Abellio Greater Anglia have a lot to answer for. Thanks to their slow-running shambles of a service on Friday night, I was late to Cool Thing Records Alternative Occupations EP launch in Southend on Sea. As a result, I missed The Scarletts and The Horse Heads‘ sets, and if they were anywhere near as loud and lively as Petty Phase and Asylums’ performances; I definitely missed out.
Public transport bashing aside, it’s time to praise the raw and exciting talent that’s been simmering by the Southend seaside over the last few months. Cool Thing Records is the brain child of the almighty Asylums lads, and they’ve been nurturing local talents on their label, helping them to organise gigs, recording sessions, and extensive radio plays.
To celebrate their successes, Cool Thing have released a four track EP entitled Alternative Occupations, and it’s this release that drew the crowds to The Railway Pub in Southend on Friday night. With live sets from The Horse Heads, Petty Phase and Asylums, plus a DJ set from fourth contributor BAIT; the evening was packed with people eager to hear the EP’s tracks performed live.
Riot Grrrls Petty Phase refused to let amp feedback get in the way of their set, and they tore through their tracks including ‘You’ll Be Dead’, which recently premiered on Clash. Drummer Jess smashed away on her cymbals, guitarists and vocalists Jennifer and Rosie shouted their lyrics with “sugar, spunk, and everything punk”, and bassist Libby kept things brooding and steady at the back. Together, Petty Phase are the coolest most corrosive girls in town, and they need to be seen live to be fully appreciated.
It goes without saying that headliners Asylums performed with their trademark energy and at an ear-splitting volume. Luke, Jazz, Mike and Henry have an enviable chemistry which seeped in to the sweat-saturated mosh pit. Guitarist Jazz’s impulsive, idiosyncratic jerks and hair flicks border on hypnotic, whilst frontman Luke never fails to rile up the crowd with his scissor kicks and excellent voice. Drummer Henry (aka John Williams’ biggest fan) and bassist Mike put the ‘cool’ in Cool Thing, and the band ripped through tracks from their debut album Killer Brain Waves, including ‘Monosyllabic Saliva’, ‘Joy In a Small Wage’, and my personal favourite; ‘Missing Persons’.
They closed their set with the eponymous ‘Alternative Occupations’ which laments the necessity of working the 9-5 whilst trying to keep your dreams alive. It’s nothing short of remarkable what Asylums have achieved since their formation in 2014. With a record label, knockout debut album, collaborative EP, and a tonne of brilliant live performances under their belt; these Cool Things truly are limitless in potential and talent (and they’re proper nice people as well).
Long live Asylums and all their Cool Thing label mates.
The Alternative Occupations EP can be purchased from the Asylums official website now.
Photo Credit: Kana Waiwaiku