Brighton: it's a helluva town.
The south coast citadel is a true music city, home to the Great Escape and all manner of weird and wonderful communities, each seemingly devoted to pushing the envelope and having a great time in the process.
It's a system that needs space to flourish, and - sadly - one of those spaces is set to close at the end of the year, when Sticky Mike's Frog Bar pulls its final pint.
Confirmed earlier in the year, the loss of the venue robs Brighton of an important hub for creativity, for experimentation, and for simply having fun.
Blood Red Shoes owe a lot to the city, and the duo will return to Brighton next month for one final showcase at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar before launching their new album in January.
Here, the band's Steven Ansell writes a few words about the venue, what it means, and why it really must be a Brighton thing...
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It’s fair to say that Sticky Mike’s built itself up into somewhat of an institution in Brighton. I remember when it first appeared, taking over the location from a late-night pisshead spot which I think was called the Water Margin, and drawing everyone’s attention immediately by having a totally bananas name.
I still don’t have a fucking clue where it came from, but this town has a long tradition of weird naming conventions (see Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, or the fact that our local backline/van rental place is called OOOSH with three o’s, or the fact that we have a 24-hour off licence called “well done”) - and very quickly it became a hang out spot and venue of choice for a huge amount of the town’s music types.
I could say that it it got a place in people’s affections because it put on a diverse and eclectic mix of events - I’ve partied to yacht rock DJs there, joined in the chaos of a Bitchcraft five-band gig, watched DZ Deathrays fans nearly pull the ceiling down, had my arse handed to me on a plate playing retro SNES games at Retro-bution, and lost my goddam mind at what is always the ultimate Great Escape after party.
I could say that what makes it awesome is how sound engineer Tom 'Mr Chirpy' Adams would crank the PA within an inch of its life so every gig felt like a sonic apocalypse. Or how the bar manager Joe would let you stay for a lock-in then if you get restless at that, invite you to bundle back to his place and keep the flame burning well into the next morning.
But none of these things would adequately explain the vibe of Sticky’s... I think it might just be A BRIGHTON THING.
Because you see, Brighton is a town full of oddities and misfits and wasters and romantics and that’s what Sticky Mike’s is (or soon to be, “was”, sadly).
Somewhere welcoming to all, which puts on great and interesting music and events without taking itself too seriously or being snooty about it; somewhere chaotic, nonsensical, weird, debauched, elegantly (and sometimes inelegantly) wasted, run by people whose sole purpose is to make something awesome and not make a big profit; somewhere you can meet others like yourself... a church for the weirdos.
So farewell Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, thanks for a wonderful eight years, and good luck prizing me away from the bar at the closing New Year's Eve party.
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Catch Blood Red Shoes at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar on December 11th - the band's new album 'Get Tragic' lands on January 25th.
For tickets to the latest Blood Red Shoes shows click HERE.
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