Is there a mini grunge revival going on? If there isn’t, then that’s only because the music never really went away.
Following very much in the wake of the lumbering post-Pixies brutality of Hot Sauce Pony and Hurtling‘s accomplished grunge-gaze hybrid, come Beach Riot.
This four piece from Brighton more closely resemble a mini Sonic Youth, clocking in at half the age and packing double the energy levels.
At least, they are mining a similar vein of noisy chaos and melodic memorableness that Sonic Youth hit on around the peak of their career (we’re talking the 90-92 sweet spot of Goo and Dirty). With his lanky frame and crimped hair, singer/guitarist Rory O’Connor cuts a similar figure to Thurston Moore too, especially when sharing frontperson duties with the eminently more glamorous Cami Menditeguy (also guitars/and vocals).
Some of the best moment in their 11 track set tonight are when their twin vocals emerge from the storm and fuzz pedals and deliver a killer chorus or two. The former single ‘Robot‘, for instance, dropped half way through, which gets the already pogoing crowd singing along lustfully.
It’s the influence, however, of the other half of the band – Jim Faulkner (bass and vocals) and Jonny Ross (drums) – that steers them away from tribute band territory. Wearing his hood up despite the quite sweltering conditions iupstairs at the Old Blue Last, Fraulkner looks more skate punk than Brooklyn hipster.
Together with the superlative skin-pummeling of Ross, who is without doubt both the best musician of the four and the pulsing heartbeat of the band, they come into their own when Beach Riot’s more hardcore side shows, deftly proving that the riot element of the outfit’s name is no idly boast.
Saving the best – their current offering ‘Stuck Inside‘ – for last, Beach Riot leave the room full of smiles and quite a few hoarse throats too. They’re not quite the finished article yet – they spend far too long tuning their guitars between songs and need to develop their crowd banter a bit – but they’re definitely on the right path and heading somewhere quite intoxicating indeed. We’re pretty sure they’ll get there too.
Images by Chris Patmore