10th October | Exchange
There is undoubtedly a thriving post-punk scene right now, with heavyweights IDLES and Fontaines DC leading the way and newer bands like The Murder Capital selling out shows across the country. Brighton’s Egyptian Blue are no exception, have already played the likes of The Great Escape this year and filled a support slot on the aforementioned The Murder Capital’s 2019 UK tour. I headed out to the Exchange Basement on a drizzly Bristol evening to see what all the hype is about.
Due to unfortunate circumstances with the sound, the South West’s very own The Shuks couldn’t begin their set for a good fifteen minutes after they were supposed to start. However, once this was fixed, they launched right into a confident and energetic set. Describing their sound as “organised chaos that’s pleasantly surprising,” The Shuks delivered their punky garage-rock with assurance and a sense of fun.
Frontman, Jack Lawther dipped in and out of the crowd throughout, attempting to get them involved. Sadly, the audience on the whole were fairly muted and reserved and didn’t give The Shuks the reception they deserved. A particular highlight was the performance of their most recent single ‘Ode To TV’, a song about watching traditional television as an analogy for outdated and old fashioned values.
Having caught The Shuks supporting Yowl at the Exchange Basement last month and being impressed with their set then, it was a treat to see them play again despite the difficult start. They are obviously making a name for themselves.
Anticipation for the headliners was high. Soon, it was time for Egyptian Blue to take to the stage for the next half-hour. A breezy but accomplished set, the band impressed with their own take on post-punk which despite having echoes of and references to bands of the Seventies, like Wire, still sounded fresh and exciting.
Despite this, some of the effect of the songs, particularly the lyrics, were lost in this performance. When listening to their Collateral Damage EP, it’s impressive how tracks like ‘Adderall’, ‘Contain It’ and ‘Collateral’ take on interesting and difficult subject matters. Unfortunately these poignant lyrics in singer Andy Buss’ characteristically shouty vocals were often hard to hear, so complete newcomers to the band would likely have missed out on the messages of the songs.
For a sold-out show, the crowd seemed oddly reserved, despite clearly enjoying the set. Ultimately, raw and spiky guitars captured the angst and attitude of their recorded output, and they played with a confidence of a band that know they’re going places.
See Egyptian Blue play ‘Adderall’ live here: