Sea Monsters Day Three – One Inch Badge vs Love Thy Neighbour

After yesterday’s snow debacle, I had no trouble getting to the Prince Albert for tonight’s One Inch Badge vs Love Thy Neighbour Sea Monsters night. It was the night I’ve been most looking to based on the bands who were playing, but that’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to the other nights to introduce me to new bands.

First up was Jacko Hooper, a singer songwriter type, one man and his guitar. He had a great voice and at times, his guitar playing was stunning. His blurb cited Jeff Buckley as an influence but I was hearing more Jose Gonzales – a great voice with nice acoustic flourishes. My only concern was the his hoody was worn in the same way as Rylan from X-factor.

Jacko Hooper

Jacko Hooper

The second band on the bill were Plasticine. When they were setting up, I saw four boys in skinny jeans preparing their instruments, which is a bit of a pet hate of mine. Thankfully Plasticine were much better than my first impressions, and were very enjoyable to watch. However, their mini-biog says that they are carrying the Britpop baton, but my memories of Britpop have more singalong choruses.

Plasticine

Plasticine

Holy Vessels were up next and played a great set of breezy country-folk, which drew heavily from last year’s Last Orders at the Marshall Arms album. It was their bassist’s last gig with the band, and a big chunk of the audience had come specifically to see Holy Vessels (including a number of people who stood right at the front and spent most of the gig taking photos on tablet phones). In a parallel universe, there’s a twin sibling of Holy Vessels where the lead singer hams up the “holy” part of their name and dresses as a gospel preacher and exalts the audience to join them in their journey. In our universe however, the lead singer keeps his eyes closed while singing and is more than polite between songs.

Holy Vessels

Holy Vessels

The big draw tonight was Abi Wade, who’s come a long way since we first saw her playing the acoustic slot at a Source New Music Night back in 2011. Easily the most obvious choice for the headline slot (despite her modesty), Abi engaged with the audience, who were awestruck by her talent, not just in her original cello-as-percussion-and-instrument setup, but also in her new set ups, introducing samples and programmed drums into the mix, or switching to piano. I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again, Abi Wade really is one of the most engaging performers Brighton has, and you really should go and see her live.

Abi Wade

Abi Wade

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Sea Monsters preview interview with James Kendall of The Source

Last year’s Sea Monsters wasn’t curated by outsiders, but this year’s is. How did you come to be hosting an evening?

We have a really good relationship with One Inch Badge. They’re big supporters of the magazine through their advertising and we find it very easy to write about the gigs they put on as not only are there so many to choose from, they’re also very interesting up-and-coming bands. But I guess they asked us because we’re the only magazine that exclusively writes about the Brighton music scene.

Current Source cover stars Kins are second on the bill. Are headliners Written in Waters set for big things in 2013?

Essentially they could be absolutely huge or drive everyone mad. They’re not for everyone – it’s a very strange mix of styles, they’re kinda goth soul meets Pink Floyd – but the people that like them really love them. Kins are much easier to get you head around – they’re really powerful on stage but also very melodic. But I don’t think many bands would find it easy to follow Written In Waters – they’re so dramatic. Come and make up your mind. You really have to see them.

Who are SOURCE’s tips from the bands playing across the other nights?

I guess that you might be able to tell by the people who have been in the magazine, especially those that have been on the cover. Country rock band Holy Vessels recorded our song of 2012 and they’re every bit as good live as on record. Abi Wade plays the cello like no one you’ve ever seen – totally original – while AKDK and Physics House Band are both intense and intelligent bursts of noise, the former electronic and the latter jazzy. Other that that I’m most looking forward to seeing hip hop outfit Rum Committee for the first time.

If you could have got any Brighton band, past or present, to play your night who would you have chosen?

Tough question – I’d very much like to see one more gig by Gloria Cycles, so they would be on the bill. Nick Cave, obviously. I saw Grinderman at the King Alfred Centre so know how powerful he can be when he’s right in front of your face. And I guess I’d like to see The Maccabees play all the early songs they won’t play any more – in a room full of over excited teenagers, like their infamous gig at the Concorde. Finally I’d like to see Bat For Lashes’ first live incarnation – the all girl band – again. She was a delight in those early days. And still is, of course. That’s not a bad line up in anyone’s books.

Sea Monsters seems to have replaced Brighton Live as the local music festival. Why do you think that is?

I think the problem with Brighton Live – which was a brilliant idea – is that by the end it only attracted bands who weren’t already getting lots of gigs elsewhere. I was part of the board for a while and I pushed for more curated nights, something we did at Sticky Mike’s over three days as a SOURCE-branded event. I don’t want to say the rest of it was full of BIMM bands but… it was full of BIMM bands. That’s not so bad bit it isn’t representative of the Brighton scene as a whole. Brighton Live needed to tempt bands to be involved that were way too big to play for free because it was good for the community. But that never really happened. Sea Monsters works better, I think, because the bands are asked to play and already it’s seen as a badge of honour to be chosen. Because it sells out all the bands get paid, which is good. It’s a shame Brighton Live fell from its former glory because there were a lot of good people involved with very good intentions.

Weekend Gig Picks

So, we’ve got a veritable bonanza of weekend gigs for you this week. Last week I was musing that maybe things that might get a bit quieter in the run up to Christmas – how wrong I was.

Holy VesselsLet’s start this with Thursday – it is the start of the weekend after all. We’ll be heading down to the Concorde 2 to see Saint Etienne (with support from Scritti Politti – what a line up, eh?). Also on thursday night there’s Mr B‘s Chap Hop Christmas Ball at the Prince Albert. Holy Vessels play their album launch at the Blind Tiger, with support from Soccer96, Autumn Red, The Common Tongues and Songs For Walter. Last Orders at the Marshall Arms is out now and available from iTunes. Paul Diello plays his annual Christmas party at  the Brunswick, and Alice Amelia plays the Constant Service.

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Noise NightOn Friday British Sea Power return with a special Christmas Krankenhaus at The Haunt. Our friends over at Brighton Noise are putting on their second night at the Green Door Store. They were turning people away from first one, so get their early to see Traams, Bitches and the fantastic Negative Pegasus. Transformer are launching their single Dragonfly at the Blind Tiger. Check out the Facebook event for more details and a look at the video. The last gig on our radar on friday is at the Coach House in Kemptown (not the pub on Middle Street), where Crayola Lectern headlines a “veritable melange of auditory delights”.

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binge2posterOn Saturday The Impellers hold their Office Christmas Party at The Brunswick, which is cheap to get into if you’ve got a ticket for Craig Charles later that night. If you’d like to start things a bit earlier on in the day, Beatabet kick things off at 1pm. They’ve got twelve bands playing at their Betabet BingeP for Persia, Spacenoid, Napoleon III, Colectress, Speak Galactic, Laboratoro, Old Man Diode, Scalar Fields, Duot, Operator, Temple Decade and Burnt Toast. Phew!

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art noiseIf you’ve still got any energy left come Sunday, then our top pick is Cate Ferris at The Neptune. There’s also an art event at the Blind Tiger called Wonderland, where Amongst The Pigeons, Them The Sky, Tiny Dragons, and the Elevators and Ribbon play in the evening. In yet another night in town with an above average number of bands on the bill, there’s also Club Criminal at Sticky Mike’s, starting from 5pm, with Trip to Dover, The Flip Flays, The Kut, Thieves by the Code, The Trophy Hearts, Childbrain and King Mews.

Over The Moon Festival

This weekend (14-16 September) is the Over The Moon Festival, which is the new name for the Out of the Ordinary Festival, which is probably the nearest weekend festival to Brighton these days. There are LOADS of Brighton based bands playing, so we can’t not mention them, even if we can’t make it along. Over the course of the weekend, Los Albertos are playing one of their last ever dates. They played their last Brighton date last Friday at the Blind Tiger, so this will be one of the very last chances to see them ever. Former Source cover stars Holy Vessels are also playing, as well as Buffo’s Wake, Carnival Collective, The Dirty Devine, Dr Bluegrass & the Illbilly 8, Elijah MC, Forestears, Gyratory Allstars, Jerkin the Rat, Ratbag, Roots Garden, The Black Fields, Time for T, Too Quirky for Me, Transformer, The Triple Chicken Combo and Wide Eyed Order. Other bands from outside of Brighton may also be on the bill.

There’s more information about the festival at www.overthemoonfestival.com/

April Juice FM New Music Night at The Haunt

Another month, another Juice FM night at The Haunt, and another three Brighton bands who are all completely new to me. Where do they find them all? I guess it’s probably the endless demos they get sent because they’re the local radio station. But they certainly do a good job of picking great bands for their regular nights.

First up were Tigercub, who distracted me with double denim and a haircut last seen spotted on Dave Hill from Slade in the 1970s. A late start meant that their set of rock stompers was over far too soon.

Tigercub

Having thought after the first band that the night would be a rock night, Holy Vessels mixed things up by kicking off their set with a song with a very predominant banjo. It was their only track that used banjo, but it was a strong statement of intent for their half an hour on stage, which mixed up country, rock and Americana and was a far more melodic affair.

Holy Vessels

Once upon a time, post-rock was noisy and angular, but then Sigur Ros came along and made it all a bit twee. thedealwasforthediamond hark back to the way it was, sounding like Mogwai at their loudest, or Rothko with the bass leading proceedings. thedealwasforthediamond turned things up to eleven, and quite literally blew the audience away. I was quite glad I had ear plugs in my bag!

thedealwasforthediamond