It’s been an exhilarating year of shows in Brighton, but tonight is sadly Hidden Herd‘s final hurrah at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, after it was announced that the long-running venue will close for good on New Year’s Eve. It’s a heavy-hearted farewell, but one that looks set to be done in style with Hidden Herd Presents: CHILDCARE thanks to the prolific headliners’ unique magnetism and a superb supporting cast.
First to shine on the vibrantly lit stage are tightly-wound Brighton favourites Youth Sector, whose supercharged six-string licks and helter-skelter refrains are dispatched with pace, precision and pizazz. Each of the singles they’ve drip-fed their devotees since the start of 2018 are given a run-out tonight, but newest single ‘Automatic’ is the glistening emerald in the crown; imagine Franz Ferdinand resurrecting a Human League classic with Josh Homme at the helm.
Loaded with jangular guitar lines and buried under a hypnotic haze, Lazy Day’s breezy lo-fi jams take the evening in a rather more dreamy direction. The London-based bedroom-poppers are wanderlust-inducing from take off, with band leader Tilly Scantlebury’s effortlessly cool vocals recalling Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy as the quartet segue between blissfully fuzzed-out choruses (‘Weird Cool’), cathartic melodies (‘Hiccup’) and slacker-tinged slow builds (‘With My Mind’).
Both combined make for the ultimate aperitif ahead of night closers CHILDCARE, who bring down the curtain on our Sticky Mike’s shows and their ‘Luckyucker’ October headline tour with a flourish. The eclectic alt-pop foursome get better with every watch and tonight their catchy slew of singles unreel seamlessly, with intoxicating hooks coming at the enthralled abundance of onlookers from every angle. All the usual heavy hitters are present in their scintillating set, from expansive slowburners (‘Put Down Your Pen’) to angular guitar romps (‘Dust’) to blistering rock nuggets (‘Film Club’), but most impressive is progressive new cut ‘Magazines’ and the even newer single ‘Bamboo’ – the latter of which sees bassist Emma Topolski on mic duties to add a heavenly dimension to their already enviable back catalogue. As Saturday night singalongs go, CHILDCARE‘s infectious batch of concoctions can’t be beaten and this instantaneous appeal has undoubtedly become the London band’s unimitable trademark.