakis live at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

We headed off to The Pipeline at 6 Little East Street, Brighton and outside the venue it was heaving with joyful punky types of varying ages. There clearly was a buzz about being allowed out again. This was going to be a fab night!

On The Pipeline bill were The Blue Carpet Band (40 minute set), Skinny Milk (40 minute set) who replaced the isolating Young Francis Hifi and Wife Swap USA (30 minute set)

The Blue Carpet Band live at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (pic Spike of Garageland) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Incidentally, Skinny Milk (stylized as SKiNNY MiLK) will be playing live at The Rossi Bar on 30th July -Details HERE.

Sadly, we would only have time to witness the Wife Swap USA set having already shared banter with ‘Garageland’ event organiser Spike E Valtzer and a few other punk chums.

Beers in hand, we climbed the stairs to the first floor of The Pipeline and took up residence at the very front. The new Wife Swap USA lineup entered, followed by the eager crowd. The changes in the band sees the departure of drummer Annabel and guitarist Leila who have left to focus on their other band Lime Garden, (FKA Lime) who are doing very nicely thank you at the moment. They have been replaced by Cat Jack on drums, who is also in the outrageous Brighton trio the Lambrini Girls, who we reviewed last month as part of the 1-2-3-4 Records Tour – Read the article HERE. Catch them live with God Damn and TAYNE at The Hope & Ruin on Sunday 1st August – tickets HERE. Also joining Wife Swap USA is Jane Rivers on lead guitar, who is from Brighton gloom-pop band Heirloom, who we last reviewed in March 2020 when they were supporting the wonderful Thumper at Patterns – Read our review of that night HERE.

Also in the ranks this evening, sees the temporary secondment of Lily who is in De La Chambre (who we last saw playing live at The Prince Albert in March last year with Wife Swap USA – See our comments HERE) and she is also in Sit Down, who we will be reviewing at The Prince Albert on Tuesday 3rd August.

Wife Swap USA live at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

Wife Swap USA set about entertaining the compact crowd with their eclectic eleven tune set. Lead singer Harry in just his boxers was whipping up the crowd with gay abandon as he regularly vacated the stage in preference to joining us lot. He was the master of ceremonies and whatever he said went.

Being their first ever gig together, the performance was at times understandably rough around the edges, but then that’s the WSUSA style! ‘Sniffin’ USA’ was a real rockin’ number and the lively atmosphere was curtailed after a handful of tunes in order to drop ‘The Jazz And Poetry One’, which is Harry reading poetry from his phone whilst his bandmates perform a little jazz and most of the audience sat on the floor.

Their punk rock sounds bounced back with a trio of corkers ‘I Wanna Play In A Punk Rock Band’, ‘I Lost My Virginity’ and ‘Too Sad To W*nk’, prior to unloading arguably their finest moment in ‘Lipstick’.

Wife Swap USA live at The Pipeline 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

Although The Pipeline ceiling is rather low, both Harry and drummer Cat both went crowd surfing during their loud set. Phoebe in her bra and undone black trousers was waving her keyboard around and clearly not wanting to be outshined. Cowboy Matt was a little restrained as were Lily and Jane, but all the kidz were having fun! The audience was not restrained! They were having a ball, having been locked up indoors for 16 months!

The set ended with ‘I Don’t Wanna Work In A Bar Anymore’, which saw Matt and Phoebe exchange instruments and that was it! A highly enjoyable set as everyone else that was there will confirm. Nice one!

How to address the Wife Swap USA band members:
Harry – he / him
Matty – he / him
Lily – she / her
Jane – she / her
Phoebe – she / her
Catt – they / them

Wife Swap USA setlist:
‘Bad Day To Be A Beer’
‘Sniffin’ USA’
‘I Love The Pub’
‘You’ve Been At The Bins’
‘The Jazz And Poetry One’
‘I Wanna Play In A Punk Rock Band’
‘I Lost My Virginity’
‘Too Sad To W*nk’
‘I Don’t Wanna Work In A Bar Anymore’


Phew that was mental! Now for some fresh air on our walk up to The Rossi Bar on Queens Road.

On The Rossi Bar bill tonight were Monakis (40 minute set), SNAYX (30 minute set), Muff (30 minute set).

Sadly, we all had missed openers Muff, but all was not lost, as they will be appearing with Gnarlah and Knife Bride for a free entry gig at the Green Door Store on 11th August. So fingers crossed that we can catch them there!

Next on The Rossi Bar bill were SNAYX. Our photographer Cris Watkins blitzed ahead and caught about half of their energetic set. They will be returning to The Rossi Bar on 21st August – Details HERE. We did, however, grab their set at The Prince Albert on 5th June – Read our review HERE.

SNAYX live at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

We finally arrived at The Rossi Bar and on entry spied local Brighton duo Adam and Smalan aka Fruity Water enjoying some bevvies. We joined them for some much needed liquid refreshment. They are an understated outfit and refer to themselves as “Just a couple of lads making some dreamy electro-pop”. Keep your eyes peeled as they will be playing live in Brighton pretty soon.

It was now time to head on downstairs to witness Brighton’s own new punk rock darlings ‘Monakis‘ perform a loud and raucous 12 song set.

Monakis live at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

Monakis are James Porter (bass/vox), Aaron Butler (guitar/vox) and Joe Mctaggart (drums). They squeezed onto the compact Rossi Bar stage and then BANG! They hit us with their debut single release ‘Animosity’ which was dropped on 4th December 2019. Shortly after the release, the Brighton & Hove News Music Team were fortunate to catch them perform live on their fourth ever gig. This was on 8th February 2020 and at the same venue and we were totally hooked!

As usual, the vocal duties were shared by Aaron and James and the noise made by just three guys is quite astounding. There was excellent use of the Cry Baby foot pedal for the guitar on offer this sweaty evening. This brash young fun band played with much bravado and the crowd were having it large! This is exactly the sound that folks are looking out for at the moment – a modern take on punk. Following in the footsteps of bands like IDLES and Fontaines D.C, Thumper and DITZ. As we reported way back in February 2020 “This band is a must! No two ways about it!”.

Monakis live at The Rossi Bar 23.7.21 (pics Cris Watkins Photography/PunkInFocus) (click on pics to enlarge!)

The show was thankfully not socially distanced and sonically they were here to deliver an action packed show and deliver they do! Although they have dropped ‘Hot Mess’, from when we last saw them, there were a few new numbers, as well as a trio of recent singles on offer, namely ‘Fake News’ (released 17th July 2020), ‘Usual Suspects’ (released 4th June 2021) and ‘DripTease’ (released 21st May 2021).

Their next single was for me their highlight, that being ‘Rich’, a slogan loaded diatribe and future crowd favourite. Luckily for me it was played again as their impromptu encore track as the crowd wouldn’t let them finish. I did notice a slight musical detour during the set which headed off into grunge metal a la Nirvana et al, which I didn’t favour as much as the younger punters present, but having said that, with their intense almost tribal rhythms, hook-laden guitar and short sharp shout-along choruses, Monakis are going to be an essential part of the local punk scene in 2021 and beyond. Check them out on Spotify HERE.

Monakis setlist:
‘Radio Is Dead’
‘Fake News’
‘Usual Suspects’
‘White Rabbit’
‘Long Live’


Monakis gig flyer

Monakis setlist (a previous setlist is listed on the reverse)

‘Garageland Brighton ‘gig flyer

Wife Swap USA setlist

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