Thomas White supporting Fragile Creatures at the Prince Albert

Back in May, Thomas White played a low key set for the Great Escape Festival at a venue called Shipwrights Yard, a hidden courtyard off Middle Street overlooked by Lout and Republic of Music’s offices. One of his backing vocalists for this gig was a certain Mr Adam Kidd, who had recently formed a band which had still yet to have recorded any music, or settled on a final line up. Fast forward seven months, and the tables have been turned, with Thomas White giving Adam’s band Fragile Creatures a leg up by playing a support slot.

Thomas White

Thomas White

Thomas White has spent his last gig of the year playing a fresh set of songs. He’s spent much of the past twelve months playing shows drawn from this year’s album Yalla, but now he’s looking forward. Armed with nothing but his guitar and his voice, White played a short set of covers, taking in a rare Beach Boys track and a stripped down version of Wonderful World, and rounded things off with the Twelve Days of Christmas and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Fragile Creatures

Fragile Creatures

Fragile Creatures didn’t play any Christmas Songs, but they did alter the titles of their tracks to give them a festive edge. Over the course of 2012 Adam Kidd has been honing his accomplished guitar pop, and last night showed a fine performance of some very polished songs. It was Adam’s backing vocals with Thomas White that first caught our attention and it was the harmonies that really shone last night and made their songs – none too shabby in the first place – really stand out. I look forward to hearing more of what Fragile Creatures have got to offer in 2013.

 

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 18 / Us Baby Bear Bones

We’re huge fans of Us Baby Bear Bones here at Brighton Music Blog because they’re everything we think a band ought to be. In short, they’re the antithesis of four young men in check shirts and skinny jeans playing guitars. It’s like nobody told UBBB that most bands have a different member taking on drums, vocals, guitars and so on – musical duties are passed around the band without care for convention. But if it sounds like Us Baby Bear Bones are difficult or inaccessible, think again because all of these ingredients come together to make lush, bold pop tunes. If only they’d get around to releasing their debut single, originally promised for July last year! My sources tell me that it may be arriving in February, so watch this space.

Us Baby Bear Bones at Green Door Store2

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 17 / Speak Galactic

The first time we saw Owen Thomas, at the Green Door Store supporting Laetitia Sadier, it was so loud we couldn’t stay in the room. Thankfully we persevered (and bought some ear plugs), because Speak Galactic are one of the most exciting bands in Brighton. Watching them live, ideas come faster than the audience can process them – there’s a guitar there, but it’s not making guitar noises because it’s wired through a box of home made electronics which makes the most amazing sounds. There’s frenetic vocals and drums too making for an incredibly visceral performance. Cupboard Music put out the album Severed – slightly slower paced than the live performances with woozy unsettling electronica and big crunching beats building their widescreen vision. The record finished off with the spectacular Solar Sail – a glorious seventeen minute long post-ambient epic. Amazing.

Speak Galactic

Speak Galactic

 

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer / Oh, Santa

Christmas is almost upon us. You might have picked up the fact by the fact that we’re midway through our Advent Calendar. Or maybe it’s the relentless commercial onslaught in the shops and the ad breaks that may have alerted you to it.

Anyway, Mr B has noticed too, and has prepared a song for our listening pleasure. Oh, Santa is guaranteed to raise a smile and has been released just in time to coincide with the festive season:

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 16 / Woodpecker Wooliams

Woodpecker Wooliams has played a great second half in the game of her year.

Back in May we saw her play a beautiful short set in the tiny Fishbowl Pub to an audience of about a dozen blokes who probably hadn’t heard of her. However, her album ‘The Bird School of Being Human‘ was released in September and since then she has garnered an array of great reviews, including a great band-of-the-day piece in The Guardian, and much airplay for the album and its lead single ‘Sparrow’. It really is one of the most original and enchanting albums of the year.

The video for the single, by Gemma’s sister, involved puppets and a lovely cranky sound helped on by producer Marcus Hamblett of The Sons of Noel and Adrian. Watch it below. New single Gull is out now and another slam-dunk classic.

Woodpecker Wooliams - Photo by Jon Southcoasting

Words and Picture by Jon Southcoasting

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 15 / Catherine Ireton

It was sheer good luck that we found out about Belle & Sebastian collaborator Catherine Ireton. She’d moved down to Brighton around eighteen months ago and had kept quite a low profile, but some eagle eyes on twitter spotted a mention of a local designer reworking her website and passed the news onto me. An afternoon set at The Great Escape confirmed that the big voice heard on God Help The Girl was just as big when she was playing on her own. In June Catherine kicked off a series of concerts intended to make the audience make a bit more effort in return for something a bit more intimate. The Treasure Tracks gig were real highlights for us, and we look forward to seeing what Catherine has up her sleeve in 2013.

Catherine Ireton

Catherine Ireton

 

Abi Wade – interview

Brighton celloist Abi Wade has just finished a European jaunt supporting Patrick Wolf on his tenth anniversary tour. Her unusual phrasings and rhythms sit well with Patrick Wolf’s set and she even joins him on stage for a couple of songs. We caught up with her for a brief chat before their final gig together in Brighton’s beautiful St Mary’s church.

Abi Wade

Any highlights on this tour? I really enjoyed Germany. Amsterdam was amazing as well. I liked Bristol a lot. And the north of England. It’s just all been great and the venues have been beautiful. Lots of churches which were lovely and some crazy places like in Germany an old warehouse that was really cool and had lots of things going on. I liked that one a lot.

How’s the album coming along? (Abi laughs) I just want to put feelers out and see how things go and get an idea of my sound and what I want to do before I turn out an album. Although I want to do it soon I haven’t completely decided what I want to put on it.

Abi played in a duo, the Wellingtons, but now performs solo. So she says the album may be quite sparse like her EPs but also with more electronics.

Abi Wade in St Mary's Church

What are your influences? I love folk and when I started I was writing folky stuff and was influenced by Laura Marling. Always loved Kate Bush and I grew up on the Beach Boys and that kind of thing, so the melodic thing was always there. Then lately I’ve been listening to Grimes and recently went to a Ghost Poet gig, so really eclectic. I love all kinds of music but all I guess on the unusual side. Apart from the Beach Boys maybe, but  the Beach Boys were original in their time.

I don’t really think I’m going to write a song ‘like this’, I just write. I don’t get directly influenced by anyone I just listen. But I also love phrasing and think about that a lot.

Abi has been taking advantage of the bigger venues on the Patrick Wolf tour and has been  playing a song on piano when her set usually consists of just her and her cello.

How did the piano song come about? My first instrument was the piano and I love it but I don’t normally get to play it because there’s usually no way to bring a piano to the kind of gigs I play. But this tour’s been different. There’s only one piano song at the moment but I may be doing some more tours with Patrick so maybe I will write another one.

You studied in Brighton but not at BIMM? I studied music and visual arts here, but I originally came from Cambridge. I never performed at all before I came to University, so Brighton was really where I started to do that, in small venues, and that’s all I’d really experienced until this tour and seeing and playing in lots of different places. But it’s nice to come home of course.

Any bands in Brighton we should be listening to? All the people I love turn out to be friends, like Jennifer Left (Ed note: our Brighton Music Blog Advent Calender pick today), Aneka – I went to University with her – they’re my key musical fellows at the moment. And Esben and the Witch of course. It’s such a big scene though. I love Brighton, the buzz that it has and the community, the support that gives you. 

Thank you Abi, it’s been lovely speaking to you.

Abi Wade will be headlining her next show at the Wednesday slot in the One Inch Badge Seamonsters festival in Brighton next month.

More here at abiwade.com

Abi Wade in St Mary's Church

(Words and pictures: Jon Southcoasting)

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 14 / Jennifer Left

It was a sad day when Gloria Cycles split up back in 2010, but this year Jennifer Left has burst back onto the Brighton music scene. Now fronting her own band, and with a brace of songs written with producer Tim Bidwell and Bonobo’s guitarist Ewan Wallace, Jennifer Left is back. Over the year, they’ve released two singles – Black Dog and Diggory – and grown in confidence with every show they’ve played. They’re also one of two bands in our calendar this year who’ve covered New Order – check out their gorgeous bossa nova cover of Temptation.

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 13 / Bat For Lashes

The Haunted Man was Brighton’s other huge album this year, alongside The Maccabees Given The The Wild. It caused a stir before it’s release with it’s provocative artwork, but lead single Laura showed that Bat For Lashes didn’t need shock tactics to create attention for the album. Natasha Khan’s homecoming concert at The Dome was definitely one of the gigs of the year for us.

IMG_2703e crops

 

Weekend Gig Picks

So, we’ve got a veritable bonanza of weekend gigs for you this week. Last week I was musing that maybe things that might get a bit quieter in the run up to Christmas – how wrong I was.

Holy VesselsLet’s start this with Thursday – it is the start of the weekend after all. We’ll be heading down to the Concorde 2 to see Saint Etienne (with support from Scritti Politti – what a line up, eh?). Also on thursday night there’s Mr B‘s Chap Hop Christmas Ball at the Prince Albert. Holy Vessels play their album launch at the Blind Tiger, with support from Soccer96, Autumn Red, The Common Tongues and Songs For Walter. Last Orders at the Marshall Arms is out now and available from iTunes. Paul Diello plays his annual Christmas party at  the Brunswick, and Alice Amelia plays the Constant Service.

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Noise NightOn Friday British Sea Power return with a special Christmas Krankenhaus at The Haunt. Our friends over at Brighton Noise are putting on their second night at the Green Door Store. They were turning people away from first one, so get their early to see Traams, Bitches and the fantastic Negative Pegasus. Transformer are launching their single Dragonfly at the Blind Tiger. Check out the Facebook event for more details and a look at the video. The last gig on our radar on friday is at the Coach House in Kemptown (not the pub on Middle Street), where Crayola Lectern headlines a “veritable melange of auditory delights”.

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binge2posterOn Saturday The Impellers hold their Office Christmas Party at The Brunswick, which is cheap to get into if you’ve got a ticket for Craig Charles later that night. If you’d like to start things a bit earlier on in the day, Beatabet kick things off at 1pm. They’ve got twelve bands playing at their Betabet BingeP for Persia, Spacenoid, Napoleon III, Colectress, Speak Galactic, Laboratoro, Old Man Diode, Scalar Fields, Duot, Operator, Temple Decade and Burnt Toast. Phew!

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art noiseIf you’ve still got any energy left come Sunday, then our top pick is Cate Ferris at The Neptune. There’s also an art event at the Blind Tiger called Wonderland, where Amongst The Pigeons, Them The Sky, Tiny Dragons, and the Elevators and Ribbon play in the evening. In yet another night in town with an above average number of bands on the bill, there’s also Club Criminal at Sticky Mike’s, starting from 5pm, with Trip to Dover, The Flip Flays, The Kut, Thieves by the Code, The Trophy Hearts, Childbrain and King Mews.