The Pipeline, Brighton
7th July 2023
Taken to the internet after my friends stopped listening to my music recommendations. Brighton based. 19.
Punk act Animal Shithouse left intimate crowd reeling after jaw-breaking set at Brighton Pipeline
On 7th July Animal Shithouse headlined The Pipeline in Brighton. With only a capacity of 60 people the venue offers a far more intimate experience with the artists who play there. With the stage only a few inches off the ground in a cramped attic, even pressing your back against the wall gives little release from the maelstrom that can erupt when the audience is riled up.
This venue is definitely love it or hate it. Some may want to stand and bob to music, not getting in people’s way. Others embrace the confined quarters accepting an unspoken challenge to take up as much room as possible. With a room full of people with that exact same idea, it offers an experience unlike any else. In this venue the crowd are integral to the experience, where one person becomes the equivalent of a hundred in the sea of sweat and bodies.
The venue is perfect for a band like Animal Shithouse. A punk band originating out of Tunbridge Wells formed by Mylan Kumar (drums) Elliot Mulley (guitar/ bass), Alex Armstrong (guitar/bass) and B.M Martin (vocals) based between London, Bristol and Brighton. They released debut E.P ‘House of Shit‘ in 2022 and subsequently put out singles ‘This Town is a Graveyard’ and ‘I just Punched Piers Morgan’. They have been performing throughout the past two years, at events such as The Great Escape and opening for SOFT PLAY and Bob Vylan.
Their sound is rooted firmly in Punk and Post Punk, drawing parallels to The Birthday Party, Black Flag and early Daughters releases, delivering a viciousness in their performance that has only refined across their short tenure.
Their set opened with the track ‘I lost my Mandy in the Sainsbury’s Car Park’ with Kumar’s skittering drum beat forming a rhythmic tension with a lurching and dragging tempo soon met with a sour guitar riff, solidifying the groove whilst warning the crowd they should prepare themselves.
Themes of violence, self-hatred and drug abuse all making appearance can put off an audience but an almost absurdist humour is paired with these heavy themes like ‘Red Stripe’ introduced as ‘a song about downing a Red Stripe and punching old ladies’. These topics aren’t trivialised but satirised, showing a tortured psyche battling with and amongst the deafening shudder of the instruments.
Herein lies one of my favourite aspects of the band: their ability to fester amongst contradictions. They are a culmination of opposites, mixing a searing hatred, dictated by anger that acts as a veil for a truly naked vulnerability.
Perfectly encapsulating such is the track ‘Words Are Just That’ which toes the line between song and art piece. The track commences with a bass motif by Mully, soon joined by the rest of the band as they orchestrate a crescendo of dissonance. During this Martin has his head buried in between the drum kit, hunched over like a worn down dog, nearly obscured from a standing view. The instrumentalists engulf the crowd in a creeping uncertainty where the hairs on the back of their necks stand on edge.
And then, silence.
Nothing but the distant memory of feedback remains while Martin rises and cradles the mic stand, delivering a seething poem performed between ferocious screams and meek whimpers with gripping intensity.
The motif returns at a faster pace ushering in a cataclysmic climax to the song as one last howl rings out, until it is buried under the cacophony and the crowd erupts, matching the rage on stage, crashing into each other like juggernauts. Reaching its climax, Armstrong grabs hold of the motif, wrapping it between guitar flourishes until the piece settles and simmers, eventually overtaken by the sound of applause.
Perhaps the best moment of the show was the, as of yet, unreleased track ‘Enemy’, which see’s the band in complete unity, acting not as a band of four but as one entity. Boasting a pummelling riff and infectious hook, the track was backed by strobe lights making band and crowd flash to and fro with glitchy momentum as if you have found yourself in a flick book from hell.
The experience was one that left me and fellow audience members in sweat and tired smiles as we flooded out of the venue only able to muster the words “Fuckin’ Hell”. I look forward to seeing what they have next in store and urge you to follow this band; their journey has still only just begun.