Nordic Giants – Speed The Crow’s Nest

The brand new Nordic Giants single, Speed The Crow’s Nest has just been released and the band celebrated with a sold out launch show at the Dome Studio Theatre last night.

Nordic Giants_Single_Crows_300dpi

Speed The Crow’s Nest is unmistakeably Nordic Giants from the off – big, uplifting piano riffs, shimmering guitars and clattering drums. The experience is completely exhilarating – like falling from a great height, or being caught out in a thunderstorm – it’s a little disorientating, but at the same time utterly awe inspiring. The b-side is the first track released with Nordic Giants new vocalist, Freyja. Glass Skinned Girl showcases the other side of the band – quiet, reflective and glacial. Freyja’s voice is a perfect complement to their more ambient stuff, and rings out as much a part of the instrumentation as a vehicle for delivering the lyrics.

Nordic Giants

Onstage Freyja fitted in perfectly too, dressed head to toe in black with the most amazing head dress, with the live delivery matching the clarity of the recordings. Freyja only joined the band for two tracks – the rest of the Nordic Giant’s set was either instrumental, or had the vocalist pre-recorded with their image projected into a separate video box in the middle of the stage. I’ve long maintained that Nordic Giants are one of the best live bands in town. On the way out I heard someone describing it as “a religious experience” which you can’t really argue with – the music blows you away and you’re blinded by the strobes, but it’s all so incredibly beautiful. The next Nordic Giants live date is up in London in April, but it’s in a church in St Pancras – that truly will be a religious experience!

You can buy Speed the Crows Nest on iTunes or it’ll be available in physical form from the band’s website soon.

Innerstrings Light Show curate Source New Music with Physics House Band

Last night’s Source New Music revisited the notion of the night having a curator, rather than being put together as a collaboration between the Source and Brighton Dome. A few months ago Beatabet collective picked the bands that played, last night Innerstrings Light Show did the choosing.

The first band they picked were Reds, an experimental psychedelic collective. Reds gigs are all improvised on the night – everything you hear is for the first time. Their sound is ambitious, droning and dark; a good introduction to the night ahead.

Reds

After Reds, Baal Fire played downstairs in the bar area. Baal Fire is one man with his guitar, but to listen to his music you’d think that there was a whole band – the guitar was played with a violin bow then sampled an looped, building up layers of sound. Ball Fire’s tone was glacial – big slow motion, musical landscape to lose yourself in.

Baal Fire

Baron were up next upstairs on the main stage. They weren’t quite as psychedelic as either of the previous two acts, but they were a lot more accessible. Their sound had a lot more krautrock influences, song based structures and vocals, but were still quite out there. I was torn though – I didn’t know if I wanted Baron to get some catchy choruses, or properly wig out at the end of their set.

Baron

It was all change again at the end of their set, with Pete Fij & Terry Bickers picking up the baton downstairs. Pete and Terry were the highlight of the evening – sure, Physics House Band were the headliners, but I’d seen them a few weeks ago at Sea Monsters. I’d never seen Pete Fij & Terry Bickers live before, so it was a real treat. Their real skill was making it look so effortless. It might have looked like two guys on guitars, but the playing was immaculate, Pete had a fantastic voice, and their songs were great. On top of all that, they were the only band of the evening to make any kind of engagement with the crowd.

Pete Fij & Terry Bickers

The night belonged to Physics House Band though. Fresh from announcing their debut release (see our blog post from last week), the band’s support has never been bigger, and onstage at the Dome Studio Theatre, they’ve never sounded bigger. I’m always transfixed when I see them – not just by the talent and musicianship of any one player, but they way that they all play so tightly together. A mean feat if they were playing music in standard time signatures, let along when they’re playing their take on prog jazz. And it was loud – my god, it was loud – but that just added to the intensity of it all. The combination of the visuals, the music and the volume was truly awesome. Good work Physics House Band, Innerstrings Light Show, Brighton Source and the team at the Dome.

Physics House Band

Oxjam Brighton Takeover

Something I’ve been meaning to write about this month is the Oxjam Brighton Takeover. Every October (well, every October for the past four years at least), loads of gigs are put on all over town, featuring local bands, raising money for Oxfam. There’s been a few gigs already, but the big night is this Sunday, when you can buy a wristband for a mere eight pounds and get access to six venues, each hosted by some familiar names.

We’ll be camping out at the Dome Studio Theatre (recently rebranded from the Pavilion Theatre). From 8.30pm, the Source New Music Night are putting on Minor Sounds, Curxes (who we’ve been wanting to see live for ages) and P For Persia (who was fantastic at last month’s Beatabet Source New Music).

Meanwhile, from 3.30pm at the Unitarian Church, BN1 Magazine bring you Wide Eyed Order, Unsung Lilly, 900 Spaces, Ellen & The Echo and The Move-Ons.

Also from 3.30, the Hope are working with Under The Bridge Studios (who are a few arches up from the Green Door Store). They’ve got a monster bill with Fragile Creatures, Hot Fiction, Oh! My Head, Running Dogs, Half Crown, Sweet Jonny, Ivy King, Devil In Detail, and Justin Alfonso playing.

Sound Screen are running the show at Riki Tiks from around 6pm, with Pact, Cave Man Genius, Alphabets Heaven, Amongst The Pigeons, Atlantiks, and Platypi.

Concrete Jungle are also running things from mid-afternoon, kicking off at 3.30 at the Mash Tun, with King Mews, Concrete Jungle, Early Ghost, Ross Pike’s The Courty Love, Hideous Bitches, and Peter Clough.

Then at the White Rabbit, Hush Hush are providing the entertainment with Chuck SJ Hay, Hope Rudd, Rought Citizen, Rotait, Verity Sessions, Tom Hughes, Bella Kardasis, Zoe Hazel Hedderwick, and Lisha Tole.

BUT WAIT – that’s not all. After all the other venues wind down, Riki Tiks are hosting the afterparty with Showdown. Phew!

September Source New Music Night feat Bunty

This month is Brighton Digital Festival, and this month’s Source New Music was put on in collaboration with the Beatabet collective as one of the festival’s events.

We turned up a bit later than we’d hope to the night (distracted en route by Brighton’s newest pub), and arrived as P For Persia had just taken to the stage. P For Persia are a three piece who make indie rock fused with 8-bit keyboards. It was an energetic, intense performance, made all the more enjoyable by vocalist / guitarist Daniel McNally hamming up his role as the band’s focus.

P For Persia

The next act to perform stretched the limit of what you’d call a band. Goodbye Leopold are a vocal trio whose songs are more like chanting than the songs we’re used to at Source New Music nights, and they sported some rather interesting leotards and headwear. But they’re from London, so time to move on to the night’s headliner.

Bunty was taking the opportunity of using the Source New Music / Brighton Digital Festival gig as the launch and showcase of her new project Multimos, which is being released a few tracks at a time over the next year, with the first three available on bandcamp now:

Bunty was making pretty much all of the sound onstage herself, using a loopstation to record parts on the fly before moving onto a different instrument or vocal part. And not to be outdone by the other acts, as well as a live bassist and drummer (wearing hard harts, of course), and visuals from Metaluna, Bunty had dancers, and a man dressed as a bear.

Bunty

The next episode of Multimos is out in a few weeks time on 2nd October. In the meantime, you can read more about the project in Bunty’s interview with the Source.

Gigs on Thursday 21st June

Living in Brighton is fantastic, because there’s always something happening. Sometimes though, it can feel that there’s not enough hours in the day to do everything you want to, and thursday is one of those nights. There’s three gigs on, at the Pavillion Theatre, at the Green Door Store and at Coalition that I’d like to be at. The one I’ll be going to will be the one I bought a ticket to before finding out about the others!

First of the three is the Source New Music Night at Pavilion Theatre. Sparrow are headlining,  and they’re supported by Rain Eater, Arthur and the Irrational and Tyrannosaurus Dead. I normally do my best to get along to the Source Nights, because they’re great for new bands and an absolute bargain at only four pounds. Next month’s – headlined by Sweet Sweet Lies – is already in the calendar.

Then we’ve got The New Union at Green Door Store, who really impressed us supporting Clock Opera a few weeks ago. And that’s even more of a bargain, because it’s free! We’re big fans of the Peter Saville style posters – there are four different varieties each relating to a different band member.

The gig I’ll be at though, will be Best Coast and Fear of Men at Coalition. Here’s the video for their new single Green Sea. Expect a few words and maybe some pictures on the gig later this week.

Hopefully you’ll make it along to one of these, or one of the many other gigs going on all round town. You’re spoiled for choice!

 

February Source New Music Night at the Pavilion Theatre with Foxes!

After taking a month off (when quite frankly, we were all too busy with Christmas or too poor after Christmas), The Source return to the Pavilion Theatre for their regular New Music nights. I completely missed first act on the bill, Fragile Creatures, who I saw at the start of January headlining the Bleeding Hearts Club at the Albert. From what I heard, they went down an absolute storm though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back there higher up the bill at some point.

The night stuck to their normal format of an acoustic act in the downstairs bar to keep the music playing between bands upstairs, and this month’s turn was Daniel James, who started off with a cover of Britney’s Hit Me Baby One More Time (although perhaps sensibly, he missed out the chorus). Daniel had some good songs, knew his way around a melody, and established a bit of a rapport, and if I had one complaint, it was that he wasn’t nearly enough of a geek – because if he was, he’d know twice as many chords, and have spent far too many nights playing with all the different settings on his amp, and he’d sound so much better.

Daniel James

Next came Jetglo. They had the riffs, they had the audience in the palm of their hand, and if you want a good solid rock band, then look no further. Not really my kind of thing, but the response from the crowd showed that one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Jetglo

I’ve written about headliners Foxes! before. I wrote about the gig they played just before Christmas at the Green Door Store, and I reviewed their album when it came out earlier this year. So when I heard that Foxes! were going top the bill at a show I was planning on going to anyway, it’s fair to say I was quite pleased. The other bands on the bill had good songs and had a connection with the audience, and Foxes! had that too, but on top of that they were in a different league in terms of musicianship, and they had humour, and they drew influence from so many more places. And it’s not every day you see the drummer of a band being female and the lead singer, either. They could have been scuppered by a broken string towards the end of their set, but they carried on regardless. The only thing anyone could possibly moan about was the lack of an encore, but then all the best bands leave you wanting more, don’t they?

Foxes!

Brighton Source New Music night December 2011

Sorry – no pithy title for this blog post. I tried to try and eke some kind of pun out of the headliners Black Black Hills, but it just wasn’t happening.

The December Source new music night played host to Two Jackals, Abi Wade, For Marla and Black Black Hills. Trying to avoid the rain meant that I missed the first band, Two Jackals, and arrived to catch Abi Wade’s first set. Hopefully you’ll all be familiar with Abi after I posted about her new EP the other week. The Source and the Pavilion theatre have had a great idea to not only provide us lucky people with more music, but also to acknowledge that an acoustic act probably won’t work at the same time as a loud amplified act, so inbetween acts upstairs in the Theatre, acoustic acts perform down in the bar area. Seeing Abi Wade play live was great, because you get a much better impression of how she makes her music. It’s all down to her, not just with her cello, but with two bass drum pedals, one attached to a tambourine, and the other to a cajón. And as I mentioned in my EP review, she doesn’t just use her bow on her cello – she also used a variety of drum sticks, and most interestingly, a hair brush, to create additional percussive noises.

Next up were For Marla, who looked and sounded great – a bit like a rockier Smiths, or perhaps a tougher Frankie & the Heartstrings. While they’ve got the look and got the sound, unfortunately they were blighted with some technical issues which took up most of their set. Rather than work around them, they stopped while they resolved them, which meant that everything was a bit too disjointed. Hopefully next time I catch them, they’ll play a full set rather than just the fifteen minutes that they managed to play for today.

Headlining were Black Black Hills. It seems almost obligatory to mention that they used to be Pope Joan – everything else I’ve read about them seems to mention it – but I’m sure they’re trying to move on with their new name, and presumably new set of songs. While that may be the case, the years they’ve been playing together in their old guise have helped them become the band they are today – tight, with a fantastic sound, good songwriting skills, and great stage presence. If you missed them tonight (and quite frankly, their was a very poor turnout for such a great band, which I’m putting down to the weather) then they’ll be playing again at the start of next year as part of the Sea Monsters 2 event at the Prince Albert. Be there.