This weekend we went to two gigs which on paper, could have been very similar – Both were in Hove, in pubs, both were folk-based acts, and both featured performers who have recently made recordings with local producer Tim Bidwell. That’s where the similarity ends though.
Saturday night, House of Hats hosted their Harvest Sessions night at the Brunswick. The Harvest Sessions is a monthly affair put on by the band where they invite other people they’ve worked with onto the bill to share them with their audience. This month saw Cordelia Gartside (who’s also recently been produced by Tim Bidwell), Rob Vincent and Conrad Vingoe play with House of Hats.
I only caught the end of Cordelia’s set, but for someone so young I was impressed at how she held the room enthralled. Sometimes the simplest of setups – just a voice and guitar – can create wonderful things. Next up was Rob Vincent, who was very good, and had a fantastic voice, but isn’t from Brighton, so I’ll move on.
Conrad Vingoe was next onstage, fresh from playing at the Levellers’ Beautiful Days festival thanks to winning a set through an Acoustic Magazine organised contest. Conrad was playing with a slightly reduced band, since his regular mandolin player was playing with Emily Baker in Shoreham, and was just accompanied by double bass, as well as his own guitar and harmonica playing. It was easy to see that Conrad had the skills to win the set – as well as a quality performance, he was charismatic and friendly between songs too. He’s got an EP out soon, which I’m sure we’ll tell you more about nearer the time.
At the end of the night House of Hats came on, and played a relatively short set for headliners – I guess that’s that’s the price of having four bands on the bill. The band played a number of songs from their debut House of Hats EP, their upcoming Rivers Will Run release and even threw in a Dylan cover. Lead vocals were passed between guitarist Alex and multi-instrumentalist Noddy, and the close harmonies from the whole band sounded very slick indeed. It’s great to see a band who are working so hard and seem to be on track for big things also remembering the people they have worked with along the way.
Sunday night we were just around the corner, where Cate Ferris was playing at The Neptune’s regular music night. Cate was last invited to play at the Neptune back in March, and they enjoyed her performance so much that this time they gave her the whole evening to perform in, which she broke up into two forty-five minute sets. Most of this was filled with her newer material which starts off simply but builds up subtly with harmonic vocal loops and sampled drum or keyboard lines complimenting her acoustic guitar. It wasn’t all new tracks though – Cate also dug out old favourites Still Green and Bonnie & Clyde. The gig also marked the first outing of Cate’s new EP – “Deep Breath, Ready, Get Set, Go” is a new four track which isn’t officially out until next Monday, but was available on the night. After a marathon set, the crowd demanded more, so Cate improvised on the spot, building a song just made from harmonies layered over one another and looped – a raw exhilarating end to a fantastic performance.