The Wave Pictures live

First things first, when and why did Brighton’s cosiest venue decide it needed to refurbish? Tucked away in the back streets, the formerly tiny Freebutt has been graced by some of indie’s finest. Little more than a pub back-room (Sydneysiders, think The Annandale but a quarter of the size) with a cramped, barely raised stage, the Freebutt felt delightfully low-key. Watching a gig there (like the two occasions I saw Kimya Dawson) felt like a privilidge, like being part of a secret.

Now, the bar area has been reduced (and feels cramped) in order to facilitate a much bigger main room, which is perfectly fine except for THE MASSIVE PILLAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE STAGE which procludes about a third of the people in the room from seeing anything. The stage itself is far bigger than it needs to be for such a small venue too. Okay, so it’s cool that more people can get into gigs there now, but they could have sorted out some decent air-con while they were refurbishing. It was insanely hot in the busy room. “I just want to check, is everybody warm enough?” Wave Pictures frontman David Tattersall joked as sweat leaked from every pore of every person. The show was worth dehydrating for though. Tattersall’s vocal was much more accessible live than on the three-piece’s records and he proved himself to be a fucking awesome guitarist too. His lyrics were always clever and, while they very occasionally bordered on cringeworthy, were generally full of English wit and wry observations. Friday Night In Loughborough stood out during a 45-minute set of old and new tunes, as did I Love You Like a Madman.

Between songs, the band were as unassuming as their dressed-down appearance and showed a pleasing unpretentiousness. While the venue they were performing in may have lost its unique charm, The Wave Pictures brought heaps of it with them.

Review by Bobby Townsend