Author Archives: John Bownas

Beers.Bands.Bratwurst & More at Hastings Oktoberfest

Hastings OktoberfestSaturday 1st October 2-10pm@ Horntye Park (indoors)

Beers.Bands.Bratwurst & more

Following the disappointment of 2020 & 21 we are delighted to announce that we are back for 2022

with the FULL amazing line-up we put together for 2021.

Join the excitement from 2-10pm on Saturday 1st October as we transform the hall at Horntye Park (indoors) into a Munich style Bier Hall with authentic German beer from ABK and imported German bratwurst.

The event will be hosted by the UK’s Number 1 Oktoberfest hostess Eva Von Schnippisch and guests can sing and swing along with live oompah from our resident band DDFK and local favourites Brighton & Hove Brass.


Advance Tickets are priced at £15 (+ booking fee) and available online

Alternatively you can buy a physical ticket (without booking fee) from our amazing friends:

ABC Coleman’s, Bexhill Road

Premier Travel, The Ridge

Southside Wrappers, Cambridge Road

Earl’s Cafe, Sidley

Advance tickets only. Over 18’s event.

If you have any questions please email


The Magic Numbers close Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival’s unplugged Saturday.

Saturday 26th February 2022 8pm
The Brass, Hastings

The Magic Numbers are a UK-based four-piece formed in late 2002 in Hanwell, west London.

Comprising two pairs of brothers and sisters (Romeo and Michele Stodart and Angela and Sean Gannon) they are known for their unique harmonies, melodic hooks, song-writing craftsmanship and their timeless sound.

The band quickly shot to media attention after selling out London’s 2000 capacity Kentish Town Forum solely on the strength of their loyal following and before the release of their self-titled 2005 debut album.

When the album was finally released, the album was met with huge acclaim from the critics and fans alike receiving 5/5 review from Mojo 4/5 reviews from Uncut, Q, Rolling Stone and The Guardian with NME and Pitchfork giving it 8/10. It reached number seven in the UK album charts, selling two times platinum and it was met with similar enthusiasm through Europe. This album was subsequently nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and went on to sell over half a million copies in the UK alone.

The Magic Numbers went on to be one of the nation’s best loved bands and have toured with the likes of Brian Wilson, Neil Young, The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, The Who, U2 and Bright Eye’s to name a few.

Hastings gets heavy as Entombed Festival takes over The Crypt

A new festival called ‘Entombed’ will hit Hastings hard next February – bringing an unhealthy but tempting mix of heavy punk, sludge and doom to the town’s legendary Crypt venue.

Curated by the Toxic Wotsit crew and partnered by Infected Umbrella Promotions, Entombed is not for the faint-hearted.

Months in the making, the event take place on 4th and 5th February 2022 has now unveiled its line-up with tickets already flying out the door – thanks in no small measure to the appearance of Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs at the top of the bill.

After all, Pigs will fly!!!

For anyone unacquainted with the Pigs x7 sound (how have you missed their last two long players and extensive radio-play??) if you have a rummage around through your old Black Sabbath and Motorhead albums and play one of each at the same time cranked up pretty loud you’ll get the general idea.

Gobby-Wotsit, Dan Flannagan said: “Brace for impact because this two-day festival will knock you off your feet. But rest assured, it wouldn’t be a Toxic Wotsit show without some cheesily named cocktails and equally cheesy tunes between the bands, and we’re pleased to say we’ll have them both in abundance!”

Alongside Pigs x7 the festival also features Wizard Fight, who will be playing their first live show since 2017, alongside Ättestor, who will be bringing their fäst, d-beät punk from Brighton and are not to be missed.

Shooting Daggers are returning to Hastings following a blinder of a set at the latest Wotsit Called Fest, so if you missed them there then definitely catch them this time!

Dawn Ray’d will be making their Hastings debut with blistering violin-driven anti-fascist black metal, whilst a new Hastings band Comeback Clit might actually have a whole set by the time February comes around.

Haest will blast the expected hangovers away on day two with their hardcore doom stylings – but with the band fresh from supporting Skindred they will have to get used to the fact there are no personal dressing room this time.

Thrashcore fans will cheer that Jawless are on their way down to the south coast, and for a more experimental, post-punk/hardcore experience Manchester’s finest Follow Your Dreams will be returning after last playing in Hastings in 2019.

Meanwhile, Arboricidio will make their Hastings debut with some blistering d-beat crust and Entombed is also happy to be supporting the West Country, with a trio of Cornwall-based punx making their way along the south coast – Monolithian, Rash Decision and F Emasculata will all add some Cornish flavour to the bill.

To keep the party going on Saturday, Entombed will also be hosting three further bands as an ‘after party’ at The Pig – just a few minutes walk from The Crypt.

Local NWOBH newcomers No Relief, street-protest punks Glitchers and Portsmouth favourites The SLM will play out into the early hours.

Get your tickets at & Follow the team on Instagram @toxicwotsit @entombedfestival for all the latest updates!

Why Blabbermouth Are Going to be Your Next Favourite Indie (guitar) Band

Give us a minute or two to get back to Blabbermouth and why you should come and see them play at The Crypt in Hastings on 23rd July. *TICKETS*

First – let’s break this one down a bit… what do we mean by ‘indie’ – and what does it mean to you?

Roll back the clock to the late 70s and ‘indie’ was shorthand for ‘independent’ and referred to the DIY record labels that sprang up at the time to challenge the dominance of the big boys…music was changing, and democracy was on the horizon.

It was 1980 when the UK had it’s first separate ‘Indie Chart’, and it may well have ‘irked’ the big four (EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal) because the two top spins were the single ‘Where’s Captain Kirk’ and the album ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’.

Now, fast-forward to 2021, and ‘indie’ has a new meaning – but that meaning is far from clear, because the criteria for entry into the chart may exclude any artists who are part of the big-four empire, but that doesn’t mean big names are off the menu.

Let’s look at the current official ‘indie top 30’ – and one band has seven entries in the mid-week chart.

Arctic Monkeys certainly have that ‘indie guitar sound’ that many people associate with the ‘indie’ genre…but their mainstream status would seem to distance them from the original emphasis of the concept.

And then we look at the Number One song by KSI.

KSI could be a lot closer to the spirit of DIY musical success…after all, he was just an Internet upstart whose YouTube channel propelled him into megastar status.

But on the other hand let’s listen to his current ‘Holiday’ single and his other recent output.

None of that Spizzenergi quirkiness of ‘Captain Kirk’. Not a hint of the blasphemic punk energy of Adam and the Ants in their artschool punk proto-format…except of course for the carefully positioned expletives that are slipped into the generic beat-structure of his raps, which follow the world-weary path that all songs of this nature seem to tread.

It’s over-polished and hyper-produced formula ‘hip-hop’ for the masses.

It’s not challenging. It’s not interesting. But it sells.

Which is fine I guess, because who is this 50-something with no comprehension of what a teen in 2021 ought to ‘get’?

…but while writing this I’ve been forcing myself to listen to a few KSI tracks, and I’ve only just avoided ripping my own intestines out of my navel so I could ram them into my ears to avoid having to put up with another second of him.

The antidote – Blabbermouth!

(Promised I’d get back to them didn’t I?)

Now I’m not going to make any stupid claims that this is a band who are ‘totally unique’ or ‘groundbreaking’.

The reality of music is that it’s been around long enough now that pretty much everything that can lay a claim to being musical will be derivative of something.

So why do Blabbermouth float my boat – and why should you give them a listen?

Here’s where music journalism falls down… how can anyone put excellent music into words that does that music proper justice? It’s like trying to find language to describe the vivid purple of a spectacular flower.

So this is where brevity rules…

When I listen to Blabbermouth – especially when it’s a live gig – I quite simply get very excited by their perfect combination of anthemic lyrical passion and polished stagecraft.

This is a band who haven’t just emerged fully formed – they have evolved – but in an accelerated timeframe.

These four young guys from Hastings have absorbed many decades’ worth of riffs, hooks, and rhythms and have put their combined learned wisdom back together into songs which are immediately familiar but also dew-fresh and 100% theirs.

Did we mention they are playing at The Crypt on 23rd July?

See you down the front.

Squid’s surprisingly sophisticated sensational sounds


Supporting SQUID tonight at the De La war Pavilion are Laundromat.

And right from the get-go those crushed 50’s RKO vocals provide the perfect foil for the band’s discordant – but somehow pleasant – ‘plonks’.

‘Plonks.’  Not a word I’d ever have normally associated with or even considered using in the context of a positive gig review. Bit, somehow, Laundromat seem to have mastered the art of the ‘plonk’ and raised it to an artform,

Everyone in the band is doing his own thing – and some of it is very odd indeed. But weirdly it’s all holding together.

Frankly it’s more than a little bit disturbing that I actually seem to get this…or maybe I just don’t.

Describing Laundromat is tough because it almost feels as if half the band are playing backwards…and the rest are playing sideways.

So rather than struggling with references to try and explain how this song by Laundromat sounds like so-and-so, or how that little riff was reminiscent of that-band, let’s just leave it here.

Laundromat are perhaps not totally unique – but they are far enough away from any mainstream acts that they may as well be applauded for doing broadly speaking their own thing.


And speaking of doing their own thing … here comes SQUID, with a stop/start… synchronised jazz vibe that’s fundamentally messed up and somehow artfully infused with the cantankerous sounds of an industrial wasteland.

Bumping off the sides of tonality, Squid’s new material is both confident and unlikely.

Musically speaking this is so far beyond the years of the band members. Songs glide gently into sci-fi wobbles and farts, and, despite the challenging nature of what our ears are being presented with, it all makes a weird amount of sense.

Then. Wallop! – here comes the horn section out of nowhere…followed by a pounding electro drum rhythm that knocks both band members and audience members into immediate submission.

Between songs – and even during a few – band members scurry around the stage from instrument to instrument, looking to create a constantly shifting soundscape.

Then. BANG (again). Here comes the rocky wig-out number, with those distinctive vocals that are just as at home in a sub-metal style as they are echoing the jazz greats of yesteryear.

And then, suddenly, everything is percussion and howling pedal effects…a sort of homage to The Old Grey Whistle Test and, within seconds, much more than a nod towards the legendary Gong.

How do we describe SQUID’s latest foray into live territory?

A jam session made from premium grade fruits?

Elemental world music rooted in the streets?

What’s for sure is that this whole new direction is nothing less than a deliberate attempt to try and avoid BBC 6-music airplay on anything other than the Freakzone playlist.

And it’s a pretty safe bet that when a band’s repertoire rips up elements of The Fall, Talking Heads and CAN they’re not looking at commercial record sales in the current chart climate to boost their careers.

This is a good bet if, for no other reason, than the fact that trying to pigeon hole SQUID is like trying to make sense out of a phrase like ‘prog-indie-metal-electro-jazz’.

It just doesn’t compute – until you hear it for yourself.

And it’s safe to say to say that SQUID kept me interested. And guessing…all night long.

Gentle and forlorn ballads rub shoulders with angry spoken word that lives a precarious life suspended over a kick/snare/synth combo that’s reminiscent of something cast out from The Wall by Pink Floyd for being ‘too odd’.

There has been (and will be again) a time when this is stadium music…

It is epic stuff…if not now, then 20 years ago, or 20 years from now. Or maybe…today?

This Is the Kit supported by Hayley Savage

Elegantly understated and deftly enthralling, Hastings’ singer-songwriter Hayley Savage’s performance here at the De La war Pavilion tonight is both peaceful and demure.

Her charming songs are captivating and contemplative, and her performance in unselfconscious.

The applause she received time after time was both genuine and heartfelt – and by no means forced or polite as is sometimes the case at intimate gigs when audiences feel obliged to show some sense of gratitude regardless of talent…

All in all a great support slot from an up-and-coming star…

This Is the Kit may not have played live for ages, but their stage-show was still effortless… even if Kate Stables admitted to being “snoozy after too much trifle and chocolate coins…”

In this dark room it’s easy to pretend the audience is ten-fold from its socially distanced number – and you get the sense the band has rammed this idea into their heads in order to perform a set that truly befits their burgeoning status as an act worthy of proper-sized venues.

Every note and drum beat carefully chosen and crafted… nothing rushed.

Everything perfectly crafted.

Mark Knopfler guitar echoes are evocative of days gone by…

“This is our first chance to play these songs live since we recorded them in the first week of March way back in 2020,” says Kate, who goes on to take plenty of time tuning her guitar, but only to make it worse… ‘whoops, jinxed it!’ she laughs…

Tuning becomes a meme as the night goes on and Kate asks rhetorically ‘how do you tune a six string banjo?’

The answer is that only five of the tuning pegs are used! And Zither banjos are always a little bit out of tune.

As song follows song we hear a trickling extract of Eddie Bricknell, get a smidgen of rocking-out guitar hero treatment, and even a little Seth Lakeman-esque action…

… but weirder… building growing pulsing … too early, too late!

As the gig works its way to the end Kate shows her weakness as well as her strength.

Awkwardly wobbly and quaking she may have admitted to being – trying to remember how it goes. But ultimately This Is the Kit have what it takes and their forced absence from the scene hasn’t diminished their staying power.

Blowing away the cobwebs, with Kid Kapichi, SNAYX and Blabbermouth

21st and 22nd May 2021, De La Warr Pavilion

A poignant cobweb hanging a metre-or-so down from a light above the De La Warr Pavilion balcony was a telling reminder of just how long venues have been mothballed.

Tonight’s Kid Kapichi ‘album launch’ comes over three months since ‘This Time Next Year’ hit the racks with a glowing four-star NME review that called it ‘a snarling debut full of grit, determination and blood-curdling fury…’

Those with an eye for detail might have pointed out to the NME hack that the band’s first release was way back in 2016 – but this is their first long-player, so we’ll not split hairs over semantics.

But back to the present, and although the venue might have been a bit dusty, none of the bands were in any way rusty, effortlessly remembering which end of the guitar was which and what all those funny switch things at their feet do…

Due to demand for tickets and the need to still maintain social distancing this (almost) home-town return to the live stage was split over two nights – offering opportunities for both SNAYX and Blabbermouth to take turns at opening the shows.

However, the big elephant in the room was the looming question of how bands like these would work in the rigidly controlled setting that current rules dictate.

All seated, masks when not drinking, no jumping around, and all that jazz. And indeed, the amount of space around each little sofa-island of fans was enough for a pretty big elephant to have navigated its way down to the non-existent mosh-pit.

Did it work?

Well, yes – pretty much.

But it still wasn’t the same, and served as a telling reminder of how far we still are from any true return to normality.

As SNAYX hit the stage the first impression was of how the Pavilion appeared to have taken on the proportions of a stadium, given the distance from the band to the seated front row.

And there was a palpable wave of relief that rolled across the (admittedly sparse) crowd as they got their first dose of proper live rock in what felt like an eternity.

With bass-heavy riffs, SNAYX are reminiscent of early Red Hot Chili Peppers, but with a contemporary twist – and this is a good thing.

Their set was a perfect appetiser to whet appetites for the main course.

And the same could be said for Blabbermouth, who opened the Saturday night show.

Max’s voice may have been a little rough around the edges from a little too much rehearsal time in the studio, but nobody cared as the audience lapped up the band’s songs, which are as infectious as a boisterous Covid virus, and twice as deadly!

Catch them at The Crypt on 17th July: TICKETS

But what of Kid Kapichi’s two-night residency?

Well you could sense the magnetic lines of force that snapped between the band and the audience right from the opening strobes of a dramatic lightshow that was worthy of a stage entrance by Metallica.

Restraint was strained to its limits as fans were torn between the desire dash to the front and the knowledge that misbehaving and not following Boris’ rules might put the show at risk.

So fists punched the air and hair was flicked from side to side in an effort to somehow recreate the normal crowdsurfing chaos that a Kid Kapichi gig inevitably always ascends into…but all from the comfort of a sofa or café table.

And throughout the two triumphant shows the band prowled and stalked the De La Warr stage with effortless perfection and precision – as if they had never been away and as if the hundred-or-so audience members were ten times that number and stacked two-deep.

Every song was another notch on the bedpost as old faves rubbed luxuriantly up against new raves in a deliciously well-blended cocktail of anger and social commentary spiked with musical and lyrical hooks that instantly addictive.

Last year should have been Kid Kapichi’s true break-through opportunity – but the world put their plans on pause along with the rest of the industry.

Now, with restrictions lifting and everyone hoping that the true normal will be back this sider of Christmas, perhaps ‘this time next year’ the whole world will be chanting along to their favourite Kapichi anthems in packed venues and festivals across the globe!


[robo-gallery id=”76237″]

Enthralled, amused, and slightly confused… but not easily offended

Photos by

Fat White Family, 18th May 2021, Bexhill De La Warr Pavillion

The headline perfectly describes the audience at Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavillion as three sevenths of Fat White Family played their fourth set since lockdown rules allowed them to get back on a live stage.

This was the second show on the second day of their ‘Moonbathing in February’ tour – a homage to their recent film, which was coincidentally inspired by a 1am mushroom-fuelled dip in the sea at Hastings.

The combination of vocalist Lias Saoudi, keyboard whiz Nathan Saoudi, and sax-man (here turned flute-player) Alex White, proved to be a truly engaging trio and offered up a show that was a million miles from the normally raucous and riotous affairs that FWF gigs typically descend/ascend into.

We laughed.

We sat in silent wonder.

We wondered if we should be shocked or laughing.

And we experienced a perfectly executed exercise in poetry infused jazz, that smacked of Hank William III-style country, and included some beautifully Noel Coward-esque music-hall stylings. All underpinned by subtlety throbbing synth wobbles and counterpoised by not-always-perfect, but none the less lovely flute solos and melodies.

From the outset I stabbed out gig notes and jotted down mid-song banter in preparation for writing this review…but within a few songs I stopped and just sank back in my socially distanced seat to enjoy the moment.

I decided that any detailed blow-by-blow write-up would just be a plot spoiler for those who are lucky enough to have tickets to the later dates on the tour.

So that’s all for this piece… except to say that if you don’t yet have your seats booked and there is a Fat White Family show near you in the next few weeks make a bee-line for it.

You’ll not be disappointed.

Time to have the last laugh in Hastings: Book now for Friday 18 December

Here’s one pre-Christmas COVID-friendly night sorted!

Hastings Fringe Comedy Festival in association with Grand Elektra present a Christmas Comedy Special.

A night of some of the best established and up-and-coming acts and a headliner – all on one stage for a fantastic night of LIVE stand up comedy.











Tickets available from

Group bookings, table service – COVID-friendly

Tables of 3,4,5,6

Buddha Triangle plus Snake Eats Boy – live at The Piper

All photos by Sara-Louise Bowrey

Boy Eats Snake

Represented tonight by vocalist Harrison Davies, Snake Eats Boy are a collective of alternative folk musicians from the South East who have come together to share a bleak and melancholic world-weary perspective of the world with anyone who cares to sit down and listen.

If tonight’s performance and this debut release – ‘Early Mournings‘ – are anything to go by we can expect material that will cover loss, heartbreak, difficult coming of age, tragedy, and despair.

All perectly valid material to find inspiration in – and for times when you need to reflect on your life this is the kind of stuff you want to be pulling out of the record box.

Buddha Triangle

As a stark counterpoint Buddha Triangle are at the very furthest opposite end of the musical spectrum. Life affirming and ebullient, with a freestlying reggae/funk fusion style, this is a band who never fail to put smiles on faces as their irreverant attitudes ignite passion and joy in equal measures.

Taking inspiration from fragments of conversation in the room or banter between band members they build new songs on the fly, interweaving observational comedy with adept sax, drums, guitar and bass motifs that lift moods and engage the crowd perfectly as they realise they are in at the birth of something new and unique.

That said they have plenty of pre-made anthems up their sleeves – check out ‘Lady and a Man‘ as a great example…

[flickr_set id=’72157716804187722′]