Little Way Festival, 27th Feb 2016

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The Little Way festival is an innovation of a team led by Philippe Nash and Harvey Herman, aiming to create a new simple music festival with a homely local community vibe. And over the course of an 11 hour day … Continue reading

Friday 12th June

Two excellent things on for local music fans this Friday.

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Hidden Trail Records are launching their charity compilation ‘Hidden Brighton #2′ on Friday 12th June at the Latest Bar in Manchester Street, featuring some exciting live music from three blog favourites: the rockin’ Black Rooster Black Shag and two superb electro-pop acts Curxes and Becky Becky, both of whom have released very well-received albums this year. Doors at 7:30pm. Entry is £8 on the door.

The album is the Hidden Trail label’s second compilation and features an excellent array of local acts: Curxes, Black Rooster Black Shag, Becky Becky, The Delta Bell, Matthew the Oxx, Clowwns, Cate Ferris, O. Chapman, Momotaro, Grasshopper, Elin Ivarsson, Garden Heart, Jetglo and Alex KP. If this is anything like their first compilation it is going to be really lovely.

The launch and album are raising money for an excellent local charity, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, a day centre providing support to young insecurely-housed or homeless people in Brighton and Hove. All profits from the gig and album release go to the charity.

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If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a wonderful celebration of folk-based music at The One Church, featuring poetic songstress Kristin McClement whose new album The Wild Grips has been getting excellent reviews, along with experimental music from Astra Forward, beautiful alt-folk from Philippe Nash and Hilary Repko‘s heartfelt vocals.

It should make for a beautiful evening of gentle music in a charming venue in Gloucester Place, just a few doors along from the North Laine Brewery Pub. Doors open at 7:30pm, entrance by donation.

The Knights Project, Kristin McClement and Dom Prag and the Pillow Biters at Coachwerks

Coachwerks is a former motor garage in the backs of Hollingbury which also acts as an occasional community hub and very rare live venue. It has started brewing its own beer on-site too in a rather special micro-brewery and last night I can vouch for the tastiness of the Old Bastard bitter, which is also available at a good price.

Last night the garage was packed for a live music show, featuring the Knights Project, Kristin McClement and Dom Prag and the Pillow Biters.

Dom Prag and the Pillow Biters

 

First up was Dom Prag who plays some inventive new wave songs, which his bassist tried to convince were a record of the lead singer’s sex life. The most memorable was an excellent song called ‘Unemployment’,

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

There was a slight pause before the second act which gave us good time to sample the home brew. Kristin McClement was en route direct from a support slot that evening for Sam Lee at the Brighton Corn Exchange, so it was quite a switch to come to the tiny Coachwerks on the same night. However, we were privileged to have her and she and drummer Jools performed an intense set of her melancholic poetic folk songs. We’ve written about Kristin before, but if you haven’t heard her new album ‘The Wild Grips’ yet we highly recommend that you do.

The Knights Project

The Knights Project

The Knights Project

The Knights Project

Last up were the Knights Project, a folk super group comprising the Pillow Biters from earlier plus assorted others, and led by Lucy Day. Theirs is a joyful sound of guitars and violins and accordion, which provided an enjoyable way to close the evening.

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Photographs by Jon Southcoasting

Kristin McClement launches ‘the Wild Grips’

Kristin McClement launched her new album ‘The Wild Grips‘ on Saturday night in Brighton at the One Church on Gloucester Parade, the latest in a long line of incredible music from the Willkommen Records stable.

Support act Benjamin Benedict, a solo Ben Rubinsteain – lead singer with Mariner’s Children, had a bit of a cold which made his reverbed vocals sound a lot like one of those early 60s English pop singers favoured so much by the likes of Joe Meek.  That was no bad thing. Supporting Willy Mason also seemed to rub off on Ben. He started off a bit snuffly and hesitant, but showed the strength of his songwriting and singing in the last three songs.

Benjamin Benedict

Benjamin Benedict

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But this was really all about Kristin McClement, whose album ‘The Wild Grips‘ has been a long long time coming. Song ‘Planks’ was a highlight of the first Willkommen Collective compilation way back in 2009, but little McClement music had emerged since then, despite her regularly venturing forth to play live in a variety of formations, lately most commonly as a two-piece with drummer and backing vocalist Julian Owens. Now her long-awaited debut is out in the world, recorded with Christian Hardy of the Leisure Society who featured on keyboards here in an expanded live band.

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McClement’s set began with her solo, playing the beautiful mournful ‘Mouthful of Shells’, then she was joined by drummer Owens for ‘Planks’, another stunning song. This is the mainstay of her live performances in normal times, but for the remainder of the set her stage support grew to feature Christian Hardy, three quarters of Eyes and No Eyes as well as multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill and the aforementioned Owens, allowing the rich sounds of the album to be re-created live.

The ‘The Wild Grips’ is an extraordinary collection of mournful yet beautifully crafted and poetic songs, with McClement’s deep resonant voice dominant throughout. Songs like ‘Hoax of a Man’ and the aforementioned ‘Mouthful of Shells’ are particular favourites, but the whole work is genuinely quite special. There’s the lost princess spirit of the alt-folk heroine Sibylle Baier in the intimate cool of the songs, but enriched with the talents of the Willkommen collective the musical depth of the playing comes into finer focus. Julian Owen’s percussion and backing vocals are particularly noteworthy, as was the playing of the gritty soulful celloist Becca Mears.

The main set ended with the Drink Waltz {‘Drink with me’) in which the audience were asked to join in the poignant chorus, not easy given the awkward flow of the words but achieved with aplomb. Then the band returned for an encore of the album’s title-track , a deeply elegant and personal song. Perhaps not an obviously uplifting way to end a show, with its dark lyric, but the band lifted the gloom and filled the large Baptist church hall leaving the audience mesmerised and happy.

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the opening track ‘Blackfin Gulls’ below

https://soundcloud.com/kristin-mcclement/blackfin-gulls

The album ‘The Wild Grips’ can be ordered via bandcamp at  https://kristinmcclement.bandcamp.com/