The night opens with the self-styled glam-punk ‘freak-rock’ of Pink Narcissus. Frontman Oli Spleen’s tenor delivery sets the tone for the band’s new wave flavour, based on a solid and snapping foundation from the rhythm section and guitar playing almost as flamboyant as the singer. New release Blood on the Page has given the band an impetus that gains them fans with each performance, and it certainly is a performance, all the more reason to get down early.
The aftermath of every Clowns show is littered with superlatives, the least that could be expected from a line-up that includes members of Brighton Noise favourites Restlesslist, Brakes, The Poppycocks and The Electric Soft Parade. A gleefully raucous rabble that tread a similar new wave/punk tightrope as Pink Narcissus but with a meaner, more jagged edge, Clowns are the razor-sharp spring tight wound on a jack-in-the-box, the hydrochloric acid in a watergun lapel flower and all the more enjoyable for it. Well overdue a new release, the three track single “Idiot Bouncing” is still unremitting brilliance while new songs are constantly uploaded to their soundcloud.
Seeing out the night in style are Dundee’s Fat Goth, on tour to promote their second release STUD, an album of steely, raw post-hardcore that has go the thumbs up from Rocksound, Artrocker, Drowned In Sound, Terrorizer, Q Magazine and pretty much everyone who’s heard it. Album opener “Surf’s Down” sounds like the bastard son of a Melvins riff-fest and The Jesus Lizard’s unhinged rockabilly, pretty much setting the scene for them to do whatever they want, from math rock technicality to chugging, rolling, Queens of the Stone Age hooks and even the soft-strumming Beach Boys bounce of Pinball Moron. Skillfully executed, deeply referential and able to turn from affable to aggressive quicker than a junkyard doberman, STUD is both a grower and a show-er. Impressive doesn’t even begin to cover it.