FREAK + White Hart + The Cut Ups
Green Door Store, Brighton
July 11 2017
Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox
It's a hot and sticky affair inside Brighton's Green Door Store despite the drizzling rain outside on this summer's evening. And for this Smashed Vinyl issue launch show, the temperature is get up in the 80s by all three acts.
First up are local alt-indie poppers White Hart. Only together as a band for eight months, but already getting the word out about themselves. New single 'Youngblood' gets the audience warmed up for the rest of the night, with even a little boogie-ing to be had. A band to keep watch on.
Exeter punk rockers The Cut Ups are veterans in the game, now entering their 17th year. As you might expect, they know what they're about and get down to crack some great rock vibes to what is obviously a strong South Coast fanbase.
Headliner FREAK, or simply Connar (Ridd) to his mum, was just a mere infant when The Cut Ups got going, and although he's still a young whippersnapper, barely 18 months in the game, he's working his way up the ranks with his invigorating and frenetic live outings.
He and his two fellow band members deliver a punch that's not often seen; the melodies blending with Connar's rapid punk-rap delivery and punchy guitar riffs perfectly. The now standard FREAK mosh pit is fully subscribed in the centre of the room, while a line of adoring girls keep their eyes fixed firmly on their blond teen idol on stage.
Leading off with 'I Like To Smile When I'm Sad' was going full pelt -until one of those dreaded guitar malfunctions that can happen to even the most seasoned pro, cropped up and briefly drew a halt to proceedings before he gamely picked up again, carrying on with the well received 'Floating High'.
Next up is latest single 'No Money', the 19-year-old's frenetic lash at the boredom and frustration of a 9 to 5 existence, his lyrics peppered with machine gun drums and frenzied riffs. This lad doesn't hang about, as songs flow in quick succession, and the high spirited crowd get stuck into their business of body crashing.
Fan favourite, last October's single release 'Nowhere', was tonight everywhere it should be and drew a big crowd response, to its punk refrain of "And I hate/All the things I make/And I hate/All the things I say/And I hate/All the things I do" - which judging by the reaction in the room, no one was agreeing with.
The set closes on 'What Happened?', the 'overthinking' song which first brought him to attention, where lyrically he, "can't stand the time I spend alone in my mind", as he pummels his way through its snappy, fuzzy chords, as the moshers are driven into an ecstatic frenzy.
What happened? was rather what this reviewer was left asking himself on leaving the venue later, after having experienced that last exhilarating half-hour.