THE CHATS + CHUBBY AND THE GANG + DENNIS COMETTI @ CHALK, BRIGHTON, 29TH MARCH 2022
Since their music video for ‘Smoko’ went viral in 2017, the sparse punky sound and witty lyrics of The Chats have resonated with audiences worldwide. Their debut album ‘High Risk Behaviour’ was released in March 2020, but the UK tour to support it had to be rescheduled twice due to pandemic restrictions. We finally caught up with them at Chalk in Brighton two years on.
The first of two support bands tonight is Dennis Cometti, a three-piece from Western Australia who are named after a veteran Aussie Rules footballer and commentator. They obviously love their footy as they come on stage dressed in their local team’s blue and white kit, East Fremantle Sharks.
Musically, they are in similar territory to the headliners, with that classic new wave sound and lyrics dealing with the frustrations of life down under. The songs are great, and I love this band straight away. I particularly like ‘(I H8 the) CBD‘, a vitriolic rant about soulless city centres, and the current single ‘Death Rattle‘, about a long road trip in an unserviceable car. The band fits a fourteen song set into their allotted half-hour slot. If you like The Chats, you’ll almost certainly like Dennis Cometti too.
Chubby and the Gang
Also playing tonight are Chubby and the Gang, a five-piece from West London. They’ve had loads of great press, and this tour support will only further their cause. The music is glam-tinged pub rock played at breakneck speed, with shouty vocals in the hardcore punk style. The energy and physicality of their performance is astonishing. Mesmeric frontman Charlie is a force of nature, adopting a cheekily provocative stance as though offering all 800 of the audience out for a fight. There are no takers.
The twin-guitar attack of heavy riffing and screeching lead in ‘The Mutt’s Nutts‘ reminds me of vintage Slaughter And The Dogs. ‘Coming Up Tough‘ is the standout number for me, a proper glam racket with a tasty bit of rhythm guitar. Live is the setting in which to appreciate the raw power of Chubby and the Gang, a band very much on the up.
CHUBBY AND THE GANG
The venue is absolutely rammed when headliners The Chats take the stage. There’s been a lineup change since the last UK tour with Josh Hardy, replacing former guitarist Pricey. Eamon Sandwith on lead vocals and bass, and drummer Matt Boggis complete the lineup.
It’s a fast and furious set that somehow crams 25 songs into about 50 minutes, and the audience goes completely wild. Amidst frequent crowd surfing, there’s plenty of beer being flung, thankfully in plastic glasses. Most of the numbers are very familiar from the album and the ‘Get This in Ya!!‘ EP.
We’re also treated to some new material: ‘Jet Lighter‘, ‘6 LTR GTR‘, and ‘Paid Late‘. As you might expect, all are fizzing with energy and feature catchy chant-along choruses.
A cover of a song by children’s TV favourites The Wiggles is bizarrely surreal but works surprisingly well. There’s plenty of shouting along to ‘Smoko‘, the track that first set them on the path to international touring. Guitarist Josh turns in a blistering solo on ‘AC/DC CD‘, and Charlie, the vocalist from Chubby and the Gang, comes on to do a guest spot on an absolutely storming cover of the Sham 69 classic ‘Borstal Breakout‘, the high point of the evening for me. The final number is the iconic ‘Pub Feed‘, and it’s pretty lively in the crowd near the front.
The return of The Chats to the UK was a long time coming, but it sure was worth the wait.