DEAD PONY + THE STEALERS – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 20.9.23
As part of their first ever headline UK tour, rising Glaswegian band Dead Pony played Brighton (in association with promoters JOY. on Wednesday. I caught Dead Pony at One Church as part of ‘The Great Escape’ 2022, and they were one of my highlights of that festival. So, I was very much looking forward to their return to the city. Judging by the sold-out packed crowd at the Green Door Store I wasn’t the only one.
The four-piece band are Anna Shields (singer), Blair Crichton (lead guitar, backing vocals), Euan Lyons (drums) and Liam Adams (bass).
Dead Pony came on stage to the sound of an air raid siren. First Blair, Euan and Liam, with Anna arriving as the music started. The opening number ‘Bullet Farm’ from their 2022 ‘War Boys’ EP was a fast DIY garage track setting the tone for the set to follow.
The second song brought things right up to date with their latest single ‘Cobra’. This showed how their sound has developed since their last Brighton show. The song’s intro and Euan’s drumming in particular had hints of The Prodigy and a dance feel.
Dead Pony are one of those bands who give their all in their live shows. None more so than singer Anna, who enthusiastically jumped and moved around the stage. This meant that her mic lead moved the printed setlist around the stage. As early as the third song ‘War Boys’, bassist Liam had to retrieve her setlist from across the stage and pin it down.
Anna introduced the next song with “If you’ve seen us live before, you’ll know this song. If not, it’s massive, you’ll know it.” That song was a cover of ‘Maneater’ by Nelly Furtado. During this song, Anna took someone in the audience’s phone and recorded a selfie with the crowd in the background. All without interrupting the momentum of the song.
Before the next few songs, Anna announced that the band have their debut album out soon, and they’d be playing some new unreleased tracks from the album. If the live versions of ‘About Love’, and ‘Rainbows’ are any indications, it’ll be one hell of an album. There was more of an experimental feel to these tracks. ‘About Love’ had a thumping drum and bassline underpinning it.
To add even more life into an already lively evening, Anna encouraged the crowd to put their hands in the air like an enthusiastic aerobics instructor. Mid-set she wanted to see more of a mosh pit, joking goading “Do you want to be beaten by Southampton [their show the previous evening]? I’ll send in Blair, if I have to”. The threat of the big Glaswegian guitarist wasn’t needed, their music brought about an even more energetic mosh pit.
Although Blair didn’t have to go into the crowd, Anna did. Throughout the set she sang at the edge of the stage, in the face of the audience almost as if staring them down. At one point she sat on the edge of the stage to sing a section of one song. So, it was inevitable that she’d leave the stage at some point to sing among the audience.
The variety and progress in Dead Pony’s sound since their last Brighton visit was evident towards the end of their set in the two singles from earlier this year, ‘MK Nothing’ and ‘MANA’. These post-apocalyptic anthems were heavier than some of their earlier material.
Dead Pony closed a great set with another two tracks from the ‘War Boys’ EP, ‘Zero’ and ’23, Never Me’, (the song which is tattooed on Anna’s arm). Throughout the set Anna was very charismatic with her high-energy stage presence and fully engaging the audience. This was matched by the band’s great live sound using the raw power of grunge and punk.
With their debut album nearing completion, I’m already looking forward to a tour to promote it, which hopefully will include a return to Brighton in 2024 for Dead Pony. From the crowd’s reaction, everybody else at the Green Door Store on Wednesday will be up for seeing Dead Pony live again.
Anna Shields – vocals
Blair Crichton – guitar
Liam Adams – bass
Euan Lyons – drums
Dead Pony setlist:
‘Maneater’ (Nelly Furtado cover)
‘All Dressed Up For Nothing’
’23, Never Me’
Opening the evening’s entertainment was Brighton band The Stealers. They are a three-piece band consisting of George Hart (guitar and vocals), Noah Longhurst (drums) and Junior Vieira-Dawes (bass).
The band came on stage, but soon realised they’d forgotten their printed setlists. This was quickly sorted as drummer Noah dashed off to get them. Their set opened with ‘Delirious’ with a long music intro and punk style. It was a very good start to the night’s music. This was followed by two more songs from their debut EP ‘Some Kind Of Way’, ‘Last Train’ and the title track. Both of these increased the pace yet further.
‘Out Of Time’, the band’s latest single released only the previous week, was a more sophisticated arrangement and showed another side of this fresh exciting new band.
Football shirts were the choice of two of the three band members. Bassist Junior chose a Christiano Ronaldo Al Nassr FC shirt, joking “I hope you’re not all Messi fans”, while Noah wore a Netherland’s shirt.
‘She Says’ was introduced as “It’s a banger” and it was. With its guitar solo parts, it had a more heavy rock feel. A new song with the working title ‘George’s Kitchen Song’, on account of where it was written, was played live for the first time. This was one of the stand out tracks of a very good varied set. The Stealers closed with ‘Your Money Your Time’ , a loud quiet rock number.
With their very fresh punky guitar driven DIY sound, underpinned by some brilliant drumming, The Stealers sound worked really well live. Another upcoming Brighton band, who are definitely worth seeing. You can catch The Stealers on Saturday 7th October at Latest Music Bar, when they’ll be supporting Carsick – Tickets HERE.
George Hart – guitar and vocals
Noah Longhurst – drums
Junior Vieira-Dawes – bass
The Stealers setlist:
‘Some Kind of Way’
‘Out of Time’
‘Found My Calling’
‘Kitchen Song’ (working title)
‘Your Money Your Time’