Brighton Source New Music night December 2011

Sorry – no pithy title for this blog post. I tried to try and eke some kind of pun out of the headliners Black Black Hills, but it just wasn’t happening.

The December Source new music night played host to Two Jackals, Abi Wade, For Marla and Black Black Hills. Trying to avoid the rain meant that I missed the first band, Two Jackals, and arrived to catch Abi Wade’s first set. Hopefully you’ll all be familiar with Abi after I posted about her new EP the other week. The Source and the Pavilion theatre have had a great idea to not only provide us lucky people with more music, but also to acknowledge that an acoustic act probably won’t work at the same time as a loud amplified act, so inbetween acts upstairs in the Theatre, acoustic acts perform down in the bar area. Seeing Abi Wade play live was great, because you get a much better impression of how she makes her music. It’s all down to her, not just with her cello, but with two bass drum pedals, one attached to a tambourine, and the other to a cajón. And as I mentioned in my EP review, she doesn’t just use her bow on her cello – she also used a variety of drum sticks, and most interestingly, a hair brush, to create additional percussive noises.

Next up were For Marla, who looked and sounded great – a bit like a rockier Smiths, or perhaps a tougher Frankie & the Heartstrings. While they’ve got the look and got the sound, unfortunately they were blighted with some technical issues which took up most of their set. Rather than work around them, they stopped while they resolved them, which meant that everything was a bit too disjointed. Hopefully next time I catch them, they’ll play a full set rather than just the fifteen minutes that they managed to play for today.

Headlining were Black Black Hills. It seems almost obligatory to mention that they used to be Pope Joan – everything else I’ve read about them seems to mention it – but I’m sure they’re trying to move on with their new name, and presumably new set of songs. While that may be the case, the years they’ve been playing together in their old guise have helped them become the band they are today – tight, with a fantastic sound, good songwriting skills, and great stage presence. If you missed them tonight (and quite frankly, their was a very poor turnout for such a great band, which I’m putting down to the weather) then they’ll be playing again at the start of next year as part of the Sea Monsters 2 event at the Prince Albert. Be there.

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