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GIG REVIEW: The SQ Stage, Day One, July 14th

Posted on Saturday, 14 July by

For this year’s Eastbourne Extreme, SQ Magazine are working to showcase some of the brightest and most brilliant local music talent at the SQ Stage – a free, two day live music festival that’s taken the town by storm. Here’s the tale of the first day, featuring performances by Collisions, Matt Bonner, Oh! My Head, Run Young Lovers, Glam Ryze, Kalestix, Bat Country and Loose Lips.

First up on stage before a less than daunting empty looking field basking in sunlight was Collisions. Unperturbed by disappointment this band with a blend of metal, drum ‘n’ bass and progressive rock dug into their sound ripped through their set with all the energy and style of bands like Enter Shikari and Pendulum, delivering a top-class, fast-paced performance. Collisions deserved an audience, and they were let down by the early start, but had anyone shown up they would’ve surely driven the crowd into a ravenous frenzy. A great start.

Next up, and replacing Juno, was singer/songwriter Matt Bonner. Confident as always in manner and sound Matt brought a summer atmosphere to the grotty sky. With favourites of SQ like “Every Night” and Dave McPherson’s “Hearts Need Blood” he proved to be a more than worthy replacement, leaving the crowd, or at least this reviewer, singing along.

Jumping off with a fantastic bassline and funk verging vocals that almost had a flavour of famous frontmen like Axel Rose and Ozzy Osbourne, Oh! My Head gave a performance that caught attention and by now Princes Park was rammed with an expectant crowd. With distinct vocals, great solos and a steady, constant build-up throughout their tracks they shone out influences from bands like The Clash and The Velvet Underground. Songs like “The Annoyance”, “The Soup” and “Run For Your Life” demonstrated a deeply dug talent that was particularly apparent in regards to the bass.

With a founding member of the band behind Frankmusik on drums Run Young Lovers stood out thanks to a bouncy, animated frontman and an indie rock sound straight out of the NME. Playing tracks like “Let’s Just Go The Way We Know” the Brighton quintet were full of energy, exuding an air of confidence that only a well-matched, tight band could achieve.

A band whose name has been a familiar sight throughout Eastbourne for a few years now Glam Ryze delivered their set with the usual gusto. Natural on stage the band’s American rock sound was lapped up by the crowd, many of whom seemed die-hard fans. Influenced by the likes of Buckcherry and The Black Crowes they let out a power punch of adrenaline soaked energy studded with solos, weaving basslines and thrashing drums.

A massive step away from the style of the bands that came before and after them hip hop duo Kalestix delivered expertly written rhymes, backed up by crafty hooks and beats. Though they certainly weren’t the cup of tea for some of the audience, but devilish charm and originality certainly seemed to go down well in the eyes, or ears, of others. Songs like “I Am Not A Human” and “Lazy” raised eyebrows and pulled out laughs as the pair coupled the serious and the comedic in perfect harmony.

Pulling things back to the realm of rock Arctic Monkeys-esque Brightonians Bat Country perked up ears and kept hold of their attention with a really British sound that was emphasised by swinging sixties style keyboards and dark, tuneful melody. With a touch of reggae, jazz and blues Bat Country defied the confines of genre, instead dipping in and out of many different styles. Frontman Alexi was a real surprise, thanks to a rhythmic, fluid lyrical style that worked to a beautiful effect with choral sounds and mournful tone.

Last up were headliners for the day, and surely the next big thing to come out of Brighton, Loose Lips. Big in sound and style the band showed off an anthemic, powerful sound, a pleasing hybrid of hard rock and pop punk, that was catchy as well as startling. Loose Lip’s fast playing, sweet riffs and memorable touches bring to mind bands like The Who and Biffy Clyro, who surely must be influences in some way, and are known to leave the audience wanting more, and boy did we. A fantastic end to a fantastic day.

Huge thanks to everyone who came down, and to all the acts who performed. Hope to see just as many of you guys down tomorrow!

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