It’s nearly that time again. Next weekend, the Great Escape rolls into town again, turning everywhere that you could fit a stage, and a lot of places where you can’t imagine a stage normally, into venues for a few days. We’re not going to go through the whole line up – first of all there are literally hundreds of bands playing, but also most of them aren’t from Brighton. Also, a lot of the good local stuff happens as part of the Alt Escape. What we’ve done instead is compiled a list of what we think is every Brighton band who are playing as part of the main festival, and asked a few of our favourite bands for their recommendations for the weekend. We’ve also got a list of what we believe is all the facebook events set up for Alt Escape gigs, which will provide you with a lot more information than you’ll get from anywhere else. Continue reading
After posting our 2017 reflections in our top 25 over the past few weeks the time has come to look forward again. Here’s our January 2018 gig preview post.
First up is a band who were in the top five of our end of year list. Fresh from supporting Fujiya & Miyagi on their UK tour in December, grasshopper are headlining their own gig at the Green Door Store on 3rd January, supported by Red Deer People and Olm. Continue reading
Here’s this week’s new music post, two weeks after our last one – we were out of the country last week though, so we’re playing catchup a bit now. Our first tune this week is from Brighton supergroup Alien Stadium, made up of Steve Mason and Primal Scream‘s Martin Duffy. Their first release is a track called This One’s for the Humans, a lolloping almost-baggy almost-bluesy number which is taken from a mini LP called Livin’ in Elizabethan Times which gets released on 1st December. Have a dig around for the version that’s up on Spotify which clocks in over six minutes long and gets a much more psychedelic groove on.
You’ll have read our interview with Ali Tollervey last weekend and know we like this band, so it’s no surprise we were at the Hope for Dark Horses‘ stellar show to promote Ali’s exhibition and their new album ‘Hail Lucid State’.
For those not in the know, Dark Horses produce gritty sexy rock music, somewhere in-between kraut rock and gothic new wave, with lead singer Lisa Elle giving out vibes of Patti Smith and Jim Morrison. Sunday night was special, with the band on top form playing a bundle of songs from their two albums, kicking off with the latest single Saturn Returns and ending with a dark moody cover of the Doors’ Hello, I love you, in amongst an array of visuals and light effects.
Brighton Music Blog took a double pack of camera folk to capture the spirit. If you head to the Hope, downstairs you can see Ali Tollervey’s photography of the band, but for now you have these.
Here at Brighton Music Blog we love a festival. The festival we’re writing about today though isn’t actually a music festival but a photography festival. Throughout October Brighton Photo Biennial and Brighton Photo Fringe have events all over town. The event within the festival we’re writing about is music related however – One of the exhibitions that forms part of Brighton Photo Fringe is being held at the Hope and showcases the collaborative photography between Dark Horses and Ali Tollervey, who works so closely with the band that he’s considered a member. Tonight there’s the private view for the exhibition and a Dark Horses gig too, so we sent over a few questions to find out a bit more about his work with the band:
Brighton Music Blog : How did you end up being Dark Horses photographer?
Ali Tollervey : I was already friends with Lisa & had photographed her performing before the band that Dark Horses would become had taken shape. I was actually staying at Lisa’s house for a brief period around the time that Dark Horses were evolving, they were recently back from early recording sessions at the Key Club Studios in Michigan with Richard Fearless. New members were joining. Lisa had played me the recordings from the states, I was excited by the project & believed in the music. It seemed very natural to work together & developed organically. After hearing a demo Kasabian offered them tour support. Things all moved very quickly, within a few short weeks we were on stage at Brixton & Wembley.
BMB : Were you considered a member from the beginning?
TV : Again it’s something that evolved .There was always the idea of collaboration, a collective approach, trying to create an energy, something more than just music. There was visual feedback as counterpoint to the sound..they fed into each other..As I was on board from the start we grew together. It was immersive. I was pretty much at every show / tour for the first couple years. We were a family or better a gang. It felt like we were all working together, my role just happened to be visual. It’s more usual for photographers to be outsiders, quickly meeting a band for a press shot or maybe joining them for part of a tour`. This was different, we’d be lugging equipment together, on stage together, if necessary sharing beds together.. Aside from the photography I was involved with other areas relating to the band.
TV : It was a late evening group shot at Lisa’s home which became our ‘clubhouse’. They were taken in front of a back wall which happens to be adorned with a giant floor to ceiling black & white print by Irving Penn of the Hell’s Angels – a group portrait in itself. So there were twice the sets of eyes staring back at me. (On a side note we realised afterwards that every male member of the Hell’s Angels in the Penn backdrop bore a striking resemblance to our guitarist Bobby Waterson, the only band member unable to make the shoot)
BMB : When you’re shooting Dark Horses, how much input do they have and how much is about your vision for the band?
TV : Everybody involved with Dark Horses has their own vision they bring but together it works.. Though it’s a collaboration, we all trust each others individual strengths & input. There’s a dialogue but we have our own areas we work in. So I have freedom… Pierre Angélique the filmmaker behind the videos has played a very significant role also.
BMB : Your work with the band covers reportage shots, promo shoots and live shots, have you got any favourite local locations or venues to shoot them?
TV : I’d say it’s the reportage I enjoy the most… I don’t have favourite locations & don’t tend to shoot that much locally… Anywhere can be good.. There was a particularly hot & atmospheric derelict building we used as a rehearsal space in Malta with an abandoned wedding dress floating in a heavy old wardrobe.. a beautiful forest we explored in Switzerland.. We did a show with Sigur Ros in an 8000 seater outdoor amphitheatre in Perth which was an incredible setting, particularly memorable for me as I’d broken my toes earlier that day so fighting my way through the crowd from the stage at the bottom of the valley to the very top for a wide shot was pretty scary. The best however shots could equally come from a Holiday Inn car park.
BMB : You’ve traveled quite a bit with Dark Horses, occasionally taking an exhibition of your photos with you. Are there any tales you can share, or does what happen on tour stay on tour?
TV : It does to an extent stay on tour. it’s an amazing thing to do but mostly not that glamorous. Some of the best after parties happen in the back of the van.The best part is the time spent together, experiences shared & the people you meet along the way. In Malta (with Kinemastik & Bare Bones) we took over an entire subway underpass as an exhibition space, pasting giant prints directly to the walls, we had a launch party down there too with a bar & music. Rather than being taken down afterwards the prints stayed up long after we’d left slowly disintegrating over time. We’ve spent quite a bit of time with the Dandy Warhol’s & that’s always good. We played an impromptu game of Boule with Pete Doherty in a field in France once. I can’t remember who won.
BMB : Is your music photography just limited to Dark Horses, or have you shot other bands?
TV : I’m not solely a music photographer but I’ve always been involved with music in one way or another, I ran a record shop, promoted shows for several years, worked on music videos etc so I have photographed many bands in different contexts.. My first proper official live show where I had a photo pass was Bjork, I had a very basic old film camera & all the old pros in the photo pit must have thought I was a joke. My first real portrait session was with David Axelrod, I got to spend an hour with him which was amazing. Like a lot photographers I used to document the scenes going on around me. I realise I don’t go to so many gigs with my camera anymore though, I think I just want to enjoy the show.
BMB : Finally, will you be shooting the band at their gig on 12th October?
TV : I haven’t decided yet, it will be hard not to but they’ve worked out an amazing set for this one off show so I may wish to simply be a spectator.
Horse Latitudes, an exhibition of Ali Tollervey’s photos of Dark Horses is on at The Hope now and runs until the 2nd November, with Dark Horses playing live tonight.
1) There’s one standout winner in August’s top ten. They’ve just released the best selling Rock Debut in since Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and had the first number one album for a Brighton band since, erm, Conor Maynard. This is Figure It Out by Royal Blood
2) David Harks latest offering Open Arms has been getting a lot of plays around these parts, keeping the summer alive when the sun deserted us for most of August:
3) We first wrote about Believe in Nothing by The New Union back at the beginning of July, but it didn’t get released until 4th August. The band will be back on the Brighton stage on 16th September supporting Coasts at the Komedia.
4) Hushabye was originally the b-side to Jennifer Left‘s 2012 single Black Dog. This month the album of the same name got released:
5) The Night is the double a-side to to Twin, which is Oslo Park‘s debut single which came out on 25th August:
6) Curxes new single Valkyrie was also out this month, continuing their track record of packing a great tune into a full on aural assault:
7) The Wytches album Annabel Dream Weaver was also one of this months highlights, and it was preceded by the single Burn Out The Bruise
8) We’ve been enjoying the fragile folk of Lutine‘s single Sallow Tree. Noted music have just added up another track from the band’s forthcoming album to their website today.
9) Dark Horses made a return this month with Hail Lucid State, their second album produced by Richard Fearless. Saturn Returns was the single, not to be confused with Goldie’s 1998 album
10) Duly Noted Record’s Black Honey remain just as elusive for the release of their second single Teenager, with no information about the band forthcoming other than a phone number to contact them on…
In all my years of writing the blog, I’m not sure there’s been a week like this. There’s been some local acts who have done extremely well – Rizzle Kicks and Conor Maynard have cornered the teen market, but they’re not so likely to be seen down at the Green Door Store or Sticky Mike’s – but this week should see the first number one album by a Brighton band for many a year. Massive congratulations to Royal Blood.
Royal Blood by Royal Blood has had some fantastic reviews with NME giving it eight out of ten (and describing the band as “easily the biggest breakout band at Reading” this year) and Drowned in Sound giving it nine out of ten, and sales of the album have followed with the midweek figures showing it outselling the next most popular by two to one.
As our headline suggests, Royal Blood aren’t the only band with an album out this week. Annabel Dream Weaver by The Wytches was released by Heavenly Records, and also garnered an eight out of ten from NME. The band played three sets across London and Brighton on release day on Monday and then played an instore at Resident on Thursday.
If people aren’t making as much noise about the new album from Dark Horses it’s probably down to marketing budgets, although that hasn’t stopped it getting a nine out of ten review from the Von Pip Musical Express. The band’s second album Hail Lucid State has been produced by Death in Vegas’ Richard Fearless (who also produced their debut Black Music) and is also out this week, on Last Gang Records.