Words & Photography by Paul Boyling
A month since the release of their latest single, ‘Less Is More’ and nearly a year since their sophomore release, ‘Holy Doom’, Demob Happy played a sold-out night at The Garage – the penultimate night of their headlining tour, before returning to their hometown of Brighton – to raucous applause.
First up was Heirloom, a five-piece, also from Brighton, with Jade Taaffe (vocals and bass), Jane Rivers (vocals and guitar), Christopher Hallen (backing vocals and guitar), Ben Dawson (keyboard) and Nick McGregor (drums). Their sound involved numerous layers of reverb, delay and fuzz, amidst organ-like keys surrounded by clanking guitars riffs; becoming an enticing slice of brooding but slick indie pop with subtle garage rock undertones.
Second were Sick Joy, another band from Brighton, with their three-chord 1990s pop punk and neo-grunge. When hearing Mykl (guitar and vocals), Danny (bass and vocals) and Martyn (drums) onstage, you can hear the clear influences of Green Day, Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins (and similar to that of contemporaries, Dinosaur Pile Up, Tigercub and tonight’s headliners.) You immediately notice the fusion of contagious, melodic pop with paradoxical malign nihilism, through scuzzy guitars and unbridled fury.
Finally, Demob Happy came to the stage to the sound of a high-pitched klaxon and immediately blew the roof off; reminiscent of Queen of the Stone Age and Turbowolf, with rough-edged fuzzy hard rock with a mean, psychedelic grunge edge to it, opening with the heavy, bass-driven ‘Succubus’ and the nightmarish ‘Haat De Stank’.
Throughout the evening, the trio of Matthew Marcantonio (lead vocals and bass), Adam Godfrey (guitar and backing vocals) and Thomas Armstrong (drums) upheld the high-octane energy: the heart-pounding drums, crunching guitars and throbbing bass of ‘Liar in My Head’, as well as the instantaneous catchiness of ‘Loosen It’ as well as the unrelenting intensity of ‘Spinning Out’– with its buzzsaw guitar, driving bass and insane drumming) – also spring to mind. The unplugged, acoustic version of ‘Holy Doom’ was a welcomed surprise, and allowed a bit of a breather for the band and the audience alike. The show concluded with ‘Be Your Man’, along with the encore featuring ‘Maker of Mine’.
All in all, Demob Happy and company topped off a good evening of Brighton-based rock in the capital on a Friday night.
By Paul Boyling