On Monday 21st of November the Dome was filling up in anticipation for hipster-hero, Mac Demarco. Brighton centre was simultaneously swelling with people of all ages for the mighty Gorillaz. Meanwhile, a handful of us perceptive music fans saw an opportunity.
However, our excursion was not merely an iconoclastic one, deliberately boycotting a couple of indie and pop music’s favourites. No, as any one of my fellow Childhood fans would attest, ‘Universal High’ was undoubtedly one of the most impressive albums released in 2017, and it was this, not a desire to be controversial, that drew us to Patterns on the 27th.
They began as the album does, with A.M.D, dropping into the mesmeric chorus to the delight of fans with amorous expressions on faces tilting with adoration and glee. The venue started to become busier just as they strolled with swagger into ‘California Light,’ certainly their most popular song. There was an imperceptible charm to the slightly staggering performance of the striking and wonderfully inebriated front man, Ben Romans-Hopcraft. Most interestingly, though, there was a humility to the band’s performance. Not a humility that subtracted from their enthusiasm, but an awareness of the other artists in town that night – indeed, before their last song one member leant forward and muttered in a jocular fashion the words, ‘Fuck Gorillaz’ into the mic.
Perhaps humility is the wrong word. Care-free seems more appropriate. Just as you may see a band who usually sells out small venues supporting a band on tour. They may open the night playing to 50 people in a 500 capacity venue, but there’s something liberating about that, some alleviation of pressure that comes with the smaller crowd. So, in this questionable and long-winded analogy, Brighton is the venue and Gorillaz, Mac and Childhood is the line-up…
Instead of seeing the other two prolific artists in town that night as some kind of competition, Childhood knew that their impressive set of pop songs would impress any audience that fancied attending, small or large. And that proved to be exactly what happened. The crowd cheered the band off at the end, chanting for more. And it was richly deserved.