Ah Brighton! I’ve not been here for a gig in almost a decade and to be honest walking the streets in the run-up to tonight’s show, not a lot has really changed in the intervening time. The city’s lively side streets still very much remind me of the London I once loved, long before money swept it’s streets clean of anything remotely interesting and its down one of these side streets that you will also find the new home for The Pipeline, one such victim of London’s transformation from cultural capital to capitalist culture.
Situated just a pebble’s throw from the beach on Little E Street, and right next to the alley where Steph and Jimmy had their “moment” in Quadrophenia, The Pipeline is a rock bar with a twist, because whilst it has a great jukebox and an upstairs pinball/live music room it also doubles as a vegan restaurant serving some mighty fine food indeed, and tonight it’s packed out well before 7 pm.
That’s because with an entry fee of just £5 this superb four-band bill has to be one of the bargains of the year for the more discerning music fan, and it appears Brighton has quite a few of those. Thing is with the upstairs room having only a 50 capacity (it makes the Chameleon in Nottingham look like Madison Square Garden) and there being no pre-sale tickets available, I do have to wonder if I will actually get in?
The cooling effect of the ink cross on the back of my hand certainly does my OCD the world of good and I can finally relax and enjoy myself but not before the pint of Estrella is quickly knocked out of my hand and I’m thrust straight into the live-action via a frenzied pit ready for some Glitter Piss. This Brighton based five specialise in fast and furious urine-soaked punk rock with songs based around subjects like; losing it in work, dealing with STDs, losing it on vodka and of course partying and that’s what Brighton’s most clued-in music fans are here to do tonight.
With Rotten Foxes’ MacDaddy on guitar Glitter Piss are always going to have a small nod towards them sound-wise, but at times tonight the other band they really remind me of are The Ghost Of A Thousand, particularly around the time of their ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’ album and that’s not just because there’s a tall ginger bloke called Tom in both of the bands either. Trust me when I say that if Glitter Piss can bottle this live energy and keep it together long enough to actually take their songs into a studio, we could very well be looking at the next “ones to watch” on the UK underground.
London’s Flash House are of course not only Slugfest veterans but long-time favourites here at RPM Towers so it’s no surprise to me that the stifling heat of The Pipeline only acts like fuel to Crusty, Mike, Matt and Harry as they take opener ‘Raising Cane’ and proceed to ram it down the throats of everyone in here tonight. ‘Yeti 69’ from the band’s recent split single with The Hip Priests sounds absolutely glorious alongside tracks from their now out of print ‘Brown Sauce’ album like ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ and ‘Domestic Hiss’, and finishing with a frenzied ‘Flash House’ I cannot help but imagine that the Lemmy picture the guys are playing in front of gives them a little knowing wink. Outstanding stuff once again, now give us the second album ya flash (house) fuckers.
Having been aware of their music (and high taste in fashion) for a good few years it’s taken me ages to actually see Rotten Foxes live. Now, just as they are about to split up, I get to see them twice in the space of two weeks, talk about perfect timing eh? Bassist Jimi Dymond and singer Rusty Nails are visibly moved when I mention Dom Daley’s review of their recent Rebellion performance to them just prior to them going on stage tonight, such is the passion these four guys still have for their music with just a few gigs left before they split up. They promise me there’s still some new music left to come (more of this in a moment) and of course there’s still a handful of shows at which you can experience their whack ‘em and smack ‘em brand of death punk live for yourself.
Tonight though is made all the more special as it’s Rotten Foxes personal thank you to The Pipeline’s owner Thomas Evrenos, someone who has supported the band ever since The Pipeline moved to their city, and just as you would expect for such a special event the ceiling is dripping with sweat as the punk pop is ordered to be cut from the PA and the upstairs room goes totally fucking nuts to the likes of ‘Ship It In’ and ‘Make Me Pretty’ (both taken from the band’s recently released and totally essential ‘Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave’ EP). There’s a moment during the latter when I feel I might end up in the downstairs bar like some long-lost outtake from Carry On Abroad, such is the power of the mullet in the pit tonight.
‘Dehumanise’ is the double denim teaser new track aired and it’s a brutal beast too, one that we’ll hopefully get to hear properly once the one PC the band owns finally gets fixed and they can get the fourth EP up on Bandcamp. Like Dom said in his Rebellion review that a band as exciting as Rotten Foxes are calling it a day whilst the rock world is still overflowing with beige shite is truly a sad day indeed. Just make sure you get to see the band’s jail rat tattooed asses before they do finally call it a day in just a few weeks’ time. Rotten Foxes I fucking salute you!
Fresh from touring across Europe and the UK with Electric Frankenstein and The Dwarves, The Hip Priests are the perfect headliners for tonight’s shenanigans as they are both very tight and very exciting right now (if you will excuse the Godawful pun). With just a simple line check between bands (I’m sensing a tight curfew is in place) “those fuckin’ boys” head straight into an opening trio of ‘Motherfucker Superior’, ‘Instant Delinquent’ and ‘Stand For Nothing’ sounding positively imperious.
Just prior to ‘Zero Fucks Given’ Austin and Nathan hang from an open upstairs window long enough to berate the locals, not man enough to finish the four-band bill, the singer taking a well-aimed gob at the plastic punks sitting below. Who said punk rock was dead eh?
Punk rock politics aside it’s the addition of Gentle Ben on second guitar that has proven to be something of an inspired move by the band as now they all lock into tracks like ‘Social Hand Grenade’ and ‘Deja FU’ from the excellent ‘Stand For Nothing’ album and simply don’t let up. It’s that added fifth dimension the band have always been looking for finally brought to life right in front of your naked steaming eyes, oh, and double denim nut huggers aside (worn as a tribute to Rotten Foxes), tonight really is The Hip Priests at their very best.
Returning for a two-song encore that sees various other band members join The Priests on stage for a mass pile on that ends with a run through the Foxes ‘Pints’ before the suitably titled ‘Wired Amped & Skulled’ brings things to a sweaty and bloody conclusion I stagger downstairs and out into the night feeling like I’ve just been sucker punched by Shawn Michaels, totally shocked and dazed by what has gone before. So much so in fact that I head straight back to my digs just to try to get my shit together. How very un-rock ‘n’ roll of me eh?
At £5 entry for a night of full contact rock ‘n’ roll this one has to be marked in time alongside my encounters with The Dogs D’Amour in Cardiff Square Club, Nirvana In Bristol Bierkeller and Gilbert The Alien in Cardiff Ice Rink (Yup I really did see him live) as one of those had to be there nights. Let’s hope it won’t be another 10 years before I get to go back to Brighton as I’ve a feeling The Pipeline will have a lot more nights like these in store for us very soon.
Author: Johnny Hayward