Weekend Gig Picks

Isn’t the weather meant to be getting better by now? And aren’t the days meant to be getting longer? It’s still dark when I get home from work. At least it’s almost the weekend, which means it’s time for us to flag up the local bands we think you ought to see over the next few days.

On Thursday night Clowns play at the Green Door Store, supported by Frank Melena Band and Victorian Hunter. As front men go, they don’t come much better than Clowns’ Miles Heathfield, so this comes highly recommended. And it’s free! Over in Hove at the Bee’s Mouth, Zoe Hazel Hedderwick headlines the first Lipstick & Picks night – a new monthly night showcasing female musicians, which is also free.

magicbandWEBFriday night’s biggest gigs to mention are some musical legend supported by local bands – Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band headline the Concorde, supported Son Belly, and Damo Suzuki from Can headlines the Green Door Store. Not only is he supported by Sons of Noel and Adrian, Soccer 96 and Eyes & No Eyes, but members of each of these bands will also be playing with him for his set. Friday is also Lout’s next Brighton Rocks night at Sticky Mike’s, with Saint Savanna, The Dancers, Farrow and Pizzabones.

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369102_0_club-kovak-with-youth-killing-joke_400There’s also another Brighton Rocks on Saturday at Sticky Mike’s – Ham Legion, The Creaking Chair, The Evil Son and LSD-25 are on the bill. House of Hats host another Harvest Session at the Brunswick, with support from The Self Help Group and Katharine Rose. Later in the evening Kovak host Club Kovak at the Blind Tiger, where you’ll have one of your first opportunities to see them playing tunes from their upcoming album live. Support comes Paper Playground and a DJ set from Youth. I suppose we ought to mention that Woodingdean’s finest X-factor contestant Frankie Cocozza is playing at the Haunt too.

Just the one gig to mention for Sunday, but it’s one we bought a ticket for before we even realised that the support would be a local act. Melody’s Echo Chamber plays at The Haunt (not Green Door Store where tickets were originally on sale for), and we’re looking forward to see them almost as much as we’re looking forward to Fear of Men who are supporting.

Curxes at the Green Door Store / Milk & Biscuits at the Blind Tiger

As you may have gathered from our posts, we’re big fans of live music here at Brighton Music Blog. In Brighton, we’re incredibly lucky that there are so many great gigs and so much choice. Last night was no exception, so much so that we decided to go to two gigs. We headed to the Green Door Store where Curxes were first on the bill at Danger De Mort’s monthly night, and then moved on to the Blind Tiger where Milk and Biscuits were headlining.

Curxes

Curxes

Danger De Mort first came to our attention in October last year when they put on a show that Nordic Giants headlined. Since then they’ve been putting on a gig every month with a mix of local and national bands, all with great line ups. Last night Brighton Music Blog approved Curxes opened the show. Where their first few releases had been very much in an industrial electro vein (they opened with Souxsie Sioux fronts Depeche Mode style single Spectre) they showed a new side with their Christmas cover of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and it was this that we were hoping to get get a glimpse of last night. The first part of the set was filled with the early singles – big belting synth epics which only went slightly awry when a lead fell out of the back of the laptop providing the visuals. Because it was cold, because it was midweek, because it was early – for whatever reason – it was a bit quiet, so Roberta took to the middle of the room as her stage, losing herself in the space, giving us an impression of the what the Curxes live show might be like when they’re playing bigger venues. Their new more reflective side was shown at the end of the set, when they closed on quieter aggressive song, showing off Roberta’s voice and showing the band’s newfound versatility.

Milk & Biscuits

Milk & Biscuits

While I had heard good reports of the rest of the bands on the bill they weren’t from Brighton, and there was another band playing in town who I was also looking forward to. I had only seen Milk and Biscuits once before, playing a low-key support slow at the Green Door Store around the time of their Balcony Times mini-album back at the tail end of 2011. That it’s taken until now for me to see them again isn’t to say the eight-piece took 2012 off – half of them are also in Restlesslist, whose concept album Coral Island Girl was one of our highlights last year. By the time I arrived at the Blind Tiger, the place was getting busy and I spotted quite a few local musicians amongst the crowd – Mary Hampton, Jennifer Left, Nick Hudson, Adam from Fragile Creatures, and probably a whole load more that I didn’t recognise. The Milk and Biscuits onstage yesterday were far more performance based than the band I saw over a year ago – they’ve transformed from a bunch of great musicians playing amongst each other to a fully fledged band who looked out towards the audience in a formation which showed them off well. Musically things had changed too and their set didn’t feature any tracks from their first release. To these ears their new sound isn’t quite so introspective as before. Last year’s single White Noise still sounds quite pastoral, but Milk and Biscuits rock harder than they used to. Local poet Gary Goodman joined them onstage for a few tracks, which added a different dimension to things, his sometimes-cutting observations showing that they’re more than just a band. Overall though, the gig was hampered with poor sound – there was a lot of feedback from the microphones, and the drummer seemed unhappy throughout, no doubt one of the issues of having such a large band. Let’s hope that next time there aren’t the same issues. Next time they’ve even promised an encore too!

 

Weekend Gig Picks

Normally our weekly post about which gigs we think you should go to to see some of our favourite local acts starts on a Thursday. Thursday has long replaced Friday as the start of the weekend in the Brighton Music Blog calendar. This week though, we’re starting things even earlier on Wednesday, because there’s two cracking gigs on tonight which we feel deserve a bit of a mention.

Milk-and-BiscuitsTonight Milk & Biscuits play at the Blind Tiger. We loved last year’s epic White Noise single, and this is a great chance to see them playing their new material for their follow up to 2011’s Balcony Time’s mini-LP. Over at the Green Door Store, Danger De Mort are holding their third event. Their first night had Nordic Giants headlining, and we were gutted to miss last month’s event which had IYES and Us Baby Bear Bones supporting. This month’s local support are Curxes, who have promised to play the new tracks they they’ll be releasing later this year. I don’t know a great deal about the rest of the bill, headlined by a band called Cymbals, but we reckon it’ll be great just on the strength of their previous line ups.

Onto Thursday night, where we normally kick off our weekend. One Inch Badge are putting Doldrums at the Prince Albert. Doldrums are from Toronto, but the supports – Us Baby Bear Bones and Luo are two of our favourite local bands.

Written-In-WatersOn Friday night we’ve spotted four gigs we like the look of. Written in Waters, IYES and Calico are playing at Brighton Electric, Speak Galactic and Cloud are supporting Antibang at the Prince Albert, Catherine Ireton is supporting Stu Larsen at Sticky Mike’s and Anneka is playing at live set at the Traumfrau night at the Haunt. We’re spoiled for choice!

Then on Saturday Professor Elemental is launching his new single at the Marlborough. The single’s called This is My Horse (Show Me Yours), and we’ll be writing a separate post about it sometime next week.

IYES – Glow

When we first wrote about IYES back in January, we tucked their track Lighthouse in amongst a whole bunch of other tunes by local bands that we wanted to share with you all. After we posted it, we couldn’t stop listening to it – it was that good. And then we went to go and see them live, and that was great too.

Fast forward to this weekend, and a brand new track has appeared on their soundcloud, and this time we’re going to give it the fanfare that it deserves. Glow starts off simply with an arpeggiated rhythm and Melis’ vocal, and then around thirty seconds in it explodes into technicolour with effervescent synths and the strength of Josh’s voice. Glow is a bit more uptempo than Lighthouse, but doesn’t lose anything for it. I always have a little bit of fear when I hear one track by a new band that the rest of their material won’t match it, but IYES have proved that this doesn’t have to be the case.

IYES

Nordic Giants – Speed The Crow’s Nest

The brand new Nordic Giants single, Speed The Crow’s Nest has just been released and the band celebrated with a sold out launch show at the Dome Studio Theatre last night.

Nordic Giants_Single_Crows_300dpi

Speed The Crow’s Nest is unmistakeably Nordic Giants from the off – big, uplifting piano riffs, shimmering guitars and clattering drums. The experience is completely exhilarating – like falling from a great height, or being caught out in a thunderstorm – it’s a little disorientating, but at the same time utterly awe inspiring. The b-side is the first track released with Nordic Giants new vocalist, Freyja. Glass Skinned Girl showcases the other side of the band – quiet, reflective and glacial. Freyja’s voice is a perfect complement to their more ambient stuff, and rings out as much a part of the instrumentation as a vehicle for delivering the lyrics.

Nordic Giants

Onstage Freyja fitted in perfectly too, dressed head to toe in black with the most amazing head dress, with the live delivery matching the clarity of the recordings. Freyja only joined the band for two tracks – the rest of the Nordic Giant’s set was either instrumental, or had the vocalist pre-recorded with their image projected into a separate video box in the middle of the stage. I’ve long maintained that Nordic Giants are one of the best live bands in town. On the way out I heard someone describing it as “a religious experience” which you can’t really argue with – the music blows you away and you’re blinded by the strobes, but it’s all so incredibly beautiful. The next Nordic Giants live date is up in London in April, but it’s in a church in St Pancras – that truly will be a religious experience!

You can buy Speed the Crows Nest on iTunes or it’ll be available in physical form from the band’s website soon.

Innerstrings Light Show curate Source New Music with Physics House Band

Last night’s Source New Music revisited the notion of the night having a curator, rather than being put together as a collaboration between the Source and Brighton Dome. A few months ago Beatabet collective picked the bands that played, last night Innerstrings Light Show did the choosing.

The first band they picked were Reds, an experimental psychedelic collective. Reds gigs are all improvised on the night – everything you hear is for the first time. Their sound is ambitious, droning and dark; a good introduction to the night ahead.

Reds

After Reds, Baal Fire played downstairs in the bar area. Baal Fire is one man with his guitar, but to listen to his music you’d think that there was a whole band – the guitar was played with a violin bow then sampled an looped, building up layers of sound. Ball Fire’s tone was glacial – big slow motion, musical landscape to lose yourself in.

Baal Fire

Baron were up next upstairs on the main stage. They weren’t quite as psychedelic as either of the previous two acts, but they were a lot more accessible. Their sound had a lot more krautrock influences, song based structures and vocals, but were still quite out there. I was torn though – I didn’t know if I wanted Baron to get some catchy choruses, or properly wig out at the end of their set.

Baron

It was all change again at the end of their set, with Pete Fij & Terry Bickers picking up the baton downstairs. Pete and Terry were the highlight of the evening – sure, Physics House Band were the headliners, but I’d seen them a few weeks ago at Sea Monsters. I’d never seen Pete Fij & Terry Bickers live before, so it was a real treat. Their real skill was making it look so effortless. It might have looked like two guys on guitars, but the playing was immaculate, Pete had a fantastic voice, and their songs were great. On top of all that, they were the only band of the evening to make any kind of engagement with the crowd.

Pete Fij & Terry Bickers

The night belonged to Physics House Band though. Fresh from announcing their debut release (see our blog post from last week), the band’s support has never been bigger, and onstage at the Dome Studio Theatre, they’ve never sounded bigger. I’m always transfixed when I see them – not just by the talent and musicianship of any one player, but they way that they all play so tightly together. A mean feat if they were playing music in standard time signatures, let along when they’re playing their take on prog jazz. And it was loud – my god, it was loud – but that just added to the intensity of it all. The combination of the visuals, the music and the volume was truly awesome. Good work Physics House Band, Innerstrings Light Show, Brighton Source and the team at the Dome.

Physics House Band

New Emiliana Torrini single

Brighton’s favourite Icelander Emiliana Torrini, has a new single out. Her first album since 2008’s Me and Armini is finished and is due out later this year, but before then a new track recorded with Steve Mason and Toy has surfaced.

Emiliana Torrini at Loop Festival, Brighton July 2009

Emiliana Torrini at Loop Festival, Brighton July 2009

I Go Out will be the debut 7″ released on a new label called Speedy Wunderground set up by Emiliana’s musical partner and co-writer Dan Carey. The label plans to record make recordings in a day, and get them released as soon as possible. Check out their ten point plan on the “About Us” page of the website

The track is nearly seven minutes of space age krautrock, which will be split over both sides of the single, and is out on 25th February. If you can’t wait that long, you can listen here: