Mick Robinson catches up with Young Fathers at Chalk and Sollus at Shortts

A cold dark dank Monday night in early Feb. The streets are empty and even the spirits of Brighton’s past are staying inside. I turn the corner of Poole Valley, the worst send off spot for coaches round the UK, and there’s a huge queue of shuffling souls in big coats and hats waiting to get into Chalk. “Fuckin’ hell’ we cry as we join the queue. Rock’n’Roll is still big in our city rain or shine and the draw tonight is Edinburgh’s Young Fathers.

It was the launch of their fourth album, but it was only 2022 when they came to my attention, and they feel like a brand new band. It helps that the gig is priced at a ‘realistic’ £12 – and that also helps explain the big turn out on this inhospitable night.

The 500 enthusiasts quickly settle into place, so standing at the back is pretty much the only option, and anyone familiar with standing at the back at Chalk will know the ‘watching the gig between the heads of the two tallest people in the venue syndrome’, as the band hit the stage to blast of white strobe light and Burundi beats.

Energy flies off the stage as the band cast shadowy silhouettes across the audience adding to the mystique of the band and the excitement of the audience.

A unique sound is extremely rare in ‘23, but Young Fathers have found it – tribal drums are mixed with electronica, off the wall vocals and brooding beats combine with a clever use of layered voices & synths. 
Few words are exchanged between songs and in one of those quiet moments a voice shouts “I love you” through the crowd. For a moment the band smile and nearly loose the thread of a serious stage show, but there is that adoration for them in this room. Suddenly it’s the last song and… No encore. Less than an hour and felt like only half way through a set. The idea of “treat ’em mean and keep ’em keen” is all very well, but that was a bit to short.

That did leave enough time to visit the monthly new band night at Shortts Bar  in the war zone-esque strip of St. James St, the bit between Morrisons & the Co-op, hosted by the wonderful up & coming band Zap Euphoria, having promoted gigs and attended many new bands at the start of their careers over the years. A while back everyone was sounding like an Oasis tribute act, then it was the Arctic Monkeys, and it was refreshing tonight to hear bands trying something new. If anything the new sounds were leaning on a near heavy metal in parts, but not too much, just great musicianship and energy rather than long hair, spandex and guitar solo overkill.

I only caught the set of locals Sollus, but what a great band they are, filling the dance floor on a Monday with crazy passionate fans, a clear sign that they do have something special, a treat of rolling bass lines and powerful drum beats, topped with great guitar and a soaring vocal. Lead guitarist mesmerising as he took on the skills of a young guitar hero Rory Gallagher , a mosh pit soon erupted. 

They were immediately booked em again for a Friday night, April 14th!
The Spirit of true rock n roll keeping our city alive.
Next New bands night is Monday March 6th.

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