One year on from original write up from November 2015 – added some new unseen pics from this gig and a video – “All Kindsa”.
Not heard of EX HEX?
Ex Hex – features Mary Timony on guitars, Laura Harris on drums and Betsy Wright on bass.
A dark, cold, damp evening in Brighton. Not the best night to head off out. I arrived at The Haunt, camera at the ready and caught the support band – The Jacuzzi Boys, more about them another time – they were great! However EX HEX, a trio from Washington DC have recently brought out their debut album, Rips, were about to come on stage.
The three ladies took to the stage and plugged in guitars and mics to the amplification in The Haunt. Down went the lights and a fair sized crowd moved in a little closer. I had not seen EX HEX live but had seen a few videos before hand on You Tube. I anticipated the deliciously infectious “So Hot So Cold”. I didn’t have to wait long for a track I recognised “Don’t Wanna”, it was first on the set list! The opening guitar chords from Mary joined by the thumping rhythm from Laura and the gut dislodging rocking bass from Betsy. The opener went down well with the crowd and immediately I was surrounded by fans dancing and jumping around the place.
Mary signaled to the sound desk and they tweaked her mic volume and guitar.
Mary piled in with the buzzing guitar entry to another single from the album Rips – this was “Waterfall“. A cracking track, and with the sound levels sorted the audio mix was now spot on. Laura and Betsy providing the glorious “whoa oh”‘s which accompany the track. Then we were treated to the first guitar “solo” from Mary – blistering as she lifted her guitar high into the air.
Laura, sat at the back but was close enough for everyone to see her work the drum kit. She gave it her all – a great punk/rock n roll drummer. Betsy with her massive bass guitar strode around the floor, owning the stage as if it was hers. She reminded me of a young Joan Jet when I saw The Runaways and the obvious comparison to a young bass player called Suzi Quatro. Boy could Betsy move and play that bass!
I counted three more songs “Waste yer time”, “How you got” and “New Kid”. “Waste your time” opening with Betsy hammering the opening on her bass guitar. I have never witnessed anyone break a bass string on stage – but I think Betsy came close!
“How you got that girl” again opening with Mary laying down a vicious opening riff as Besty and Laura joined in providing a solid support to the track. EX HEX were smoking by now and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Chat and jokes shared with us and the occasional snippet about the song about to be played.
Then it started the opening for “So Hot So Cold“. The song sounds so familiar with the opening riff again Mary letting fly with guitar breaks and the band providing sublime backing vocals and harmonies – even up through the key change. Have a listen/watch and I am pretty sure you will be humming it for days!
Next up “Beast”, indeed it is a beast – fast, loud, a screaming guitar and lyrics to kill for, ” I didn’t want to tease”! A set of thumping drum fills from Laura with Betsy again beating the hell out of her bass whilst striding and kicking the air! Next up “Radio on” a great anthem chant running with this tack. The crowd obviously knew this track better than I and joined in with the chorus. Fabulous! A short track but it crackled with energy and fun. Great job EX HEX.
EX HEX stepped it up another gear as the end was approaching for “You fell” and “All Kindsa”. You Fell another energy packed 2 minute blast. I moved back from the stage as it was now pretty damned lively where I had been standing and as the opening for another favourite track “All Kindsa Girls” filled the venue, I was glad I did! I video’d this track, “All Kindsa”, and you can watch it here.
“Outro” led into the final song of the night “Everywhere”. Laura started up with a cracking drum fill (again!) and in came Mary and then Betsy. It looked as if Mary and Betsy were on roller skates hammering around the small stage and pulling of some classic rock moves and holds. Mary who had been a little more static than the others dropped to the floor on her back and pushed out some fantastic guitar breaks. Then…. that was it. All over.
The three ladies provided a full on laser blast of energy and light on a dark damp Brighton evening. I managed a quick chat with all three after the show. They were delightful and yep, got a signed copy of Rips. Considering they had just worked so hard they were very generous with their time, then they were off to pack away guitars etc.
Honestly I can say this was a blistering, fun and rocking evening! Would I see EX HEX again? Definately.
The Venue: The Haunt, Brighton
I like this venue and can create a great atmosphere. A fairly intimate venue so you can get up as close as you want, space allowing. The sound was actually pretty good after some initial tweaking. The lighting in the Haunt on the stage is pretty dark, needs some attention as parts of the stage at times were very dark and difficult to see. None of the mics were in light so sometimes the performers were difficult to see. The light on Laura was pretty good however. Friendly bar staff and a good pint!
A small selection of EX HEX material. A spider T Shirt with EX HEX, a tote bag, and reasonably priced CD (£10.00) and vinyl editions (£15.00) of Rips.
All words, images and filmed video – copyright Ian Bourn/Mediaworks