Well, that was officially the loudest acoustic gig that we’ve ever been to. Acoustic very rarely means acoustic these days, and everything at The Hope last night was plugged in and turned up to eleven, even though the instruments involved were acoustic guitars, strings and an autoharp.
First up were Heliopause, playing their first proper gig since May. Since then, their numbers have reduced and the band now just consists of Rich Davis and his laptop (although he’s hoping to boost the numbers by the end of the year). His short but loud set – thank goodness for ear plugs – comprised mainly of songs this year’s Lumo Tape album, a little more stripped down perhaps than other outings, but not suffering for it. The opening support slot came up as a competition run by Mice Parade along with their label Fat Cat. The label tells me that it was a pretty close run thing to choose between the entries, and that their second choice was excellent as well, but that Heliopause had the edge, being a bit more appropriate for the other bands on the bill.
The second Brighton band were Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, whose single Save My Heart we wrote about last month. Before the gig I was concerned that one of the things that makes them so special might get lost if they played as a duo. Thankfully, they brought along a string section with them (well, two violins and a cello), and they were able to share the beautiful arrangements which make them more than just another folk duo. Vocals were shared evenly between Rachel and Eleanor, sometimes swapping the lead line mid-song, and the songs themselves are beautiful – otherworldly folk with close harmonies and instrumentation to die for.
Headliners Mice Parade aren’t from Brighton, or even from Britain, but they are signed to Brighton based label Fat Cat. They’re touring their new album Candela as an acoustic trio, and main man Adam Pierce brought along two fantastic musicians along with him, a scandinavian ukelele player, and Dan Lippel – one of the finest classical guitar players I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live. Together, the sound they made was something beautiful. Thoroughly recommended.
Do You Feel What I Feel Deer are playing tomorrow night at Bombanes, and are supporting Mary Hampton at the Hanover Centre on 10th November. Heliopause support NZCA/LINES at the Green Door Store this thursday.