Zebrahead – Brighton Centre

By paul

Zebrahead plus Sherwood & A Man Down
Brighton Audio
5th June 2008

Before heading downstairs to the main event, Upstairs at Audio is the launch party for Brighton?s newest festival, Beachdown Festival. Amidst the flurry of journalists, PR representatives and industry fat cats are a band I thought were worth a mention before covering the gig below deck. Doll and the Kicks treat a select crowd to an acoustic set of their own brand of indie pop. Stripped down to bongos, acoustic guitars and one hell of a lead vocalist, they?re worth a listen if you like your Stars and Blondie as much as you do your Green Day and NFG.

Right, on to the pop-punk. Kicking off the party are Brighton and Punktastic Recording?s very own A Man Down. The curse of seeing a band play as much as I do them, is you can be extremely critical of every set. Unfortunately, the sound of tonight?s venue wasn?t swinging in their favour, with frontman Sam Sweda suffering worst. He practically had to shout to be heard above everything else, while his guitar was only audible when it was the only instrument being played. Still, a valiant effort that went down a treat with tonight?s crowd. (3.5/5)

Next up, Sherwood take to the stage, and it?s clear they?re still struggling to make their mark on UK soil. Maybe it?s because their music seems to fall short of most typical genres ? it?s not punk enough to be pop-punk, it?s too soft to be proper rock music. It?s music for the Nickelback/Matchbox Twenty generation ? uninspired and forgettable. Still, they?re not a messy live act, and for that I?ll give them some credit. (3/5)

Last time Zebrahead hit Brighton, they were playing on the Get Happy Tour back in December. Anyone who saw that performance will surely agree that they were quite frankly, awful. Pleasingly, they rip the downstairs of Audio a new rectum tonight, with an astounding set that really has a bit of everything ? massive sing-alongs, soaring guitars and a frontman that literally propels himself to every corner of the room. While the set was mainly constructed of material from ?Broadcast to the World?, they do treat us to a new track, which does little to quell anticipation for their upcoming sixth record, ?Phoenix?. Zebrahead are a band that suit smaller venues, and tonight confirms just that. Here?s to hoping they can recreate a show like this at Download this weekend. (4.5/5)

Andy R