SPRINTS – RESIDENT, BRIGHTON 7.1.24
Sprints are a four piece garage-punk band hailing from Dublin. Inspired by bands such as Savages, early Pixies, Bauhaus and Siouxsie Sioux. Their explosive sound really has evolved over the past three years, becoming experts in delivering energetic and abrasive live shows, coupled along with a stream of excellent single and EP releases, it has made them a force to be reckoned with.
And after those three years, things with the band have nicely distilled to the point where on 5th January 2024 the band have delivered the most excellent album ‘Letter To Self’, one where they truly have honed their sound and harnessed all of that learned experience, tension, smouldering fuses into something just very special and exciting, an album as it stands, that could chart very high indeed, so be sure to check it out.
2023 saw Brighton being treated to two performances from Sprints, the first being a sold out show at the Komedia Studio in February as part of independent venue week, which funnily enough was the first gig I went to in 2023. They then returned to play at Patterns on May the 13th as part of ‘The Great Escape Festival’. Having attended the Komedia show, I was very much looking forward to seeing the band again at Patterns during the festival, but despite arriving early, the queue to get in went way around the block and was full to capacity, so sadly I missed out. When I saw the instore performance at the legendary Resident Music go on sale last September, I could not have moved any faster to secure my ticket and red LP….and yes as predicted it sold out fast.
Brighton is the second of a short run of in-store performances taking place to promote the album, starting in London on album release day, the 5th January, then Brighton on 7th, Nottingham on the 9th, Bristol on the 10th and finally Dublin on the 11th. The run is only punctuated by a special appearance on Steve Lamacq’s new BBC 6Music show ‘Teatime Sessions’, where the band will be playing songs from the album live from the world famous Maida Vale studios.
The staff at Resident are now experts with their in-stores, whisking us all in from the cold in record time, there was no hanging around and the band came out to a rousing applause, not long after.
Lead vocalist Karla Chubb welcomed everyone with humour, much of which would come between the songs as the evening progressed. “Hi, everyone here doing dry January?” prompted much laughter.
She continued “I see kids in the audience, so putting my potty mouth away, they listen to the music so they are damaged enough”. Resident have a great policy of allowing under 14s in for free, a great way to introduce the young onto a path of good sounds, one young kid was right down front tonight, hence Karla’s comment.
“We are going to play some album songs for you” and she was not telling fibs, we were treated to seven songs no less from ‘Letter To Self’, starting with the brilliant album opener ‘Ticking’.
Cranking the guitar ready for the next track ‘Heavy’ Karla stopped and declared “We are worried about blowing everybody’s ears off, we’ve never played this close to everyone, so if it’s loud, let us, you blink twice or something”. Thankfully there was no blinking or ears being blown off.
Following the song, bass player Sam thanked the crowd “Thanks for coming down, it’s been a really good weekend, we’ve had a very party filled weekend.”
Karla interjected in jovial defence “I mean it is an album launch, so you’ve got to celebrate, that’s what you do”. “This is my Sunday evening I guess” replied Sam. Karla jokingly questioned in reference to their breakneck touring, “It’s Sunday? All we see is van, get up…van”.
Karla continued “It’s amazing to see the response to the album, we were a little nervous about it, but it’s sitting at No. 3 in the album charts right now apparently, some band called Shed Seven are at the top, I’ve never heard of them, sorry (she joked), they are here tomorrow though, so don’t go, don’t buy more of their records, we are the hot competition you know!”
Next up was ‘Cathedral’ “another album track, one our favourites when we are live, hopefully the glass won’t shatter” laughed Karla
Next followed a little banter with the crowd, with Karla stating “Sam’s on the tea, but we are on the ghee, thanks for coming down, we love Brighton, it’s one of our favourite places, in fact it is our favourite place in the UK by a long shot, we love coming down here, it feels like Dublin, the sea is so near by, people are amazing, the pubs are great” she continued “Has everyone listened to the album? Has everyone bought the album?” “Yes” was the resounding reply, ”You had to, in order to get in here didn’t you”. “anyone have a favourite song from the album”
“Heavy” shouted someone in the crowd. “We just played that” replied Karla, “Play it again” the chap in the crowd replied, prompting more laughter.
“We’ll just play that song over and over shall we?, Well the next song, surprisingly is another from the album, actually it was the first single release before we made the album” she then dedicated the song to the young kid at the very front. ‘Adore, Adore, Adore’, another massive crowd pleaser at their live shows.
The next song was one that they had never played live before, Sam asked us to go easy on them, it was one that they felt is very hard to play live and this will be the only time they plan on playing it on this tour aside the forthcoming session at Maida Vale live on the radio and with that Karla started to play ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ of course with all that build up something had to go wrong with Karla being in the wrong chords, “Welcome to band practice” laughed Sam, with a restart the song went without a hitch, a real treat for us here in Brighton.
Next up was ‘Up And Comer’ and then the final song of the evening with Karla joking “Well, we have to go the pub at some time”, it was the powerhouse of a song, ‘Literary Mind’, one that always gets the crowd jumping and one that really pushed the band with plenty of radio airplay and exposure upon its single release, as Karla put it “It’s a fan favourite and if it’s not…..the door is over there”. The song ended with everyone clapping along to Sam’s words before the explosive screaming from Karla.
The band afterwards all took part in the signing session, happy to pose for photos and have a chat, they really are a lovely grounded group of fine people, always polite and smiley to those with interest. I started 2023 with them, they were the first again for me in 2024, will they be my first in 2025, we’ll just have to wait and see.
After the last few nights of instore shows at Nottingham, Bristol and Dublin, February will see the band tour Europe with English Teacher and March will be a tour of the USA. Sprints then return for UK tour dates in support of the album in April, with Brighton’s very own Patterns being on the 9th April. A show that is long sold out, but as with all things it is worth getting on the waiting list just in case. One thing I know for sure is I’ll be making sure I arrive way early in order to secure a good spot as I can feel in my bones it’s going to be one hell of a show.
The album ‘Letter To Self’ is available from Resident HERE with all purchases counting towards its debut chart position next Friday.
Karla Chubb – vocals / guitar
Colm O’Reilly – guitar
Jack Callan – drums
Sam McCann – bass guitar / backing vocals
Sprints setlist – all taken from ‘Letter To Self’ debut album
‘Adore Adore Adore’
‘Shadow Of A Doubt’
‘Up And Comer’