Birdengine, supporting Samantha Crain

Lawry Tilbury III aka Birdengine has a small red label that dangles from his guitar with the word ‘Happy’ inscribed on it. I now know that ‘Happy’ is the name of his guitar. Not that you can label his music, so maybe it’s doubly ironic.

Brighton-based Birdengine hasn’t been playing live much of late so it was a real treat to find him and Happy in the tiny Komedia Studio Bar, supporting the American touring songsmith Samantha Crain for a Melting Vinyl gig.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two and a half years since the The Crooked Mile was released, one of the best albums to emerge from the psych-folk scene. Not a happy record, it’s full-to-the-brim with melancholy imaginative gothic folk tunes, from which the sublime Ghost Club was a stand-out tonight. We were also treated to the stunning Heads off Dogs from his first album released on Drift records, and a number of new songs involving increasing use of a loop pedal which helps add a fuller sound to the trademark Birdengine pluck and strum. We were also treated to a charming jazz interlude thanks to the previous owner of one of the Birdengine guitar pedals, with Lawry’s usual hesitant interaction with the audience forming a kind of obscure sub-genre of rapping. Maybe.

It was good to see Lawry back in action, and a new album will hopefully start to emerge shortly.

Birdengine Birdengine BirdengineSamantha Crain is touring to promote her new album Kid Face, which is well worth exploring – one of three excellent female songwriter’s albums released over the last month and which I’ve been enjoying this week (see also New Yorker Nicole Atkins’ excellent Slow Phaser and Brightonian Sharon Lewis’ classy Roses at the Top, more of which some other time). The small studio bar made for a lovely intimate venue and hopefully Melting Vinyl will use it more.

Samantha Crain

Photos and words by Jon Southcoasting

Gigs of the Week

In an effort to be a little more on the ball than last week we’re posting up our Gigs of the week on Monday night. As it happens, we need to this week because there’s a lot of great gigs to mention, a few of which have already cropped up in these pages.

SC.We posted up about BirdEngine supporting Samantha Crain over the weekend. That’s happening on Tuesday night at the Komedia, and we’ll be along to cover that.

On Wednesday night, Metronomy play a one off date at The Old Market to warm up for their European tour taking place in March. Their new single is the title track from forthcoming album Love Letters is out on 11th March, and has a video directed by Michel Gondry.

Talking of new singles, Fickle Friends are holding a launch party for their debut single Swim at the Green Door Store on Thursday night. There’s a remix of Swim which we’re going to be sharing with you very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

mbThere’s two gigs on Friday night that we’d be seen at (and hopefully with a bit of planning we will be spending a bit of time at both). Milk & Biscuits gig at the Green Door Store has been in our diary for a while. They’ll be supported by labelmates Octopuses and Prince Vaseline. Meanwhile down at the Blind Tiger it’s the first Les Enfants Terribles of the new year and it’s got a slightly different format for 2014. The night will run from 9pm-2am and now has DJs as well as local bands. This month Transformer, Dog in the Snow, Normanton Street and NYX all play live.


momotaroLast, but by no means least, on Saturday night Momotaro are holding their album launch Second Side at the Green Door Store. The band gave us a copy of the album when we interviewed them last week and it hasn’t left our stereo. See you down the front, and maybe at the afterparty at the Eddy.

Coming up : Samantha Crain supported by BirdEngine​, GAPS remixed by Foreign Skin

SC.Normally a lot of our posts are looking back – to gigs that we’ve been to, or to music that’s been put up online. Today we’re being a bit more proactive and telling you about two things coming up soon. The first is a gig – Next Tuesday, Melting Vinyl are bringing Samantha Crain to Brighton with BirdEngine in support. Samantha Crain, new label mates to Brighton’s Fujiya & Miyagi having just signed to Full Time Hobby, is touring to support her expansive yet intimate new album Kid Face, and is playing at the Komedia on 28th January. We’ll be there early for to make sure we don’t miss local support BirdEngine, who has promised to include tracks from his upcoming album in his set.

Our other preview is of a remix that’s due to hit soon. GAPS new single I Know It’s You hit the shelves on 9th December last year and a video of a remix by Foreign Skin has been posted, previewing around a minute from the full track which is due very soon. We’ll post up the full thing when we see it but until now here’s a taster of what’s to come:

UPDATE : since writing this post, the full video has been posted to facebook here.

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 3 / Birdengine

Lawry Tilbury III, aka Birdengine, is a Brighton institution who’s been purveying his unique brand of gothic folk for more than five years now. His last album ‘The Crooked Mile’ is a masterpiece and essential listening. This year he’s been quietly gigging and working away at some new songs, in preparation for a much-anticipated new album in 2013. In the meantime, you should check out his website and take a look at the amazing video for the single ‘No Arms’ below.Image

Words and Picture by Jon Southcoasting