Gigs have been back for a few weeks now, but it’s taken me until now to bring my camera along to see some local bands and take enough photos to justify a blog post. But last Friday Projector played a storming set for the hometown date of their current tour at the Hope & Ruin and we found our way to the front. Support came from Hutch (who we did see) and Sleep Council (who we saw a bit of, but only from the back).
It’s great to be back at gigs, and hopefully we’ll have some more pictures to share very soon
More than five years in the making, Great Pagans return in the next few weeks with their new album Aux Follies, coming out on local label Cupboard Music. We caught up with Alex Painter to give him the Brighton Rocks treatment:
What’s the best thing about Brighton? I’ve lived in various parts of the country and never felt as at home and at ease as in Brighton. I suppose that’s why I’ve been here 15 years now. Also there’s always someone weirder than you, which is reassuring.
Who are your favourite local bands? The biggest pleasant surprise recently has been Ensemble 1, the album ‘Guitar, Bass & Drums’ is amazing repetitive, morphing guitar patterns but not dry and emotionless like that could be. Also Japanese Sweets, Owen from Speak Galactic’s modular synth project. He creates really beautiful human sounds with them.
What’s the best venue? I like the Pipeline, it has that same DIY feel that upstairs at Fitzherbert’s used to have before they gentrified it. But with a better PA. Green Door Store will always have a place in my heart too.
What’s the best rehearsal space / studio? Friendliest staff has to be Small Pond, and they have a nice range of cables to borrow when I invariably forget something.
What’s the best club? Hard to recall after the last couple of years but downstairs at the Rossi Bar has a nice feel. Small, great sound, interesting nights like Flex etc.
What’s the best record shop? We’re totally spoilt for record shops here aren’t we. I think a special mention should go to the great little well-curated record corner in Family Store though. It’s nice to have a selection chosen by real people and not just what will sell well.
Where’s the best places to eat? Any of the myriad posh bakeries we’re blessed with in Brighton.
What’s the best pub? I would consider having my ashes scattered in The Basketmakers.
Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity? I love the old guy who walks slowly through the lanes in a different glam rock/punk outfit every day. He used to have a little dog and often wears platform boots and like bright blue velour suits. I’d love to know his story if anyone knows?
When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock? I am a Brighton Rock virgin. Saving myself for that special rock.
Back in the early nineties, Insides made waves with their alternative take on pop music, with their debut album Euphoria (which came out on 4AD) now considered a classic. In 2000 the band called it a day but a few years ago after a long stretch of producing, mastering, mixing and everything else that might go on at their own studio they started record again themselves. In 2016 they released the single Ghost Music, which would go on to form one of the tracks on the album Soft Bonds which finally came out earlier this year. They also have the honour of being the first band to have a release on Graham Duff’s new vinyl only Heaven’s Lathe label, selling out the Crumb Dropper in under three hours.
What’s the best thing about Brighton? The two columns you drive through on the A23 when you get back. Plus both Duke of York cinemas which we hope to get back in to before long. The sea in front & the Downs behind.
Who are the your favourite local bands? Map 71, Fujiya & Miyagi
What’s the best venue? The Rose Hill and Green Door Store
What’s the best rehearsal space / studio? Of course our recording studio (Church Road Studio in Hove) is the best place to record, and Ooosh is lovely for rehearsals, although we favour our spare room.
What’s the best club? The Pétanque Club on Hove seafront, by the Peace Statue is great for Arabic pop music, competitive heavy ball games & emergency toilets.
What’s the best record shop? Resident, & used to love Wax Factor too, when second hand records were cheap.
Where’s the best places to eat? Kitgum Kitchen for East African food, Manju’s for Gujarati home cooking & Bardsleys for fish & chips.
What’s the best pub? The Colonnade Bar in town and the Watchmakers Arms closer to home.
Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity? Boy: Chrissy Boy from Madness Girl: Stacy Dooley. (But enjoyed the rumours about Macca shopping in Furniture Village when he lived in Millionaire’s Row).
When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock? Reckon 1990. They used to make it in the old Maynards factory by us. Horrible.
After being away for so long, I feared that we may be writing about venues closing. Instead however, our first proper post back is about a brand new venue for Brighton. It’s location is somewhere familiar for most Brightonians, and it’s being run by a familiar face on the local scene too. The Folklore Rooms is the new name for the upstairs space at The Quadrant, and the man behind it all is Jacko Hooper, who’s been running the Folklore Sessions, which had a residency at the White Rabbit before the pandemic, but has been held at various locations in Brighton since 2014.
What’s the best thing about Brighton? Might sound a bit cliché but for me it’s the people. There’s so many creative people in this city and so many exciting projects it just encourages you and makes you want to soak it up and be involved. There’s no reason to not get in the thick of it because there’s so many likeminded people. That and the summer…I don’t think there’s a better city than Brighton in the summertime.
Who are your favourite local bands? Crikey…That’s a hard question. My best pal has a project called Luo which is brilliant. I’m a big fan of a lot of the Folklore community that I work with, my friends Bess Atwell, Oktoba, Route 500, Edie Bens, Son, Arthur to name a few. I’ve been fairly consistently obsessed with all of Nancy’s releases as well.
What’s the best venue? The Folklore Rooms of course! I’m also the Live Events Manager at The Brunswick, a venue very close to my heart where I gigged extensively in the early days in particular. Two venues across two floors and so much eclectic music, from grassroots shows to touring international acts. – Totally independent too. That’s the good stuff.
What’s the best rehearsal space / studio? Well I’ve worked at Brighton Electric so I should probably say them. I’ve rehearsed there since I was 14 and walking through the corridors and hearing The Xcerts and Architects and The Cure rehearsing and recording was a pretty inspiring way to go through your teen years.
What’s the best club? Those days are probably best left firmly in my past. I don’t even know half the names of them. I thought LIFE was still there after it being gone for about two years. I think i’m old now.
What’s the best record shop? I used to love Rounder Records, such a cool place and I bought so many records and gig tickets there in my teen years. Such a shame when it went…Luckily Resident is also awesome and I’ve seen some great in-stores there as well. It has quite an authentic ‘old record store’ feel to it which is harder to find these days.
Where’s the best places to eat? Ooo…Well, I’m a couple of years into being vegetarian so my pallet has changed somewhat. Before it would have been wherever had the best burger but now not so…I ate at Easy Tiger recently on Upper North Street and it was amazing. Indian street food to die for, I HIGHLY recommend. Also the veggie roast at Hop Poles was a joy.
What’s the best pub? My usual watering holes are The Foundry, The Prince George, Basketmakers or The Great Eastern. I like them small and cosy. I’m that guy that whinges to his mates that the music’s too loud when having a pint somewhere. Yeah, I am old.
Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity? Gotta be Nick Cave hasn’t it. Painfully cool.
When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock? Not since I was a kid and to be honest I didn’t really like it then either. I’m the sorta person that eats ice creams by biting into them. I’m mental like that. Rock sort of frustrated me. I want to eat it, I don’t want to earn it.
The first gigs announced for the Folklore Rooms are:
2nd August – Liberty Matisse 14th August – Josh O’keefe 17th August – The Folklore Monthly Showcase (Tickets on sale July 2nd) 28th August – Jack Cade 4th September – The Sweet Ordeal
Jacko Hooper’s latest release is entitled This Was The Earth, which can be bough over at bandcamp as well as the usual digital download sites:
… but we figured it was about time to switch things on again. It’s a few days short of a year since we last posted, but what a year, eh?
Even though things aren’t over yet it feels like a good time to start things again. Hopefully in a few weeks’ time gigs can start again properly, but let’s give a shoutout to everyone who’s put on socially distanced gigs and set up livestreams while we haven’t been able to go out, and also everyone who has put in all the planning and effort for gigs, only to have to rearrange things (multiple times in some cases).
Until we can get out to gigs again we’re going to revive our Brighton Rocks interviews – There’s one going up later and plans are afoot for more over the next couple of weeks.
And then before long, hopefully the last year and a bit will fade to a distant memory and things will return to normal. Fingers crossed.
You might have noticed that we’ve been a bit quiet since lockdown started. Whereas this time last year we were posting a couple of times a week, we’ve only managed to make five posts in the last three months – The practicalities of having a family and a job don’t work right now, let alone trying to do anything over and above that, such as writing a blog. So it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to press pause on things for a while until life is a bit more “normal”.
Things came to a bit of a head with yesterday’s #letthemusicplay activity, where I didn’t have the capacity to get anything together which is ridiculous given that I started the blog to get to more gigs, but I also didn’t have any time to post anything in support of Black Lives Matter, which I regret.
This is just a pause though – we’ll be back at some point later in the year. See you then.
Who are your favourite local bands? Hmmm. Spleen, Fragile Creatures, Collect Call, Twenty One Crows.
What’s the best venue? Damn I miss The Hanbury Ballroom. I’d say The Hope, with a stentorian shout-out to Leon, who’s engineering is peerless. Otherwise, The Old Market, for the diversity of its programming.
What’s the best rehearsal space / studio? We’ve started using Botega to rehearse in, and they’re awesome. I just really hope they survive the economic devastation of the pandemic. As for recording studios, we lived in Church Road Studio for two years while we were making The Quiet Earth, and it’s fair to say Julian and Paul are truly excellent humans and engineers. Adaptable, ingenious and inventive. Also Audiobeach, where I made a collaborative record with Oli Spleen. Forbes, Rocco and Old Clunky are a triumvirate to be reckoned with.
What’s the best club? I don’t really go clubbing, Though we did play The Volks last November, which was beautiful chaos. Sad to see Legends close, not because it was a great club per se, but because of the late night potential for preposterous hijinks. And for their insane lasers in the basement club.
What’s the best record shop? I love, and have always loved Wax Factor. It’s browse-to-revelation ratio is particularly strong and I frequently spend time in there just ranting with proprietor Mark. Will always miss Rounder. And Monkey Music. Sigh.
Where’s the best places to eat? Mange Tout and its sister restaurant Plateau are consistently excellent. Bincho Yakitori and Ephesus on Preston Street are to die for. Riddle And Fins are still great and I’m still in pursuit of lockdown lobster. The Setting Sun offers an incredible menu, and I’d say the same even if my brother weren’t the head chef. Famous Szechuan on Queens Road is my favourite oriental restaurant in town. With an unassuming exterior, their menu and service are at once world-beating and homely.
What’s the best pub? The Hand In Hand, Kemptown. It’s been my living room for over ten years. It functions as a rustic bar, a psych ward, a hedonist’s miniature playground, a storyteller’s lounge, a tiny venue, a brewery, a community, a Fellini-esque speakeasy and a last refuge of the hangdog and esoteric. Jen is a local legend and deserves colossal applause. Their beer hatch during the lockdown is a wonderful thing.
Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity? Well, it’s always nice to know Nick Cave is in our realm, scratching out his red hand files from deepest Kemptown. We once had a natter about songwriting at a parking metre and he was a true gentleman.
What’s the best thing about Brighton? It’s a weirdly malleable place. You can kinda forge your own version of it, within reason. It’s small enough to be walkable and easily-escaped (and the downs, and the rock pools beyond the marina have proven cherished boltholes during lockdown) and big enough to sustain a degree of momentum and identity of its own. I also have a kinda authorial fascination with the way various disparate demographics intersect to form its strange socio-cultural ecosystem. Like, the gangsters, the lunatic chefs, the musicians, the queer community, the old level-heads in their KLF threads, the curious paradox that is Tory queens, the bar poets, the Soho exiles, the sprinklings of Crowleyana.
When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock? I’ve never had it! Though a friend was telling me about Sellafield rock actually. Which reminds me of the time an old friend walked into The Hand In Hand using an unirradiated nuclear cooling rod as a didgeridoo.
The Quiet Earth by The Academy of Sun is out on Friday 19th June and can be ordered from Bandcamp
So, it turns out that even if I have the desire to keep the blog update, the combination of lockdown, a job and childcare mean that there aren’t enough hours in the day, which is why it’s been over a month since our last post. Here’s an attempt to catch up, with no promises about when I’ll get to make my next post! In no particular order, here’s more than twenty tracks that have come out from local acts since we last wrote:
Ellis D / Puppeteering Jetstream Pony / It’s Fine Fragile Creatures / Parallel Lines Dan Sumner / Electric Light Lucy Feliz / Magic Hour Will and the People / Head in the Sand Psychic Shakes / Wage Slave Nancy / Call Me On Your Telephone Billy Carr / Swinging Jon Mcleod / The Cavalry Comes Libra Libra / Juicy Lucy Maurice Business / Inside (from Songs for the Office EP) Mrisi / West Baby Thrillhouse / : Ready When You Are Sit Down / Told U So (from Nice One EP) The Daylight / Ghosts (Clementine remix) Politeburo / Middlechild Dom Champ / Slow Candid / Oz Fruity Water / Telephone Song Thudd / What Once Was Joe Peter / Self Adhesive Maida Vorn / Manic in Me
We took a bit of a break over lockdown, but after a couple of other posts this week we’re properly back. We’ve got a bit of catching up to do with our new music, so this week’s post has over thirty tracks:
Cate Ferris / Keep Going Battery Operated Orchestra / The Getaway CLT DRP / Like Father (Sit Down remix) Kudu Blue / Are You With Me (DJ Zinc remix) El Train & Kallitechnis / MAD Megan Lara Mae / Jungle Jacko Hooper / You Don’t Understand Oxomo / Keep it Blessed (feat Skinny Tallss) Idyll / Sunny B Maida Vorn / River (from Face Like Thunder EP) Penfold Gate / Asteroids MarMan / Space SABRINA / Losing Sleep Black Square / The Hope and the Crutch (from Beggars Opera Album) Alysha / Stronger Jack Barnes / Down & Out Para Fiction / Roy (from Pandemic EP) Boudicca / Mountain (from Pushing Up Daisies album) Beachtape / Somewhere Better (from Bigger Picture EP) Osaro / Think of You Hear Lies / Ministry (from In War, Grief, Hope & Peace EP) Tilda Allie / Boi Niches / Beautiful Daydream Orpine / Two Rivers Sianon / Overthinking The Psycho Relics / Rocking Chair Giant Sinclair / Mountain’s Gone Gulls / Shame Shame Shame Nature Trip / Parley The Brave Faces / In The Dark Octopuses / Yesterday Man
Some Brighton Rocks take a bit longer to come to fruition than others. I first approached Projector last September about getting them involved but with touring, holidays, and line up changes throwing spanners in the works we didn’t end up meeting until March. It felt like one last twist of fate that on the day the weather was awful, but it turned out that Coronavirus would the last laugh. So finally, we’re happy to present Brighton Rocks number 32:
Who are the your favourite local bands?
E: We’re both big fans Laundromat.
L: Some of my favourite bands ever operate out of Brighton – Tigercub and Demob in particular, but also Sick Joy, Murmur and Zooni.
What’s the best venue?
L: Hard one…depends on the kind of evening you’re anticipating. I love the Hope, I’ve played many happy shows there. Controversially I’d also say Brighton Electric, for the many fine parties they’ve put on over the years. And the Bee’s Mouth for a rare evening of jazz.
E: Green Door Store, my place of work and play.
What’s the best rehearsal space / studio?
E: We are long term punters at Brighton Electric. But we also love the Small Pond.
What’s the best club?
E: Hove chess club
What’s the best record shop?
L: Sadly I have little money for records at the moment, but obviously Resident is a place I like to go and pretend. The last record I bought there was Oscar Peterson’s Night Train.
E: I listen exclusively to mini-disks.
Where’s the best places to eat?
L: I cannot possibly recommend Hove Tandoori enough. I will not eat any other curry. Nothing compares. If readers were going there tonight I would recommend to them the Vegetable Balti or Massala, with added paneer, complimented by a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc and finished off with the garlic naan.
E: Pom Poko.
What’s the best pub?
E: Rossi Bar for cocktails, Caxton Arms for macaroni cheese burgers
L: I am also a devotee of Rossi and their charming bar staff. But I love the Neptune, near fourth avenue in Hove. It is very small and warm, like someone’s living room, the drinks are reasonably priced and sometimes there will be someone playing some sort of old folk stuff. Sort of place I’d have imagined bumping into Billy Connolly.
Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity?
L: I’m a big fan of Steve Coogan. I *thought* I saw him on the beach the other day but no dice. I’m told he’s always accompanied by extremely attractive young women. I’m not really one for meeting my heroes though, I imagine they’d disappoint me, or in this case I’d get nervous and shout AHA etc.
What’s the best thing about Brighton?
L: I’m going to say Brighton Electric if we’re quantifying this with happy Brighton memories. I first visited in 2012 when they just had a hatch, no bar etc, and I was in tiny old room 4 (now absorbed by the live room). Since then I must have spent hundreds.
When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock?
L: I have very sensitive teeth and avoid that shit like the plague.
Projector were finalising work on EP2 before lockdown started and are posting snippets of recordings on their Instagram and Facebook pages.