Friday, July 09, 2021

ĠENN-erating a Buzz in Brighton: ĠENN Livestream Gig Review

From the heart of St George’s Church, Brighton, 4-piece riot grrrl group ĠENN (pronounced Jenn) emerge like a volcanic eruption. 

Enveloped in the red hue of spotlights and stage smoke, drummer Sofia strikes her kit, kickstarting their explosive opening number ‘Catalyst’.

Grouped with a grinding guitar riff from Janelle, a groovy bassline from Leanne, and the sultry Gwen Stefani-esque vocals of lead singer Leona, ĠENN announce themselves with all the energy and grit they can muster.

The live streamed event is the third in a series of concerts held by Brighton-based Melting Vinyl at the iconic location of St George’s Church. Later in their set, ĠENN joke that they haven’t performed in a church since playing in their school band. With British and Maltese members, the band are now firmly rooted in Brighton.

Now we are moving /you’re gonna witness it all” declares Leona, as she dances around the stage swinging her arms and shaking her hips in a polka dot tea dress. The band’s enthusiasm is infectious, as they throw themselves at full throttle into every song. ĠENN fuse punk energy with psychedelic rock crafting a cocktail of certified stompers and striking lyricism. Their sound recalls contemporary acts such as Dream Wife and PINS, as well as Sonic Youth and Pixies.

On ‘23rd March’, the lead single from their latest EP ‘Liminal’, Leona gives an almost theatrical performance. In its fierce chorus, she cries out “We ain’t gonna stop ‘cause you told us so”. Bassist Leanne leans into her instrument, hair draped over her face, effortlessly enhancing each song. Next, Leona introduces ‘Let’s Go Suki’, a track which appeared on the group’s first album ‘Titty Monster’ when they still performed under the name Cryptic Street, as an “oldie”. It’s a vibrant track underpinned by a pumping guitar melody and fuzzy bassline, reminiscent of 90s grunge legends Hole.

When ĠENN perform ‘Duda Dance’, a gnarly headbanger boosted by yowling vocals and its call to arms of “Hey na-na-na-na-na-na”, Leona whips her hair back and forth. The kaleidoscopic ‘Feel’ follows, featuring an ethereal echoey vocal performance and the resounding twang of guitars. This seeps seamlessly into the next track ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’ which sparkles with groovy guitar riffs, rattling cymbals, and sung-spoken vocals. “Oh man the moon was lit” sings Leona before letting out a formidable howl. Musically, the song recalls the spacey soundscapes of The Orielles, whom ĠENN have previously toured with as an opening act.

Sofia, dressed in a baggy white shirt and sporting a super short fringe can be seen nodding her head and biting her lip in concentration before delivering a ferocious thud on the drums. An epic jam session ensues amongst the band, built on an electrifying riff from guitarist Janelle before ĠENN’s final song. ‘Like You’ is another older track, but it allows ĠENN to showcase the versatility of their discography. It crashes and crescendos like no other song before it, and as ĠENN leave the stage, it cements them as one of the most exciting upcoming live acts.

You can access the livestream of ĠENN’s performance at St George’s Church, Brighton until 16th July. Tickets are available at this link:

Sarah Taylor


Image Credit: ĠENN by Bridie Florence

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