The Hope & Ruin’s performance space has had a revamp. On the 3rd March on the Queen’s road just down from the station, Froth, Buddha Blood and White Room’s names are announced in old-school cinema style over the venue. White Room are having a cigarette outside. They seem excited to open the show.
Inside on the ground floor an open-mic is setting up. It’s pretty impressive that even on a Tuesday The Hope & Ruin can rely on so many active musicians to come down – this mic will be manned the whole night. This downstairs space feels like 6 or 7 different bars jammed together. one wall has a bunch of broken electricals and wires stuck on it, while photos hang from an old clothes dryer. “Munch,” says the sign on the caravan built into the far end of the bar.
The performance space upstairs has also had a refit. It’s basically bigger and better, the bar now at the back of the room. This event was hosted by Teen Creeps, a group of promoters and self-professed borderline alcoholics. The two seem to mix well: they’ve been putting on gigs since 2010 in Brighton’s mid-circuit venues, and have hosted some great bands.
The room started to fill up and White Room took the stage. They’ve been active in Brighton for a few years now – and supported Paul Weller last May – but this venue represents a step outside of their usual playing grounds. They were playing in an alien space to a mostly alien crowd, and maybe this is why they didn’t explode into their set like they normally do.
Their brand of psych-tinged, bassline-driven alt rock is great to see live. The urge to bop your head and move your feet grabs you, it’s the energy all the band bring to the stage. Although this time it wasn’t until they played Slip Inside, a new song, that that energy came out and took a hold of the crowd.
After this the gig went up and up. In My Head descended into tambourine-smashing, cymbal crashing madness. So did Control, both great songs. Occasionally a Pink Floyd influence came through, although the band are making a significant move away from psychedelia and the style of their older songs.
Throughout their set, the room filled more and more. By the closing song, Back Again, it was hard to believe White Room had been the opening band. Of the three, it was them who most captured the imagination, so hopefully we’ll be seeing them higher up the ticket soon.
Photography © Myles Burrell