Brighton has produced some fine musical talent. In recent years we have been represented in the charts by the likes of Blood Red Shoes, The Kooks and The Maccabees, and while Brighton artists can often be found performing on campus Sussex has played host to musicians from across the country.
In the 1960s, the infamous mods v rockers conflict spilled into the music scene. Psychedelic rock group Cream arrived first on 15thDecember 1966, playing a gig so intense drummer Ginger Baker had to be taken to hospital after a twenty minute drum solo. A year later, Sussex mods were satisfied by The Small Faces blend of psychedelic rhythm and blues. If this wasn’t enough, on 11th February 1967 the campus saw an early set by the original Pink Floyd line up, the band not having yet released their debut album ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’. Pink Floyd would later return to perform ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, a gig fondly remembered by Sussex graduate and theoretical chemist Professor David Clary.
On Wednesday 25th May 1977, the harder punk scene swept Sussex as The Clash, The Slits, Subway Sect and The Buzzcocks brought the White Riot tour to campus. The show was a last minute addition due to high student demand, footage screened live on CCTV screens around the venue. One punter remembers “at 18 I’d never seen anything like that…they were loud, fast and just brilliant”. Other big names to perform at Sussex in the seventies were The Who and The Damned, with an entire film of the latter gig taken by students to be released at some point.
Of course, Sussex was no stranger to the Britpop movement of the 1990s, with key players Pulp, Radiohead and Blur all playing sets to parka clad students. Andrew Collins recalled the East Slope experience in NME: “We find ourselves hemmed into a barn called East Slope Bar, somewhere in the middle of this small town…at least four different groups of studes are talking about James Joyce, the queue for the bar is five deep, and the poster describes Pulp as ‘Glamourous Indie-Camp’.”
More recently, East Slope saw two Kooks return in 2007 to perform a secret acoustic set for a capacity crowd. Student Neil Hawkins described the gig as “amazing”, summing up not only The Kooks’ set but every performance here at The University of Sussex.