Another month, another Juice FM night at The Haunt, and another three Brighton bands who are all completely new to me. Where do they find them all? I guess it’s probably the endless demos they get sent because they’re the local radio station. But they certainly do a good job of picking great bands for their regular nights.
First up were Tigercub, who distracted me with double denim and a haircut last seen spotted on Dave Hill from Slade in the 1970s. A late start meant that their set of rock stompers was over far too soon.
Having thought after the first band that the night would be a rock night, Holy Vessels mixed things up by kicking off their set with a song with a very predominant banjo. It was their only track that used banjo, but it was a strong statement of intent for their half an hour on stage, which mixed up country, rock and Americana and was a far more melodic affair.
Once upon a time, post-rock was noisy and angular, but then Sigur Ros came along and made it all a bit twee. thedealwasforthediamond hark back to the way it was, sounding like Mogwai at their loudest, or Rothko with the bass leading proceedings. thedealwasforthediamond turned things up to eleven, and quite literally blew the audience away. I was quite glad I had ear plugs in my bag!
I’ve done my best to attend the Juice and Source new music nights religiously since I started the blog, so when this month came around and they both ended up on the same night, I was in a bit of a quandary. There was only one thing for it – attend both nights. The Juice night started a little bit earlier and finished a bit later, so my plan was to get to the Haunt for the opening act, then head over to the Pavilion Theatre, then back to the Source for their headliner. Continue reading →
It takes a lot to persuade people to come out on a freezing January evening, so Juice pulled out a few stops for the first New Music Night of the year. Opening act Moya released her acoustic debut EP last year – I posted the video of her covering Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have the other week. Apparently she’s in the studio at the moment, in a room next to Wiley, who’s interested in a collaboration of some sort! Vocally, Moya’s a less annoying Duffy - earnest singer songwriter stuff. She had another musician onstage, sitting behind a drum kit, but next to a keyboard, and who obviously fired off a lot of the backing tracks. Meanwhile Moya stood out front without even a guitar to hide behind, so she made do by wearing a big brimmed hat, making it near-impossible to see her eyes.
The second band of the night were Native Roses, whose website claims that they’re “a troupe of young bohemians”. In reality they’re an indie rock band, most notable for the band member who left when she got her own record deal – the drummer’s sister is Birdy, who made waves early last year with Skinny Love. Without her, they’re still a band worth looking out for though.
Headlining were the Bobby McGee’s, who are a band who could only really exist somewhere like Brighton. As much cabaret as music, with a dark, dark streak that runs through them, but at the same time a veneer of wide eyed innocence. Twee-core, they call it. You may have seen the Bobby McGee’s around town before but not as you would have seen them last night. The story is that Jimmy McGee was talking to someone at Jazz FM, and somehow ended up telling them that he had a Swing Band (he didn’t), and consequently got this non-existent band booked for a Jazz FM Christmas Party. The band had to move quickly, and have bolstered their members, and last night brought along a troupe of swing dancers. (note to Native Roses – that was what a troupe really looks like!). In their set which barely lasted three quarters of an hour, they rattled through dozens of songs, each of which showed a different side to their wit and charm.
One last gig before Christmas? Why not! Last night was the Juice New Music Night’s Christmas Party, their first event in their new home at The Haunt. I missed openers 900 Spaces because the annual Burning The Clocks procession was running a bit late, and arrived just a few minutes before Jennifer Left took to the stage. Jennifer has been working incredibly hard the past few months, playing a lot of gigs and spreading the word all around town, but the attention she’s been receiving isn’t just the result of a lot of hard work – there are some great songs behind everything she’s doing. Jennifer was very much in the festive spirit performing her set in a red Santa dress, although she didn’t perform any Christmas songs. A lot of reviews of Jennifer describe her sound as folky, but I’m guessing that they’re probably reviews of her solo performances rather than with the full band that she had last night, where she was accompanied by guitars, drums, double bass and a multi-instrumentalist who played everything from flugelhorn to xylophone. Things got a bit jazzier later on, with a bossa nova cover of New Order’s Temptation. Jennifer Left is definitely an act to look out for next year.
Once upon a time, Kidda was just Ste McGregor, his records, his sampler, and some passing musicians. These days he’s joined by guitarist and co-writer Lee Baker, and a couple of female vocalists, including Jennifer Left. Kidda’s music was a ray of sunshine on a grey drizzly December day like yesterday, and I know that there’s going to come a day in spring when the sun’s out, the skies are blue and the world is just coming back to life when one of their tunes comes on the radio and it’ll be just perfect. Their sound is gospel sampling summery hip hop played by a live band which is relentlessly positive. Even the songs about being sad sound happy! This was their first ever live band gig in their hometown, and if there were any nerves, they didn’t show. The got the whole of The Haunt on their feet – a cautious gap between the stage and the audience got transformed into a breakdance area, and by the end of the set everyone was dancing.
But that wasn’t the end of the night. Things were rounded off with a DJ set by Skint boss Damian Harris aka Midfield General. Once upon a time his sets would have been full of big beat classics, but keeping with the tone of Kidda’s tunes, things started off with some Snoop Dogg and carried on with more of a hip hop vibe. I’d have loved to have stayed longer, because he was playing some great tunes, but sadly the pressures of the day job meant I had to call it a night.