Save Our Local Live Music Scene

These are difficult times – Lockdown has forced venues and pubs to close putting the live music scene on hold. Gigs have been postponed or cancelled leaving the venues and promoters with their overheads.

The Music Venue Trust have instigated a Save Our Venues campaign, with the Hope & Ruin, Green Door Store, Komedia, Latest Music Bar, Pipeline, Old Market and The Brunswick linked to the campaign. Head over to the Save Our Venues website to find out more. The Prince Albert has their own crowdfunder link and there’s also the opportunity to donate to Brighton Dome

The Rose Hill have mentioned on their facebook page that they may join the Save Our Venues campaign, but I can’t see anything for Chalk or Concorde 2. I’ll update this post if anything comes up for them.

Venues are only half the picture though – It’s one thing having places to go but someone has to put the gigs on in the first place and the promoters are the unsung heroes of the scene. They’re the ones picking up on the bands you haven’t heard of yet, booking them for gigs months ahead. They’re the ones working out whether a band would be best placed to play a big room like the Old Market or somewhere smaller like the Hope & Ruin. They’re the ones dealing with bands suffering from tour fatigue and making sure things are in place so that they still put on a good show. It’s their experience and devotion to the local scene that makes it what it is, and they’re suffering too. So here’s a shoutout to Melting Vinyl, Love Thy Neighbour, Acid Box, Lout, Dictionary Pudding, Hot Wax, Brighton Noise, One Inch Badge, Joy and everyone else who brings gigs to Brighton.

Melting Vinyl, stalwarts of the local scene for over twenty years, are running a crowdfunder to help keep the lights on, with rewards ranging from gig posters to a promoting masterclass with MV founder Anna Moulson. Brighton Dome, who run Brighton Festival, gave ticketholders the option of donating a percentage of the value of their tickets when offering refunds. The advice generally has been to keep hold of any tickets you’ve bought which will still be valid for rescheduled gigs.


Weekend Gig Picks

Normally we post up our weekend gig picks on a Wednesday, but got a bit distracted this week. So we’ll keep things short and sweet this week and just pick out one for Saturday and one for Sunday. We promise that next week’s post will be bigger than ever.

House of Hats

House of Hats

When the House of Hats started their Harvest Sessions earlier this year, we thought it might have been a little unkind to pull them up on the fact that it wasn’t harvest season. It is now though, and it’s time for this month’s gig, headlined and curated by the band. This Saturday they’re joined at The Brunswick by Swell and Woodland Blue.


1237260_620187024687561_1038634516_oBack in June, The Hundredth Anniversary and Tyrannosaurus Dead appeared on a three-band mini-album called GUTS, alongside London band Gum. GUTS has now grown into a one day festival at the Green Door Store, featuring all three bands and a fair few others from Brighton and London. There’s full details, including set times, over on the Facebook event page.

Crayola Lectern album launch

This week saw the release of The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern on Bleeding Hearts Recordings, and last night they held the launch party at The Brunswick.

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer?

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer?

Support came from Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, fresh from supporting British Sea Power on tour as part of Milk & Biscuits. When I’ve seen them in this incarnation live before, they’ve been accompanied by a small string section, but last night Eleanor and Rachel were playing as a duo. Stripped of their accompaniment the arrangements were a little more sparse, but no less haunting. Close harmonies and acoustic, twisted backing on guitar and autoharp were order of the day. They only played a short set, which included Silence which is being released as a single in July which the band recently filmed a video for, and ended with last year’s download Save Your Heart.

Crayola Lectern

Crayola Lectern

These days proper intervals in the main feature have all but disappeared, unless you’re at a theatre. Cinemas now project films digitally so there’s no need to swap reels halfway through, and music is for the most part digested in the form of a compact disc or a digital stream. The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern was conceived as a good old fashioned long player though, where getting up to turn the record over is as much a part of the experience as the music itself, so for his album launch Crayola Lectern split their set in two with each part being a run through of each half of the album, nearly. Last night’s version of the band was just Chris Anderson and Alistair Strachan (although tomorrow night’s London launch gets the full complement of album contributors) – Chris on upright piano and guitar on Trip in D and Fall and Rise, and Alistair on trumpet, keyboard, and all kinds of percussion. The piano playing was sublime, and and to describe Alistair’s contribution as trumpet playing doesn’t do justice to range of sounds that were made. The first half ended with non-album track and live favourite Barbara’s Persecution Complex – I understand that Crayola Lectern have another couple of album’s worth of material so hopefully this will get a full release at some point. The second half kicked off with Trip in D, the psychedelic high point of the album, which has in the past formed the entire basis of improvised gigs but tonight only lasted for a few minutes. Later, the album’s title track sounded more in tune with the more experimental tracks last night rather than the film soundtrack it could be on the record. After rounding off the second half of the record to a room full off applause, Chris and Alistair rejoined the stage for a triumphant rendition of Combobulatory Explorations (from the first half, but not played because of the inclusion of Barbara’s Persectution Complex). It’s one of the boldest and most intricate tracks and was a superb end to the night.

Crayola Lectern

Crayola Lectern

Amy Hill – Place of Mind album launch

Last Thursday Amy Hill invited us along to the launch of her debut album Place of Mind. On the door as we arrived everyone was given a copy of the album, and I was hoping this write up would be a review of both the album and the night. Unfortunately, every time I put the cd into my computer iTunes freezes up, which is why this blog post is both a little delayed, and a little incomplete in terms of what I was hoping it would include.

We arrived at The Brunswick a bit too late to see Jacko Hooper, but did catch most of Choice’s folky set, which involved a multi-instrumentalist using looping pedals alongside a live drummer. By this point, it was good to see that the venue was already full.


Amy Hill has been hosting the monthly Brighton Folk night for years. Every month she plays a song or two inbetween acts, solo and acoustic, but it’s a rare treat to see her playing a full set. On Thursday some songs were stripped back to just Amy and her guitar, but others were played with a full band who included Phil and Beth from The Galleons – regulars at Brighton Folk. This extra dimension shows an added depth that you wouldn’t see at one of her regular nights and is a welcome addition, elevating her sound above folky singer songwriter fare to something somewhere between Beth Orton and Sheryl Crow. Amy sung about life’s simple pleasures – friends, music, nature – and it’s safe to say that everyone in the room was sharing in that pleasure. At the end of the gig, after she had performed all of the tracks on the album, Amy was called back on stage an encore where she played a b-side from an earlier EP. Apparently it was her first ever encore, and it was obviously a very special moment – a fitting end to a great night.

Amy Hill

The next Brighton Folk takes place this Sunday night at the Brunswick and features Mike Newsham, Donna Fullman and Sam Green.

weekend gig pick – The Bobby McGee’s at the Brunswick

Over the past couple of months, our weekend gigs picks posts have got bigger and bigger, as I do my best to give the local bands playing each weekend a bit of a mention. This weekend I’m reigning it in a bit and just putting forward one gig, whose headliners also have some other news to tell too.

The Bobby McGee’s will be topping the bill at Sunday night’s Blazing Saddles Cabaret at The Brunswick. Other musical and non-musical treats on the bill include Team MUD, Cherry Bella, Zaz and Bambi Beats. The night is a fundraiser for Brighton Naked Bike Ride, but organisers have made it very clear that this is a no nudity event. I’d say it was still a bit cold out there for that kind of behaviour, but some people involved with the naked bike ride are a little bit keen.

The Bobby McGees

On now to the Bobby McGee’s news – their next album has been finished. After a year of hard toil being written and recorded in the cellar underneath the Horse & Groom, Bon Bons (Je Vien Rechcher Mes) is finished. It won’t be out in the shops just yet though – it’s pencilled in for physical release in October. In the meantime the band will be releasing two download only tracks per month between now and then. The first two tracks – Biggest Smile and I Don’t Know Why – see the band developing their own “tweecore” style into something they call “Indie-Pop-Lindy-Hop”. It’s like the old Bobby McGee’s, but with a new swing direction. Most bands out there couldn’t pull off a new swing direction, but then most bands out there aren’t the Bobby McGee’s. If you really, really can’t wait until October for the album apparently “taster editions” will be available on Record Store Day (April 20th, if it’s not already in your diary). We’ll keep you updated with any more news we hear.

Weekend Gig Picks

Here’s our regular pick of where to go and get your fill of local music this weekend.

posteralberTonight we recommend heading to The Brunswick to see some members of bands playing solo sets. Hannah from Moulettes is supporting Sam Walker from The Muel, and door tax is a fiver. If Hove seems a long way away (which it does sometimes), then there’s also Flash Bang Band at the Prince Albert, which is only four pound entrance. Support comes from Lion Bark and The Vinyls.

Our Friday night choice is Transformer, who are playing at the Blind Tiger and is free to get in! Saturday night’s pick is this week’s Brighton Rocks at Sticky Mikes with Running Dogs, The Chances, High Tyde, Clipper and Harting, and will set you back four pounds.

House of Hats at The Brunswick / Cate Ferris at The Neptune

This weekend we went to two gigs which on paper, could have been very similar – Both were in Hove, in pubs, both were folk-based acts, and both featured performers who have recently made recordings with local producer Tim Bidwell. That’s where the similarity ends though.

Saturday night, House of Hats hosted their Harvest Sessions night at the Brunswick. The Harvest Sessions is a monthly affair put on by the band where they invite other people they’ve worked with onto the bill to share them with their audience. This month saw Cordelia Gartside (who’s also recently been produced by Tim Bidwell), Rob Vincent and Conrad Vingoe play with House of Hats.

Cordelia Gartside

I only caught the end of Cordelia’s set, but for someone so young I was impressed at how she held the room enthralled. Sometimes the simplest of setups – just a voice and guitar – can create wonderful things. Next up was Rob Vincent, who was very good, and had a fantastic voice, but isn’t from Brighton, so I’ll move on.

Conrad Vingoe

Conrad Vingoe was next onstage, fresh from playing at the Levellers’ Beautiful Days festival thanks to winning a set through an Acoustic Magazine organised contest. Conrad was playing with a slightly reduced band, since his regular mandolin player was playing with Emily Baker in Shoreham, and was just accompanied by double bass, as well as his own guitar and harmonica playing. It was easy to see that Conrad had the skills to win the set – as well as a quality performance, he was charismatic and friendly between songs too. He’s got an EP out soon, which I’m sure we’ll tell you more about nearer the time.

House of Hats

At the end of the night House of Hats came on, and played a relatively short set for headliners – I guess that’s that’s the price of having four bands on the bill. The band played a number of songs from their debut House of Hats EP, their upcoming Rivers Will Run release and even threw in a Dylan cover. Lead vocals were passed between guitarist Alex and multi-instrumentalist Noddy, and the close harmonies from the whole band sounded very slick indeed. It’s great to see a band who are working so hard and seem to be on track for big things also remembering the people they have worked with along the way.

Cate Ferris

Sunday night we were just around the corner, where Cate Ferris was playing at The Neptune’s regular music night. Cate was last invited to play at the Neptune back in March, and they enjoyed her performance so much that this time they gave her the whole evening to perform in, which she broke up into two forty-five minute sets. Most of this was filled with her newer material which starts off simply but builds up subtly with harmonic vocal loops and sampled drum or keyboard lines complimenting her acoustic guitar. It wasn’t all new tracks though – Cate also dug out old favourites Still Green and Bonnie & Clyde. The gig also marked the first outing of Cate’s new EP – “Deep Breath, Ready, Get Set, Go” is a new four track which isn’t officially out until next Monday, but was available on the night. After a marathon set, the crowd demanded more, so Cate improvised on the spot, building a song just made from harmonies layered over one another and looped – a raw exhilarating end to a fantastic performance.


The Muel at The Brunswick

There’s all kinds of difficulties when it comes to writing reviews of live gigs. There’s turning up late and missing support bands. There’s getting a bit drunk and not remembering the gig too well. There’s turning up to a gig you thought you’d be able to get into and finding it was sold out, which is what almost happened at last night’s gig. Thankfully it just turned out that everyone inside the side room in The Brunswick was standing inside the doorway, holding up the queue outside. Once inside though I was faced with a rather unique problem – the support band didn’t actually have a name! So I could tell you that they were a bit ska crossed with German Oom-pah band, and that while they were obviously all tremendous musicians they weren’t especially to my taste but the crowd loved them – what do I know, eh? – but that won’t be that helpful of you want to go and find out more about them, would it? Thankfully, there did leave us with one big clue – they were the band who until recently were Twelve Stone Toddler. I’m not sure quite how and why they aren’t any more, and never saw them in their previous incarnation, but there you are.

Headlining were The Muel, whose album “All Kinds of Love” came out in spring of last year. Since then, they’ve been touring hard. Most recently Sam Walker (who writes all the songs, and whose full first name is where the band name comes from) has been out in Australia playing a string of acoustic shows. It’s very difficult to describe The Muel’s music – it’s a kind of psychedelic rock, centred around Sam, who sings, plays guitar, oh and plays drums from the centre of the stage too. As with the music defying definition, so the supporting cast are very talented and versatile – each of the other band members take on vocal duties at various points in the gig – and guitar player Jim Mortimore (who’s also been playing bass for The Woo!Worths and double bass for The Moulettes recently) also took on steel drum duties. The majority of the set was new songs yet to be recorded and released, that have the same energy as the older stuff, but do a much better job of showcasing the rest of the band and their talents – I was particularly impressed by some of the guitar and piano solos that we were treated to. If you missed the gig, you can catch them again in London at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell next monday, and at the Landsdown Arms in Lewes on 11th Feb.

The Muel