TOP LEFT CLUB + OHMNS + HUMAN INVENTION – THE CELLAR BAR, THE BRUNSWICK, HOVE 23.10.21
Amazingly, tonight was my first ever gig at this location and I didn’t really know what to expect from this busy pub and grassroots music venue, which was built in the 1930’s. The Brunswick is a striking charismatic building with traditional curved bays, turret roofs and brass crittall style windows. Much of the original panelling (the same as used in the Orient Express) has been rescued and restored throughout the building. They have two areas which can cater for music, the main 130 capacity street level wing and the below ground Cellar Bar. Being a raucous night of punk rock, we were confined to the hidden Cellar Bar.
Drinks purchased from the main street-level bar, we skirted past the toilets and carefully made our way down the steps into the bowels of hell to the compact Cellar Bar, which as you would expect is a cellar with a small bar.
First up this evening are HUMAN INVENTION who are a Brighton based post punk hardcore noise outfit, consisting of Andrew Burton (guitar and vocals), Matt Powers (bass and vocals), Mat Brannagan (guitar) and Danny Barnes (drums). The quartet formed last year and tonight was their fourth ever gig.
These nearing middle-aged gents set up their shop at 8:27pm and blasted the punters with their brand of noise, which was as you would expect a fair old decibels due to the nature of their chosen style as well as the tomb-like room. The longer their set went on, the more compact the room became and as a result, the better they got.
The vocal duties were shared between guitarist Andrew and bassist Matt. I did at times think that Matt’s tones were a tad similar to The Cure’s Robert Smith, but the music was most certainly different. They blasted through their seven song set, which included an as yet unnamed composition midset. They ended their set with an instrumental number titled ‘Wasteland’ and after 29 minutes, at 8:56pm they were done.
Human Invention setlist:
‘Old no. 1’
‘Frankie And Cator’
Find them on Instagram.
On the concert publicity prior to this evening, the headline act was billed as OHMNS, but they were next to hit the stage instead of performing last.
In their native city of Liverpool, OHMNS have helped form part of a feral but fertile mini-scene of kraut-infused garage punk through their explosive, raucous and at times completely unhinged live performances. It appears that they have also put together a garage punk fanzine featuring other bands on the scene, which is rather admirable. Check out the fanzine HERE.
Tonight was OHMNS very first time in Brighton & Hove for this male quartet and they opened up their account at 9:20pm and performed eleven selected numbers for the busy cellar bar room. The outfit features Quinlan aka ‘Brisket’ (vocals/guitar), lead guitarist Kendall aka ‘Dadhug’, bassist Ali aka ’Krazz’ and drummer Kingy aka ‘Mumkiss’. I believe that their nicknames are a cryptic set of bowling references.
Their raucous garage rock set began with ‘Nightmare Trail’ which saw the disturbing shouty style vocal prowess of bassist Ali. Thankfully, the following number ‘Dece Bece Crece’ saw guitarist Quinlan take over on the mic, but his was initially a tad quiet compared with the instruments. However this problem was shortly rectified by the sound engineer at the back of the room.
To be honest, the quirky rhythms emanating from OHMNS were extremely average on some songs and much better in others. There’s a vintage punk to shouty punk vibe going down with this lot and they had saved their best numbers until the end. The best being final number ‘Lights Out’ and following a close second was the penultimate number ‘Tito Puente’. They finished battering our ears after 31 minutes and started packing away at 9:51pm. Time for another beer after that!
If you want to know what they sound like, including their latest single ‘Tommy Knockers’, then head on over to their Bandcamp page HERE.
‘Dece Bece Crece’
‘Wrong Way Home’
‘Paul Is Sure’
‘Pummelled With Punches’
‘View From Here’
‘My Boy Was There’
By default, tonight’s headline act had become the wonderful Brighton based TOP LEFT CLUB which features features both members of SKiNNY MiLK, namely Johnny Hart (bass and vocals) and Tim Cox (drums) as well as MacDaddy (guitar) and Jimi Dymond (YAMAHA Reface DX keys and lead vocals instead of bass), from Young Francis Hi Fi.
TOP LEFT CLUB kindly performed their extended 20 song set for us this evening, which began at 10:08pm and concluded just 40 minutes later. Thus working out the average timing, each track would be a mere 2 minutes or less, which is how vintage style punk rock should be.
This was my second helping of TOP LEFT CLUB this month and based on my first encounter, I knew exactly what I was going to be getting……a bloody awesome set! The lads again this time certainly did not disappoint as I heard five tracks that I hadn’t heard on my previous encounter with them. Their first live performance took place behind closed doors during lockdown, when the guys performed for the FourFace video cameras at the Concorde 2 back in July. Their three songs will hopefully surface on the FourFace Digital channel real soon.
I am totally blown away by my vinyl copy of the Top Left Club’s ‘Shoulders At 90’ debut album, which can be found on their Bandcamp page HERE.
They can also seriously cut the mustard in a live setting. Here is a band that really needs to be seen by the masses at the annual Rebellion Punk Festival that is held in Blackpool. It’s the mecca of punk and the biggest punk gathering that these shores have to offer and TOP LEFT CLUB deserve to be sharing the stage with the more established punk acts. Punks will immediately be taken aback as they don’t stride on stage in their studied leather jackets, split t-shirts and torn blue jeans. Oh no, this lot wear shell suits as a total juxtaposition of their heavy sound. Rest assured TLC are 100% retro punk. They are purveyors of a sound that up until now had only been heard on recorded punk vinyl up until February 1977. They have captured that nostalgic sound to perfection. Of course it might have something to do with their debut album having been written and recorded in Johnny’s living room in only 8 weeks.
Tonight’s set initially began with Jimi uttering “We are TOP LEFT CLUB, you are the people of the basement” and the lads adopted a capital ‘T’ shape body pose, which is the first of their trio of moves, “Up, lurk, 90” we were informed by Jimi. This ties in with the album’s title ‘Shoulders At 90’.
The quartet have been prolific of late and already have enough material for a second album, that by all accounts has already been recorded. Can’t wait for that one. It’s fair to say that all of the tunes performed tonight that aren’t on their debut album, will more than likely be coming out on the follow up, which certainly isn’t a difficult second album.
Their ‘sound’ seriously reminds me of The Heartbreakers, early Damned (especially Johnny vocals) , the Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers, a heavier version of The Clash and The Stranglers, as well as the vibe of the Rezillos mixed with the New York Dolls, and The Stooges.
Standout tracks from tonight were ‘Teddy Biscuits’, ‘Shitbag’ (although the vocals were missing for a few seconds at the beginning), the ‘Ballroom Blitz’-esque ‘Initial Hum’ and ‘Slugs’ with its intro sounding a tad like Siouxsie & The Banshees version of ‘Helter Skelter’. They are a joy to behold and that includes Jimi’s echo style announcements in between tunes.
They are a band not to be missed and so I’m giving you the heads up that the lads will be blasting their exciting set out at the lucky punters at The Hope & Ruin on Saturday 6th November. And get this, it’s a free entry concert as it will be taking place at the street level bar and not in the upstairs concert room. Things kick off at 9pm. See you there!
Top Left Club setlist:
‘Rattle My Brain’
‘Tie Me Down’
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