SUEP + SAD DADS + FRUITY WATER – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 18.1.24
‘Triptych VII’ returned once more to Brighton this January, running from the 18th to the 20th January at the mighty Hope & Ruin. ‘Triptych’ consists of three nights each featuring three Brighton-based bands selected by the most excellent promoter Love Thy Neighbour, not only that, but each night will be accompanied by a lathe-cut vinyl release, one for each night, limited to a mere 15 copies each or 45 across all three releases, so for those serious record collectors, you will want to be there nice and early. I am still on the hunt for Projectors from ‘Triptych II’ in 2018 if anyone out there has it.
So here I am for night one and my word was it cold outside, surely the coldest it has been in years. I was very glad to get inside the warm atmosphere of The Hope & Ruin and treat myself to a pre-gig pint of Laines brewery Sonar beer, which was one of the many fabulous drink special deals on offer at The Hope & Ruin. After a bit of people watching it was time to head upstairs and get a decent spot at the front for the three rather musically different bands playing tonight, those bands were Fruity Water, Sad Dads and SUEP.
Fruity Water’s Bandcamp biography reads Fruity Water are a two-piece electronic indie duo from Brighton featuring Adam Bell and Alan Odgers. The two formed Fruity Water as a DIY side project to the band Octopuses and were surprised when their singles to 2018 debut album ‘Thirst Takes’ received considerable play on BBC 6Music. After releasing their second album ‘Fuzzy Orange’ in the height of lockdown, the group have been back on the Brighton scene, regularly playing at their local Rossi Bar dance night ‘Midnight Salad’, in fact they will be back there for their new single launch on February 10th – Details HERE.
I had not seen them play live, so I was really looking forward to tonight and I was not disappointed. At 8:20pm on the dot, Alan with his hood pulled up and Adam sporting a Carhartt Beanie stepped up on to the stage and without further ado got straight into playing a nonstop 33 minute magical electro journey of a set, ending at approximately 8:55pm.
And what a journey it was, starting with ‘It’s On’, Alan was on vocals, his voice heavily changed with a wavy computer sounding effect drawing us in gently to what would become a perfect meld of electronic beats, guitar and effects. There was little talk throughout the set as each song seamlessly moved into the next.
The beats melted into ‘Sometimes’ with Adam now on vocals. Alan then upped the BPM to 132 and we were then taken into ‘Desert’, Adams guitar work on this gave it a real Arabian vibe, I could almost feel the sand blowing on my face.
Alan was a constant force of bouncing and jumping behind his set up of an AKAI Professional MPK Mini, Midi Keyboard Controller, Yamaha Reface CP Synthesizer and AKAI Ableton Push, working his magic and keeping the crowd moving.
Bringing the BPM down we were treated to a slower song within the set called ‘Dreamin’, this tune really transports you to a floaty, chilled out place.
A Kraftwerk style computer voice rang out the words one, two, three, four, now with Alan back on vocals we had perhaps the slowest song in the set, ‘1,2,3,4’. I use the term slow down loosely, as by no means did I stop dancing about throughout.
Adam taking to the microphone said “Thanks everyone, we are Fruity Water, we hope you are enjoying it, we are happy to be here, the rest of the bands tonight are amazing, so enjoy it”, then referencing the one off record produced for the night he reminded us, joking “Also there are some vinyl’s on sale, only 15 copies though, so you can’t all have one”.
And that was the time nearly up, it was all over too fast for me as we were ‘Bye Bye Me’ began to be played. This is a fine building track, with the beats ramping up as it progresses, various sound effects and Adam’s guitar work getting more and more amped and frantic. Towards the end he went full on frenzy mode, it made me think of Marty McFly at the enchantment under the sea dance in ‘Back To The Future’ movie where he goes crazy with the guitar, getting all the feedback and just keeping on going. It really was a blinding end to a fantastic set. Amazingly while Adam carried on driving that guitar, ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’ came on and Alan started rapidly packing down his equipment, so well versed was he, he had already packed half of it up by the time Adam ended his guitar crescendo and put it down.
Check out Fruity Water’s Bandcamp page HERE.
Adam Bell – guitar & vocals
Alan Odgers – keyboard/synth/beats & vocals
Fruity Water setlist:
‘Bye Bye Me’ (from 2018 ‘Thirst Takes’ album)
Next up are Sad Dads, self-billed on Bandcamp as curators of home-brewed indie-pop goodness, formed of Owen Bullock and Daniel Cox who are both Brighton based. They have had a couple of releases available on Bandcamp such as the fun single ‘Pleasure Beach’ and ‘Sad Dads Christmas’, along with ‘Score A Bloody Goal England’ which can be seen on YouTube.
I must admit, I’d not heard much of Sad Dads music aside from what was out there on Bandcamp and YouTube and perhaps foolishly assumed going by that, that they were only a duo, so I was surprised to find five band members come on stage. All did seem rather familiar to me, which again made me question if I had in fact seen them before, I think I can be forgiven as four of those on stage are also in the band Hutch, who I am pretty sure I have seen on my travels.
So at 9:10pm Sad Dads with several of the band sporting some fun sunglasses, were here to give us a set that lasted roughly 25 minutes. One that was lively, fun, humorous and energetic.
Following some welcome comedy mumbling noises into the microphone from Owen, the band broke into the welcome track ‘Sad Dads Band’, very much an introduction track of what was to come.
With more comic growling and mumbling into the microphone next we had ‘Twin Princes’, with Owen moving through a whole array of varying vocal styles.
‘Colin’, which came next, was a great fun track, broken up with a funny mock phone call between Colin (played by Owen) and Gran (played by Daniel). The humorous stage theatrics were a constant during the set.
“I hate grass” declared Owen as the opener to the next song ‘Lawn Mower’, a song that really got you wanting to jump about.
“This song is about my least favourite animal in the world, it’s a Llama, they spit” said Owen. Daniel was on lead vocals for this one, ‘Llama’, grabbing himself a beer he leaned forward at the front of the stage, “F**k the Llamas” being the main bellowed chorus line.
“We love Baby Bird, we love you baby bird, where are you?” gave us a clue to the next song, a cover of Baby Bird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’, one that had the crowd all singing along. This then seamlessly morphed into Sad Dads debut single ‘Pleasure Beach’, a calmer number compared to the rest of the set, one that gets you swaying along. I really liked this one, it’s just pure fun, you can check out the music video on YouTube for it.
The final song of the set was ‘Surf Instructor’, another good lively jump about song.
Whilst it was a short, but sweet set, I got the vibe that Sad Dads whilst being musically excellent, talented and tight, perhaps don’t take themselves too seriously and the vibe of the band is to just have some good old fashioned fun. I loved the energy and that all of the band move around, dance and put on a great entertaining show. The songs all had a healthy dose of humour injected and they were given a rousing applause at the end. I think it will be interesting to see how the band develop and evolve. They are next playing Brighton at The Prince Albert on the 15th February along with Adult DVD and Room Service. Purchase your tickets for this gig HERE.
Check out Sad Dads Bandcamp page HERE.
Owen Bullock – vocals & acoustic guitar
Daniel Cox – vocals & guitar
Dan Shepherd – bass & backing vocals
Jack Pritchard – guitar & backing vocals
Tom Tollyfield – drums
Sad Dads setlist:
‘Sad Dads Band’
‘You’re Gorgeous’ (Baby Bird Cover) / ‘Pleasure Beach’ (their debut single)
SUEP (pronounced ‘soop’)
Our final treat for this evening are the now London-based ‘indie-supergroup’ SUEP, led by Georgie Stott (of Porridge Radio, Garden Centre) and Josh Harvey (The Snivellers, Porridge Radio). SUEP was born out of a near-decade of playing in sheds and barns with like minded personnel, holding a mutual love for Paul McCartney, Jona Lewie, the B-52s, Devo and other performative freaks enjoying themselves.
Following a move to London from Brighton, the pair added George Nicholls (The GN Band, Joanna Gruesome, The Tubs), Will William Deacon (PC World, Garden Centre), and Ollie Chapman (Boil King) to the line-up. The five-piece take turns writing songs and taking the lead vocal duties in a wonderfully playful but coherent collaboration. Their debut mini-album ‘Shop’ was released a year ago in January 2023. Tonight saw some changes in the band’s line up with Sonny Barrett taking over drum duties and Louis on bass guitar.
At 10pm after some initial volume issues with one of the keyboards, fixed with a quick knock to the cable from the technician and we were ready to rock and roll.
Josh welcomed the crowd “Welcome to the Suep band, it’s very cold outside, thanks for coming out and braving the storm” and with Georgie starting to bounce away behind her keyboard the music came to life, with ‘Patronised’.
“Tonight we have borrowed a drummer Sonny, he is very excellent……and a fast learner” joked Josh, hinting that there had not been much time for him to learn the songs, Sonny usually plays with the band Adulkt Life and watching him throughout the evening, he didn’t break a sweat, I would have never known he was not usually in the band, he has a very cool and collected drumming style, speaking briefly with him at the end as I ran out the door to catch my train, he said he was only joining the band for tonight and a show in London on Saturday, so no pressure then!
Before breaking into ‘The Rain’ Josh pointed out “We have a new bassist, very sexy and very cool” he was telling the truth, for he was a tall handsome chap with slicked back hair, carrying and playing the bass with style.
Continuing the theme of new band members, George proclaimed “This is in fact the first show I have played with Louis on the bass…. and the first time I have ever actually met Sonny on the drums”, so it very much sounded like the whole band had not managed to rehearse fully together before tonight. “What are your first impressions?” someone in the crowd shouted, “Knobheads” George jokingly replied. “Stoooop it” laughed Josh as we were then given a tune from the 2023 mini-album ‘Just A Job’. A slow song, but one that is very easy to sing along to, I really like this one, to be honest I like the whole mini-album, it is well worth grabbing one of the limited vinyl records while there are still available.
“Thank you, which song are we doing” Josh quizzed Georgie “Highway 2.. everyone” was her reply to which Josh told the crowd “Highway 2 Everyone”, Georgie responded to the crowd “We are playing some songs we’ve released and also playing some songs we haven’t released”. “Imagine” mocked Josh, “Yes imagine that” laughed Georgie. ‘Highway 2’ is one of those unreleased songs, a great song with some fab synth work throughout.
The camaraderie between Josh and Georgie was great throughout the set, often joking about the setlist and who’s turn it was to sing. For ‘Country Suep’, Josh was lead vocals, with Georgie on the reply vocals. The song did certainly have a fun country vibe to it, in particular with George’s guitar playing.
“It’s hot, it’s hot in here, that’s good, it’s cold outside” said Georgie, “You’d better get used to it” said Josh as he asked for reverb in the microphone for the next song, to make it extra spooky for ‘In Good Health’ another from the mini-album ‘Shop’. This one has a haunting synth throughout, and screams, it really reminded me of vintage Terry Hall, think Fun Boy Three/The Specials.
Before ‘In The Morning‘, the band gave some shout outs “Thanks to Andy (Rossiter) the promoter (Love Thy Neighbour), Fruity Water, SAD DADS and inspiration, to the rest of the Triptych who I’m sure will all be amazing, The Hope and Ruin” Josh then dryly continued on,” Brighton itself, the coast, the south of England” causing laughter all round.
For ‘In The Morning’, Josh now switched over to guitar and Georgie focused purely on vocals, a fine song with some great crowd interaction as Georgie danced about, the crowd all echoing back “In the morning” every time she sang it. Apparently the band had all been disputing what chord the song should end on, with Georgie being outvoted, but Josh then did end it on the chord of her choice making her very happy.
Josh exclaimed as he went back to his keyboard set up, that he had forgotten his guitar pick, but had found one on the floor and thought he was blessed, however it turned out it was rock solid, “It’s not one I can play with, it’s for some metal head”, maybe he “Should change his ways” he joked, but it was signed and he resigned himself to keeping it as he slipped in inside his phone case.
It was back to Josh on main vocals for another from the ‘Shop’ mini-album in the form of ‘Friend Of Mine’, then followed by ‘Forever’, this one felt like it had a real 80s vibe to it. One thing I will say about SUEP, is the music is new and fresh, but you could almost feel it was from another time, it’s the sort of music you could listen to in say 10 or 20 years and still evoke the same feeling and sensations, much like it could have been plucked from 10 years ago when it would have been equally as enjoyable, I really could play these songs any time I wanted and always be in the mood for it, it’s joyful, fun and timeless.
With set drawing to an end we got the one I’d been looking forward to, ‘Domesticated Dream’ the debut single from the ‘Shop’ mini-album, the wonderful 70s Yamaha keyboard disco’s beat, beautiful bass, the wavy guitar, great lyrics, I really love this one, “Yippy yippy eye, yippy yye, yippy yye ai”. This song has it all, to me it’s a perfect song.
The final song for the night was ‘10 Days’, Sonny was relieved and thanked for his awesome and seamless drumming duties this evening and was applauded rightly so by the crowd as George put down his guitar and took position behind the kit. “There goes the reliability” joked Josh as he took a swig from Georgie’s plastic pint glass of wine, having thought it was water. This was a great vocally powerful song to end with.
Georgie thanked everyone for coming and reminded everyone of the record for sale outside afterwards. As the crowd started to disperse back to the bar and the doors, it was lovely to see all of the band get together on stage and have a big group hug. This was my first (and hopefully not my last) time seeing SUEP live, sadly I had no time to buy the album on my way out due to the need to sprint for the train, but I have since ordered it online.
I really enjoyed the performance tonight, they are a band that exude joy and fun. You could clearly see they were having great fun together up on stage, I read somewhere online that a lot of the instruments were found and bought at car boot sales, I’m not sure if that is true, but each member of the band is uniquely talented, I shall be checking out their other bands they are involved with and look forward to hopefully a longer album release in the future.
Georgie Stott – keyboard & vocals
Josh Harvey – keyboard, guitar & vocals
George Nicholls – guitar and drums on ‘10 Days’
Louis ? – bass guitar
Sonny Barrett – drums (for 2 nights only)
‘Just A Job’ (from 2023 ‘Shop’ mini-album)
‘In Good Health’ (from 2023 ‘Shop’ mini-album)
‘In The Morning’
‘Friend Of Mine’ (from 2023 ‘Shop’ mini-album)
‘Domesticated Dream’ (from 2023 ‘Shop’ mini-album)