Gig Review: Silent Front / Chick Peas / Zettasaur
This was an unexpected gig: partway through the day I was sent a text asking if I was up for coming down. Cue a quick poke about MySpace and an ensuant “yeah, sure.” How bloody ace is that – for all the MySpace-spawned shit that we endure, it’s still utterly brilliant that almost every band in the country has a song or two on there.
The Greenhouse Effect is a new venue for me. I know they’ve been doing gigs for a little while now, downstairs in their tiny basement bar, but what with it being in Hove, actually, it’s a bit more hassle to get to than my usual haunts. That said I was quite impressed and will probably find myself here again in the near future.
On to the tuneage: first up, Zettasaur. This rowdy lot moved from Wales to come to Brighton and I’m bloody glad they did. The first song was a real teeth-kicker intro: it was energetic enough that the drummer snapped a drumstick partway through. If you’ve never played the drums… well, just know that it’s not that easy to fracture a drumstick. But this early casualty didn’t see the onslaught scaled back at any point, and we were treated to slab after slab of delicious hardcore, light on the vocals and heavy on the experimental structure. They mostly avoid excessive noodling, which I appreciate, instead preferring to focus on shorter songs. Or, I concede, they may have had longer songs, but I failed to notice through being caught up in the music. And if they’ve succeeded in preventing me noticing then that’s an impressive achievement indeed, as I’m firmly of the option that 2.5 minutes is the perfect length for a song.
Hailing from Lyons, France, Chick Peas clearly had the most fun out of anyone present. Okay, so between-song banter was a bit weak (the frontman actually asked about the weather at one point), but all three of them were clearly having a brilliant time. The drummer in particular was grinning like a loon throughout most of the set, particularly when asked to batter the singer’s bass into submission whilst simultaneously maintaining a beat on the skins. And this was before the chewing of strings…
Chick Peas stand out by way of eschewing guitar entirely, preferring instead a twin bass assault. The stripped-down rhythm worked well, and these guys clearly know what they’re doing. It’s a shame that they occasionally veered off into wanky virtuoso territory with tediously long looped segments, but I’ll forgive them that due to the strengths of the rest of their material.
There was plenty of enthusiasm in the crowd for headliners Silent Front, but a few songs in and my buzz had already begun to fade. That’s not to say they weren’t good – they were – or that I didn’t like what they were doing – I did. It was simply that this was the third band on the trot to play fast-paced, aggressive, rhythm-driven hardcore with de-emphasised shouty vocals. Since I’d never seen any of the three bands before today, I had no prior knowledge of their songs to flesh out the experience. As a result Silent Front suffered from a flaw that wasn’t their own. This is unfair, but I would like to see them again, possibly among a more varied line-up to help them stand out. Of course, if you had the benefit of knowing their songs, that wouldn’t be a problem at all. And, clearly, I was among the few people in the room who hadn’t seen this band before.
Overall, £4 well spent. Three excellent new bands for my hungry ears, and a decent new venue located – which is particularly great given that the Freebutt and the Hobgoblin still haven’t returned to their glory days as small venues hosting a huge variety of excellent bands.
(P.S. I know that as a music review this isn’t really very good, being full of euphemism and metaphor rather than actual useful descriptive terms. Well, I refer you to the old adage about dancing about architecture, and note also that I don’t know much about musical theory, and I’ve not reviewed music in years. So bear with me, these reviews are practice for me as much as anything else… and any feedback will be gratefully received!)