Electric Cowboy Club – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Sam Howell

Taken to the internet after my friends stopped listening to my music recommendations. Brighton based. 19.

The Green Door Store held host to some of the most exciting and unique acts from Brighton’s musical underbelly

The Green Door Store opened its Green Doors on the 23rd and 24th September for its annual free festival celebrating some of the best bands working in and around Brighton’s local scene today. Taking place for over a decade, it is something really special, with the community built around a love of performance and music come together for two days of excitement and inspiration.

Van Zon – 3pm

Van Zon’s set featured one of most pleasant surprises on the days event. Half way through they admitted to usually having a drummer amongst their ranks. Not only does this mean that Van Zon is a band to return to in the future for a whole different experience, but the band possess an endlessly impressive ability to adapt their sound to stunning results.

Their set began with an interpretation of ‘She Moves Through The Fair’. In the hands of Van Zon the acoustic folk was brought into the world of ethereal electronic soundscapes. Vocalist, Alexander, laid their angelic vocals over a bed of synths and feather light guitar in a gradual build imbuing a cinematic quality. One could close their eyes and picture a valley expunged in fog, occasionally letting the odd patch of emerald green shine through the murk.

Man/Woman/Chainsaw – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Canned Pineapple 4pm

Canned Pineapple are a band who defy labelling. Effortlessly blending styles and genres, from hard rock to rockabilly ballads, they set the stage for Drury’s wild vocal performances. Every sound they produced felt natural coming from them. The one throughline from the set was an unequivocal embracing of the self and unabashed pride for the eccentricities possessed by each.

Drury’s embodied exactly that, prancing around the stage in a flowing skirt and mesh top looking like there was nowhere else he would rather be, always joking around with the audience who were right with him every step of the way.

Starting their set on a fuzzed out blues-rock number, ‘Shubadooba’, kicking the set of with an explosion, with lyrics exploring the duality of a bygone era. The 60’s rocks sound culminated in a solo from Seán that called back to guitar heroism of the time, both critiquing and celebrating the past.

Canned Pineapple will be returning to Brighton Green Door Store for a headline show on the 9th November, a concert experience I would recommend to anyone.

Man/Woman/Chainsaw – 5pm

Straight from London, Man/Woman/Chainsaw brought a discordant fervour to the days festivities. Borrowing from free-jazz, spoken word poetry, post punk and noise pop, they proved themselves to not shy away from the joy and excitement of musical experimentation.

Vera was a powerhouse behind the mic, effortlessly switching between a sarcastic drawl on song ‘Back Burden’, released earlier this year, and maniacal screams in which you could feel the weight of her words infiltrating your ears and scratching the insides.

Technical difficulties were laughed off and met with a joyous cry from Vera when, like divine intervention, everything soured back into swing just in time for the track ‘Grow a Tongue in Time’. Beginning with only delicate violin and Vera’s voice, it was another example of the audible distance the group can traverse. It was a flurry of influence where each member carved their name in bold to each track that was played.

Ending their set on ‘Easy’ was a sum-up and victory lap of the past 30 minute barrage and perhaps their most in-depth exploration of musical chaos. Based around a patient and continuous build it swept the audience into a frenzy, with a blur of bodies swirling up amongst the crowd.

Man/Woman/Chainsaw – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Electric Cowboy Club – 5.35pm

Words cannot express my excitement to hear that Electric Cowboy Club would be performing on the bar stage. The band take the classic punk sound to its extreme conclusions, incorporating a horror core aesthetic situating them in some damp corner between The Cramps and Misfits.

There was a rush of ecstatic whispers building up to their set. The crowd were assuring each other of the bloodbath that was soon to come. When they had set up there was a chill in the air, the tension had been stretched so thin it could have been broken by a soft breeze. The band chose a different tool. A screeching wall of distortion erupted from the stage.

As if woken from a trance, Parker snapped his neck to survey the crowd. Eyes wide and face contorted into a wretched grimace he began to wail in to the mic a noise that would be at home in a slaughterhouse.

It is also crucial to mention the instrumentalists. Lissimore, Harcourt and Lenadd-O’shea provided skin-tight foundations for Brandon’s eccentricity to bounce off. They kept a consistent adrenaline fuelled ferocity to their performance, managing to capture the lightning in the bottle ferocity after playing consistently for so long. One of the highlights was song ‘Maxine,’ built around a lugubrious stomp groove that saw the audience doing their best ‘fe fi fo fum’ dance.

Electric Cowboy Club – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Alien Chicks – 6pm

Alien Chicks brought a kinetic fervour to the festival that no one knew they needed. The power trio encapsulate the feeling of being blasted out of a canon. Mixing post-punk with Latin, jazz and nursery rhymes, Alien Chicks set themselves apart from a line-up of truly singular visions.

Joe was one-of-a-kind in front of the mic. With wrath between his teeth, he spat anger with each syllable that passed through them. He would incorporate demonic laughing and a Cheshire grin letting the performance come through him. As the set progressed he utilised a softer vocal technique that was still delivered as if it was his last performance on the world.

Martha Daniels was an inspiration to watch on the kit. Seeing condensation boom off the floor tom as she attacked it sent chills down my back. She brought a barrage of dance punk grooves on the kit, never letting the energy dwindle. With an unmatched use of the cowbell she conducted the rapturous crowd beneath with the flick of the stick.

Their set ended on ‘27 Stitches’, a track that paraded the songwriting ability and daring nature of the band. Acting as a culmination of their influences: starting on an up-tempo jazz inspired instrumental with Joe borrowing from spoken-word and rap for his vocal delivery, only to launch into a fuzzed out breakdown that could melt the brain.

Alien Chicks are paving their own lane in the current post-punk zeitgeist, stretching the genre to its limits and I for one am nothing but ecstatic to have experienced them in a live setting.  

Alien Chicks – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Trip Westerns – 7pm

Note: distinction between Trip Westerns and Electric Cowboy Club, Trip Westerns are acoustic cowboys who play electric guitars.

Donning Stetsons, local Brighton Band Trip Westerns brought the rich sounds of the blues, psych and folk all in one. What may have seen like an outlier on the billing made all the sense in the world when they roared into gear, playing a set featuring tracks on their recently released self-titled E.P.

Riding on top of the band was front man Baird-Whitman. His vibrato trailing off at the end of his phrases was like butter for the ears. Halfway through the set, to the audiences joy, Baird-Whitmans unsheathed a harmonica. Dispersing wailing solos through out the rest of the set he scratched a musical itch you never knew you had.

Trip Westerns – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

AtticOMattic – 8pm

AtticOMattic are a band that manages to deceive and entrance and make the complex infectious. Their set featured newly released single ‘These Hands’ based around an uncompromisingly dense groove. Pairing Forder’s angular guitar arpeggios against a Dilla inspired drum beat, clamped together thanks to Freiss’s minimalistic but crucial bass lines. Managing to dancify alternating time signatures is a tall order but AtticOMattic sailed through it like a breeze.

One of the highlights of the night itself was Raghunath’s drum parts in the outro of ‘Spiritual Imposter’, skipping across the kit like it was silk, finding itself nestled somewhere between your ear and chest.

Skittering drums flourished, held in check by a ridged guitar loop contextualising the keys, allowing them to glide, frictionless, against the rhythmic dissonance. As quickly as the section came, it returned to the grooves of the verse with the band in full swing, now given room to embellish over their original theme.

With the guitar bleeding note on top of note; Raghunath and Freiss trading intracity interplay between each other; Kaur and Forder join together in vocal duties that fold over the mix and reverberate across the venue walls.

AtticOMattic – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

Flip Top Head9pm

Trombone Breakdown? Trombone Breakdown!

Bringing orchestral sounds to the realms of post-rock and punk may not seem like it would fit and in lesser hands you may be correct. Adding trombone, violin and cello to their roster expanded their musical opportunities and soundscapes that could be explored.

One moment that flawed me was the doubling up, on track ‘Seventh Bell Number’, of bass, trombone and the kick drum. It was unlike anything heard in any live setting before. Bowie’s delivery on this track grounded the erratic instrumentation and kept it bubbling at the sweet spot before atonality turned into noise. The track ended with Alfie on trombone vamping on dissonant arpeggios that the surrounding band thundered into.

Honeyglaze – 10pm

Honeyglaze headlined the night and while their sound was more subdued than the acts before them, by no means did the quality dwindle. They brought the mood down to a nostalgia verging on the bittersweet, yet a constant force of revolt against these exact feelings allowed the band to act as a warm hug, comforting everyone in the venue.

One of the highlights was Female Lead’ showing the bands skill in witty, relatable songwriting that acted as a veil for pent up emotions. The struggle observing a synthetic beauty, marketed as attainable, only to experience self-disillusionment was set over a lively instrumental with that highlighted the disconnect between the fictitious and the actual.

The set, and night, ended on ‘Childish Things’, a reflection of and refusal to repeat the past. As Anoshka projected the lyrics ‘Everything is fine, when you leave it behind’ it could be felt like a crashing wave, connecting the audience through a universality of a want to change and be better.

Honeyglaze – Photography by @michaelhundertmark

2,3,4 Fest was a celebration of so much. The community that has supported Green Door Store into becoming a fixture of Brighton’s local music scene. The audience, able to connect with one another through the universality and enjoyment of art. And the artists themselves, given a platform not just to share their own individuality, but to be surrounded by like-minded creatives. All I can say is that next year can’t come soon enough

Let us know what you think!