Theirs is the kind of exit I’m particularly fond of; Brighton three piece Sealings leave the stage being applauded rapturously by the assembled 30-40 devotees as the volume of the feedback emanating from the end of the last track render the crowd’s effort to be heard a forlorn one. Sealings saunter off the stage casually; seemingly oblivious to the maelstrom of noise they leave in their wake, after having fought their respective instruments for the last 25 minutes. At present they have two distinct types of song, there are the Dirty Beaches-meets-‘You Made Me Realise‘-esque thrashy proto-shoegaze workouts and longer, dronier, sampler led affairs. Without wishing to put a very effective drummer out of a gig, it’s the latter that were the more attention-grabbing. One particularly huge-sounding song of this type kicks in after some mountainous guitar noise created during the resolution of a technical difficulty and the other being closer and set highlight ‘My Boyfriend’s Dead‘. There isn’t much in the way of melody here and the vocals are a zombified monotone drawl, for those reasons they are likely to remain a niche act. However, as and when they get a debut full-length album released, look out for them to make some waves in the underground nationally, they’re really good at this sort of thing.
Shudder Pulps have promise, their set felt slightly unbalanced but the highlights were excellent. They took a little while to get going, due in part to some sound gremlins rendering the bass counter-productively high in the mix but also to the fact that the final two tracks are the best songs they play. They’re clearly strong musicians as these final songs demonstrate, one driven by two elongated, spiky guitar lines and the other finishing with an almost At The Drive-In like hectic conclusion. Even if all the pieces aren’t in place yet, these guys are definitely one to watch for the future.
Keel Her were definitely the nicest band on the bill, a fleshed out five piece lending an endearingly naive c86 flavour to their basic rhythms, melodic guitars and verse/chorus song structures. The songs rattle by at a fair old rate, however, it all seems a little one-paced, meaning attention wanders during the latter half of their set. The highlight is principal songwriter and synth player/vocalist Rose Keeler-Schäffeler. Her psychedelic keys and uplifting vocal melodies keep things interesting; despite the fact they both appear to get a little lost in the mix. Final track – possibly called ‘Never See Anyone’ – is hopefully a window to the future; it has a more widescreen feel to it than the other material and is catchy, courtesy of a verse that seems like a chorus and a chorus that definitely is one.
Witching Waves appear to be at an early stage of their development and have plenty to work out. The assembled souls who got to Sticky Mike’s early were treated to a drums and guitar two piece playing minimalist, scratchy post punk. As befits a new band, they appear to lack experience in the live arena and the stop-start nature of proceedings means that they find it very difficult to gather momentum. A song dedicated to recent tour buddies Shudder Pulps impresses with a twin vocal approach and they appeared a little more comfortable later in the set when the two members swapped instruments. A cover of ‘Satisfaction’ seemed a mightily incongruous addition to the set.