Friday, April 29, 2016

Red Wine Smiles

There was a wonderful moment in the middle of The Lovely Eggs set in Hastings last night: in celebration of the band's anniversary, they play a couple of quick 'old' numbers; the thirteen-seconds-long Muhammad Ali And All His Friends segues into the twenty second burst of fury that is I'm A Journalist. The latter, singer and guitarist Holly Ross says, is for anyone who has a shitty job. After asking the audience who has a job they hate, they then repeat the song with personalised lyrics for a civil servant called Keith - only at a Lovely Eggs gig would this happen.

The Lancaster punk duo - Ross and partner David Blackwell on drums - have been around for 10 years, releasing four small-label albums, a raft of singles and gigging regularly to critical acclaim. But despite the connections and endorsements - Gruff Rhys has produced them, Chris Packham adores them - they have stayed faithful to their "we do exactly what we like" ethos and remain a true underground band. Having seen them perform at the Green Man festival in Wales last summer, it was a delight that one of the 12 dates on their UK tour was just down the road at the Carlisle, the rock pub on Hastings seafront.

"We like your town," they tell us of their first visit to the Sussex seaside resort. They have spent a lovely day eating Morrisons' sandwiches in Alexandra Park - they were surprised that it is just as bloody cold down here as it is up north - and having their tea in Super Pizza. They have their three-year-old son on tour with them and they'll be up again at six in the morning - so no moaning from the audience about gigs on a work night.

There are those in the boozy crowd who are new to The Lovely Eggs, but they are clearly captivated from the beginning by the clever, funny and touching lyrics and the sheer joyous racket that two musicians are able to make; wherever I look, I see smiling faces. Fuck It, I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With and People Are Twats are instant singalongs and touch upon universal themes; and as if to prove the point, a twat wanders onto the stage towards the end of the set only to be sent away with a flea in his ear from Holly. With no fake encore (see their website and sign the petition), the hilarious and ever-popular Don't Look At Me - "look at us with our red wine smiles" - provides the rousing finale.

Earlier in the evening, local band The Sine Waves had treated us to a highly impressive collection of space-age surf punk instrumentals. With lab coats, masks and some interesting radiophonic sound effects, they seemed as though they had stumbled straight off the set of The Quatermass Experiment.

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