TOP LEFT CLUB + OHMNS + HUMAN INVENTION – THE CELLAR BAR, THE BRUNSWICK, HOVE 23.10.21
Local concert promoters Weirdsville and Stay Sick presented a trio of in-yer-face punk rock bands tonight at the Brunswick Cellar Bar at 1-3 Holland Road, Hove, BN31JF.
The program presented TOP LEFT CLUB, OHMNS and HUMAN INVENTION.
Surprisingly, tonight was my very first gig at this location and I didn’t really know what to expect from this bustling pub and popular music venue, which was built in the 1930s. The Brunswick is a charismatic building striking with traditional curved bays, turreted roofs and brass crittall style windows. Much of the original panels (the same used in the Orient Express) have been salvaged and restored throughout the building. They have two areas that can accommodate music, the main wing at street level with a capacity of 130 people and the underground Cellar Bar. Being a loud punk rock night, we were confined to the hidden Cellar Bar.
Drinks purchased from the main bar at street level, we bypassed the restrooms and carefully descended the steps into the bowels of hell to the compact Cellar Bar, which predictably is a cellar with a small bar.
The premieres tonight are HUMAN INVENTION which is a post punk hardcore noise band based in Brighton, consisting of Andrew Burton (guitar and vocals), Matt Powers (bass and vocals), Mat Brannagan (guitar) and Danny Barnes (drums). The quartet formed last year and tonight was their fourth concert.
These approaching middle-aged gentlemen set up shop at 8:27 p.m. and blasted punters with their brand of noise, which was predictably good old decibels due to the nature of their chosen style as well as of the tombstone. The longer their set lasted, the more compact the room became and, therefore, the better they improved.
Vocal duties were shared between guitarist Andrew and bassist Matt. I sometimes thought Matt’s tones were a bit similar to Robert Smith of The Cure, but the music was most definitely different. They went through their seven-song set, which included an as yet unnamed songwriting medium. They ended their set with an instrumental number titled ‘Wasteland’ and after 29 minutes, at 8:56 p.m., it was over.
Human Invention Setlist:
‘Old no. 1’
‘Frankie and Cator’
Find them on Instagram.
On the publicity for the concert before tonight, the main act was featured as OHMNS, but they were next on stage instead of performing last.
In their hometown of Liverpool, OHMNS helped become part of a wild but fertile mini-scene of kraut-infused garage punk through their explosive, loud, and sometimes downright out of whack live performances. Apparently they also put together a garage punk fanzine with other bands from the scene, which is quite admirable. Discover the fanzine HERE.
Tonight was OHMNS’ very first time in Brighton & Hove for this male quartet and they opened their account at 9.20pm and performed eleven selected numbers for the busy cellar bar room. The band includes Quinlan aka “Brisket” (vocals/guitar), lead guitarist Kendall aka “Dadhug”, bassist Ali aka “Krazz” and drummer Kingy aka “Mumkiss”. I believe their nicknames are an enigmatic set of bowling references.
Their raucous garage rock set began with ‘Nightmare Trail’ who saw bassist Ali’s disturbing vocal prowess. Fortunately, the next number ‘Dece Bece Crece’ saw guitarist Quinlan take over on the mic, but his was initially a bit quiet compared to the instruments. However, this problem was quickly corrected by the sound engineer at the back of the room.
To be fair, the offbeat beats emanating from OHMNS were extremely average on some songs and way better on others. There’s a vintage punk to screaming punk vibe that goes down with this set and they had kept their best numbers down to the end. The best being the final number ‘Curfew’ and after a close second was the penultimate number ‘Tito Puente’. They finished bugging us after 31 minutes and started tidying up at 9:51 p.m. It’s time for another beer after that!
If you want to know what they look like including their latest single ‘Tommy Knockers’, then go to their Bandcamp page HERE.
OHMNS set list:
‘Dece Bece Crece’
“Wrong Way Home”
“Paul is sure”
‘Published with fists’
“View from here”
“My boy was there”
By default, tonight’s main act had become the Brighton-based marvelous TOP LEFT CLUB which features the two members of LEAN MILK, namely Johnny Hart (bass and vocals) and Tim Cox (drums) as well as MacDaddy (guitar) and Jimi Dymond (YAMAHA Reface DX keys and vocals instead of bass), of Young Francis Hi Fi.
TOP LEFT CLUB kindly performed their 20-song set for us tonight, which started at 10:08 p.m. and ended 40 minutes later. So, calculating the average timing, each track would only be 2 minutes or less, which is what vintage-style punk rock should be.
This was my second helping of TOP LEFT CLUB this month and based on my first encounter I knew exactly what I was going to get……a damn awesome set! This time again, the guys certainly didn’t disappoint since I heard five songs that I hadn’t heard during my previous meeting with them. Their first live performance was behind closed doors during lockdown, when the guys performed for FourFace video cameras at Concorde 2 in July. Hopefully their three songs will soon surface on the FourFace Digital channel.
I’m totally blown away by my vinyl copy of Top Left Club’s ‘Shoulders at 90’ debut album, which can be found on their Bandcamp page HERE.
They can also seriously cut live mustard. Here’s a band that really needs to be seen by the masses at the annual Rebellion Punk festival held in Blackpool. It’s the Mecca of punk and the biggest punk gathering these coasts have to offer and TOP LEFT CLUB deserves to share the stage with the more established punk bands. The punks will be immediately bewildered as they won’t be treading the stage in their studied leather jackets, slit t-shirts and ripped jeans. Oh no, this band wears shell suits as a total juxtaposition of their heavy sound. Rest assured, TLC is 100% retro punk. They are the purveyors of a sound that until now had only been heard on punk vinyl recorded until February 1977. They captured that nostalgic sound to perfection. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that their debut album was written and recorded in Johnny’s living room in just 8 weeks.
Tonight’s set first started with Jimi uttering “We are TOP LEFT CLUB, you are the basement people” and the guys adopted a capital “T”-shaped body pose, which is the first of their trio of moves, “High, Hide, 90” we were informed by Jimi. This goes with the title of the album ‘Shoulders at 90’.
The quartet have been prolific lately and already have enough material for a second album, which obviously has already been recorded. I can’t wait for that one. It’s fair to say that any tracks played tonight that aren’t on their first album will more than likely be released on the follow-up, which is certainly not a difficult second album.
Their “sound” seriously reminds me of The Heartbreakers, the early Damned (especially Johnny’s vocals), the Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers, a heavier version of The Clash and The Stranglers, as well as the Rezillos vibe mixed with the New York Dolls, and The Stooges.
The standout tracks from tonight were ‘Teddy Cookies’, ‘Shitbag’ (although the vocals were missing a few seconds at first), the ‘Ballroom Blitz’-ish ‘Initial Mood’ and ‘slugs’ with its intro that sounds a bit like the Siouxsie & The Banshees version of ‘Helter Skeleton’. They’re a joy to behold and that includes Jimi’s echo-style announcements between tracks.
They’re a band not to be missed and so I’m warning you that the guys will be blasting their thrilling set to lucky punters at The Hope & Ruin on Saturday November 6th. And get this, it’s a free concert because it will be at the street level bar and not the upstairs concert hall. Things start at 9 p.m. We’ll see each other there!
Club setlist top left:
“Shake My Brain”
” Tie me Up “