Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

A balmy night in mid-April sees the Old Fire Station in Bournemouth play host to three out-of-town bands, all with differing styles. First up is Bandit, no strangers to this town having recently supported Red Rum Club across the road at The Anvil not long ago. My lift to the gig is delayed (by a driving instructor no less) meaning I miss the first couple of songs. I arrive in time to catch the third song “Balloons” as the band look at ease playing to a growing audience. Next up is the affectionately titled “Goonies”; (not sure if inspiration was taken from the film) – anyway, I digress. “Nettles” is preceded by an honest and heartfelt monologue from singer Connor before the familiar “I’d Try Anything Twice”. Bandit look like they’re enjoying themselves, despite being first on. “Sefton In The Summertime” is a tale of everyday life that frankly could be written about any UK town. They depart us on “Mean Streak” and garner decent applause with an invitation to meet post/gig at the merchandise desk.

Bandit 1

Up next is a band completely new to me. Scousers Stone breeze onstage and hit the ground running literally, with opener “Keep Running”. Early doors I’m not sure what to make of Stone. They have a kind of Rock/Rap vibe but quickly win me over. These Gen Z, Post/Punks have a sound and live vibrancy that is truly infectious. Finlay (lead vocals) is confident throughout, getting this young mosh-happy crowd onside early. “Bankrobbers” comes next and one of many spoken word/rap sections is delivered. Alex (drums) keeps a powerful beat in the engine room, he must be sweltering in his red boiler suit. Elliot (guitars) is pulling every shape ever witnessed on a stage, he is energetic throughout. Sarah (bass) simply plays side-on throughout, Riot Grrrl stylee; barely taking her gaze off the other band members. “Moto” comes next, a song loosely written around a certain mobile phone network but with clever, witty lyricism thrown in for good measure. Fin is starting to get the measure of this South Coast crowd, who are just beginning to respond. Their recent single “Let’s Dance to the Real Thing” comes next, and there’s no shortage of dance moves from Fin, he’s like a coiled spring as he patrols the front of the stage.

“Waste” contains a wonderful bassline throughout while the lyrics self-deprecate from the outset – “You probably hate me, but what can I say, I’m a hateable guy, who loves to play the game” – by the finish we’ll love you Fin! The intro to “Stupid” has more than a nod to Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”, but this soon passes in a wall of sound. More storytelling lyrics from the affable singer. They save the best ’til last with brilliant early single ‘Leave it Out’. The song opens with shimmering guitars before Fin confidently delivers a spoken-word verse about life on a weekend on the social scene. One cannot take their eyes off him for a minute. Keep an eye on this band, they have a point of difference that (I’m sure) will elevate them to headline status sometime soon. Watch this space…

Stone 1234

And so to the headliners. One could be forgiven for thinking there’s a conveyor belt of classic Indie bands coming out of the North. Being likened to bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Milburn is no mean feat, but The Reytons are carving a niche quite their own. It’s their first time in Bournemouth, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this effervescent, lively crowd. The Yoof have turned out in good numbers, it can’t be far off a sell-out. To warm up this already excitable crowd the soundman plays “Sweet Caroline”, they burst into life on the chorus – it’s like a football stadium in full voice and you just knows it’s “gonna go off”!

They open in familiar fashion with “Mind The Gap” and set the scene. Singer Johnny looks resplendent in his Adidas T, he moves around the whole time with intent. “Red Smoke” gets the throng going down the front as they sing in unison – I swear most in this room know every line to every song. The terrace chant of “here we f*cking go” is a sure-fire winner to a Friday night crowd. “Harrison Lesser” has that clicky beat, clangy guitars and lyrics about life while ‘Expectations of a Fool’ stays in a similar ballpark. Johnny explains it’s their first time in this town, but you wouldn’t know it. “Sales Pitch…” sets us up for the crowd-pleaser “Wreckless” with its “na,na,na,na,na” singalong. One could be forgiven for making the obvious comparison to the Arctic Monkeys; most notably on tracks like the “Antibiotics”, but “Car Crash” is anything but with its heartfelt lyrics and delivery.

The Reytons
The Reytons 12

“Trials and Tribulations” has that Northern happy-go-lucky vibe as Johnny and Joe (guitars) bounce off each other exchanging moves and glances. Lee (bass) hides from the limelight somewhat but is no less important. Jamie confidently holds the beat throughout in the engine room – this band is just so tight. “On The Back Burner” has that classic tales of life vocal and lyrical slant – even name-dropping a certain well-known frontman! This heaving sweaty mob down the front start yet another circle pit, it’s truly infectious. “Slice of Lime” ends the main set, leaving this Bournemouth crowd just begging for more. The now traditional chants of “one more song” are getting longer. Actually, we get three beginning with “Low Life” with its fizzing guitar intro. Once again it’s another singalong floor filler and this audience responds. Johnny modestly sets up “Kids Off The Estate” by saying ‘you might wanna nip to the bar, grab a seat, take a breather etc’ before launching into this set highlight. To hear this whole room singing in unison is amazing; as I alluded to earlier, these fans know every word! Prior to closer “Broke Boys Cartel” Johnny invites us to have a beer with the band, meet at the merchandise desk.

Fiercely independent and DIY has not stopped this band from reaching number 11 on the album charts, five years in the making, and five years honing their craft. The Reytons have that classic Indie underdog vibe going on that we all love – catchy lyrics about real-life; great musicianship, heaps of Northern confidence & swagger. Looking around me tonight I guess they will be leaving the smaller venues behind sometime soon. But as a start point from this reviewer, the future is bright – the future is Reyton!!

The Reytons
(Intro track) Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
Mind The Gap
Red Smoke
Harrison Lesser
Expectations of a Fool
Sales Pitch For the Bus Fare Home
Car Crash
Shoe Box
Trials and Tribulations
On the Backburner
Slice of Lime

Low Life
Kids off The Estate
Broke Boys Cartel

Keep Running
Let’s Dance To The Real Thing
Leave It Out

I’d Try Anything Twice
Sefton in Summer Time
Mean Streak



Words & Media by Ross A. Ferrone.

The Reytons