Disco punk duo AK/DK play blinder of a gig in Brighton

Posted On 16 Oct 2021 at 3:12 pm

Ed from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

AK/DK + ĠENN – CHALK, BRIGHTON 15.10.21

We have been looking forward to this hometown gig by Brighton’s double synth and drum duo AK/DK for quite some time now, as I again wished to be immersed in a kaleidoscopic blend of high energy synths and structural drums! I am already the proud owner of two of their albums on vinyl (2017’s ‘Patterns​/​Harmonics’ and a Dinked psychedelic splatter version of 2020’s ‘Shared Particles’) and was rather hoping to add their debut 2014 platter ‘Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’ to my collection by visiting their merch stand this evening at CHALK in Pool Valley, Brighton.

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

AK/DK consists of Ed and Gee and they are purveyors of top notch lo-fi electro-punk. During their uplifting live sets – which I have been witness to several times over the past few years – they both play synths and both play the drums – quite often at the same time! Imagine Burundi drums goes electronic and there you have it – fast, exciting, body jerking rhythms to lose yourself in. They multi-task their way through a joyful barrage of distorted drums and rhythms interwoven with simmering electronics – perfect!

Gee from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

AK/DK stream of layers of fizzing arpeggios and crushing motorik drums has earned them places on stages and at festivals all around the UK and Europe. The AK/DK sound is rather unique, but if push comes to shove, then you can expect elements similar to the likes of Underworld, Orbital, Moon Duo, Boredoms, Suicide and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

Some of the audience at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The duo took to the expansive CHALK stage this evening at 8:53pm and performed eight choice cuts culled from five of their different releases over the past decade, half of which can be found on their latest album ‘Shared Particles’.

Ed from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

It was obvious from the very first moments of their set that the backing audio visuals were the work of Lewes based Innerstings. Every time I watch a performance when Innerstrings are assisting with the vision aspect, I find it enhances the sound part too. As Mr Bowie once said “Waiting for the gift of sound and vision”. And a gift we all greatly received!

Gee from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The audience didn’t quite fill the venue, but it is quite possibly the largest AK/DK crowd I have witnessed to date. The punters were certainly up for having a fab time. The anticipation was floating through the air, which no doubt was heightened somewhat by the fact that Ed and Gee had set up shop right at the front edge of the stage with their two drum sets and electronic gubbings. They clearly wanted to involve us during their all too brief 53 minute set.

Gee from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

We were stationed at the very front and placed our beers on the actual stage. The second Gee hit his bass drum for set opener ‘Shared Particles’, the plastic containers jumped. We initially watched with fascination as they bounced sideways, but then I wasn’t going to chance any spillage and so I had to hold the drink instead. The vibrations and sound was very crisp indeed. CHALK certainly does have a great soundsystem. But I guess when you relaunch The Haunt as a more impressive venue, then the new expansive stage and lights will need the sound to boot.

Ed from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Within seconds Ed and Gee had us eating out of their hands. They are such likeable fellows! We got the uplifting Friday night vibe from the first trio of tracks, the aforementioned ‘Shared Particles’, along with oldest tune of the night, 2011’s ‘Lorem Ipsum’ from the ‘Dispatch #1’ cassette, which was followed by the unusually titled ‘Kosmiche #1’ from their latest platter. We were having a great time and I even rested my hands on a stage speaker in order to feel the music. Mind you, from that very first drumbeat from Gee, we felt the sonic waves hit us right in the chests. I turned around and my friend ‘two beers Jules’ was equally impressed. For those that are wondering, he arms himself with a beer in each hand for balance purposes whilst dancing and thus not spilling them – genius!

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Ed and Gee had built up a decent sweat and decided to slow things down momentarily for just one tune as they chilled out to ‘Casio Beguine’, which I would suggest is a rumba beat tune, which they referred to as ‘Casiotone’.

Ed from AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The anthemic sound was restored when 2014’s ‘Maxwell’s Waves’ from the ‘Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’ album was unleashed. They referred to this track as a “punk disco number as they are a punk disco band”. It’s very old skool Giorgio Moroder, when he was working with Donna Summer. You know the sound ‘I Feel Love’ and so on.

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The duo were bashing away at their drum sets and Ed was busying himself with electronic wizardry all through their set. They both share vocal duties, which I noted this evening were a little down in the mix. This was also the case with the support act as well. It might have been where we were standing or that they simply needed to be a tad more prominent. This was most evident on ‘Feeds’ (found on 2020 ‘Shared Particles’ album) as Ed’s ‘Born Slippy’ “lager lager lager” style delivery was a little lost.

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The penultimate number, ‘Battersea’, from their ‘Dispatch #3’ cassette, which saw the light of day back in 2013, reminded my girlfriend of a fairground organ. I would suggest a fairground organ on speed, if you catch my drift!

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The finale was the Sigue Sigue Sputnik-esque ‘Morphology’ from their 2017 ‘Patterns​/​Harmonics’ album. This is a classic track. In fact AK/DK have many classic tracks and a majority of these had an outing this evening, thus the duo nailed it! It was the first AK/DK live encounter by our photographer Sara and also by my girlfriend, and after the concert had concluded at 9:46pm, they were both highly elated and most certainly wanted more of the AK/DK elixir.

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

I then made my way to their merch stall and joy of joy, there was sitting there in front of my eyes a pristine vinyl copy of ‘Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’ – Mission accomplished!

AK/DK live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

AK/DK setlist:
‘Shared Particles’ (found on 2020 ‘Shared Particles’ album)
‘Lorem Ipsum’ (found on 2011 ‘Dispatch #1’ cassette)
‘Kosmiche #1’ (found on 2020 ‘Shared Particles’ album)
‘Casio Beguine’ (found on 2020 ‘Shared Particles’ album)
‘Maxwell’s Waves’ (found on 2014 ‘Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’ album)
‘Feeds’ (found on 2020 ‘Shared Particles’ album)
‘Battersea’ (found on 2013 ‘Dispatch #3’ cassette)
‘Morphology’ (found on 2017’s ‘Patterns​/​Harmonics’ album)

Some of the audience at the end of the AK/DK gig (pic Gee from AK/DK) (click pic to enlarge!)

You can check out some of our other AK/DK concert reviews below:
Patterns on 3rd March 2018.
St Paul’s Chapel, Worthing on 11th November 2017.
The Green Door Store on 24th October 2017.

For more info on AK/DK visit: www.akdk.co.uk and: www.facebook.com/akdkband

ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

The support slot this evening was taken by Brighton-based ĠENN, (which is pronounced ‘Jenn’), who did a 31 minute post punk vibed performance which began at 7:57pm, which was 12 minutes later than planned and thank God it was, as I was still parking the car when they were due on stage. I arrived literally with no time to spare and the quartet took to the CHALK stage within seconds of my arrival.

Leona Farrugia from ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

ĠENN are a trans-national, genre-blending, musical riot, ready to rock your ears and mess with your brain. Serving alternative post-punk madness with a fun twist, fresh out of their DIY framework – the quartet is formed of a Maltese trio of ladies: Leona Farrugia (lead vocals), Janelle Borg (guitar/backing vocals), Leanne Zammit (bass/backing vocals) and they are joined by British Sofia Rosa Cooper (drums/backing vocals). The band have performed across Europe and the UK and have supported the likes of Hands Off Gretel, PINS, Acid Mothers Temple, The Orielles and Honeyblood.

Leanne Zammit from ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

They draw their influences from a wide range of eras and genres, as is reflected in their 6 track 12” ‘Liminal’ EP which dropped back in March with some lovely collectible vinyl editions: Eggplant (Aubergine) purple vinyl, random pattern blue/white vinyl and red vinyl. From the opening bass ostinato of its first track ‘Feel’ (which had an outing this evening) to the hooky refrain of closer ‘Falling Out’, through rock’n’roll, psychedelia and funked-up, post-punk vibes, ‘Liminal’ is a veritable journey.

Janelle Borg from ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

As soon as ĠENN arrived on stage tonight, and the notes of their latest single ‘Catalyst’ rang out, I noticed that vocalist Leona has got a Cleopatra look going on. She has cut her hair short since I last saw them and this drew attention to her face and makeup. She offered powerful warbly wailing vocals with her modern day take on the famed Tina Turner style, which was accompanied by her almost Arabic style moves, whilst the other trio of girls rocked away behind her. She chanted passionately through ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’ as the song and their live journey unfolded.

Sofia Rosa Cooper from ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Here is a band that most certainly can play their instruments well. Their rocky DIY sound often jumps out at you and is led by rhythmic drumming from Sofia with Leanne’s sassy bass work, which is accompanied by Janelle’s plucky echoey guitar. Every note is crisp and clear, but the main vocals could have been a tad louder in all songs bar their final number, the epic ‘Like You’, which concluded at 8:28pm.

ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

ĠENN setlist:
‘Intro’/’Catalyst’
‘Just Another Sad Song’
‘Feel’
‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’
‘Be A Man’ (extended)
‘Island Blues’
‘Like You’

ĠENN live at CHALK, Brighton 15.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

If you attended this evening and enjoyed the ĠENN set, then you will be pleased to hear that they will be playing a headline gig at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton on Monday 6th December. Support on the night will come from both Cabiria who are a London based instrumental metal trio made up of Rory Padfield (guitar), Stu Harris (bass) and Kye Phillips (drums); and Currls who are part of a new wave of garage rock being spearheaded by female musicians, who first formed in 2017 with Holly on vocals and guitar, Maddy on drums and Rooney on bass guitar. You can purchase your tickets from the One Inch Badge promoters HERE.

Visit www.genntheband.com for further information.

Concert flyer

AK/DK setlist from band’s phone

ĠENN setlist

Band timings with my new purchase

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