No Pre-Teen Has-Beens


The Haunt, Brighton - 4th July 2015
The thing that strikes you immediately is how youthful this band look: four teenagers on stage who would normally be bundled hastily out of this Brighton nightclub on age grounds. But the sound they are making tonight in support of The Go! Team is anything but immature and naive.

Brighton’s Grasshopper have been slowly but surely building their local profile since their formation three years ago despite undergoing a number of personnel changes; these more than likely enforced by study commitments. Led by 16 year-old singer/guitarist and songwriter, Javi Fedrick, they already have two impressive self-released EPs under their belt, Transmission and Circle Time, and their urgent brand of classic post-punk meets psychedelic art-pop has led to a recent support slot with The Charlatans at their recent sell out show in Worthing.

As this ambitious band stride on to the stage at The Haunt, some members of the audience swap surprised looks, but any doubts are soon dispelled when Grasshopper confidently surge into their almost instrumental opener 'Rico’s Revenge', with its trance-like, shoegaze feel and a propulsive early 1980s New Order bassline provided by Luis Fedrick.

What follows is an all too brief six song set that draws the listener in, with gems such as the spiky guitar lines of 'Tiny Detonations' and the standout 'Scream' which clearly has an air of 'Alice'-era Sisters of Mercy about it. Javi is a hugely commanding presence as a frontman, with an almost baritone voice that recalls Bowie’s Thin White Duke persona and also Bauhaus’s Peter Murphy. During his short life he has certainly been listening to the right records.

The set culminates with the slow building epic, 'The Great Unravelling', and the band leave the stage having won many more admirers. Their performance is all the more impressive considering pigtailed guitarist Hannah Waterman was hastily drafted into the band for this very gig with remarkably little time for rehearsal. On this evidence they should certainly keep her in the ranks as her guitar work blended seamlessly with the fluid and insistent drumming of Rachel Garrett.

This four-piece may be young but they can wipe the floor with many bands twice their age and have a sound that respects their impeccable influences but shies away from imitation. Try to catch them now in a small venue before the inevitable happens and they fully realise the bags of potential they so clearly have.

Words: Joe Giacomelli

Grasshopper live at The HAunt
Photos by Guy Christie
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