Friday, May 30, 2008

My Grandma Is Johnny Cash

The latest addition to Brighton's thriving music scene, XVII The Hangman, played their debut gig last night upstairs at the Prince Albert, supporting the skinny-jeaned Dirty Socials. Declaring itself "the most Rock n Roll pub in Brighton", the distinctly divey Albert can certainly claim to have played host to more than a few future luminaries in its time. And based on last night's impassioned performance, there's every reason to believe that XVII The Hangman will be the next proud notch on the pub's metaphorical musical bedpost. The 'sounds like' section of the band's obligatory myspace page reads: "A bit Cave a bit Waits a bit Doors a bit Ceefax music... and some gypsy type jazz tango things thrown in because we can" which is exactly how I would have described them, had I got in first.

I was there in the capacity of official photographer and friend to the lead singer, Nick Sheldon (formerly of Low Frequency Dive - pictured right). When I asked Sheldon afterwards how he felt the gig had gone, he seemed uncharacteristically ebullient, gushing: "I've never felt more alive. I will die happy one day, and tonight has helped me towards my cause of smiling my arse off when I'm dead." He then tried to palm me off with some feeble Lark Trap about the band members having met and bonded in the dark during a power cut, but it actually transpired that they had found each other using community website Gumtree. By this point, a sizeable crowd had gathered outside, led by the inevitable smoking contingent, and there was a real post-gig buzz in the air. Throwing myself into the throng with notebook in hand, I asked a few of the punters for their first impressions of XVII The Hangman. Here's what I got:

"Dirty, dirty and a bit sort of gritty, but definitely dirty. Absolutely." Vicky

"I nearly wet my pants." Erin

"A big bleached cake-hole." Anonymous

"They were great - black and gold like a duracell battery" Lee-Roy

"The Dirty Socials - they're the ones." Moxie

"Orgasmic!" Harriet

"Awe-inspiring. I'd like to hear more." Dylan

"No comment." Dan

"I hate hypocrisy." Mat

"The first time I've seen the real Nick Sheldon on true musical form." Brian

"I didn't even see them." John

XVII The Hangman will next be playing at the (free) Shoreham Beach Dreams Festival on Sunday 8th June. Sadly, I won't be able to make it, as I'll be rehearsing for my own musical comeback - a charity concert at Hailsham Pavilion which will take place later that same evening. But if you have the luxury of motor transportation, there's no reason that you can't do both. Oh, and if you want to know the significance of the post title, you'll have to ask Mr Sheldon.
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