‘VARIOUS ARTISTS’ – ‘2 3 4 FEST’, GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 25.9.22
The Green Door Store music venue in Brighton was ‘THE’ place to be this weekend, with no less than 20 bands performing across the two days during their annual free entry ‘2 3 4 Fest’, which is aimed at highlighting the plethora of exciting new up-and-coming local talent.
This year’s ‘234 Fest’ line-up was as follows:
You can read the Saturday 24th September reviews HERE.
The Sunday 25th September reviews are listed below:
Sunday started with the mellow sounds of Maximilian, which seemed quite appropriate. He’s a Brighton based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He was joined on stage by drummer Jamie Broughton and Sammy Jones on bass (after her appearance with ELLiS·D the previous day).
Several of Maximilian’s songs followed a similar pattern, with a slow solo start then building and bringing in the other musicians. His songs almost had two halves. His vocals did remind me a bit of Radiohead. A good introduction to day two of the festival, enjoyed by those who turned up early.
Maximilian – vocals and guitar
Sammy Jones – bass
Jamie Broughton – drums and backing vocals
The second act of Day Two was Harper, who this afternoon consists of frontwoman Calista Morgan who is on vocal duties as well as Squier Mustang guitar, and supporting her were Ollie Francis behind the sticks, Mikey Squire on Ibanez bass, and taking care of the Gretsch and Epiphone guitars were Nat Kardas and Oli White. There was also a keyboard on the stage floor, but I can’t recall anyone using it.
Harper are a young outfit who were here to entertain us with their 28 minute half dozen lazy Sunday afternoon tunes. Five of which were Harper compositions and the other was their arrangement of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Seven Wonders’, which Calista performed as a solo whilst her chums sat on the stage floor. Their material is reminiscent of tunes on film closing credits and the punters enjoyed the performance. If you ever need the details on how many teeth sharks lose during the lifetime, then Calista is the person to ask, as this was a talking point during their set.
Calista has an almost warbly Irish vocal style, which is accompanied with twangy guitars, thus fans of The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac, Lana Del Rey or something like Joni Mitchell should take note. They opened with ‘Miler’ and ‘Dogwoods’ which were rather pleasant. Song three, ‘Hythe’, was about a Geordie legend and track four was about blister packs and was titled…..wait for it….‘Blister Pack’. For me, they had saved the best till last with ‘Betty’ which showed off Calista’s vocal chords to the full.
Calista Morgan – lead vocals and guitar
Nat Kardas – guitar
Oli White – guitar
Mikey Squire – bass
Ollie Francis – drums
Shady Baby (4:00pm)
The tempo and noise levels took a massive step up with the arrival of indie-rock newcomers Shady Baby. They are fronted by Brighton-based Sam Leaver and his old childhood friend Laurie Debnam, with Nick Varnava and Tom Jackson completing the line-up. I caught the end of Shady Baby’s set, when they supported Been Stellar at The Green Door Store back in July, wishing I’d got there earlier. I had to see them again!
Back to this afternoon and Tom set the fast tempo on drums and kept this going throughout the set. Even with the fast pace, there is a good balance in the band with no instrument pushing out others. Inspired by the sounds of Madchester and Britpop, Shady Baby reminded me at times of Supergrass, but much faster. I was very impressed with their performance.
This may have been only their 10th gig and 4th in Brighton, but Shady Baby are a band on the rise. They’ve picked up support and airplay from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. Shady Baby are rapidly marking themselves out as a very promising indie group.
Their next gig in Brighton is at The Prince Albert on 22nd November supporting Hallen.
Sam Leaver – vocals and guitar
Laurie Debnam – guitar
Nick Varnava – bass
Tom Jackson – drums
City Dog (5:00pm)
Following on from Shady Baby’s terrific set which for me personally was the best of the day, we had a trio of photogenic lads in the form of City Dog. They were keen to show us what they can do as they started a minute early at 4:59pm and performed no less than eight tunes for us over the next 23 minutes.
City Dog are a young energetic outfit that consists of frontman Deri Bovaird on vocals and Fender guitar, Jack Dewdney on bass and Keelan Shepherd on drums. This coming Saturday they will drop ‘Deadman’ and ‘Who Do You Know’, so not surprisingly these both got an airing this afternoon. ‘Who Do You Know’ was the first of these, after they had opened with ‘Never Enough’ and ‘The Tide’. Whilst ‘Deadman’ was tune five, which came after ‘Cut (Just Lungs)’.
Their sound is arguably jangly guitar post punk in a Red Hot Chili Peppers style and was gratefully received by the eager punters. For me, they had saved the best for the tail end of their set, which saw their first single ‘Mind Eraser’ begin with a decent Cozy Powell style drumming lead from Keelan, which morphed into a decent punk ditty, more of that please! The penultimate number was their last single, ‘Happy Silver’ which in its first half highlighted their musical path they had ventured on as compared with ‘Mind Eraser’, but for the second half of the song it reverted to their punk roots. They concluded with ‘Overflow’, which saw the lads more entrenched in grunge territory and allowed the drummer Keelan to shine.
You can catch them performing live again at the Green Door Store on Friday 14th October, when they support Monakis, who funnily enough are up next.
Deri Bovaird – vocals, guitar
Jack Dewdney – bass
Keelan Shepherd – drums
The 24 minute half dozen track Monakis set commenced at 5:32pm with a ‘Happy Birthday’ to Green Door Store employee Jed Johnson, who was 28, but he certainly didn’t look it. Monakis were the only band today to play in the corner of the bar area, which meant that they could get going right after City Dog had finished. We were crammed in like sardines, with each of us straining to get a glimpse of this up-and-coming punk/grunge outfit.
The local trio, consisting of James Porter (bass/vox), Aaron Butler (guitar/vox) and Joe Mctaggart (drums) yet again showed us what they can get up to with just 3 instruments. It’s fair to state that their attitude filled the room. I wonder what the train commuters above the venue made of their energetic set – Us in the room were thrilled. Monakis were throwing out more energy than the youngsters on E number sweets (and worse) up at the ‘Boundary Festival’ in Stanmer Park yesterday.
The Monakis tunes ‘DripTease’, ‘Rich’, ‘Fake News’, ‘Screw Loose’, ‘White Rabbit’ and ‘Punished’ were all delivered (in that order) with such neck vein venom that they almost exploded. And there was much neck nodding from the crowd that would no doubt call for paracetamol in the morning. James oozes such menace that we all have to submit. I’m surprised that Joe’s drum set remained intact with the amount of punishment it sustained. This was a loud raucous set that was delivered with much aplomb.
You can catch them headlining at the Green Door Store on Friday 14th October.
James Porter – bass/vox
Aaron Butler – guitar/vox
Joe Mctaggart – drums
The Famous People (6:00pm)
Back to the main stage and next up were The Famous People. They provided another side of indie from the other bands playing over the weekend. Describing their sound as “slurry jangle jank”, they captured that jangly indie guitar sound made famous (no pun intended) by The Smiths Johnny Marr. The other aspect of The Famous People’s musical style, which worked so well was the contrast in vocal styles between Alfie’s punchier almost agitated style and Bowie with her softer atmospheric voice. This has been a feature of their live sets, when I’ve seen them before, but worked even better today. Visually the two singers contrasted each other too, with Bowie standing almost perfectly still, while Alfie was very animated.
Sunday was the birthday of Jed who works with at The Green Door Store, as well as playing drums for ELLiS·D the previous day, he joined The Famous People on stage as a guest tambourine player for one number. Despite the slow start, waiting for people to arrive from the previous set in the bar area, and a technical hitch mid-set, The Famous People delivered a great performance, which grew on the audience.
They left by saying “We’re The (never going to be) Famous People”. Definitely a band worth checking out live. Their next Brighton gig is at The Green Door store supporting “their good friends and all-round legends” Attic’O’Matic on 11th October.
The Famous People:
Bowie Bartlett – vocals and guitar
Bertie Beer – drums
Scott Pearce – bass
Alfie Beer – vocals and guitar
Spang Sisters (7:00pm)
As The Famous People left the stage, one member of the band stayed on. Scott was also playing bass in the next band, Spang Sisters. Formed in Bristol in 2016, Spang Sisters are a RnB – folk duo with the core members being Jules Gibbons and Rachid Fakhre. For today’s set they were joined by a bassist, drummer and a cello player. Their introduction by Rachid and Jules had a very heavy echo effect. This wasn’t repeated in the music, which had a very clean sound.
Spang Sisters had a very chilled vibe and easy listening sound. They were a real step change in tempo and a good alternative to many of the bands playing over the weekend. The two lead singers Rachid and Jules alternated lead vocals with each song and their position on stage. This did mean a stop-start feel to their set. Otherwise, there was a smooth delivery once the songs started. Spang Sisters were appreciated by the packed crowd.
Spang Sisters have just finished a UK tour, so haven’t got any dates planned in Brighton.
Rachid – keyboards, guitar and vox
Jules – vox and Guitar
Scott – bass
Ali – drums
Lu – Cello
Next on stage was L’Objectif from Leeds for only their second gig in Brighton. Formed in 2017 by vocalist and guitarist Saul Kane and drummer Louis Bullock, L’Objectif performed as a duo up until 2020, when they recruited guitarist Dan Richardson and bassist Ezra Glennon.
Taking influences from a wide array of musical styles from post punk, alternative indie, jazz and funk, it was the dance music the stood out for me from L’Objectif’s set among the fast lively guitars. Still in their teens, the band gave a very assured, confident and exciting performance.
There was a problem when the hi-hat cymbal broke. They asked if another band had one they could use and thankfully a replacement turned up almost straight away. This showed the friendly nature and support the bands gave each other over the weekend.
By the end of the set, L’Objectif had the audience singing along to their new single out this week ‘The Dance You Sell’.
Saul Kane – vocals, guitar
Louis Bullock – drums
Ezra Glennon – bass
Dan Richardson – guitar
The penultimate band of the weekend was Brighton based Hutch with their psychedelic, yacht rock, early listening sound. A nice symmetry as members of Hutch were on stage with the second band of the weekend ‘Sad Dads’.
Having formed over lockdown, Hutch are developing a strong local following. Previously a four piece with the traditional line-up of guitars, bass and drums, when I saw them support PROJECTOR at The Hope and Ruin. Tonight, however, they were joined on stage by harpist Eva Lunny, who also played keyboards and incidentally is the sister of Phoebe who is from the Lambrini Girls. It was the harpist along with vocal harmonies by the rest of the band, which kicked off Hutch’s set tonight.
It was those vocal harmonies along with the psychedelic soft sounds that characterised Hutch’s performance. A couple of songs into Hutch’s set, they decided to break out into a bit of a guitar frenzy, to add variation to their underlying laid-back style. A fun set, that had the audience singing along on many of the choruses.
Hutch play The Prince Albert on 23rd November.
Jack Pritchard – lead vocals and guitar
Dan Shepherd – guitar and backing vocals
Charlie Bogg – bass and backing vocals
Owen Bullock – drums and backing vocals
Eva Lunny – harp and keyboards
Low Hummer (9:50pm)
The extended sound check by Sunday’s headliners, Low Hummer, gave a teasing hint to the exciting set to come. Low Hummer are a six piece post-punk, garage rock band from Hull. They sing about modern life, largely about being skint and disillusioned and their own social observations. (Their Spotify profile simply says “Skint Northerners”.) Their lyrics are backed with repetitive synth bass lines and distorted guitars. That may sound gloomy, but their set was anything but.
Low Hummers set started as it meant to go on, very punchy and direct. No slow build up to their songs, confidently going straight in from the opening note. There was a very good balance between the two singers Daniel and Aimee. Daniel took the lead on the first two numbers ‘Homegrown’ and ‘Don’t You Ever Sleep’ and Aimee took over on the next number ‘Talk Shows’, their latest single, and ‘Sometimes I Wish (I Was a Different Person’. On other songs the vocal duties were shared. It wasn’t just about the two singers; however good they were. The rest of the band delivered a great sound and added a real energy, especially Joe on drums, never letting the tempo drop.
At the end of the set, lead singer Daniel announced that the band would be selling merch from the back of a van. Well Brighton Station, above The Green Door store, used to have a Sunday car boot sale. So, it seemed somehow appropriate.
Low Hummer were one of my many highlights and a great finale to a wonderful weekend of new music.
Daniel Mawer – guitar and vocals
Aimee Duncan – guitar and vocals
Joe Gray – drums
Daisy Allen – bass
John Copley – lead guitar
Steph Hebdon – synth
For the duration of the two days, Lewes based Innerstrings were curating the visual vibes at the event. They specialise in liquid and live feed visuals which certainly brought a lot of vibrancy to the party. Innerstrings have previously toured extensively with Ulrich Schnauss, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Lost Horizons, Josefin Öhrn and the Liberation, Spratleys Japs and The Bluetones. They have also produced videos for Andy Bell (Ride/Oasis), bdrmm, Jetstream Pony, Hadda Be, Cheval Sombre, Japanese Television, Epic45, The Hanging Stars and Knifeworld amongst others.
The Brighton & Hove News Music Team had a wonderful time at the Green Door Store’s ‘234 Fest’ and we truly hope that this becomes more than just an annual event. Quarterly would suit us fine!
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