PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES + NOAH AND THE LONERS – THE CON CLUB, LEWES 24.9.23
Tonight, we made our way across the county to Lewes in order to catch a couple of punk rock sets going down at the ever popular Con Club, which is a mainly volunteer-run, not-for-profit social club and independent music venue situated a few hundred yards up the hill from Lewes Castle. This evening was a mixture of the old guard and the new. Flying the flag for the established punk rock acts were Peter And The Test Tube Babies – who incidentally will be playing their annual Christmas bashes in Brighton at The Prince Albert on 28th and 29th December – tickets HERE and HERE – and supporting them this evening were young upstarts Noah And The Loners.
Noah And The Loners are fronted by singer songwriter Noah Lonergan on vocals and guitar, with Amber Welsh on bass, Joseph Boyle on guitar and Noah Riley on drums. Noah And The Loners have something to say and they’re saying it loud. Their powerful songs capture the zeitgeist of Gen Z – from personal tracks on teenage love and Noah’s experience of toxic masculinity as a trans-man, to political blasts at racism, corruption and the climate crisis. The band’s sound is influenced by OG legends X-Ray Spex, The Clash and Buzzcocks, along with the alternative stylings of Idles, Paramore and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. For such a young band Noah And The Loners are well travelled and the band have already played SXSW, The Great Escape, and Focus Wales 2023.
With lyrics to reflect the anger of youth, which let’s face it is the thoughts of every generation, being only the style of music that changes over time – there may be a tad more swearing, but each generation will always push society’s boundaries.
Noah And The Loners are currently studying at BIMM music school in Brighton and have literally all just moved into the same house. Could it therefore become just like the Test Tubes Babies famed Anarchy Ranch in Peacehaven back in the day?
The band are steadily increasing their fanbase as word gets out but the moshpit tonight may not have been as full as some of the bigger bands – which did at least allow the photographers to get the resultant images without being smashed aside – but those that did bravely enter ‘battle’ enjoyed the heat of the moment just as well.
Their next single release ‘Hell Of A Day’, which got an outing tonight, is due out on 4th October and on that night they will be playing a launch night set locally at The Brunswick Cellar Bar, which is located at 1 Holland Road and literally feet away from the coast road. Support on that night will come from About Bunny as well as Numskull. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
Noah And The Loners are certainly no strangers to The Brunswick Cellar Bar, having played their first local gig there back on 9th November last year. The Brighton & Hove News were there to report on the action and you can read our report HERE.
Noah And The Loners setlist:
‘You Make Me (Fall Apart)’
‘Losing My Head’
‘Hell Of A Day’
In the year of our lord 1978 the 17 year old punks Peter Bywaters and Del Strangefish founded Peter And The Test Tube Babies in Peacehaven, near Brighton. After a couple of rehearsals they made their first recording ‘Elvis Is Dead’ which appeared on the ‘Vaultage ‘78’ compilation of Brighton new wave bands. Radio 1’s much loved and missed DJ John Peel loved the song instantly and produced a John Peel session with the Test Tube Babies. The success was breathtaking and Peter And The Test Tube Babies became one of the hottest unsigned bands in the UK overnight.
The first single ‘Banned From The Pubs’ which was met with great enthusiasm this evening, followed fast, and fans and press freaked out in equal measure. From that moment everything went crazy, sold out concert halls in England and Europe and their big success in the media pushed their debut album ‘Pissed And Proud’ to No.1 in the English independent charts. Directly after that ‘The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs’ was released – a must have for every record collection – and sold more than 100,000 copies, resulting in invitations from far and wide. The Test Tube Babies played shows all over the world and cemented their status as one of the most brilliant and funniest live bands in punk rock culture. They also had the honour to represent the United Kingdom at the historical MTV East/West party to celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall.
The band line-up may have changed over the intervening 45 years…. Yes I know right, forty-five years!!! … but the manic smile from Peter, the driving bass and drums, and power based guitar is still all there.
The floor of The Con Club fills out more as the main event takes to the stage – already saying how warm it is, Peter graces his fans with the well-known toothy grin. Bottles of water and cans of cider are laid out; an odd mix, but there you go, each to their own. (Admittedly it was only cider consumed). The die-hard fans come out to these and other bands from the first and second offerings of punk rock, knowing that classics will be performed alongside new material just as relevant but from a different time.
Age has not slowed down the emotions nor the performances of bands like Peter’s, so following through the set list – see below – we race through the new and the old. Each track bringing more fans to the fore with plenty of leather, boots, studs and hair swinging around wildly, just like we used to back in the day. Oh to be young again…
Talking of youth and age etc, Noddy made an appearance too! Bizarre I know, but there he was, in the form of a little stuffed toy sitting quite happily on the guitar amp. Apparently he was sharing the bed with the guitarist tonight… this caused much hilarity until said guitarist’s wife appeared in the mosh pit and quickly quelled all this by telling Mr Guitar “to shut up you embarrassing tw*t” smiled and retreated to the back again. The audience loved this interlude.
These days, the Test Tubes live set has a good deal of must play tunes which are interspersed with the occasional recent recording and that’s exactly what their fans want! If it ain’t broke etc etc. We were showered with no less than 17 original compositions and those present enjoyed themselves.
Many thanks to Fred from Pogo Events and Seth from Black Rabbit Productions for permissions for the gig and for getting the bands to Lewes tonight.
Peter And The Test Tube Babies setlist:
‘Keep Britain Untidy’
‘Run Like Hell’
‘Never Made It’
‘U Bore Me’
‘My Unlucky Day’
‘Every Second Counts’
‘In Yer Face’
‘Up Yer Bum’
‘Spirit Of Keith Moon’
‘None Of Your F*cking Business’
‘Shake My World’
‘Banned From The Pubs’
‘Blown Out Again’