A Place To Bury Strangers at Patterns, Brighton, 20th May 2023
Rolling into Brighton on a sunny Saturday evening, you get the feeling that summer is finally upon us. The beach is packed with people enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine, drinks in hand and singing at the top of their lungs to cheesy 90’s pop music. The cheery seaside vibe is infectious, however, walking into Patterns the light quickly disappears and any sense of summer is quickly forgotten.
As we enter the venue Camilla Sparksss is nearing the end of her set, with Are You OK? welcoming us to proceedings. Camilla’s music is propulsive, catchy and abrasive in all the right ways. It’s the very antithesis of the experience we were greeted with on our way to Patterns, and it prepares us nicely for what’s up next.
Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS) take to the stage with frontman Oliver Ackermann politely introducing the band before kicking things off with new track Disgust. Not long into the song, Oliver is already throwing his guitar around and jabbing the air like a champion fencer defending his title at the Olympics.
Alone is next, and it’s here the rhythm section of bassist John Fedowitz and drummer Sandra Fedowitz come into their own and shine through. Their energy is the backbone of the band, with Oliver wielding crazy levels of fuzz and feedback over the top. You can hear the shoegaze, post-punk and shoegaze influences, but APTBS take that formula and dial it up to 100!
Tonight’s set is only an hour long, but it makes sense when all their songs are played with so much ferocity. We’ve Come so Far is another motorik banger aided nicely by the bands DIY light and visual show. Handheld strobe lights and boxes are thrown around with no concern, and disco balls of light are placed wherever the mood takes them. It all adds to the intensity and theatre, and it’s a perfect fit to APTBS’s artistic aesthetic.
You Are The One is played with a whole new purpose this evening; louder, more aggressive and totally mind blowing as the song builds. As soon as it finishes Sandra jumps over the barrier into the crowd, and from out of nowhere, a distorted drumming can be heard. Before anyone realises, the band members are in the middle of the crowd, and we’re being treated to an impromptu noise rave! It’s like those old Lightning Bolt shows where it felt like everything could fall apart at any moment, yet the band remain in total control of the situation.
Once the electro jam is complete, the band return to the stage and you can feel there’s a different energy in the room. Everyone is totally up for it now, and End of the Night causes the crowd to lose it. Hold On Tight does nothing to calm anyone down, and it really feels like APTBS are hitting their stride.
Closing things off with fan favourite I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart and Have You Ever Been In Love, the strobe lights and volume levels are set to stun. There’s no letting up as the band franticly move around the stage in flipbook blasts surrounded by clouds of smoke. The music seems to be getting louder as we near the end of the show, with instruments and amps being picked up and moved around to create even more chaos on stage.
It’s brilliant to witness and it’s a cathartic experience I didn’t realise I had missed after years away from watching live music. APTBS are an incredible live band so catch them on the Nothing Left To Destroy tour if you can.
Review by Ryan Howarth
Photos © Hannah Mesquitta
25th May 2023