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.


Gigs we’ve spotted

Right now, with the evenings going sub-zero it might not seem too appealing to get off the sofa and into town for some live music. We’ve seen a few upcoming gigs which will hopefully change your mind though, starting off with a couple from newly refurbished venues:

10931282_934707609896845_3118508573256408749_nYou might have noticed that right now The Hope is covered with scaffolding and has been closed for a few weeks. on 12th February it reopens as The Hope & Ruin, And Riots Not Diets are hosting their opening party, with Shopping, The Soft Walls and Keel Her setting the bar for what’s to come.

Another venue which has just had a facelift is The Martha Gunn on Upper Lewes Road. Not traditionally known for gigs, it seems that’s to change in their newly reincarnated form. This Saturday (7th February), Becky Becky headline, supported by a stripped down Fiction Aisle, for a free gig put on by the Flash Bang Band affiliated F=KX.

10945724_10155148307895534_4596353916626696870_oFiction Aisle are also support for The Academy of The Sun‘s gig at The Old Market on 19th February. Nick Hudson’s most ambitious project to date have played a few low key gigs so far, but Nick has a history of turning his bigger gigs into events not to be missed.

Fiction Aisle aren’t on the bill for the welcome return of The Bleeding Hearts Club, but it’s surely only a matter of time since Bleeding Hearts put out Tom White’s solo Yalla album. The Bleeding Hearts Club has left it’s old home of the Prince Albert and has relocated to a new home at The Rialto Theatre on Dyke Road, with Gary Goodman, The Hornblower Brothers, Tandy Hard and Mudlow playing on 16th February. After this month, they’ll be back every second monday of the month for the rest of the year.

Another regular night which is making a return soon is The Harvest Sessions, which are restarting on 4th March at The Komedia, coming back with a bang with Luke Sital-Singh, Jacko Hooper and The Standard Lamps.

The following night Della Lupa launches her new single Storm of Swallows at One Church. Not content with just playing a gig, the evening also comprises an art exhibition by Beth Steddon who provided the artwork for the single, a dance performance from the dancers who choreographed the video, and support from Ellie Ford, Summa, and Kwil.

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.

Gigs of the week

Somehow we’ve lapsed back to posting about our Gigs of the Week on Wednesday, but it’s a quiet week this week with not too many gigs to tell you all about. Next week is looking busier, and I promise a bumper post much earlier in the week.


The most interesting gig we’ve seen isn’t wholly a gig – it’s half gig, half film. To celebrate the launch of the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, Dukes @ Komedia are holding a special event on Friday night, showing the film then hosting a folk gig in the Komedia studio bar downstairs featuring Cate Ferris, StevieRay Latham, James Riley and Lewis Todhunter. Also on Friday night, Oh Captain are hosting their video launch at the Green Door Store.

Moving onto Saturday night, Dirty Weekend in Brighton are launching their new single at Latest Music Bar, and Neon Saints Brass Band are playing at the Gladstone.

Weekend Gig Picks

Just a very quick round up of this weekend’s gigs for you all, since we’re off out to see some live music tonight ourselves.


On Friday night Audio celebrate their ninth birthday. That makes us feel very old indeed. There’s a big club night take place after 10pm, but a gig with local bands before then starting from seven, put on by our friends at Les Enfants Terribles, with Curxes, King Dinosaur and Alphabets Heaven playing. We also spotted that this week’s Brighton Rocks at Sticky Mikes with Alice Amelia, Faux Flux and Lu’Ami.


Saturday sees Brighton Music Blog favourites Bent Cousin are headlining at Prince Albert, which should be good. Elsewhere, Mok and Tiny Dragons play The Haunt, and Crayola Lectern is supporting William Drake at the Komedia.

Our recommendation for Sunday night is Flash Bang Band’s album launch at the Green Door Store. Support comes from P for Persia and Clowns – there’s three great bands to see for free. We’ll have an interview with Andy from Flash Bang Band going up very soon, so look out for that.

Melting Vinyl present Roller Trio supported by Physics House Band at Komedia Studio Bar

When I was reading an obituary of jazz legend Dave Brubeck last week, it noted that one of the reasons for his popularity in the 1960s was that he toured college campuses and made sure he reached out to a younger audience. So it was good to see a younger audience in the Komedia for last night’s gig. Sure there was a section of the audience who weren’t so young, dressed in black and looking like they wanted to be smoking gitanes, but on the whole it was a crowd of people who weren’t living out the cliché of the Fast Show Jazz Club.

Physics House Band

Physics House Band

One of the reasons was support band (who were who we’d come to see). Physics House Band have already scored themselves a Brighton Source Cover, and are headlining a night at Sea Monsters next month. They’ve been working incredibly hard this year, playing regular gigs (including a slot at Lewes Psychedelic Festival), building their fanbase and writing new songs (some of which were played last night). As their confidence and abilities have grown, they’ve transformed from three guys furiously concentrating on their instruments to a band who are more comfortable onstage and who interact with their audience a bit more. Jazz-prog-math-rock fans have never had it so good.

Roller Trio

Roller Trio

Another reason for the younger audience was probably Roller Trio’s Mercury Music Prize nomination. Following the awards ceremony, sales of their album went up by a mammoth 618% according to the Guardian (compared to a rise of 7-9% for our local nominees The Maccabees). It might have been easy to dismiss the band as this year’s token Jazz entry, but Roller Trio were a joy to behold and it was easy to see on the basis of last night’s show, that the nomination wasn’t a token entry at all. Their individual performances were impressive, but more impressive was the way that they all melded together. It wasn’t all just about technical ability though – musically the evening was a triumph too. At two ends of the spectrum, jazz can either end up as coffee table music or as avant garde unlistenable noise. Roller Trio skilfully avoided these two extremes but played a set which at times challenged though never pushed things too far.

Moulettes and Arthur Brown at Komedia

There’s not enough hours in the day. If there were, we’d be getting around to a lot more gigs. As it is, we’ve already missed the Slytones, and Moulettes have already kicked off by the time we arrive. Since we last saw them back in April, the band are leaner, but stronger. Slimmed down to a mere five members – those who’ve followed them over the years will know that’s quite a low number – the band still manage to sound bigger than ever. The band are more professional too – gone are the minutes lost to fits of giggles inbetween songs. Their set is mainly drawn from this year’s Bears Revenge album, losing some songs which have been staples for a long time, but instead showcasing the talents of the whole band as their newer songs do. One of the great joys of going to see Moulettes play live is the musicianship, which you can only truly appreciate by seeing the band in the flesh. My high point is Assault – a musical battle between violin and cello which is quite frankly breathtaking.


Most of the crowd are here for Arthur Brown though. Arthur’s a Lewesian these days, and that would be just about enough to slip into our remit if we were being generous, but there’s more reasons than that to write about him as well as Moulettes. I should imagine that most write ups of the gig will probably focus on the guitar and keyboard players, their sex (female), and their attire (hot pants and leather trousers respectively). Hearing them play, you would know that they were actually chosen for their command of their instruments. Instead, I’m going to focus on the bassist and the drummer. Drums and backing vocals are covered by Sam Walker, better known as front man of The Muel, who we haven’t written about nearly enough this year. Bassist (and musical director for the current live show) is Brightonian Jim Mortimore, who’s also in Moulettes, and in The Muel with Sam. What makes Jim’s role in the band especially interesting is that his dad Malcolm has also featured in Arthur Brown’s band over the years. It’s the youth and vitality of the backing band which elevate the show above so many bands on the heritage circuit – there’s no decades-old politics or history between the members, so they can just get on with playing fantastic music, covering some of the songs that Arthur’s famous for, including Death Grips, which he tells the audience has been attributed the credit of the birth of heavy metal despite the original recording didn’t feature any guitars, as well as a full hour of psychedelic garage rock. Arthur Brown is still pretty youthful too, for a seventy year old. He’s still got an amazing voice, and he’s still dancing around the stage, flanked by his band and by flamenco dancers which add to the visual element of the show. There’s no flaming helmet tonight, but that’s probably due to the low ceilings in the Komedia. We don’t want to see Dukes at Komedia burning down before it’s even opened do we?

Arthur Brown

Moulettes / Uca’s Dance

The Moulettes have a new single out soon! In a few weeks time, Uca’s Dance comes out, and it’s classic Moulettes – fiddles, close harmonies, and stomping rhythms. It also features the talents of one Ted Dwane

The band are having a launch for the single up in London on 24th November at The Tabernacle up in London. Book your tickets from Communion, and you could be in with a chance of winning the EP. Book 6 or more tickets, and you could be in with a chance of Moulettes playing a gig at your house. How amazing would that be?

If going all the way to London seems a bit of a trek, The Moulettes are playing at the Komedia on 21st November, supporting Arthur Brown.

There’s a whole load more information over on the Moulettes website.

Apples and Eve / Dionysus

Apples and Eve return with a new EP of gypsy folk out a week today. Dionysus is available to pre-order from the band’s website, and there’s a launch party at the Komedia next Wednesday (5th September), which hopefully we’ll be down at to report on. If you can’t wait a whole week, you can watch the video for Dionysus here, and listen to the EP below: