So, that was Sea Monsters for another year. Last night was the closing night of the festival, and was hosted by Bizarro World, a Brighton night where bands play a whole set of songs covering one band. Previous Bizarro World nights have been held upstairs at Fitzherberts, and been absolutely packed out. As well as playing the songs of another band, the acts have also dressed like like the band they’re covering.
I arrived midway through Son Belly‘s set, taking on the persona of James Brown. He was wearing a purple velvet jacket, but there was no evidence whatsoever of The Funk – This was dirty garage rock’n'roll. I just about made out some of the vocals from Sex Machine amongst the clattering guitars, and Son Belly’s set was more about rocking out than honouring the Godfather of Soul.
The Wytches took Marilyn Manson, and they also rocked hard. There wasn’t much of an effort made in the outfits – I would have hoped for gothic costumes, or maybe some freaky contact lenses. As for how faithful the songs were to the originals, I have no idea – I couldn’t name a Marilyn Manson song if you pressed me.
One of the things I love about ZZ Top is that all the members of the band have beards, except for the drummer, whose name is Frank Beard. Sea Bastard didn’t come as ZZ Top though, they came as Motorhead. They all wore Motorhead T shirts except their bassist who displayed truly heroic dedication to the cause and grew some Lemmy style sideburns. Respect. Sea Bastard turned Motorhead’s greasy rock’n'roll into heavy doom-rock. Headbanging took place on and off stage, and there was a lot of hair flying about all the way through to set-closer Ace of Spades, the track they couldn’t not play.
In a night filled with rock music and with a name like theirs, there’s no way that AK/DK would be anything other than AC/DC. With one member rolling his t-shirt sleeves up to the shoulder in an 80s Australian fashion and the other in a faux-school uniform, and both with terrible wigs and school caps, the stage was set. To assume that the headliners would be rolling out heavy guitar riffs like the other bands would have been a mistake though – AK/DK are all about the synths and the drums. Their take on rock classics was to put them through a filter of looping krautrock, with riffs played as distorted squelchy sequenced keyboard lines, although that’s not to say they didn’t rock as hard or as energetically as the earlier acts. AK/DK did so with a huge dose of fun though, and with smiles on their faces throughout. My previous experience of Bizarro World had been that it wasn’t taking thing that seriously, and AK/DK made sure that was carrying on.