Johnny Truant – Brighton Centre

By paul

The Johnny Truant Christmas Party
Brighton Concorde 2
Wednesday 13th December
Johnny Truant plus Moneen, Cancer Bats, Centurion and Lights! Action!

On paper, tonight?s show seems like a rare occasion. It?s the last time Johnny Truant will be playing for a while, and to bow out temporarily in style with support from two of Canada?s heaviest exports in tow is something not to be sniffed at.

We begin tonight with a band that seems somewhat out of place in the line-up. With more melody involved in the first song of their set than the other four bands combined, Lights Action! Stick out like a sore thumb. Despite this, they still prove to tonight?s audience that melody does have a place in music, and manage to win the initial crowd over with their Idlewild-esque sound. Frontman Patrick has the lyrical stylings of a capable Brandon Flowers, and in songs such as ?Satellites? you can imagine this band gaining a dedicated following over the coming year or so. They?re a band that you can watch and just enjoy.

After what could be described as the calm before the storm, the first of today?s hardcore acts is something of a letdown. Centurion?s routine has become dated, and even though their hometown crowd laps up every second of the proceedings, I was left feeling unimpressed and as soon as ?Southern Discomfort? began, I started to make my way to the bar, bored by what was happening on stage.

The first of tonight?s big name bands fortunately brought things back up to standard. Supporting their recently released debut full-length ?Birthing the Giant?, Cancer Bats show Brighton that some things are still done better over the other side of the Atlantic. ?French Immersion? was probably the finest example of this, and they managed to uphold their ethos of being one of the dirtiest, filthiest punk-rock bands of recent years.

I?ve always considered .Moneen to be one of those bands that are completely unable to transfer the energy and passion involved in their live shows on to record, and with their recent release ?The Red Tree?, being as tame as their debut, I still maintain this. It?s a good thing for them then that I?m reviewing their show and not their album and that in the three years or so that I?ve waited to see this band return to our shores, their performance has only gotten better. Vocalist Kenny Bridges is as cocky and melodramatic as he should be, and by the time ?The Passing of America? rings out, not a single jaw is left closed in the Concorde2 tonight.

It really is a shame that tonight?s headline act were shown up by the majority of their support. Johnny Truant are no strangers to Brighton?s rock clubs, this is their hometown after all, but you?d think that they?d put a little bit more effort into their final performance of 2006. It?s not that they were bad, it?s just that they didn?t seem to be making much of an effort tonight, when really they should have been on the top of their game. I?ve never been a fan of Olly Mitchell?s stage antics but I have been able to tolerate him in the past. Tonight though, his lack of enthusiasm only served to greater my relief when the closing chords of ?The Bloodening? had rung out.

Tonight wasn?t a wasted evening by a long shot, but some of the bands here tonight just needn?t have bothered.

Andy R