Panic Shack and Plantoid christen SON Estrella Galicia’s inaugural Brighton night in suitably lively style

23rd March 2024

With dancefloor-ready DJ sets and stellar Mexican grub – custom paired with complimentary beer – also on the agenda, the micro-festival has all the ingredients to make for a cracking Saturday night.

Gigs in the Big Smoke are all well and good, but who doesn’t love a trip to the seaside? After a series of sell-out shows around London (which collectively saw the likes of Prima Queen, Shanghai Baby, Miss Tiny, Jessica Winter, DEADLETTER and more perform), SON Estrella Galicia have ventured down to the South coast’s musical hotbed of Brighton for their latest beer-soaked outing.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, The Prince Albert – one of the city’s most beloved grassroots venues, not least for its, er, unique Dot Cotton smoking area mural – is buzzing. People spill out onto its makeshift front terrace, where the promising aroma of local street food is already beginning to circulate, and a particularly keen punter stops us to ask enthusiastically whether we’re staying for the gig. (Wonder what gave it away…).

SON Estrella Galicia have a habit of approaching these micro-festivals in a markedly holistic way, and this is no exception; having organised a bout of beach cleaning in collaboration with activist organisations and the Brighton community, next up is an interactive beer-tasting workshop, during which we’re encouraged to consider the parallels between the ingredients in a pint, and the instruments in a song. The result? The beginnings of a build-your-own track which really doesn’t sound half bad (if we do say so ourselves), and a renewed appreciation for the intrinsic role that individual components play in the finished product - whether in terms of a beverage, or a band.

Panic Shack and Plantoid play The Prince Albert for SON Estrella Galicia's Brighton micro-festival Panic Shack and Plantoid play The Prince Albert for SON Estrella Galicia's Brighton micro-festival

Main support comes courtesy of plantoid, a local outfit who, though ostensibly a quartet, take to The Albert’s upstairs stage with five members in tow – the additional one apparently being their hands-on producer Nathan Ridley, who throws himself into a range of percussion-based duties and backing vocals with gusto. Spearheaded by lead vocalist and guitarist Chloe Spence, (whose killer range spans soaring toplines, uncanny wails, and even the odd yowl), the band take us on a sonic trip of ‘70s-coloured, psych-influenced prog rock, clearly enjoying the opportunity to give cuts from their recently-released debut LP ‘Terrapath’ a proper airing.

Panic Shack and Plantoid play The Prince Albert for SON Estrella Galicia's Brighton micro-festival Panic Shack and Plantoid play The Prince Albert for SON Estrella Galicia's Brighton micro-festival

“Hola Brighton”, grin tonight’s headliners Panic Shack as they saunter on stage, “how do you say tits in Spanish?” It’s the sort of brash, tongue-in-cheek attitude we’ve come to expect from the Cardiff five-piece, and it’s reassuring to know that none of the punk spirit of their unapologetic 2022 EP ‘Baby Shack’ has dissipated in the time they’ve been away writing. What follows is a set that’s equal parts fiery (“I didn’t go to Bedales / I didn’t go to BRIT School” quips vocalist Sarah Harvey on earworm opener ‘Tit School’); fun (they down shots of Tuaca - a Prince Albert staple - onstage, and have their ‘Jiu Jits You’ synchronised dance routine on lock); and frankly irresistible (more than one mosh pit is started by the band themselves, who then orchestrate a crowd singalong of ‘Killing In The Name’ in the middle of their biting unreleased cut ‘Cash Piggy’). It’s a raucous run-through of both their cult hits and incendiary new material, and one which leaves the packed crowd safe in the knowledge that Panic Shack won’t be playing rooms this intimate for much longer.

Tags: Panic Shack, Plantoid, Reviews, Live Reviews

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