The Hiss/Eastern Lane : Brighton Freebutt

Atlanta Rockers and Berwick-Upon-Tweed oddballs join forces to tell Brighton that dance music is dead!

When, exactly, did dance music whither on the vine and rock reclaim its role as the country’s barometer of cool? Could it have been Fatboy Slim’s chronically over-subscribed beach blow-out here last year, where every accountant and bank manager in the South East converged on the town in pursuit of not-so clever kicks?

Whatever, tonight the Freebutt rocks to a purer strain of madness. First up are Rough Trade hopefuls Eastern Lane. From Berwick On Tweed they come, laden down with off-kilter Television riffs and serrated Pixies melodies, and who are, by the looks of it, wearing each others old school uniforms. At one point the baby-faced singer rummages around at the back of the stage before finally revealing an ‘Eastern Lane’ street sign, which speaks volumes about their fiery teenage spirit, if not the local neighbourhood watch scheme.

The Hiss are a completely different proposition to the ramshackle outfit who appeared blinking before us at the NME Astoria show in January. Gone are both Adrian Barrera’s fetching red waistcoat and bassist Mahjula Bah-Kamara and in their place comes a stripped-down rock potency and tattooed new recruit Johnny Kraal. Where songs like ‘Triumph’ and ‘Back On The Radio’ once showed the potential to be gut-churning classics, now they’re delivered with a controlled fury. Adrian, meanwhile, appears to have cultivated his voice on a diet of whiskey and razorblades to the point where The Hiss owe more to Queens-style desert rock than peak-period Noel. Witness brill new single ‘Clever Kicks’, delivered in a manner so deranged it will appeal to both fashionistas and lumberjacks, which takes some doing.

In this form the newly re-established rock heartlands are there for the taking. Hiss-teria looms.

Paul Moody