Gig Review: Dirt Royal/Dan Cox & The Blackbirds/Young Francis/The Morphers, The Rialto. Friday 22nd June 2018.

The Rialto Theatre is an unusual choice for a venue for a gig as Brighton is blessed with many venues of a similar size and also it’s a pain to find. Nonetheless, after finding the venue, I enter…

Opening proceedings are The Morphers, a new band, whose sound is somewhere between grunge and garage. They give good noise and get the crowd going. Ones to watch for the future.

Young Francis is a one-man band aka he plays the guitar, drums and sings at the same time. Musically, he’s a mix of The Ramones, garage, and powerpop. In addition to supplying short, sweet, punchy, songs which hit the spot and get the crowd dancing he gives good stage patter which is an art lost on some bands but his masterstroke is getting the audience to bang along at the end. Never have so many people been so happy to hit a cymbal.

Dan Cox & The Blackbirds are a modish influenced band who reminded me of Madness in their less wacky moments. A muscular rock/pop sound is the order of the day and they deliver in spades. The now near full venue were now suitably excited for the headliners.

Royal Dirt, was here to launch their new single ‘Glory Days’. You can hear The Libertines in their sound but to say that’s all to them is a disservice. In vocalist Charlie, they have a frontperson who can work the audience and give their songs which range in emotion from bittersweet to triumphant the connection between the band and the gig-goer. Closing with a tweaked cover of the Pulp classic ‘Common People’ was a masterstroke and set us home with a smile on our faces.

Tonight’s show gave us four bands. The Morphers were the young Turks who I’m looking forward to seeing again, Young Francis always brings the party with him and Dirt Royal/Dan Cox & The Blackbirds are a ready-made pairing who share a sound which mines 80s pop, 00s indie, and mod sounds but delivered with their own spin on it. A great night.

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