It’s always pleasing when a visiting band gets a local acts to support them, and it’s doubly good when two Brighton acts get added to the bill. Wednesday night, Sea of Bees played at the Haunt, and as well as Stealing Sheep who have supported them on their whole tour, they were also supported by Abi Wade and Heliopause.
Abi Wade continues to astound every time I see her. Conventional wisdom says that if you’re going to have drums, strings and vocals you’d probably have a whole band. Conventional wisdom also says that you play a cello by pulling a bow across the strings, not using the bow, a variety of drum sticks and even a hairbrush not just on the strings but over the whole instrument. At times last night Abi recalled the dexterity of The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly who coaxes out rhythm, melody and backing out of just the one instrument, but Abi also has the advantage of a fantastic voice. If there was Brighton act that I’d say people ought to see right now, it would be Abi Wade.
Second act on last night were Heliopause, who were the first band I saw at Sea Monsters earlier this year. Their roots are in folk, but their sound is so much more than that – There’s electronica involved, but it’s not folktronica like Four Tet used to make before he went jazz. There’s elements of post rock in there too, and sometimes the guitars shimmer and send shivers down your spine. What’s important is that it all works so well together, and these elements aren’t clumsily thrown in, which gives the band their own sound the separates them from the crowd. Their next album is released on 5th May, and from what I’ve heard so far, is a real treat for the ears.
Abi Wade is next playing on 10th May at 7.30pm at the Unitarian Church as part of the Great Escape Festival and again on 11th May at 3pm at Latest Music Bar as part of the Alternative Escape. Heliopause launch their album with a gig on 5th May at Brighton Electric Studios.