GAYE BYKERS ON ACID + THE CHARLEMAGNES – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 20.11.21
Saturday night in Brighton town and we are spoilt for choice as to which gigs to attend. My girlfriend desperately wanted us to head off to The Hope & Ruin and take in some shenanigans from Gaye Bykers On Acid and that’s exactly what we did.
The music kicked off at 8:30pm with The Charlemagnes, but we will come back to them shortly.
The Gaye Bykers On Acid name was originally inspired by a Ray Lowry cartoon when the band was formed in late 1984 by bass guitarist Ian Reynolds (Robber Byker) and vocalist Ian Hoxley (Mary Byker). They were later joined by guitarist and art student Tony Horsfall (Tony Byker) and drummer Kevin Hyde (Kev Byker). Their first gig was at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester in mid-1985.
Their first releases – the single ‘Everything’s Groovy’ and the ‘Nosedive Karma’ EP – were both recorded in Leeds with Jon Langford of The Mekons, and released on the InTape label, both reached the indie charts with ‘Nosedive Karma’ staying at No.1 for two weeks.
Despite what you think, GBOA are not either a death metal band or a hardcore dance act – They are uniquely just GBOA operating in their own little world, with their amazingly loyal entourage of fans who have sold out this evening’s concert and we are all squished into the venue in order to lap up some entertaining sounds. .
They originally operated out of Leicester, then London and now have seen the error of their ways and they have all now moved south to live in Brighton.
After a filmic ‘A Clockwork Orange’ meets Sigue Sigue Sputnik intro tape, the guys take to the stage at 9:29pm and begin their 82 minute set comprising 17 numbers. Their instrumentation of choice are two sets of keys and a Sandberg bass on our right (stage left), Korg keys with a laptop at the centre of the stage, behind which is the set of drums, and on the left of us (stage right) there is a guitar.
This was the last night of their tour and they were obviously glad to return back to base. Vocalist Mary Byker aka Ian Garfield Hoxley bore witness to having toured as he was still wearing five concert wristbands from previous nights. No doubt he went home after the gig and cut them off and headed to the bath.
As you would expect from a room full of GBOA fans, their opening number ‘T.V. Cabbage’ was very well received. This was hotly followed by ‘Delerium’ which had the music from the late 1950’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ TV series as an intro and outro. ‘Harmonious Murder’ was up next and is about how to kill our planet. This has a fab bass riff and drums in the style of the Dead Kennedys ‘California Über Alles’.
After ‘Git Down (Shake Your Thang)’ and ‘Hair Of Dog’, the performance was halted in order for Mary Byker (who is also in Pop Will Eat Itself) to present superfan Andy with a recently found half inch tape, which contained ‘All Hung Up’, which they performed next. Andy received his award as this was his 200th GBOA concert.
‘It Is Are You?’ came next and was followed by “acid boy acid girl” ‘Shoulders’ which was a great punk corker and one of their very best tunes of the night.
‘Better Off Dedd’ was next and I noted that many of the tunes often began and ended with film samples in a Sigue Sigue Sputnik kinda way. I like these and certainly could do with more of them, as well as excessive usage of the keyboards. ‘Don’t Be Human Eric – Let’s Be Frank’ came and went as was followed by ‘Hot Thing’ which was a jolly decent track.
‘Rad Dude’ was more Sham 69 style punk with twangy bass and guitar and screeching, whereas new track ‘Sodium Sun’ was notable for its deep twangy bass work. Sandwiched in between these two songs was ‘Face At The Window’.
‘Zen Express’ has a catchy shuffling beat like a dirty 60s Beatles or Stones tune (especially ‘I Feel Fine’ by The Beatles) and was one of their set highlights. The penultimate number ‘Everythang’s Groovy’ was met with a big cheer and they finished with ‘Nosedive Karma’ which eclipsed it. They left the stage at 10:51pm.
Gaye Bykers On Acid are:
Mary Byker (Ian Garfield Hoxley) – vocals
Tony Byker (Tony Horsfall) – guitar
Robber Byker (Ian Reynolds) – bass guitar
Kev Byker (Kevin Hyde) – drums
Gay Bykers On Acid setlist:
‘Git Down (Shake Your Thang)’
‘Hair Of Dog’
‘All Hung Up’
‘It Is Are You?’
‘Better Off Dedd’
‘Don’t Be Human Eric – Let’s Be Frank’
‘Face At The Window’
Visit their official website HERE.
As mentioned above, the night kicked off bang on 8:30pm with the arrival of The Charlemanges who are a new discovery to me and they list themselves as “Legendary transatlantic protopunk. South London via South Brunswick, NJ”. This I agree with, as the notes that I made during their performance concur.
For instance, on their opener ‘3D Gun’, I had likened them to The Heartbreakers who formed in New York City in 1975. This vocals/guitar, bass, guitar and drums combo certainly get your feet tapping. I also noted that they are a solid act with a good old fashioned punk sound.
Further on during another tune from The Charlemanges set, I had homed in even more by suggesting that they are playing us late sounding original Heartbreakers vibes, mixed with early Stiff Little Fingers and mid career Clash, which is all very nicely packaged up into the one combined sound. I can recall wondering how on earth they had gone under my radar…..until now that is!
Their sound at The Hope & Ruin was great courtesy of Dan at the back of the first floor room and the lighting was not bad either with the 4 banks of back lights made up of two lots of 16 orange lights and 2 lots of 16 blue lights with a central rotating sphere of changing colours. There were two banks of three 5 bulb lights at the sides and the band was bathed in 4 large spots and also an additional errant orange 5 bulb light and a solid white light.
I enjoyed their 10 song set and wished that they had been able to play for longer, but 33 minutes was their lot. They left the stage at 9:03pm and I hope that they head back down the A23 from London very soon.
I was so impressed that at the end of the night I headed to their merch stall and grabbed myself a copy of their 12 tune ‘Three Chords And A Half-Truth’ 2018 album on vinyl. Check it out HERE on Bandcamp and visit their own Bandcamp page HERE.
The Charlemagnes are:
The Charlemagnes setlist:
‘Hey! Look At You!’
‘Honey’s Mussed Up’
‘Oh No You Don’t’
‘(No) Pay Day (In The USA)’
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