HOTWAX + MARY IN THE JUNKYARD + JAR OF BLIND FLIES + VELVETINE – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 6.1.24
For the past 13 years the Green Door Store has been a cornerstone of Brighton’s grass roots live music scene. Now, that’s got to be as good a reason as any for a celebration. So, on Saturday they celebrated 13 wonderful years of live bands, moshpits, causing chaos and above all showcasing the beautiful local music scene with a birthday party. The music was provided by four exciting new bands. HotWax were this year’s birthday headliners, with a diverse supporting lineup of bands coming out of the current UK grassroots scene with Mary In The Junkyard, Jar Of Blind Flies and Velvetine.
The Green Door Store had been packed from the opening band. Hence, well before the headliners HotWax were due on stage, most of the partygoers had wised up to the one-in-one-out policy to get beyond the curtain separating the main performance area from the bar. The audience was crammed in and there was a real sense of anticipation and excitement for HotWax.
The Hasting’s trio started with ‘Barbie (Not Yours)’ and straight from the start a lively moshpit formed. Before the second song, singer Tallulah announced “Happy birthday Green Door Store. It’s so good to be here”. There was a genuine affection from the band for what they later described as one of their favourite venues having played many shows here.
Following a couple of tracks from their recent ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP, bassist Lola introduced a new song, which she said they’d not played live before. This new song had the band’s characteristic fast loud alt-rock guitars from the opening notes, mixed with quieter sections. Like the familiar songs in the rest of their set, this new offering went down a storm with the crowd.
For contrast in a quality varied set, ‘She Don’t Like It’ started with Tallulah singing accompanied only by her guitar and Alfie’s drums. Lola took it upon herself to get the crowd clapping along, before joining in on bass. Later ‘A Thousand Times’ also showed a mellower side to the band’s sound.
There was nothing mellow about their final number ‘Rip It Out’. With Lola’s bassline and Tallulah’s spoken word delivery at the start this was instantly recognised by the crowd. This song exploded into a frenzied and fitting finale to a great set and evening’s entertainment.
HotWax played with great energy and confidence. Their sound seemed to be even faster, sharper and louder, than their shows I saw last year.
Having appeared on many lists of “ones to watch in 2024” by the national music press, it was an honour to catch HotWax playing in a smaller grass roots venue, as many expect, they’ll be playing much bigger stages very soon. The trio remains grounded, acknowledging several times how important the Green Door Store and other similar venues are to them and other emerging bands.
Tallulah Sim-Savage – guitar/vocals
Lola Sam – bass/vocals
Alfie Sayers – drums
‘Barbie (Not Yours)’ (a 2022 single release)
‘Phone Machine’ (from 2023 ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP)
‘E Flat’ (from 2023 ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP)
“New Song” (an unreleased song)
‘Drop’ (from 2023 ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP)
‘Treasure’ (from 2023 ‘A Thousand Times’ EP)
‘She Don’t Like It’ (from 2023 ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP)
‘When We’re Dead’ (a 2021 single release)
‘A Thousand Times’ (from 2023 ‘A Thousand Times’ EP)
‘High Tea’ (from 2023 ‘Invite Me, Kindly’ EP)
‘Rip It Out’ (from 2023 ‘A Thousand Times’ EP)
Second on the bill, third on stage were the London-based band, Mary In The Junkyard, who describe themselves as an “angry weepy chaos rok trio”. They offered a mellower alternative to the bill, alongside the louder rock sounds of the other three bands.
I caught them at ‘Mutations’ festival last year, and they’ve grown in the few months since then. While there remained a vulnerability and softness to their sound, they appeared more confident and assured.
The drum kit had to be adjusted during the first song, as two of the cymbals were vertical. Not surprising, as it had taken a pounding from Jar Of Blind Flies who were on before. This didn’t put the band off their stride. For the second song bassist Saya picked up her violin. There were several slick instrument changes during the set. Saya swapped bass for guitar with singer Clari and also played guitar with her violin bow at one stage. This didn’t distract from the performance, but worked for those particular songs.
One key feature of Mary In The Junkyard’s set was the clever changes to the tempo and tone mid-song. Another was Clari’s quality vocals which portrayed many emotions and captivated the audience. It was a varied and very entertaining performance from Mary In The Junkyard, which I enjoyed and also went down well with the crowd.
Mary In The Junkyard:
Clari Freeman-Taylor – guitar/vocals
Saya Barbaglia – bass/violin
David Addison – drums
Second up were Jar Of Blind Flies, a grungy alt-rock three-piece from Brighton. They were straight out of the blocks with a fast number ‘Not Your Baby’. This featured an interesting and effective shared vocal between drummer Marley’s trash metal delivery and Maddy’s more ethereal style. Maddy went more grunge on the second track, ‘Crawl Back Inside’, by which time a lively mosh pit had formed. Some in the crowd were later headbanging in unison to the band’s sound.
Amongst the energetic loud grunge, Bar Of Blind Flies varied their set with some slower numbers. Maddy’s voice easily crossed over from those relatively gentle quieter moments before rising impressively on the louder shouty parts. The more subtle sections mixed in with the harsh sound worked well, especially on their final number ‘Far From Land’.
Maddy told me that the band will have new material out soon. I, for one, will be looking out for that along with the chance to see it performed live.
Jar Of Blind Flies:
Maddy – vocals / guitar
Jake – bass
Marley – drums
Getting the Green Door Store party started were London alternative post-punk four-piece Velvetine, who were playing their first gig in Brighton. The venue was already packed by the time they came on stage.
Velvetine blended post-punk, art-rock, and shoegaze into gloomy and atmospheric alternative rock. Their harsh soundscapes contrasted beautifully with Mia’s dreamy vocals. Guitarist Ross crafted feedback into the mix. Later in their excellent set were gothic shoegaze sounds. At times it sounded to me like a more enigmatic Sonic Youth.
As well as playing to a packed crowd in front of the stage area, there were about five or six rows deep into the bar area straining to catch a glimpse of Velvetine’s set. This was similar for all four bands on Saturday.
Mia told me that Velvetine are due to play Brighton again in the spring. I, along with many at the Green Door Store, will be looking out for that show.
Ross – guitar
Josh – bass
Gabe – drums
Mia – vocals
It was a lively fitting birthday celebration for Green Door Store entering its teenage years, with great performances from all four bands. For more exciting nights of live music, check out their website HERE.