the inca babies

Inca Babies

The Green Door Store, Brighton – 14th June 2013

The first Isolation-staged event in Brighton for some four years saw the legendary Inca Babies make a rare foray to the south coast in support of their recently-released album Deep Dark Blue, a terrific collection of murderous tales fittingly themed around the sea and the desperate secrets concealed within. Their last venture to the city had been a low key affair as the band took tentative steps following their re-emergence into the light and the tragic death of founder member Bill Marten, but the last couple of years have not only seen the Incas produce one of the finest albums of the last decade, overflowing with glorious lyrics and tumbling psycho rhythms, but there has been a growing awareness of their rebirth and a realisation that the band who once battled it out with The Smiths to claim the very summit of the independent charts in the 1980s are back with a vengeance.

Paving the way for their return were the Go Go Cult, a band "hatched from eggs discovered in the wastelands of Mongolia, left behind by creatures not of this world", who had escaped from the swamplands of Reading to expound their sleazy fifties psycho-delic voodoo punk sci-fi gospel. All dressed in black and white stripes, masked and playing to a backdrop of classic horror film clips, the Cult are one of the most entertaining bands you could wish to see, playing classic rockabilly riffs over fuzz guitar, aided by their Cultophonic Hypnoray, and led by frontman Go Go Nige who is a natural showman. Most importantly, the seriousness with which they approach songs such as 'Nosferatu Crawl' and 'My Baby Drives a UFO' leaves no doubt that these boys are not here to mess around; this swamp fever is a terminal disease and it quickly infected the ever-growing audience. With one album already to their name (available here, ignore the out of stock message!), the Cult are busy working on their second which should see light of day by the end of the year.
The Go Go Cult
Next up were local boys, the Blue Stragglers, who offered something completely different, their finely honed American-influenced alternative rock blowing the heads right off any remaining Venusians by sheer dint of volume. Drummer Andy Head hits his instruments as hard as anybody you have ever heard, while Ali Waite's huge bass creates the frame for singer and guitarist Lee Martin to drape with both intricate and wild guitar work and some impassioned vocals. The Stragglers continue to grow year on year and it is good to see them so comfortable on stage and as tight as you like despite not having gigged for a few months. You will surely catch them playing locally soon so keep an eye out for announcements on their facebook page.
blue stragglers
The last time we had seen the Inca Babies live, they were very much a four-piece and in the midst of a stream of classic single releases. Now down to a three-piece, with guitarist and songwriter Harry Stafford having taken over vocal duties, we were interested to see how the old classics would sound and we didn't have to wait long to find out as, following a storming intro with the band's most recent single, the biting 'My Sick Suburb', it is straight into 'The Judge', sounding every bit as desperate and powerful as the magnificent original and raising a legion of ghosts.

The set, then, dips into most eras of the band's history, featuring debut single 'The Interior', along with 'Opium Den', 'Plenty More Mutants' from This Train ..., and set closer 'Lung Knives' from the Surfin' In Locust Land EP. Debut album Rumble is largely ignored, though the excellent 'Phantom Track' and 'Shake Your Soul' from 2010's Death Message Blues are included along with four tracks off the recent Deep Dark Blue album, the highlight being a soaring version of 'Tower Of Babel' which is pretty much as good as it gets.

In the early eighties the Inca Babies were edgy, dangerous and exciting, their music bursting out messily across the stage in waves of tangental guitar, exploding basslines and randomly crashing drums. The Inca Babies today are an entirely different proposition, being far more proficient with their instruments, yet pleasingly still able to capture the dark thrill of the early material. The band manages to squeeze in their "non-hit" 'Grunt Cadillac Hotel' as a quick encore and it's quite magnificent. Harry Stafford's vocals just ooze confidence and he is able to roar with the best of them, Rob Haynes is a quite outstanding drummer and Vince Hunt a remarkable bass player. With Stafford's guitar work far more cultured and incisive these days, there's no doubt this is a quality line-up and given stability, the one thing the band always lacked in the past, there is little doubt the Inca Babies are going to go from strength to strength. Let's face it, if the planned new album manages to top Deep Dark Blue, it will be something very special indeed.

The audience, a mixture of original fans, a younger generation of fans and those just curious to investigate, leave contentedly. A text on the way home says it all, "The Inca Babies were fucking amazing." Let's hope they'll be back soon.

The Inca Babies at the ~Green Door Store

Isolation on Facebook. Like us.

Isolation contact

Inca Babies Interview
Inca Babies Discography