With their first headline Brighton gig in 5 years, pop-punk band AS IT IS bought it home with a bang returning to Sticky Mike’s before the closure of the iconic venue. Tickets sold out in just a minute of being on sale and people flocked from across the nation just to see them.
For long-time local fans who grew up around the scene back in 2012, playing in Sticky Mikes was a moment of reminiscence as they previously just performed to a front row of close friends. As the crew at Sticky Mikes and Sugar-Free Records have always been supportive of local pop-punk bands – it’s a shame to see it go.
The low-lying blistered ceilings, peeling wall paint and hand-painted pictures on the windows express the long withstanding character of the venue. Waves of band t-shirts from different eras of Roam and AS IT IS gathered to queue inside during this ‘Winter’s Weather’. The evolution of the shirts held a familial warmth as everyone was there just to support them like the days when they were just starting out.
Opening the night was All Better headed up by promoter Chris on lead guitar, Sam on drums and Nick on lead vocals. They kicked off the gig setting the mood for what was to come bringing home exactly what it’s all about the beautiful chaos of DIY, hometown shows and start-ups.
The room started to fill out when the next band, Maypine, came on playing both tracks from their newest and oldest works. Notably performing, ‘Together Alone’ and ‘North/South Divide’ where the crowd’s energy was driven to an exuberant high.
Up next were Roam performing the last live leg of the ‘Great Heights and Nosedives’ album before new music releases next year. But as it was also their final Sticky Mike’s show, and as they’d promised on Twitter, they played ‘Nothing in Return’, and ‘Warning Sign’, from their earlier EPs. They also performed well-known track ‘Head Rush’ which Ben Langford-Biss, guitarist and singer in AS IT IS, joined the reminisced further over the times they had when starting out.
The pit kicked off during their set with a girl Spiderman-crawling on to the low ceiling then surfing over the crowd of avid fans spilling over the barriers. Meanwhile, others were running into each other in an attempt to start the pit.
Midway through their set, lead guitarist Alex Adam gave a speech of encouragement “Don’t believe Instagram…Everyone’s lying to u online – we’re lying to you…It’s okay to not have it all figured out.” He then went on to discuss how not having everything figured out with monetary value is also okay by introducing the track, ‘The Rich Life of a Poor Man.’ He continued the rest of the set with Ben’s extra small black and white striped cardigan on.
Due to technical difficulties, AS IT IS started late. Their set had a backdrop with ‘You are @ an AS IT IS show’ scrawled on an A3 piece of paper and stuck on to the back wall. Suddenly, the house lights came down and the LEDs went bright red matching the theme of their ‘Great Depression Tour’. Opening with the track, ‘No Way Out’ from their second album ‘Okay’ followed by ‘Cheapshots and Setbacks’ a classic from ‘Never Happy Ever After’.
As they’d just come back from the Great Depression tour for an impromptu gig, they were a beautifully unrehearsed mess as they tried to play every song from their EPs starting with ‘This Mind of Mine’. They performed one of the best versions of ‘Bitter Broken Me’ with Ronnie Ish on guitar who has been supporting them through The Great Depression Tour. They concluded this EP set with about 30 seconds of ‘Relive the Story’ which was a very rushed almost acapella version with lead singer Patty Walters as the other members couldn’t remember how to play it.
This lack of memory and cringed emotions shivered through the band for ‘Blenheim Place’ their first ever EP named after a street in the North Laine. They invited friends from the previous bands as well as fans on stage to sing it with them as they rolled through the set aimless and confused. When they got to the song ‘January’, lead singer Patty Walters introduced it by saying, “This song has been a meme in our fanbase for the past 5 years…this is the last time we’ll ever play it.”
After enduring the three minutes of ‘January’ they swiftly moved on to play tracks, “That were actually in tune,” as Ben proclaimed. Performing, ‘Hey Rachel’ and ‘Dialtones’ from earlier albums and ‘The Stigma: Boys Don’t Cry’ which included a solo from their resident photographer and videographer, Ian Coulson.
Before closing the show with ‘Wicked World’, Ben announced, “We’re coming to Brighton in March next year. There will be an announcement on Monday.”
To which Patty joked, “This is Ben’s new aesthetic everybody, leaking our tour dates.”
The AS IT IS crew will be back in Brighton on 15th March at the Concorde 2. Tickets are available to buy here.