Watching them set up in the barren yet lovable Star & Garter, the first thing you notice about Brighton’s Gang is that they’re no longer a trio. Supporting Chastity Belt on their UK tour has called for the addition of Tuli Tormey – sister of vocalist/guitarist Eric and drummer Jimi – alongside bassist Joseph Hunt. Now a quartet, does a new member of the Gang family bring any improvement to the already monstrous material of July’s debut 925 ‘Til I Die? Spoiler – it fucking does.
Kicking off with ‘Messiah’, Hunt’s menacing bass riff rumbles through the floorboards as he strips off his top and sets about prowling the stage. Sporting a freshly shaved head and wildly uncut strings, Eric’s vocals are on point – snarling and viscous, crazed and raw. As Jimi rolls songs into one another without a seconds’ pause, it becomes clear that Gang sound cleaner, tighter and louder than you thought could ever be possible.
“A cold has made its way into our encampment” excuses Eric before blowing his nose, “The end of is nigh!”. Their onstage chemistry is infectious, winning over the audience not only with their sick tunes, but endearing personalities, too. ‘Enough Nothing’ immediately benefits from Tuli’s whining Sabbath-style riffs; ‘Rawboned’ sees both Eric and Jimi hauntingly harmonise in pitches high and low. But despite dominating the set, it’s not all doom metal; “mellow vibes” are broken out via ‘Skinny Dipper’, a number that channels the dream-pop aesthetic of the headliners more than any other track of the night.
“Gone are the days of instant bliss, listing the reasons to just exist” drawls Eric as the set comes to a close with brain-melting banger ‘Death’; murmurs of “I don’t want to feel better, I want to better feel” permeate around the room as Gang give us one last final explosion. Maturing and improving their sound every time they play live, be under no illusion that Gang aren’t headed to anywhere but greatness. As one of the UK’s youngest heavy bands, they’re up there with the best around – and judging by the crowd’s screams as the four exit stage, I’m not the only one to feel that way.
CATCH GANG W/ CHASTITY BELT THIS SEPTEMBER:
7 NEWCASTLE Cluny
8 GLASGOW Broadcast
11 BRISTOL Exchange
12 NOTTINGHAM Bodega
13 BRIGHTON Green Door Store
14 LONDON Garage