Electric Soft Parade play Holes in the Wall

Brighton’s favourite indie band The Electric Soft Parade played The Haunt last night for the tenth anniversary of their classic Holes in the Wall album, released on Feb 4th 2002.

Support came from two local bands – Another Costume Party, who play good energetic indie rock; and Whiskey Whores, who are a bluegrass-country band, and a lovely one at that.

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The White brothers seemed to have mixed emotions about their tenth anniversary gig. Happy to celebrate ten years of their much-lauded first album that still sounds brilliant today, they also seemed keen to see the back of it and consign it to history.

The songs are still strong, and the band itself – Tom and Alex White augmented by Damo Waters on drums, Matthew Twaites on bass and Andrew Mitchell (of the Hazey Janes) on second guitar – sounded amazing. Tom and Alex swapped keys/guitar from song-to-song, and the ‘hit’ single Silent to the Dark, played out in its full length noise-filled long version which seemed to go on for a mesmerising 15 minutes was worth the entrance money alone. Tom even managed to get the audience to sing the opening lines, before the band launched into its sonic assault. Empty at the End, Somethng’s Got to Give, Biting the soles of my feet were also highlights.

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But things were obviously not quite right with the band, with Alex in particular having a fit and throwing his toys out of the pram. By the end of the gig he was bemoaning the fact that his keyboards had died, perhaps not helped by his trying to play it with his heels earlier in proceedings, and saying this would be the last time he ever played live. That would be a shame because on the evidence of tonight, it’s hard to see how these boys could eve play a bad gig.

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Krankenhaus 2

I missed the first of British Sea Power’s Krankenhaus nights at The Haunt, but I heard lots of good things about it. I’d heard it was a little less conventional than most night gigs, but nothing I’d heard quite prepared me for last night.

We didn’t get to the gig until about half past nine, and by that point we’d already missed BBC6’s Shaun Keaveny on stage with Brighton & Hove City Brass, so when we arrived and Cardiff’s Race Horses were on stage we didn’t suspect too much. Sure, a bit more effort had been made with decor compared to most bands, but that fitted with what we’d heard.

It was a bit busy downstairs, so he headed to the upstairs bar, which was where we found the ping pong. You read that right – there table tennis being played by drunk people upstairs while the band were onstage.

Shortly after The Race Horses left the stage, a lean, stripped down British Sea Power came on, and rattled through a set of epic pop just with guitar, bass and drums. The crowd surged, with one or two people having to be pulled to safety – the balcony was a sensible viewing choice. When they were joined by Brighton & Hove City Brass for Waving Flags (with each member being introduced separately), the stage looked incredibly cramped, but that didn’t dampen the atmosphere. A sprained ankle amongst our party meant we retreated from the crush to the bar, missing out on a life size bear onstage, from what I’ve seen and read on twitter. It was a surreal and wonderful experience.

British Sea Power

But things hadn’t got to their most surreal just yet. BSP left the stage, and choc ices started getting handed out around the crowd. The ping pong table, which up to now had involved people playing singles or doubles, was encouraged to play in a round, with twenty drunk people hitting the ball then making way for the next player in the round. Sean Keaveny DJed for a bit, which was a welcome link with normality. The normality was broken quite quickly though, when the final support came on stage – a Japanese Queen covers band called Queer. The singing wasn’t up to much, but the guitarist was a proper Japanese version of Brian May, right down to the tight perm. It was uncanny.

Queer

If you haven’t made it down to one of British Sea Power’s nights as yet, make a note in your diaries for the first Friday of the month (there’s another four nights between now and June), because they really are a treat. The music is amazing enough, but the atmosphere in the crowd, and the extra touches make it an essential night.

Nicholas Cave, D.Litt

The city’s favourite doom-monger is to be honoured by Brighton University in recognition of his services to the arts, with the award of an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

This is actually Nick Cave’s third honorary degree – He was awarded a Doctor of Laws in 2008 by Monash University, the university he dropped out from in 1977 when he was studying fine arts, and he was also awarded another Doctor of Laws by Dundee University.

Nick Cave will receive his honorary degree next week at Brighton University’s graduation ceremony at The Dome, along with last year’s graduates, former children’s poet laureate Michael Rosen and Director of BBC news Helen Boaden.

The Brighton Bieber?

Up until last year successful artists from Brighton were, for the most part, reasonably easy to pigeonhole. Fatboy Slim would probably come up first in a round in Family Fortunes on the subject, and there were a lot of other dance acts who followed in his footsteps. And we also had some reasonably successful bands who could quite clumsily be labelled Indie – The Go! Team, The Kooks, The Maccabees, British Sea Power.

But then last year, out of nowhere, came Rizzle Kicks who weren’t like anything else Brighton had to offer. The mould had been broken. And now, equally unexpected, a Brightonian has come top of MTV’s “Brand New for 2012” poll, with a landslide 45% of the votes. Conor Maynard found fame on Youtube two years ago and releases his debut single “Can’t Say No” in March. Comparisons are being made in the press with Justin Beiber – I’m not really in a position to comment, since I haven’t heard him, and wouldn’t know a Justin Beiber track if one came on the radio, so I’ll leave you to judge for yourself. Apparently he’s playing at the Haunt on Sunday night. Expect a crowd if teenage girls if you want to investigate

Read more about the MTV Brand New For 2012 here.

New videos from Sweet Sweet Lies and The Moulettes

Exciting news this week – new videos from two of my favourite Brighton bands – Sweet Sweet Lies and The Moulettes.

Sweet Sweet Lies’ debut album is out in the spring (and has already had a four star review in Uncut). The lead single is called The Day I Change, and right now, you can only watch the video at NME.com. I’ll update the link once it’s more widely availably, but until then, click though here to take a look.

The Moulettes second album is on it’s way too, and they’ve just released the first taster – a track called Some Who You Love, which you can watch here:

Juice New Music Night with The Bobby McGees, Native Roses and Moya

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.

Moya

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.

Native Roses

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.

The Bobby McGee’s