Brighton Music Blog regulars will know by now that we’re big fans of the Bleeding Hearts Club, Brighton’s first-Monday-of-the-month regular source of below-the-radar excellent new music. Yesterday was the June edition, and being a bank holiday, Chris decided to start an hour earlier and turn the night into a Jubilee-concert-alternative union-jack-free mini-festival featuring six (count ’em, six!) acts, with headliners Junior Electronics.
I missed the opening act unfortunately, the early start being challenged by the grumble in my stomach, but got there in time to hear Danny Kendall singing his heart out. Danny was formerly of legendary Brighton band La Frange.
La Frange always wore their francophilism on their stripey t-shirt’s sleeves. Danny was followed by a visitor from the real France, Polyanna (not the Aussie rock band!) who was playing solo, stopping off at the BHC as part of a small UK tour. Isabelle Cassier (for it is she) has a beautiful voice and sings her songs in English, songs about old rockers and working in a factory and other things and was generally lovely.
Next up was local legend and (as one music magazine recently put it) “national treasure” Mary Hampton. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Mary play live, then you’ve been seriously missing out. This time, she had just a short set of three songs, one of which was a long acapella folk story song and the last of which the gorgeous Honey in the Rock from her beautiful album Folly was worth the entry price alone. One day I live in hope of Mary playing a two hour Springsteen-length set, but for now anything will do.
Penultimate act was the Celloist-singer (and former guitarist in James and Sharkboy…) Adrian Oxaal who played the BHC only recently but made a welcome return. His two John Martyn covers were spellbinding, the combination of Adrian’s deep hesitant vocal and his melancholic cello combining beautifully. He also played two of his own songs which were also fine moving numbers. Rarely seen live these days, it’s marvellous that the BHC provides opportunities like these.
Finally, the headliners Junior Electronics came on stage and gave me a WTF moment, as strange electronic rhythms started nervously blurting out from a Moog synthesiser. Not what we have come to expect from our Bleeding Hearts. But gradually the songs started to take shape and the sound settled down into an interesting shape, and this listener began to ‘get it’. The final song was a joy, sounding as much like 60s sunshine pop as murky space-rock.
Junior Electronics are the brainchild of Joe Watson, his solo project when not playing keyboards for Stereolab and featured Mary Hampton again (playing a brightly coloured toy electric piano and occasional vocals). They have two albums out which are worth checking if you like post-rock electro-pop.
And finally – here’s compere Chris Davies saying good night, until next month’s Bleeding Hearts Club.
Good night Chris.
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