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.
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
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!
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.
Tonight 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.
On 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.
It was a good night for Brighton Bands last night. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster made their live return at the Concorde in the biggest local gig in town, but we were showing our support for Nordic Giants and Curxes at the Green Door Store.
You wait all year for a Curxes gig, and then two come along in less than a fortnight. While they stole the show at the Source New Music Oxjam night, the Green Door felt much more suitable for them, with it’s exposed brickwork and stark decor. And while it probably wasn’t any louder than the Dome Studio Theatre, it felt a lot louder and less refined. The much lower stage gave Roberta the opportunity to get in amongst the crowd to try and get them dancing – Sadly they weren’t having any of it – It was a rainy Tuesday night, don’t you know! The crowd were wrong though – Curxes industrial electro pop should have got everyone in the room moving.
The other support was a London act Jake Emlyn, which means I don’t have to write about them. I wasn’t so sure about them to be honest – in some respects androgyny has been a key aspect of pop over the years, from David Bowie through to Suede, but where they had an air of mystery about them, Jake Emlyn just had confusion. And two odd shoes isn’t a good look on anyone.
Most of the crowd last night were there for Nordic Giants, playing we think might have been their longest set in Brighton this year. We haven’t seen too much of them round these parts in 2012, and their sets at Great Escape and more recently Sound Screen were shortened at the expense of a wider bill. With more time, Nordic Giants are bigger, better, and more expansive than ever before. They got to play their full repertoire. Let’s not forget that as established as they feel when you go to see them, they’ve only released one EP and one single, and both of those were based around the fantastic Shine featuring Cate Ferris. Despite only being a duo, the Green Door Store stage almost felt too small for them. Nordic Giants are epic, and have the staging, the lighting and the music just right for a stage that’s bigger than the one under the arches near the station.
The Next Danger De Mort is on November 20th at Green Door Store, and features Death Rattle, Dark Bells, My New Favourite Tribe and Heliopause.