Dan Potthast – The Hobgoblin, Brighton

By paul

Dan Potthast + Support
Brighton Prince Albert
Sunday 13th December 2009

A cold December Sunday’s festive feast of music at the Prince Albert kicks off with with the piano powered PJ & Gabby. The former lo-fi duo turned full-band four-piece kick things off nicely with an upbeat set, mixing in bits of bands like This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Tsunami Bomb and Against Me! as well as adding in a a health dose of early noughties pop-punk. Despite not ripping up the rule book, the band have a undeniable charm, and well worth half an hour of your time if you get the chance. 3/5

Next up, after a delay and a few gags from the one with the stupid haircut, Mike TV tear into a set of their finest. Far beyond the days of referencing what they used to be called, their brand of pop-punk probably won’t ever be smashing down the doors of the mainstream, but the well written, songs, constant determination to annoy/offend everyone in the room and unrivalled work ethic are still impressive. You can always trust the band to bring a smile to your face, even during tonight’s Spinal Tap- esque powercut during what would have been their last song that, that was followed by ‘Ship Ahoy’ when the power returned. 3.5/5

Random Hand are a band that have been kicking around since the “heyday” of British Skacore, and it’s easy to feel like you’ve entered a bit of a timewarp with these guys, even on songs presented as new material. Each of them are very accomplished on their instruments and the band operates well as a unit while doing the genre no disservice, but they sometimes end up come off as a bit of a British Skacore Anti-Flag. That could be taken as a compliment by some, but the whole “singing songs about fighting the system with a corporation manufactured instrument in a brewery owned venue” stuff has a tendency to grate after a while. 3/5

Before re-introducing Random Hand to the stage as his backing band, Dan Potthast blasts out some numbers with his acoustic guitar. Dan’s songwriting has always been engaging (his Mu330 days are remembered fondly by many here) and commandant of respect. You can tell from the room that even those few just here to watch a few bands are really enjoying it and his stage banter keeps them interested. Getting the crowd to jangle keys along to his former band’s Christmas song was a brilliant touch.

After Random Hand rejoin Mr Potthast on stage and take the ska up a notch, the entire room is glad to be out of the cold and in a welcoming room. After somehow managing to convince Dan and Random Hand to play Raw Fish twice in a row, the crowd is more than happy to end the night on a cover of the Specials’ ‘Monkey Man. 4/5