‘WASHED OUT FESTIVAL’ – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 29.8.21
Those rather nice people at Ruinfest and The Hope & Ruin had teamed up to put on a post-covid new music festival here in Brighton. In their own words “It’s a festival with its roots firmly in the Brighton DIY community and curated by a team of passionate promoters who champion DIY artists and diversity. Art and punk culture are at the heart of everything we do, in order to bring you a unique experience in the UK’s most inclusive seaside resort. Expect an energetic and noisy celebration of the underground punk, emo, indie, hXc, alternative and experimental music scenes by the sea, showcasing some of the finest talent coming out of the underground”.
Obviously with all of the logistics and Covid cases and scares, it was decided to run this year’s festival under the title of ‘Washed Out Festival 3.5’ as it’s like half a normal festival. They were aiming at it being more of a low key affair and rather than happening across a two day period at multi-venues across town, where you have to seriously plan to watch your fave band live by legging it between The Prince Albert, The Hope & Ruin, The Green Door Store, East Street Tap, The Quadrant and The Pipeline. This year’s punters would solely be based in 11-12 Queens Road at The Hope & Ruin and simply walk up and down the stairs in order to catch the acts.
This year, the ‘Washed Out’ festival put on some of the best alternative bands in celebration of the modern punk, emo and hardcore scenes that are currently active within the UK and internationally. The event ran from 2pm to 2am (including after show party).
The lineup was forever changing and certain bands were in and out and swiftly replaced by new ones right up until a few hours before the event. So hats off to all concerned for being able to keep on the ball with this.
So the final lineup in headline order was as follows:
WIFE SWAP USA
We ourselves had important decisions to make as there was a whole plethora of music going on locally and we had to endeavour to make the best of it. We were covering the ‘Finding Joy.’ festival down at the Concorde 2 (read our report HERE) as well as the Victorious Festival along with coast near Portsmouth (report to follow), but we certainly didn’t want to miss out on witnessing a blitzkrieg set from hardcore punks Discharge over in Lewes. We concluded that we would enjoy six and a half hours at The Hope & Ruin before whizzing off to Lewes. And that’s exactly what happened! Read our Discharge gig review HERE.
Thankfully we managed to see no less than nine of the twelve acts taking part at ‘Washed Out’ and so here is a brief resume of each of the acts that we saw in performance order……….
Making Friends consists of Ryan Mansell (lead vox/guitar), Daniel Farrell (lead guitar), Bill Laken (bass/vox) and Pete Thomas (drums/vox). They are Brighton based and formed less than a year ago during lockdown and take inspiration from bands like Captain Everything, Lagwagon and Belvedere. They unleashed their aptly titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide’ 4 track EP back in May.
They kick off the fest in the downstairs bar area with 30 minutes of two minute blasts of pure skate punk. It’s 100mph from go and all they’re missing is a skate park! They are quickly becoming one of my favourite punk acts in town.
‘Washed Out Fest’ is go!
Making Friends setlist:
Uzumaki are up next and they consist of Cheung (vocals/guitar), Fletch (vocals/drums), Nick (vocals/guitar) and Andy (bass). They are currently based between Norwich and London after being Brighton residents. With a name like Uzumaki, you would think that these guys are the only band with this name! Wrong! There are at least five others around the world, ranging from Japan to the Netherlands to Australia to Norway and Mississippi in the USA.
Today at The Hope & Ruin, which is starting to fill up nicely and this particular Uzumaki are offering us (from the street level stage), a post grunge sound which nicely takes in the attributes of Nirvana, especially is true of the vocals from the frontman, Cheung. This quartet’s indie and grunge filled eight song set lasts around 30 minutes.
‘Day Of Days’
‘Scenes Of Beauty’
The third of the acts downstairs in the bar area is Jimmy Herrity and his three chums. Brighton based lofi, melancholy indie rocker Jimmy recently shared the first taste of his debut EP ‘Perfect Things’ with first single ‘Enough’, which is a colourful, energetic statement of malcontent on a journey through relentless grief during a global pandemic.
The quartet’s dreamy pop sounds accompanied with Jimmy’s high sweet mellowing voice fill ‘The Hope’ and the second number ‘IDNK’ is about having absolutely no idea what you’re going to do with your life. So I reckon that stands for ‘I Do Not Know?’.
The next song (‘Forever Young’) is about his care worker brother who lost his life when he went to doctors/social care and couldn’t get any help and shortly afterwards lost his life – a heartfelt tune.
‘The Simple Things That Made Us Who We Were Before The End’ was dedicated to all the post rock fans out there. Again another track that just pulls at the heartstrings and that builds to a crescendo. For the final number (‘I Still See You’) Jimmy minus guitar gets into the audience.
Jimmy Herrity setlist:
‘The Simple Things That Made Us Who We Were Before The End’
‘I Still See You’
We now take up residency upstairs for a few hours whilst we are entertained by a host of varying up-and-coming acts. The first of which is called All Better and they state that they “don’t know what we should put but definitely not pop-punk”. Right then, we won’t say that about them then.
This local band is a trio that consists of Nick Burdett (bass/vocals), Sam Perkins (drums) and also Chris Childs (guitar/vocals) who is also half of the H_angm_n duo with James Martin on drums.
They opened their set with their 2021 single ‘Jokers Song’ which to me can be likened to Green Day and other bands of that ilk. Their whole eight track set was delivered professionally and was consistently knocking at the door of commercial independent music. You know that with the right breaks, management and so on, All Better should go on to become more of a tour de force than they are currently. There sure is potential here!
All Better setlist:
‘Take Your Panties Off’
‘Hard & Cold’
As Monty Python used to say “And now for something completely different!”.
Following on from All Better was Lounar who is the only Palestinian hip-hop/punk rock artist that I can think of. Here is a guy who certainly has a story to tell with every single one of his sub three minute tunes. He is London born but his heart and soul belongs in Jerusalem. It’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for him being on the ‘Washed Out’ fest lineup, he would have certainly gone well under my radar! And this my friends is exactly why you should always take a punt on seeing the new as yet undiscovered artists! Roll on 2022 and The Great Escape new music festival.
For ‘Washed Out’ Lounar, who was on the mic, was accompanied by his friend DJ Truehood on the laptop, below which was draped the Palestinian flag. Clearly a young man proud of his heritage and the injustice put upon his nation and people. Lounar sang/rapped/preached/autotuned atop of his pre-recorded music as in a PA gig. Trust me, people have been doing that for decades, for instance I saw early Heaven 17 do that at Sherry’s nightclub here in Brighton in the early 1980’s.
Back to ‘The Hope’ and Lounar was playing his first ever gig outside of London and he really feels his music as he delivers it. His mind is punk, but his sound certainly isn’t what you would call punk. All the way through his set, I kept on thinking of the anthemic ‘Lonely’ by Akon, as to me, this is the nearest I have previously heard to this performance. The highlight of the thoroughly enjoyable set was his penultimate number, which was called ‘Everything Hurts’. This song has a wonderfully deep warm bass running all the way through it and I’m sure those folks downstairs would have most certainly picked up on the vibe! A must see act, end of! Deserves to be bigger than The Streets! If in doubt, play THIS EP.
‘Taafeh 3aref’ (aka ‘Taafeh Aaref’)
And now déjà vu…. “And now for something completely different!”. Hardcore punk anyone?
Next up, are a brand new Brighton based young four piece outfit called Urine Charge, who were thankfully a very late replacement to the bill. Tonight, they were playing only their second ever gig, having performed last night in Margate. The band consists of Jimmy Guvercin (vocals), Idy Mirza (guitar), Paige Oztas (bass) and Jim Ping (drums).
The first thing I noticed about this combo as they took to the stage was Idy’s glam rock guitar, which would have looked perfect on stage with the Sweet in 1973. Were Urine Charge going to cause a ‘Ballroom Blitz’ by playing a ‘Blockbuster’?
This band are noise merchants and I would expect word to get out really soon about them in the hardcore punk fraternity. Jim knocks the living daylights out of the drumset as Jimmy delivers the shouty vocals atop Paige’s rumbling bass. They rocketed through their all too brief half a dozen songs in less time than the shortest ever The Jesus And Mary Chain gig. Expect this lot to be playing at an anarchy ranch near you very soon. Talking of which, you can catch them next playing live in Brighton at the Cowley Club on London Road on 12th September with The Chisel, Stingray and Plastics. Find the details HERE.
Urine Charge setlist:
It was back downstairs to the bar area in order to watch another act that was added to the bill at the last minute. This time it was Brighton based quartet, Ünhang, with the umlaut above the ‘U’. The lineup features Gabriel (lead singer/guitar), Rich (guitar), Stu (bass/vocals) and Sadie (drums/vocals).
Although a new name in town, this loud rock and grunge crossover act have been together for two years, but because of Covid, tonight was only Ünhang’s second ever gig.
They started in familiar territory as they performed all three tunes from their self-titled May 2021 EP, which were ‘Separation’, ‘Constant Thread’ and ‘Division Ends’. They then played a trio of other numbers, which were rather loud. I, myself, wasn’t totally enamoured with their sound, but I was most definitely in a minority of maybe a handful of people just not getting it, as the rest of the punters in the bar loved them. Horses for courses.
‘Absence And Loss’
‘Paint Me Blue And Throw Me In The Sea’
It was back upstairs for one final time as we took in just two more of the five bands yet to play.
The first of these was Negative Measures, who are a Brighton based hardcore punk quartet who have been on the scene for just over 6 years. I saw them live last year at the Back Beat Bar in Hove and survived their 8 track set which took them a mere 18 minutes to complete. It’s the shortest headline set that I’ve ever seen! Back then, their lineup consisted of Jack Goring (vocals), Tommy Ashcroft (guitar), AJ (drums) and Pussyliquor’s very own Hannah Waterman (bass). However, tonight, there was no sign of Hannah, so I suspect that she has left the band.
Hot from playing their headline gig at The Pipeline on 7th August, these four guys once again rattled through their screaming vocals with crossover grunge hardcore punk metal rockers music set and the crowd dutifully moshed to their hearts content. They weren’t doing it for me this time around and I didn’t really like it that much. However, I heard someone within earshot state that “they were the worst band they have ever seen!” That was a little harsh as I can think of many worse than that. Once again, the crowd enjoyed them, but I had missed the point. That’s two in a row, oh dear!
Our final ‘Washed Out fest 3.5’ act was Wife Swap USA, who we have featured a number of times since reporting on their debut gig back on 6th December 2019. There’s always something going on with this lot when they play live and that’s what makes them exciting. If you are seeing them for the very first time, then you could arguably be slightly shocked.
The band have had a recent shuffle around and so the new sextet lineup is now focussed on Harry Saunders (vocals), Matt O’Riley (rhythm guitar/keys), Lilly Macieira Boşgelmez (from Sit Down) (bass), Jane Rivers (lead guitar) and Phoebe Lunny (keys/guitar), and Catt Jack (drums), who are both also in the outrageous Brighton trio the Lambrini Girls.
So what was so interesting about tonight’s set I hear you cry? Well, they started with a little surf warm up jam, then on their first track proper ‘Bad Day To Be A Beer’, keyboardist Phoebe suddenly took over on drums, which I had not seen her play before, which left drummer Catt to have a go on the keys.
Then during the next number ‘Sniffin’ USA’, someone in the crowd put an ice cube down singer Harry’s shorts! We had tunes about foxes, punk rock bands, virginity and masturbating (or lack of!). During these numbers there was a considerable amount of moshing going on, which rightly so had to be curtailed and so Harry did his bit, having been pointed out this by a friend of his in the crowd.
Matt the ‘Cowboy’ then was invited to do a country and western cover song on the spot by Harry. During this, the rest of the band sat on the floor and lumbered all over each other, orgy style. For their (and our) final number, ‘I Don’t Wanna Work In A Bar Anymore’, Phoebe went out into the crowd and played guitar whilst laying on the floor in her bra and panties with her legs in the air.
Wife Swap USA setlist:
‘Bad Day To Be A Beer’
‘I Love The Pub’
‘You’ve Been At The Bins’
‘I Wanna Play In A Punk Rock Band’
‘I Lost My Virginity’
‘Too Sad To W*nk’
‘Motorcycle’ (Cowboy’s cover of Colter Wall tune)
‘I Don’t Wanna Work In A Bar Anymore’
Right then, we’re off to Lewes to see Discharge now, see ya………………..
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