Shout out to the desk guy who managed set this one up: Japanese group CHAI don’t speak a lot of English so God knows how this poor bloke managed to orchestrate such a car crash of a sound check. All standing patiently in matching stripped pink flairs and fluorescent orange crop tops, CHAI (above) look incomparable to any other band to feature on this year’s bill, and it’s obvious a large collection of onlookers aren’t exactly clear on what’s about to unfold in front of them. CHAI don’t seem to welcome that confusion though. Once they get going, it’s potent stuff. Each member vying for the audiences attention. Sure, it takes a minute to get your head around – a breakneck concoction of K-pop and post-punk all paired with choreography – but it’s infectious… even the Ting Tings and ABBA covers. OR
WORKING MEN’S CLUB
Touring off the back of just one released single earlier this year, Working Men’s Club have been somewhat misleading up until now. The Sorry band t-shirt and innocent wicker cowboy hat sat on 17-year-old Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s head doesn’t fool anyone: “You look like a cunt. You bark like a bitch.” It’s not long to realise that Working Men’s Club really do mean the business. Stoney-faced and snarling, their live presence is so much more menacing than both their sound and image suggests. Microphones and other miscellaneous bits of equipment topple from practically all available space in the wake of their half-hour-long onslaught. OR
Somewhere between the fish ‘n’ chips and the dilapidated fairground rides, it seems fitting Just Mustard are playing in Horatios’ nautical-themed pub towards the end of Brighton pier. Blaring shoegaze and trip-hop, so much of Just Mustard feels like some journey through the depths of the murky water beneath us. Screeching guitars mutate and build into cataclysmic crescendo, all the while their expressionless faces juxtaposing the sound’s ensuing magnitude. Think Nine Inch Nails, HEALTH or Slowdive. The entire thing feels distinctly fixating and eerie, severing the crowd from some sense of reality and plunging them into the blue. Until it ends and we all leave to have a go on the rickety bumper cars. OR
Semi-romantically sitting beneath Brighton’s railway station, The Green Door Store is familiar with the occasional rumblings and shaking walls from train lines above. Everyone still seems taken aback by the immersive blockade of sound coming from the four-headed techno punk beast of Bristol’s SCALPING. Hallucinogenic visuals behind the band meld metallic faces and contortionists into html codes and sand-timers, as deep bass electronics meet thrashing cymbals. It’s grunge rock’s PC music with the kind of experimentalism that recall’s the same city’s Giant Swans. Long live Brizzle. A bloke at the back of the room is trying to use three sets of foam earplugs at once. TG
In the midst of a tiring schedule, there was something about seeing Askjell in a church away from the main hub of the Festival that hits a restorative note. The up-and-coming Bergen producer is the name behind many of the best Scandic pop breakouts of the last year or so, but his own deftly mathematical electronics seem at odds with his CV and the goofy figure jamming it out in a crocodile hoodie that his Dad helped him design. But as heavy percussion blends into rippling synths, you can almost feel the curative waters lapping at your face, and we can all forget for a minute just how hungover we are. TG
GGAllan Partridge might be the all-female Teeside punk band with the best name at this year’s festival. They tentatively refer to it sometimes as “Gee-Gee”, which is a bit catchier than Allan. People are sardined into Three Wise Cats as Gee-Gee’s metronomic psychobilly sounds takeover with DIY sweat. The songs are as furious as they are funny. Party songs about depression, robot girlfriends and stalkers, they say. There’s another one about how shit the Middlesborough dating scene is, and then a digital love song ruined by pressing the wrong key on the keyboard (‘I Feel Lobe’) – it ends with a scream into a cabaret abyss. TG
Taking the heat out of Saturday’s Aussie-themed BBQ is Emerson Snowe’s third set of the weekend. You can find the Brisbane man looking a bit like a young Simon Amstell in an old school rugby shirt; his EP came out yesterday and he’s begging his audience for £1.50’s worth of tea money, still amazed by this whole British thing. Really, don’t buy his merch – he just wants dried leaves in hot water from you. It’s too early on for the semi-mythical character attempts of an Ariel Pink or Ezra Furman, but when his gonzo-pop charm comes through it carries the glimmers of an intriguing new world to explore. TG
Words by: Tristan Gatward, Ollie Rankine and Alex Francis
Photos: Festival/Luis Kramer
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