MILLIE MANDERS AND THE SHUTUP + RAMONA’S TEA PARTY – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 16.11.23
Millie Manders And The Shutup are currently touring the UK promoting their latest single ‘Shut Your Mouth’. Support comes from Ramona’s Tea Party who are from Norway, and are purveyors of 21st Century punk-pop which gives more than a nod to Green Day. They consist of Ramona Lundberg on vocals and guitar, her dad Lutz Lundberg on drums, Christopher Lyngedal on guitar, and Espen Hoksnes on bass.
This band are super energetic. Ramona is like a ball of energy, running around the stage high kicking and jumping about. It’s quite exhausting to watch! She and Christopher run at each other and jump in the air as they pass. As we head into winter, Ramona compliments us on our “warm weather”. It’s snowy where they live.
Aside from their very obvious showmanship, the band is very tight and powerful, and their material is excellent. The songs are in English and some of the lyrics are quite witty. ‘100 Washing Machines’ is about Ramona’s mother being proposed to by a boy when she was in kindergarten. He offered her said washing machines in return for her marrying him. He obviously thought that a large number of washing machines were every woman’s dream. I hope he thinks differently now!
Ramona’s Tea Party are an enthralling live act. If I was a headlining band I’d think twice about having them as support. Their new single ‘Empty Pool’ gets an airing, and has an absolutely ripping guitar solo. ‘Oh Yeah’ starts off slower than most of the rest of the set in ¾, it then changes to 4/4 and speeds up. Ramona abandons her guitar and gets the audience singing. She then asks if anyone can play guitar? Foolishly your reviewer puts up his hand, and gets invited up onstage to play some very dodgy rhythm guitar. It’s only three chords (as all of the best songs are), C, F and G. What could possibly go wrong??? Their set finishes with ‘Goodness Gracious’, which is probably the fastest song that they play, and a great finale. They’re certainly well worth checking out.
Ramona’s Tea Party:
Ramona Lundberg – vocals and guitar
Lutz Lundberg – drums
Christopher Lyngedal – guitar
Espen Hoksnes – bass
Mark Kelly – guest guitarist
Ramona’s Tea Party setlist:
‘I Am Hungry (Again)’
‘100 Washing Machines’
‘Jane / Scary Me’
‘Like A Puppy’
‘British Tea Isn’t Even British’
The time for the main attraction arrives, and Millie Manders And The Shutup take the stage. They crash straight into their latest single, ‘Shut Your Mouth’, which has a rap-metal feel. One thing that quickly becomes very apparent is that the band are not slaves to genres. There are many different influences audible throughout their set. Another thing that is also apparent is that they sound better live than they do on record.
Tonight the band consist of Millie Manders on vocals, Joe Quigley on guitar, and Pete Wright on drums. Bassist Georgina Boreham is absent because of illness. Millie phones her and we all shout for her to get well soon. Tonight is their first sold out show in Brighton. The atmosphere is electric and there is a real bond between band and audience. Millie has an absolutely superb voice, both tuneful and powerful. Pete Wright’s drumming is crisp, powerful and precise, and is particularly powerful during ‘One That Got Away’. Millie is not shy about sharing her opinions, and many of the songs’ lyrics are about today’s social issues. For example ‘Poor Man’s Show’ is dedicated by Millie to “the racist homophobic c**ts in government”. This song is hugely reggae influenced with an impressive machine gun vocal delivery. The band are supporters of hunt saboteurs, and there is a hunt saboteurs banner on one of the side walls. The sabs get a song dedicated to them.
One particularly powerful song is ‘Me Too’, which is going to be on the next album. It is about rape and the lack of justice associated with it. This song is sadly far too relevant. 97% of rape allegations do not result in a conviction. ‘Rebound’ is an anti-Valentines song which is going to be released in February in time for Valentine’s Day!
This band really have a lot going for them. However, there is one humongous elephant in the room. I must confess that I am somewhat taken aback when the band take the stage and there are only three of them. I was under the impression that they were a five piece. Millie later explained about Georgina Boreham’s absence. Bass parts are audible over the PA, so presumably they are on the backing track. What I didn’t know was that guitarist James Pendle has recently left the band. Also audible over the PA are two guitar parts. Often guitarist Joe Quigley is playing chords, but in addition to his chords lead parts are also audible. To be fair, when he does play lead he is absolutely awesome, but I personally don’t feel that it is acceptable for lead guitar to be on the backing track rather than being played live.
This leads to the question of what does and what does not constitute a live performance. In my opinion a rock band should play its core instruments live. It’s acceptable to have the odd keyboard wash on the backing track, but I don’t believe that guitars and bass should be on there. Should Millie Manders And The Shutup be playing live with their current depleted line-up? I would say not. I believe that it would have been better to have postponed the shows and rescheduled them for when Georgina has recovered from her illness and when they have been able to recruit an additional guitarist. However, this has still been a spectacular show. The three people onstage have all given 150% and the sold-out Brighton audience have loved it. Did the audience notice that what they were hearing was not necessarily all being produced onstage? Probably not. Would they have even cared? Probably not.
Millie Manders And The Shutup go into the studio shortly to record their next album, and hit the road again in January 2024, playing Camden Electric Ballroom on the 26th. I shall be there. In the meantime I would say to them: keep music live!
Millie Manders And The Shutup:
Millie Manders – vocals, ukulele, alto sax
Joe Quigley – guitar
Pete Wright – drums
Georgina Boreham – bass (not here tonight)
Millie Manders And The Shutup setlist:
‘Shut Your Mouth’
‘Here We Go Again’
‘One That Got Away’
‘Poor Man’s Show’
‘Right To Life’