Tatty Seaside Town, AKA Papa C, AKA Colin Wakefield has been at the heart of the Brighton DIY music scene for well over a decade. Two decades if you count his sterling work running the alternative treasure trove that is Edgeworld Records (which has now taken on a nomadic life, roaming up and down the country in pop up form). This, his second all-dayer of the year, has been entitled ‘Friends & Favourites’ and it’s easy to see why. Regulars, familiar faces, and leading lights of the British underground are all in attendance.
The day kicks off with a snarl and a stomp as Southampton hardcore oiks Le Snags heave their twin bass assault along the south coast. Pelvic thrusting and cobble-hogging yowls drag distraught punk into a full-blown frantic and pummelling panic. Fret start a sniff less snotty. Their gentle chords lead to tsunami-sized waves of bass and thudding toms. There’s something tribal at hand. Something foreboding. The tireless drumming practically bashes the stage apart as they roll from no-wave instrumentals to whimsical, Slint-like builds. Fret’s Rumi/Cohen referencing record from earlier this year gets noisy with the best of them.
That was in the main room. In the bar area, a space for dabbling, experimentation, and abject noise has been sectioned off and dubbed The Naughty Corner. First up here are the folk sounds, interweaved pop, and mysterious poetry of Dolly Turing. She speaks of fear, sadness, death, and breathing. Her esoteric trinkets scatter sounds sporadically, calling to mind the ambient musings of Marker or Meades. Just with a dash more incense and scarf-dancing.
Structure stride on to the main stage next with their own breed of post-punk bangers. All rhythms disjointed, all riffs a-lunging. Alternating from the bassists pained yelps to a dead pan drawl from the guitarist, this three-piece combine the ache of Joy Division with a knowing swagger. The womb-like pulses of Goitt subsequently surface from The Naughty Corner. Melancholic blasts of saxophone (the first of three to make an appearance today) search out whispered promises and the attention demanding torpid drones are manipulated from spaghettied pedals.
A head-clearing, palette-cleansing, synth sorbet then arrives in the form of Not Sorry. Pumping out punky, funk-adoring rhythms, these London types are unapologetically grinsome. Like strutting down an ice-cream drizzled street towards a shepherd-delighting sunset. Laced with Italo Disco beats and utterly devoid of mawk, their set ends with an attempt at 80s’ menace which just cannot stop itself from becoming a glorious electro rapture. Drill Folly (Melbourne artist Sarah Phelan) summons fuzzy drones with glitchy patterns that ascend well beyond the confines of the bar area. Electronics click and collapse in a manner befitting of that ambient maestro, Fennesz. Staccato tendrils weave alien-like across beer swilled cobblestones and Phelan leans further into mournful ambience as the set progresses. She stirs dreams dissipating in the wake of a swish of hope.
There is little time to digest and reflect on this before the bowel-bothering Mesange take to the stage. Thick seismic riffs part space for Agathe Max’s searing violin strings. Each shift like an inviting beckon to shore. Looped guitars stand fast against strings that swirl into cinematic shrieks. The tethering guitar slabs become pressing. Demand order. Whilst bowed fluctuations allow heartfelt notes to drift off like memories not clutched.
Following this, Jon Richards of ex-Hey Colossus and Joeyfat notoriety brings his improvised digi-dub solo project – Kreol Lovecall – to the Green Door Store. It’s a throng of jenked out leers and spasmodic beats. Like teetering on the edge of a K cliff yet veering back at just the right time. Nothing but smiles all round for this one. There’s a solid change of pace with Rattle then, whose double-drummer formation is oxymoronically comforting and pounding all at once. Deep, earthly wails seem urgent and primal. The two stick-smiths never in competition, always complementing one another with subtle variations that twirl and spiral. Forming and deconstructing poly-rhythms that toes tap into the evening.
After two drummers come two guitarists. Comprised of Jason Carty and Jodie Cox, Markers play vulnerable and carefully structured pieces. Notes are left hanging, exposed, and then lost in a flurry. Their music mounts slowly and gently, with conspiratorial threads which disappear into soothing sonic forests. They evoke the feeling of searching for something once promised, now forgotten.
Fresh from recording a session at the BBC’s illustrious Maida Vale studios, Lower Slaughter plough into town full of a bolshy bravado that only they have the bloody tenacity to back up. Their brand of thunderous gusto mashes bone marrow and knocks lumps out of ceilings. Singer Sinead Young’s vocals sound simultaneously enraged, threatening, and hopeful. And so they should. Lower Slaughter’s debut album only dropped in September and they are already unleashing a handful of new tracks upon a heartily receptive audience. By the time that closer ‘Bone Meal’ powers around, their sludge stomp has scorched riff after glorious riff into the chaos of a collected consciousness.
Closing things off in the bar area are Sun Skeletons. Featuring Workin’ Man Noise Unit types, this trio of sax, bare bones drums, and a casual Shahi Baaja bring eastern-tinged vibes to a soggy Saturday evening. Brassy drones compliment the cortex-tranquillising strings, all propelled along by hypnotic and repetitive percussion which occasionally clumps together but always belies the stature of this second stage.
Directly off the boat after tearing up Utrecht on Friday night, Sex Swing waste no time locking straight into the sort of singular psych groove that reverberates the spines and minds of all that stand before them. Acid-soaked vocals soar in competition with both garbled electronics and a saxophonist who dishes out low-end wobbles and demented caterwauls from one exhale to the next. Add to this the glaze-eyed drummer punishing all available skins as one reptilian construct collides into another and this is undeniable proof that the keeling beast that is Sex Swing is even greater than the sum of its already formidable parts.
Bringing the heady day to a rousing finale are a band who vie with Edgeworld Records for longevity. Leeds legends Bilge Pump make music like bursting fruit or rivers that drown buttresses; it’s out of control yet absolutely joyous in its carnage. Pirouetting from tight to loose within the “KAH” of a snare drum, their scattered guitar sound is the 90s made fresh again. The compositions are angular and cataclysmic. Drum sticks skitter in bursts and there is pained bluster contained within the meteoric riffs that this trio gouges from a swooning psyche. In short, it is undeniably great to witness this succeed. Amps click off and thoughts have already begun to race to the following March and the next all-day TST show.