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:
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.
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
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:
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.
Samantha 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.
Photos and words by Jon Southcoasting
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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…
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.
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.