October in July? Chelsea in Brighton!

Chelsea: Pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Chelsea: Pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

This was set to be a cracker! A night at The Prince Albert with a return to the city from punk legends Chelsea. Guests for the night were The DeRellas. It was Friday The 13th, so anything could happen! A packed in crowd were in for one helluva ride!


This was set to be a cracker! A night at The Prince Albert with a visit to Brighton from punk legends Chelsea on this Punker Bunker hosted event.

It was in August 1976 that Gene October placed an advert in Melody Maker which led to replies from guitarist William Broad, bassist Tony James and drummer John Towe. On October 18th they made their live debut as Chelsea supporting Throbbing Gristle at London’s ICA. It was at this time that Gene convinced the manager of gay London nightclub in Covent Garden called Shageramas, to convert the club into London’s first live punk rock venue called The Roxy – a fact for which he is given little credit. The band split in November 1976 where Gene briefly recruited guitarist Marty Stacey & bassist Bob Jessie. The other three former members formed Generation X. When Gene was asked about his former band colleagues he said “Generation X? Oh yeah they used to be in Chelsea.”

In early 1977 Jessie and Stacey left and Gene put together a new line up consisting of guitarist James Stevenson, bassist Henry Daze and drummer Carey Fortune. This line up was slightly more permanent and soon the band’s first single, the punk classic Right To Work, was released. However, not long after the release of the second single High Rise Living, Chelsea played their “farewell” gig on October 6th 1977 at The Roxy. As we all know “farewell” gigs are not to be taken seriously…

2016 Chelsea tour the UK & Europe for the 40th anniversary of the band also releasing 3 definitive anthology CD box sets containing the complete works including the entire back catalogue, demos, lyrics etc. also re-release of all the albums on coloured vinyl. And July 2018 saw the band back on their second visit to Brighton.

Chelsea: Gene October - pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Chelsea: Gene October – pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Gene, always enigmatic and hypnotising to watch, was on top form tonight. He stretched and pushed those vocal chords to the packed venue who had come to see these guys play. Nic hit the stage and just blasted his SG at us – full tilt. He didn’t stand still for the hour long set, and he always delivers a masterclass and puts on a great show. A top bass delivery from the brilliant Mat. He powered some great bass lines and the sound jostled your lower intestines as the bass hit you. Last time I saw Chelsea they did a four man set, so was great to see, and hear, James delivering some great guitar riffs, he and Nic generated some sound between them! The new-ish member of Chelsea was the awesome Steve at the back on the kit. He delivered a great thundering punk, rock and roll percussion wall of sound for the band.

Chelsea were touring in support of their latest and most current release, a 15 track album ‘Mission Impossible’. The Albert gig was the penultimate show on the tour. They seemed to be well up for it tonight, and they are still full of punk, rock and roll energy!

The Band

Gene October – vocals, James Stevenson – guitars, Nic Austin – guitars, Mat Sargent – on bass, Steve Grainger – on drums

Make no mistake, Chelsea rocked it. A class lesson on how to deliver your songs in your own way. They had a great merch desk – loads of T’s, CD’s and vinyl, I forgot to grab a Mission Impossible!! Oh well next time!


First you have to understand just how damned hot it was in The Albert. Seriously hot and humid and I swear, sweat was running down the walls by the end of the set. I spotted a couple of folk in the crowd with fans! The set was perfect, well put together and invited the crowd to tear it up from the get go! No admission was immediately followed by the latest album title Mission Impossible – phew! what a way to open up the show. We then had 12 men fired at us followed by the sublime punk anthem Come On, with Gene delivering a full on assault with his shouts of “Come On”.

One thing that struck me during the gig was the sense of camaraderie from all the band, they watched each other, joked with each other and hell, they looked to be having as good a time as we were! The set only stopped as Gene pointed out that Nics guitar and his hand had collided, blood mixed with sweat streamed from Genes hand. So we had blood, sweat and some damn fine music. How Do You Know and I’m On Fire were up next. Damn these songs are so catchy as the band delivered the songs on point. A real set of shock and awe, a mix of old and new material continued as the band continued to just step it up. No Flowers was yet another crowd pleaser as a member of the audience used a DeRellas T to wipe down Mat!

A Chelsea Angel, to the rescue!

The set continued, Gene left the stage for a short while as Chelsea gave us an instrumental section. Evacuate, or as Gene called it Ejaculate, was up as we headed towards the end of the set. Last Drink was upon us as the crowd rallied together as they melted in the steam heat along with the band. The last song of the night was introduced to a huge cheer – the anthem, used that word again but it is entirely appropriate, Right To Work was next, and the last song of the night.

This was a great night, thanks to Chelsea for letting me do some pics, Gene – I hope I got what you wanted! Well done to Punker Bunker for sorting it all out, a top night guys. Also a good mix on the desks at The Albert.

Chelsea are on Facebook

The DeRellas

The DeRellas: pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The DeRellas: pic by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The DeRellas are:
Joey DeRella: vocals/ rhythm guitar. Timmy DeRella: bass/ backing vocals. Luca DeRella: lead guitar/ backing vocals. Billy Chaos: Drums

The DeRellas have been real busy, an ever increasing schedule of gigs sees them touring across the UK. It was an inspired choice and a fabulous opener for Chelsea. They have more well deserved dates coming up and a new single “High Rise Supersize” dropped. I ALWAYS enjoy a live set from this hard working band. The set had been given a make over, gone were some of those sleeze driven glam punk anthems that these guys master, and in came a gutsy, heavier sound to the newer material. More guitar from Joe and Luca with some leads and small solo breaks. Timmy is as flamboyant as ever – a true punk rocker delivering his bass in our faces. Billy, as the set progressed, as the new one of the brudders, so did he. A great power house of patterns and fills.

As always, The DeRellas gave us a helluva show, albeit somewhat shorter than I am used to. The DeRellas, always deliver and tonight was no exception. They cut to the bone of punk rock n roll. They offer us a generous slice of 70’s glam tinged sleazy rock and roll. Its just great! Always enjoyable to watch the band strut their stuff and go through their paces. It was great to see Billy, Heavy Drapes, at the back on what I think was his first public outing with The DeRellas.  Well played and yep – you slotted right in there!

A great, lively and entertaining set from The DeRellas, always a different set from the guys and with new material in the set, they ripped it up! They are prepping up for Rebellion 2018 in August. Go Go DeRellas!

The DeRellas are on Facebook

Punker Bunker are on Facebook

Please note all images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please get in touch.

All original pictures – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2018.


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