Hope and Ruin, Brighton 28/7/2018

I have two plus-ones this evening. Well, one of them is official and the other had to pay. Both are musos and very opinionated at that. More opinionated than me even. They think the support band aren’t very good – those weren’t their exact words but this is a family site. Arable Desert are a trio from London, though I can only see two of them, deciding that they actually have a tiny bassist to compliment the singer’s massive collar.

Emulating The Black Lips, it’s often this sort of garage rock that they are attempting to achieve and I love The Black Lips. However, Arable Desert play a show this evening that probably was never meant to happen. The two normal-sized members don’t seem to have any connection with each other at all (I couldn’t see what the bass player was doing; I think he or she was hidden behind the laptop that they are using for some sort of backing track). The lead singer appears to be trying to guide the drummer, who looks a little bewildered towards the end of the set, after they have given up on a few tracks already. What happened to the rest of the band? In short, Arable Desert would have been more impressive if they’d stayed at home or just sent a CD in for the venue to play, as that’s pretty much what they did anyway, just with a confused drummer and an increasingly desperate-looking frontman.

Vinyl Staircase also have some serious dress sense. Respectably tucking their t-shirts into their jeans, they have carefully raided the vintage shops of their native Dorking, therefore completely angering both myself and my companions in the process. Looking like they are trying just a bit too hard, regardless it is noted that at least they have a real bassist so are already one up on Arable Desert. A quartet of youths, the singer poses very self-assuredly, which annoys me even more because I’m aging and bitter. Anyway, they have a self-titled EP (naturally), available everywhere apparently and, if you are still interested, their music is a mix of four young men who are channelling their inner Jagger combined with four young men who have just discovered early baggy guitar groups like Ride. Either way, tracks like recent single, ‘Cherry’ and ‘Dandelion Wine’ have a vintage feel to match the outfits, landing somewhere between a sixties parody and Britpop tribute. Vinyl Staircase can undoubtedly play and entertain but perhaps they are just another band who make me feel like the search to find something original these days is not quite over yet.


Anna C