NOAH AND THE LONERS + DIRTSHARKS + ARCADIA – KOMEDIA, BRIGHTON 11.2.24
Having directly hot-footed it from an out of this world instore performance at Resident by SNAYX (Review HERE), we made our way onto our second gig of the night, which was luckily situated a mere street away at the Komedia Studio. Headlining this evening were teen band of the moment Noah And The Loners, who have just arrived back from conquering Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and San Sebastián in Spain. Support tonight came in the form of a couple of new bands to me, these being Dirtsharks and Arcadia. I must confess that I was really worried for this trio of local acts as how on earth were they ever going to be able to top the SNAYX performance that we had just witnessed.
Mind you having just said that Noah And The Loners are quite possibly the best new teen socially aware punk outfit out there at the moment! They are fronted by singer songwriter Noah Lonergan on vocals and guitar, with Amber Welsh on bass, Joseph Boyle on guitar and Noah Riley on drums. Noah And The Loners have something to say and they’re saying it loud. Their powerful songs capture the zeitgeist of Gen Z – from personal tracks on teenage love and Noah’s experience of toxic masculinity as a trans man, to political blasts at racism, corruption and the climate crisis. The band’s sound is influenced by X-Ray Spex, The Clash and Buzzcocks, along with the alternative stylings of IDLES, Paramore and Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes.
Noah has been singing since he could talk and first picked up a guitar when he was eleven. He started gigging with his schoolmates a couple of years later, and his and bassist Amber’s first band ‘Polarized Eyes’ gained national airplay on Tom Robinson’s BBC Introducing Mixtape on 6Music, when they were just fourteen. Subsequent tracks gained stellar reviews and radio play on the likes of BBC Radio 1, Radio X, BBC 6Music and Amazing Radio.
Noah And The Loners are the youngest artists ever to be signed to Marshall Records when they released their compact ‘Teenage Tragedy’ single. Their newbie ‘Crash Landing’ is hot property across the airwaves having already been spun by Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music and by Alyx Holcombe on BBC Radio 1. You can stream the track HERE. The quartet’s next release will be their ‘A Desolate Warning’ EP, which can be pre-ordered HERE.
We entered the sold out Komedia concert around a quarter of an hour before the openers were set to kick the evening off, so liquid refreshments were purchased, front positions were secured and music banter was had. The lighting was dark and moody save the pink neon Komedia sign to the rear of the compact stage at the far end of the room. I was surprised as to how many younger concert goers there were present this evening. I must say that I do find this all rather encouraging, with the third generation of punks and the like, checking out what’s new and up-and-coming on the scene.
I check my phone as openers Arcadia take to the stage. It’s 8:14pm and this young local trio which consists of Daisy Kay (drums, guitar, vocals), Bobby Simmons (Squier Precision bass) and Leigh Killick (vocals, Squier guitar, drums) strike up! What! Am I hearing things? Surely not? I turn to one of the omnipresent mature punky types that’s standing with us and we both beam to each other, yes they are opening their set with their rendition of the Sex Pistols ‘Bodies’. We are told that they have only just learnt it, but it’s rough and ready and they are learning their craft. Leigh’s vocal delivery and attitude speaks total punk and he informs us that they will have a single coming out at some stage, which will be ‘Run Soldier Run’ but this isn’t it, and they launch into ‘Dirty Little Rascals’, which is also gloriously rough and ready. The more rock influenced ‘Burn It All’ is selection three and is followed by the better ‘Owe Me’ which totally reminds me of when The Clash played reggae tunes. In fact, Leigh’s vocals on this track even sound quite like Joe Strummer. ‘Go To Her’ is next and benefits from a decent punk riff and Leigh’s vocals have switched to now sounding like Joe Talbot at the beginning of this track.
It was now time to hear ‘Run Soldier Run’ which saw Daisy give the tune a Generation X ‘King Rocker’ style drum intro, which then morphed into a wonderful punk rock mess, before then (in my mind) adjusting to an unnecessary grunge break or three. Lose the grunge on this and keep the punk I say! It was now time for an unexpected change as Daisy and Leigh swapped instruments. Another surprise ensued as Daisy announced another cover in the form of ‘Trees And Flowers’ by Strawberry Switchblade. A song I first heard as a John Peel Session track back in October 1982. This original has stayed with me ever since and is a dream-laden classic. However, Daisy and chums have certainly given it a new feel. It’s much heavier, intense and even sees Daisy unleash quite possibly the best screams I’ve heard in quite some time! Screams on ‘Trees And Flowers’, whatever next? Well a song that Daisy penned “about a horrible man”, this being ‘You Don’t Even’, which sees further female aggression. It’s pure raw punk and as a result of the delivery is their best received tune thus far. In fact there’s only one more to come, this being ‘Jar Song’ which Daisy informs us was written as an acoustic, but added “If my fingers cramp up, then get over it!”. This is in reference to her playing the guitar. This statement and its delivery really made me laugh and would have been something that Phoebe Lunny of the Lambrini Girls would have said. Tell you what, there were screams a plenty during this final number, and I knew that I really needed to see them play live again, really soon.
Turns out I can, as Arcadia performing live in Brighton on Friday 15th March at The Pipeline, courtesy of Garageland promoters, where Arcadia will be sharing the bill with Young Francis Hi Fi, Martin Savage And The Jiggerz, and Human Toys. Purchase your concert tickets HERE.
Daisy Kay – drums, guitar, vocals
Bobby Simmons – bass
Leigh Killick – vocals, guitar, drums
‘Bodies’ (Sex Pistols cover)
‘Dirty Little Rascals’
‘Burn It All’
‘Go To Her’
‘Run Soldier Run’
‘Trees And Flowers’ (Strawberry Switchblade cover)
‘You Don’t Even’
Two performances down tonight and two to go! Next up in the Komedia Studio were Dirtsharks who state they are “The Basement Noise Boys Alt Rock Band in Cornwall/Brighton”. They are a few years older than Arcadia and so arguably further down the music path. The lineup features Aidan Moran (vocals, guitar, violin), Brendan Moran (lead guitar, violin, backing vocals), Matt Edwards (bass) and James Stevenson (drums). They have thus far released a couple of EP’s and 8 singles since 2019 and are here tonight to deliver nine compositions during their 31 minute set, from 8:58pm to 9:29pm.
The quartet kick off with an intro and lead into ‘The Siren’ which is I believe the first of four as yet unreleased compositions. After this we had ‘Split Tongue’ which is from their 2020 ‘Live Well’ EP and although not a punk band as I was expecting them to be, they are more indie and clearly already showing that they are a very tight unit indeed. Suddenly the two guitarists switched to violins and then the quality of their musicianship was clearly there for all to see. It was beginning to dawn on me that these would be truly perfect for ‘The Great Escape‘ new music festival, where they will start to make a name for themselves courtesy of a widening radar. From sounding like an early U2 or even Embrace, they added the extra violin dimension to their sound for the tune ‘Violinstrumental’.
The duo were back on guitar for ‘Wasted Time’, which was taken from their 2019 ‘Strangers’ EP and this as far as I could tell segued into ‘Interlude’, which is another unreleased track. After which ‘Nosebleed’ was their tune of choice and cemented my hunch that after playing ‘The Great Escape’ and getting themselves the right management team and promotions behind them, it’s seriously not a stretch by any imagination, that they are that good that they could well and truly be a solid support to the likes of Coldplay for an arena tour!
They signed off with current single ‘Retina’, which rocked out and closed with ‘Spin Class’, a single from last year. They themselves were clearly pleased with the way their set went and thanked sound engineer Spencer for his efforts. The crowd really appreciated the quartet and with all building blocks in place, will be the ones to seriously look out for!
Catch Dirt Sharks next playing live in Brighton on Saturday 16th March at The Hope & Ruin for the Isle of Wight Festival New Blood Competition – Quarter Final. The info on that reads as follows:
Out of the thousands of hopefuls that entered the Isle of Wight Festival New Blood Competition, only a handful now remain in the Quarter-Finals. These artists are some of the most exciting and promising acts on the scene and will all be competing for a coveted slot at Isle of Wight Festival 2024! So make your voice heard and support your favourite act for their chance to perform at Isle of Wight Festival!
Artists Playing this Quarter Final: NO LIABILITY, SHALLOW HONEY, LIVVY ENGLISH, EUPHORIA and of course DIRTSHARKS. Purchase your tickets HERE.
Aidan Moran – vocals, guitar, violin
Brendan Moran – lead guitar, violin, backing vocals
Matt Edwards – bass
James Stevenson – drums
‘Split Tongue’ (from 2020 ‘Live Well’ EP)
‘Wasted Time’ (from 2019 ‘Strangers’ EP)
‘Retina’ (a 2024 single)
‘Spin Class’ (a 2023 single)
After a mere 15 minute live music hiatus, it was time for headliners Noah And The Loners to show us what they can do. Their set commenced (loudly) at 9:44pm (to a rammed venue) with their 2022 ‘Teenage Tragedy’ single! Oh my word! Having seen NATL on several previous occasions, it is here tonight that their game has been massively lifted, and that’s only after the first song. Frontman Noah’s vocals were as in your face as you can get as he accompanied it with the help of his Fender Jazzmaster. For ‘Losing My Head’ the quartet were awarded screams from the many young ladies at the front, such is the way with new-punk. Choice three is a new tune called ‘Liam Mate’, which was another generous helping of full on punk energy. Things got even better with the arrival of ‘Real Boys’, a LGBTQ+ anthem if I’ve ever heard one! The fast ‘Just Kids’ followed swiftly and was sadly penned about being kids in today’s modern society and about being f*cked over. The vocally IDLES sounding vocal intro of ‘Vessel’ was now upon us and this is a banging tune. We were awarded another new track in the form of ‘A Dying Bouquet’ which was a quieter tune than those that had gone before.
Noah then informed us that they have a new EP coming out on 28th February, which was greeted by more screams from certain sections of the audience. The terrific ‘Pressure’ was delivered next and the intro guitar work reminded me of ‘Lost In The Supermarket’ by The Clash. ‘Gravity’ was served next. This highlights the more commercial side of the band and would be an ideal single. There was an almost Western country-punk vibe with a tune called ‘George’, which witnessed all four on simultaneous vocals as well as some decent drumming from Noah Riley. For ‘You Make Me (Fall Apart)’ Joseph switches to a Gibson for this rap rock anthem, which gains pace the longer it runs for.
Noah And The Loners even have a footie anthem in the offering with the arrival of their Oi style chant 2023 single ‘Hell Of A Day’, which vocalist Noah wrote about after a day of following the football team of choice and not being able to get back home due to a thunderstorm. What football team is it, I hear you ask? Watch the video HERE and all is revealed! Amber’s basswork throughout this number is a highlight and not surprisingly a moshpit broke out. ‘Crash Landing’ follows which vocalist Noah informs us is about the demise of the Government. Here is a mega punk tune that Sham 69 and Dead Kennedys fans would simply adore.
Before we knew it, it was encore time, although they didn’t go through the rigmarole of getting on and off stage. The only thing that came off was frontman Noah’s top, which bravely revealed his operational transition scars. ‘Blackout’ certainly secured the punter’s attention with its meaty guitar riffs. This rockin’ tune would be perfect for the Rebellion festival. They signed off with ‘Protest Anger’ which sees drummer Noah kicking off before the trio of chums joined in. There’s great basswork on offer here courtesy of Amber for this Cockney Rejects style chant tune. This set has seen an absolutely mental delivery from the youngsters and at 10:35pm they were off to the merch stand by the door in order to cater for demand. This has been a very special night!
Noah And The Loners are next playing live in Sussex on Tuesday 13th February as part of Hastings’ ‘Fat Tuesday Festival‘. After this, their tour will also see the band thrilling crowds in Glasgow, Manchester, Reading, Norwich, Bristol and London. All concert tickets can be found HERE.
Noah And The Loners:
Noah Lonergan – vocals, guitar
Amber Welsh – bass, vocals
Joseph Boyle – guitar, vocals
Noah Riley – drums
Noah And The Loners setlist:
‘Teenage Tragedy’ (a 2022 single)
‘Losing My Head’
‘A Dying Bouquet’
‘You Make Me (Fall Apart)’
‘Hell Of A Day’ (a 2023 single)
‘Crash Landing’ (a 2024 single)
‘Protest Anger’ (a 2023 single)