I made it into the pretty busy venue in good time for the support act, a few of whose songs I had streamed earlier in the day as a heads-up. That was enough to make me optimistic that getting in handy wouldn’t be a waste of effort.
The audience was much younger than the average gig I attend, and considerably more female-biased, which came to the fore ahead of Lauran Hibberd when the front couple of rows all sang along very loudly to The Killers’ Mr. Brightside being played by the club DJ.
That was a real surprise as the song is over fifteen years old, so the equivalent for me at their (approximate) age would have been having a mass pre-gig singalong to Sailing by Rod Stewart or some Bay City Rollers! For the avoidance of all doubt, that never happened nor was likely to.
Lauran Hibberd was backed by a three-piece band with their sound very badly affected by the almost inability to hear the guitars in what was a very drum-heavy mix.
So, my lack of enthusiasm for the songs may well be down to the sound and not just the quality of the music, although I’m fairly sure her target audience was the twentysomethings screeching and yelping incredibly enthusiastically down the front, not the few bearded blokes at the back.
She’s one of very few musicians from the Isle of Wight I’ve ever seen, if not the only one, as I never got to see The Bees, and there really aren’t very many bands or singers from there that I’m aware of.
After What Do Girls Want?, Lauran tried to set drummer Max Perry up with a date, a request she came back to at least once more in the set.
Hoochie reminded me of a lesser Sleeper song, while the next number (Sweat Patch) featured my favourite part of the set, the “clean, clean” second chorus bit.
The set ended with Shark Week, which wasn’t as hard-hitting a closer as some of the previous numbers, like the preceding Sugardaddy.
In another time, I could imagine her becoming a big star and selling lots of records. However, I think she’ll be getting streamed a fair amount and flogging t-shirts instead in today’s climate.
There was another audience singalong to The Killers in between bands, although Somebody Told Me didn’t generate quite as much enthusiasm as Mr. Brightside.
Oddly, The Regrettes came out onto the stage to do a bit of tuning up while sporting Clinic-like surgical masks, which they had shed by the time they returned for the show proper.
They used the opening track from this year’s second album How Do You Love? as ‘walk-on’ music, before hitting us with the double whammy of California Friends and Dress Up from that record.
I first heard of the LA band thanks to the very US garage/punk-focused The Ledge podcast, before picking up their debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool! in February 2017. Sadly, they only played three tracks off this record.
Opening track Come Through from the 2018 Attention Seeker ep followed, which I had bought earlier this year in anticipation of this gig, together with the latest LP (well, CD). This saw singer Lydia Night heading into the crowd.
Go Love You, a song about a “shitty ex”, featured an orchestrated crowd crouch, the first I can recall since The Decemberists around 2005, although in reality that was sitting more than crouching.
Hey Now was an early highlight, while the subsequent Lacy Loo off the debut album featured some great “wah”s and synchronised band dancing.
Towards the end of the set, More Than A Month featured some great bass work from Brooke Dickson, who’s only been in the band since last year. In fact, I have only just discovered that the whole rhythm section changed in 2018, with Brooke and drummer Drew Thomsen both being the third in their posts.
Seashore, another of the few off the first record, generated a big singalong, with the set then closing with Stop And Go off the latest album, which features some kind of pseudo-reggae breakdown section.
The encore started with just Lydia and guitarist Genessa Gariano performing Coloring Book, with the song slowly being fleshed out as Brooke and then Drew returned to the stage.
They then played one more track, an angry anti-rape culture song called Poor Boy that I’d never heard of before.
Sadly, they didn’t play my favourite song of theirs, Juicebox Baby from the debut album, which I think had been my first introduction to the band via The Ledge (back In February 2017, according to the powers of the internet).
Still, it had been a good hour’s worth of high class pop-punk with attitude.
I wore my red Buzzcocks t-shirt, in honour of the pop-punk influences on the show, but couldn’t spot many other band tees in evidence, although I think there were a few I couldn’t get a good look at. The only one I noted was the Reading Festival.
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Here is much of the music from the show on Spotify: