Served up are a twin serving of Brighton, sandwiched between a more immediate ensemble in the shape of Blood-Visions. New Boots had been led to believe the locals were one of Northampton’s finest. That report, it unfolds, is pretty bang on the money. The quintet [4x guy, 1x gal] oscillate between hardcore punk and pop-punk/emo, and it is not immediately clear whether they are a “message band” [in the time-honoured tradition of Black Flag, Fugazi, etc.], or simply in it for shits and giggles [as they’re named after a Jay Reatard album let us assume the latter]. Regardless of intent the performance is carried to another level by the ferocious-yet-witty presence of frontman Joss. The songs lock into a simple riff-based groove and batter you into submission. If you like your music literally in your face you’ll find plenty to love with these visions.

Before that though the evening opens with The New Tusk, the Brighton trio that look quite like Husker Du and Soundgarden. Their sound is lot more indie though, with Cribs-style jittery guitar patterns sprinkled liberally throughout. Doomy bass lines propel the whole thing forward, and you can appreciate the live arena is their natural domain. It’s imperative to nod your head on this journey their on. It’s a solid rather than world beating start to the evening, and do definitely keep an eye on the name for future releases as they have all the classic makings there.

Headliners Birdskulls – Jack [guitar and vocals], James [normally/formerly Rory, bass] and Sam [drums] – are our second Brighton band tonight. With one solid album under their belts tonight they share their Lemonheads/Nirvana-indebted grunge pop with the uninitiated, and the audience and New Boots are ever so pleased they did, for they got it going on, as ably demonstrated on new song ‘Over It‘. There’s a self-titled EP released this autumn via Art Is Hard Records [and recorded with Theo Verney, no less]. Do check it out when it drops.

Phil Istine