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.


Clowwns at the Hope & Ruin gallery

Last night Clowwns played at the Hope & Ruin (supported by Mum Dad and the Kids, but we got there a bit late for them because Clowwns played a two sets). The band, who disppeared off the scene for a few years are back for 2020, and played a mix of old and new songs, all as tight and angular as they ever were. Lighting was provided by the seemingly omnipresent Innerstrings (who’s also going to be hard at work next weekend running Lewes Psych Fest, alongside last night’s promoter Melting Vinyl). Click through the pics to view large: Continue reading

March Gig Previews

The beast from the east might be making it feel like deepest midwinter, but it’s actually the first day of March, so it’s time for some more another gig preview post. First up, this weekend AK/DK play their first Brighton gig since their album launch at the end of last year. It’s at Patterns on Saturday night, and support comes from Fruity Water.

Guru Hake

Then on Tuesday 6th March Guru and Hake launch their new release at the Green Door Store. The split 10″ contains Medicine Man by Guru and After Space Legacy by Hake and can be bought at the show. Continue reading

Coming up : Laish supporting Simone Felice / new Anneka single

Simone Felice e

On the 9th of April at the Komedia, Brighton’s Laish plays support as Melting Vinyl bring Simone Felice to town  as part of his current UK tour promoting his new album Strangers.

Simone is known for his unique folk music, and Laish should be the perfect complement to the main act. Tickets are on sale now for £12 + bf.


Also coming up is a new single from electronica act Anneka. So far, Big Bad Change is only out there as a live video on YouTube, but it’s getting a proper release later in the month, which we’ll give you more details about as we hear about them:

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

Pere Ubu played the Haunt

Pere Ubu kicked off their latest tour with a home town gig here in Brighton at the Haunt on Saturday. That’s a bit of an odd statement but it seems David Thomas left Cleveland for our little south coast town a while ago, and although he proceeded to disparage the soft southcoast underbelly from the stage he did it with a little twinkle in his eye.

Brighton Music Blog was there to watch him and the current line up of his influential band.

David Thomas (Pere Ubu)

Pere Ubu played a set heavily laden with tracks from their new album Lady From Shanghai interspersed with some classics, like Misery Goats and the Modern Dance (which had the audience singing along eventhough there were probably more people in the venue tonight than had originally bought the single that many years ago). Thomas seemed to be enjoying himself, dealing with pauses between songs by telling fantastical tales of an alternative universe where Pere Ubu were bigger than the Rolling Stones and Madonna was still chasing fame on a small indie club circuit.

Pere Ubu the band rocked, even when Thomas was reading lyrics, sitting down with a glass of wine or at one point pulling off his shoe to scratch an itch in his sock. Idiosyncratic and brilliant, the rhythm section of Steve Mehlman on drums and Michele Temple on bass were particularly stunning, and Robert Wheeler on various synthesisers and melotrons which at one point he seemed to be playing with a toy laser gun,

Photographs below are by Jon Southcoasting.

David Thomas reading to the front row at the Pere Ubu homecoming concert

Pere Ubu

David Thomas (Pere Ubu)

David Thomas (Pere Ubu)

Pere Ubu

David Thomas (Pere Ubu)

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.

Oui Love tour / Omega Male

Oui Love is a platform for French bands to get more exposure in the UK. What are we doing bringing them up on a blog all about bands from Brighton, I hear you ask? We’ll get to that later…

Yan Wagner

Oui Love started a few years ago, and as well as bringing bands to tour the UK, it’s also brought them over to festivals, becoming a regular feature at The Great Escape. Last night, with Melting Vinyl, four bands played under the Oui Love banner – three French and one linked to Brighton (see – I can write about the night here!).


I arrived as Yan Wagner was onstage, playing lush electro. The synths said New Order, but the vocals were more brooding. Next up, Jupiter took to the stage. The three piece had a great pop sensibility, with coquettish female vocals over songs which drew from the great French House tradition. Definitely ones to watch, for sure. Headliners Juveniles struggled for a while with some kind of short circuit which pulled the power on their equipment after a couple of bars, and the time taken to fix it ate into their set meaning they only got to play a few songs. What they did play was fantastic though. Loud exuberant live house, with clattering drums and rich bubbling synths. If only they could have played for longer.

Omega Male

That’s enough about French bands though. This is Brighton Music Blog after all. The reason we went along to the evening was to see the evening’s third act – Omega Male, who released their debut album last week. Half of Omega Male is David Best from Brighton’s Fujiya & Miyagi. When I found out that David Best was working with Omega Male and that Matt Hainsby was working on his own I Am Ampersand project, I feared that maybe we wouldn’t hear from Fujiya & Miyagi again, but seeing the rest of the band in the audience has put those ideas to rest. Omega Male’s live setup has Best on vocals and guitars, and Project Jenny Project Jan’s Sammy Rubin on keyboards and backing vocals. I sensed a certain nervousness – maybe it was because it’s one of the band’s first ever gigs, maybe it was the home crowd, or maybe it was because he didn’t have the safety of the band that he’s been playing with for over ten years – but there was no talking inbetween songs, and many were performed with eyes closed. The set followed a different arc from the album – where the record closes with the serene beauty of Buildings Like Symphonies, this was thrown in quite early into the set which built up to bigger, more up tempo songs later on, which made sense for what was predominantly an evening of dance music. Live, they don’t match up to Fujiya & Miyagi just yet, but I have no doubt they can achieve it in time – All they need is a bit more stage presence, and maybe a huge closing track they can jam out to, like Best’s other band have with Electro Karaoke.

The Oui Love winter tour heads to The Shacklewell Arms in London tonight, and then onto the Soup Kitchen in Manchester on Thursday. Omega Male only performed at the Brighton leg of the tour.