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/

 

 

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Night House launch their EP

Last night we went to the launch of the new EP by Night House, the new band of man-about-town Nick Williams who has helped curate and participated in some memorable musical events at last night’s venue the marvellous Marwood Cafe. Previous Marwood events curated by Nick included a brilliant weekend of gigs featuring an array of local acts as part of the free The Great Escape festival earlier this year.

First on the bill last night was the extraordinary sight of Laura and the Bass. Amazonian, Scandinavian, Blonde and dressed in not much more than a lace-looking body stocking, Laura presented a striking vision. Fortunately her playing and singing was top-notch, with her songs of the trials and tribulations of modern love.

Laura and the bass

Next up was the soulful pop of the accomplished four-piece band Staniford, with another tall and talented lead singer in the person of Tom Staniford.

Staniford

The penultimate act were one of Brighton’s finest, the Self Help Group. This was a tight venue for a six-piece to play, not helped by Mark’s visible man-flu symptoms and the chatter from the now packed upstairs space, but the Groupies rose to the challenge and played an absolutely blinding set with a mix of new and old songs. The harmonies between sisters Sarah and Clara Wood are always a delight, but the whole band seemed to relish the challenge and were as tight as I’ve seen them. Songs from their excellent album ‘Not Waving But Drowning’ were mixed with new songs, like Eddy’s House, a song about a dog house that takes on mythical proportions in the masterful hands of this band. They’re playing next on 22nd October at the Brunswick in a gig hosted by Chris T-T and come very highly recommended.

Mark Bruce of the Self Help Group Self Help Group Finally, man of the night Nick Williams got to play the songs from the new Night House EP along with band versions of some of his older songs. Particular favourites to my ears were ‘Heart on a Wire’ and ‘Berlin’ (referencing “a seaside town” so maybe the title is figurative).

The lead track ‘New Year’s Prayer’ is a lovely thing, mixing some late 70s pop harmonies with an indie soul sensibility. You can  see the video for the song here.

Night House

Night House's Nick Williams

The Re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Friday night saw the Cable Club present the strange phenomenon that is the re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim and it was another one of those brilliant Brighton gigs full of talented inventive musicianship that seemed to be attended by about … Continue reading

Brighton Unsigned with Yourgardenday, Stark and Mortie Pockett

 

Brighton Unsigned launched their latest issue with a gig at the Hope featuring their cover stars yourgardenday, and three other up-and-coming acts. Another excellent night’s entertainment, emphasising the vast musical talent that exists in Brighton.

First up was a young guy called Mortie Pockett, who hails from Storrington but is now a local town player. His sound felt like a throwback to Elvis in his Sun Sessions period, strong rhythmic strumming and a twang-infused vocal style over some nice rocking tunes.

Mortie Pockett

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up were the startlingly youthful looking but exceptionally talented Stark, with a harder powerful sound that took us out of 1950s rockabilly into a late 60s bluesy heavy rock vibe, akin to Led Zeppelin. All three members of Stark were incredibly impressive, and the sound whilst rocking was also soulful and full of great tunes. They ended their set with a stunning and original version of Dylan’s Crash on the Levee. There’s an EP being launched at the Prince Albert on 4th March which comes highly recommended.

Stark Stark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then came the cover stars yourgardenday with their first full band set of the year, following last year’s successful launch of the Flat Stream EP. Another favourite of this blog, Robin Coward has a bunch of really strong songs which are highly memorable and stand out form the crowd. Robin can be heard every week at one of the open mic spots he runs around town, but in a full band setting songs like the opener Something in the Music, sons of a Gun and the beautiful closer Spring is Springing can be heard as they were intended. Pop classics every one.

Robin Coward (YourGardenDay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YourGardenDay YourGardenDay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final band Unsung Lilly are out-of-towners, reflecting Brighton Unsigned magazine’s desire to spread a little more widely and cover more of the talent across the south east. They’re a big loud band with a powerful pop sound and oodles of talent.

Unsung Lilly (Sera and Frankie)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs and word by Jon Southcoasting