By Tom Baker and Kelsey Raney
London-based art-rock five-piece Squid returned home to Brighton in September and brought with them a stunning performance at Concord 2. After forming in 2015, Squid began demanding attention with the release of several impressive singles starting with the Speedy Wunderground track The Dial, produced by Dan Carey, who would go on to influence many of their future releases. The anticipation built by their singles came to a point with their debut album Bright Green Fields, released by Warp this past May, coinciding with the reanimation of the live music scene after its year-long stasis.
Squid opened with two familiar tracks: the daytime-TV diss track Sludge and the dystopic G.S.K. before veering into unfamiliar territory with a performance of their currently unreleased track Fugue, a largely instrumental art-rock piece with ascending and meandering guitar lines. A distinctive cowbell sound told the crowd that it was time to dance as The Cleaner began. The Cleaner proved to be a highlight of the gig for us, the “so I can dance” section offered a moment where the already intense mosh came to a halt and all in attendance were drawn into a lull that gave way to a frenzied scene that can only be compared to the illustrated works of Heironymous Bosch. It was here that the band’s foray into their singles ended, and they committed to cuts from Bright Green Fields for the rest of the evening.
The Narrator led the crowd on a sonic journey through the calm and frenetic before dissolving into synthetic washes of synapse frying noise. The end of Boy Racers in particular left you as though you had your psyche wiped clean with a bleach-soaked rag of droning fuzz. A minute of respite came in the form of the quiet and almost therapeutic build-up of Documentary Filmmaker, allowing time for our brains to resolidify before being thoroughly malleted by the closer, Pamphlets.
We can only offer commiserations to those who decide to skip the opening act, Brighton’s own (for now) septet Keg provided a lightning-charged performance that felt every part as lively and esoteric as the performance given by Squid. Made all the more special buy the announcement of their new single’s release later that same night, sometimes it’s a shame to discover a band so early in their career as a lack of releases leaves you starving! A particular stand out was a song that left us repeating the chorus “daddy, I want an itsu now!” the rest of the evening.
We left Concord 2 covered in bruises and sweat, most of which was not our own – completely satisfied, in spite of the absence of my personal favourite Houseplants. We cannot recommend Squid in concert enough and you can be certain that when they next come home, you’ll find us there in the mosh again.