A Halloween bash, in November, in Brighton hosted by Psycho Sinners at the Prince Albert 13/11/2021. A hip-shaking rockabilly musical riot!
Knocksville – Loved the retro-Americana soaked name. Stage Frite – think Generation X and Stray Cats combo and you are almost there.
Now, I found myself pounding the streets after getting my dates mixed up for photo’ing a gig. I dropped into the Prince Albert for a drink and a sit down. Not many gigs going on tonight, then I noticed the black and white poster “Stage Frite” and “Knocksville”. I popped upstairs had a word with the promoter and paid an entrance fee. I love finding new bands and hearing them for the first time. I was told it was a 80’s rockabilly style evening and both bands were top class. In we went! It was pretty busy in there and some finely dressed audience members were already gearing up for the tear up that was about to unleash!
Loved the retro-Americana soaked name, it kind of flavoured the perception of what we were about to receive, and the name “Knocksville” makes them sound as if they were going to be more of a traditional three piece rockabilly outfit. No way were these guys ordinary. They were extraordinary!
Rockabilly, as I found out, is a subgenre of rock ‘n’ roll with roots in the American South during the 1950s. As its name suggests, rockabilly draws on two primary influences: country music and rock music, which at the time of rockabilly’s emergence, largely referred to rhythm and blues (or R&B) music made by Black musicians.
Knocksville: The Band
Martin Riddington – guitar/vox
Chris Cooper – drums/percussion
Jason Walder -double bass/ vox
The crowd had been well and truly warmed up by Stage Frite. The crowd were hungry for these guys. A lot of folk there knew of Knocksville as they are fairly local, hailing from Eastbourne. Guitars plugged in, drums reset and a huge black double bass dressed the stage as the musicians took to the stage.
Ok, these guys were new to me and so I wasn’t really aware of their material. A quick glimpse of the set list indicated the banger to open was called Bang Bang! Awesome start. The sound produced was so rich and full of guitars, that delicious bass and drums, the drums frenetically keeping it all together. A couple of songs into the set and there’s a lively tasty rockabilly version of Soft Cells Tainted Love in the mix tonight and a wonderful unique twist to create a never heard of before version of Michael Jackson’s Black or White. Damn, these guys were living up to the promise given to me on the door. They were brilliant!
Into the set and the sheer physical effort from two of the band members saw them tearing off T shirts! These guys were working it hard. Down That Road, Mr Duck Tail, Pretty Little Stalker and Black or White were hammered in firmly. These guys were at it at break neck speed.
Martin had made an apology early on for his voice, he was struggling after a bad cold. Martin still fired up the vocals and swapped the duties with Jason. I don’t think anyone would of noticed if he hadn’t been so honest. It didn’t stop him producing some fiery guitar work. Quite superb in fact. He played it hard. It was clear the band were enjoying being back in Brighton after a long stay away compounded by Covid and the restrictions that had been in place.
Knocksville do rock around their material in a totally toned up punchy style. There is of course that unmistakeable rockabilly sound but then they pile in with plenty of tough, riff laden blues-ish fuzzed up guitar from Martin.
The crowd were up dancing as the set moved along Crazy Ex and a real thumper showing Jasons skills and athletic skills as he literally mounted that bass, flung it around his head and all the while playing the hell out of it! Black Jack and Crazy Ex kept the momentum going, and the crowd. The crowd had backed up to give those dancers some room to manoeuvre.
Knocksville properly got the party started from the off with a pure hip-shaking rockabilly musical riot. They mix it all up and what you get is a combination that’s impossible to resist tapping your foot or dancing to. There wasn’t a still body in the Albert from the start and as we hit Lockdown, we were in for a double bass treat.
Jason Walder used his double-bass as a prop throughout the show. He whirls it through the air, straddles its, and lays it on the floor to play an all out slapping instrumental solo spot during their biggest stomper, Lockdown. The peak of the song sees Jason come out into the crowd, who gave him plenty of room, as he stood on the side of the bass to play. He then stopped and allowed a mini photo opportunity to give me and those at the front a photo opp!
All in all this was a super, winning gig and they were without doubt a huge hit with the Albert crowd. Tonight Knocksville fired it up and gave us the real deal. These guys play with such a high level of finesse, style, and showmanship. They were very much live and proud and rocked us all the way. Would I go see them again? Oh yes, without a doubt!
Knocksville are on Facebook
The evening had opened up with Stage Frite. Oh my! I really wasn’t expecting this one!
Stage Frite describe themselves as “swanabilly psycho switch blade rock n roll from the good ol broads of Norfolk”. Yep, that’s pretty darned accurate.
Stage Frite: The Band: Introducing…
Well, these guys were opening tonight and I had just arrived as they started their set. What a damn racket! It was brilliant!! The sound and the characters on the stage just grabbed you, there was no escape! If you can kinda place together a Generation X and Stray Cats combo, you are almost there.
Vinny is the man at the front, a recent addition to the band as I understand and what a showman he is. Great vocals and presence as he towered over us all. These guys were an ideal lead-in for the headline outfit to follow. I was hooked after song one, Taken. The on stage chemistry between the band members was very strong and the inter band banter was at times crude, but always hilarious.
On electric double bass was Clive. The sounds he produced was extraordinary. Eyes blackened with make-up to look like glasses but with an Alice Cooper style of twist. He hammered that thing, with his fingers heavily bandaged up, as if his life depended on it. Fabulous playing. Excuse me again for not being aware of the material for these guys. Be gentle, it was my first time! Bitch and Prowler were the next shots fired into the crowd.
On guitars and also playing his heart out as his fingers hammered out chords and solos was Joe. Now, he could have sat next to me on the bus going home and I wouldn’t have recognised him. He was in a little polka dot number, topped off with a blonde wig Pamela Anderson would have killed for, and face make up that would have sent Twisted Sisters Dee Snider running for the hills. He looked great, and boy could he play that guitar!
Swallows and Army Of The Dead were next. The sound from these guys was sweet. I was new to this style of music and seeing it performed by two top of their game bands had me totally hooked. I want more of this! Its fun and great to dance to and the crowd was made up of great friendly people. This set was developing into something quite extraordinary and addictive. This was their first time in Brighton and Steve on drums said later “What a fantastic venue the Albert is“. I agree with you there Steve.
Steve on the drum kit at the back deserves a shout. He was amazing, his patterns and fills were non stop and keeping the kicker going to keep the others in time. He and Clive worked in perfect unison and gave us the unique sound they all produced. Both bands tonight showed how to hit that minimalist sweet spot approach to delivering maximum rock and roll, and they should be admired for it.
Rockabilly and then some!
Vinny rips it up through each song, managing to top it all off with a smile and a lean forward onto a floor monitor. Steve sitting behind his kit, muscles it, with the beat jumping without reservation or nonsense. It was so pure and a joy to watch. Rockin’ Clive plays the perfect the counterpart, plucking his stand-up electric bass with rigid authority at times and his flexibility was astonishing. Joe, well played sir. Producing some of the finest freshest guitar playing I have heard in a while.
The wonderful Sunrise had us jumping as the set was coming to a close. Damn, what a great song that is and allowed the crowd the chance to join in with a catchy chorus. And that was it! Show over. They were told they could do two more songs, then some one checked a watch and said one more song. Clive came back with “can we do two half songs?” – hilarious and the Albert crowd roared with laughter. Rockabilly Weekend saw the end of this awesome display.
STAGE FRITE are on Facebook
Thanks to the promotion team from Psycho Sinners for letting me. Thanks to all the members of the two fabulous bands who I got a chance to talk with, always appreciate that especially after working so damn hard. And also to the brilliant audience that made us feel so welcome.
Between The Sets we had some new and vintage vinyl playing out by the DJs – great music guys. They also told me they hoped to have another night in February 2022. Put me down fellas! I am so up for that!
Psycho Sinners are on Facebook.
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