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.

 

Fear of Men at the Prince Albert

Last night, Fear of Men played a hometown gig at the Prince Albert in over a year. The Guardian loved it and gave it four stars. Since the last time we saw them the band have grown musically – the new material no longer sits into the standard guitar-guitar-bass-drums indie four piece setup, with Jess putting down her guitar for most of the performance, the rotating bassist chair (currently filled by Dog in the Snow’s Helen Ganya Brown) now being a bassist and keyboard player and backing vocalist and half of Michael Miles drum kit has been replaced with electronic pads. The band are as thrilling to see live as ever – Jess Weiss is an ever more compelling front person, and the rest of the band are tighter than they’ve ever been. Fear of Men deserve to be playing much bigger venues and it was a rare treat to seem them playing somewhere as intimate as the Prince Albert. Make sure you don’t miss them next time.

Here’s our pics from last night. Click through the gallery to view large:

Weekend Gig Picks – Gaps and Fear of Men

Once upon a time, when we used  to be far more prolific on the blog we used to write a weekly gig picks column. Every now and then we revive it when we feel it’s worthwhile, and this weekend two of our favourite bands are playing at the Prince Albert on different nights, so here we are.

Tomorrow (or thursday, if you’re not reading this the day it was posted) Love Thy Neighbour are putting on GAPS supported by Chelou and Native Ray. Their new EP of remixes of A World Away came out last Friday, and the vinyl edition of their album In, Around The Moments comes out this Friday, so they’ve got lots to celebrate.

Then on Sunday it’s Fear of Men‘s turn, courtesy of Melting Vinyl and Teen Creeps. They’re supported by Girl Ray and Tiger Lion. Their new LP Fall Forever comes out on 3rd of June and they’ve just shared the video for Island, the first taste of the new material. By our calculations, they haven’t played a hometown gig in over eighteen months but we bet it’ll be worth the wait.

 

GAPS at the Prince Albert photo gallery

Last night we braved the cold to head out to the Prince Albert where GAPS played a hometown gig following their recent mini tour. Since the last time we saw them they’ve gained some rather lovely visuals which meant they were standing in the dark – that we got any photos of the band was something of a miracle. They’ve also written an awful lot of new material too which has broadened their sound while still operating within the bands existing premise of folk + electronica, now taking in breakbeats and some trouser shaking bass. Support came folk troubadour Lloyd Williams who did some very clever things with a guitar, a banjo and a floor mounted accordion. Here’s our pics, click to view large:

next week : Bootleg Festival at the Prince Albert

When I first started buying records, a bootleg was something very different from what it is now. Bootlegs used to be live recordings of gigs – if you were very lucky they’d be direct from the sound desk, but more often than not they’d be taped by someone in the crowd so you’d end up with muffled sound and the audience singing along. Next week the Prince Albert and Brightelmstone Promotions are putting on a four night event called The Bootleg Festival, less about mash ups, and more about the live recordings – every night is getting recorded with ticket holders getting a download of one song from each act and full recordings going on sale. And since it’s being put on with the full cooperation of the Prince Albert, recordings from the sound desk are guaranteed! There’s some great Brighton bands playing with Clowns, Crayola Lectern, Flash Bang Band and Thieves by the Code already on the line ups with more bands yet to be announced. Advance tickets can be bought online here.

10626446_737800842952366_1357175061925875463_o

Clowns at the Prince Albert

On Saturday night we headed down to the Prince Albert to see Clowns – one of Brighton’s best live bands, but who we hadn’t seen in over a year. In that time they’ve been lying low and finishing off their long awaited album. Hopefully we’ll be able to give you more details of that very soon indeed, but until there here’s what our camera saw:

(click on the pics to view large)

Gigs of the week

If you’re brave enough to leave the house without fear of being blown away or drowned, here’s our gig picks for this week:

BBTonight two local acts are supporting Basia Bulat at The Hope. You can catch Bella Spinks and Heliopause on Queens Road from 8pm. Meanwhile Audiobeach Studios celebrate their fourth birthday with a showcase at Sticky Mike’s with sets from BirdEatsBaby, Nylon Sky, Echo & the Beats and Departure from Normal.

Friday Night is Valentines day, and The Valentines are playing their last ever gig at the Prince Albert, with support from Fire Eyes and Dirt Royal. You can also catch Normanton Street over at the Green Door Store.

 

derriereOur pick for Saturday night is also two local acts supporting a touring band – Ez Stone and Ellie Ford are on the bill with Lily & Madeleine at Sticky Mike’s. We also like the look of Derriere who are playing at the Blind Tiger.

IYES at the Prince Albert / The New Union at the Blind Tiger live gallery

Last night The New Union supported Let’s Buy Happiness at the Blind Tiger and IYES played their first headline show at the Prince Albert. We were torn – we’re fans of both bands – which should we go to? And then we figured that since The New Union were supporting and IYES were headlining, we should be able to make it to both.

When we first heard about the New Union gig, we read that they would be on at 8.15. On the day, we read on Facebook that it would be 8.30. We turned up at the gig to see set times that said 8.45, but the support act who was on before them didn’t get onstage until 8.50. In the end The New Union started just after 9.30, so we only caught a few of their songs before we headed to the Prince Albert. But those few songs sounded fantastic. Every time the New Union head into the studio, they come out sounding even better, taking everything they’ve learned and improving their live sound with it, and just recently they’ve been recording at Metway Studios with Matthew Twaites (of Electric Soft Parade, Milk & Biscuits, etc).

The normal career path for a new band is first to get support slots with other local bands, then headline your own small gigs, then get supports with bigger touring bands that visit. It’s testament to the strength of IYES demos that they managed to skip the first two stages, with all their gigs so far playing before more established national acts. As sods law would have it, the IYES gig was running late too, but that meant we got to catch Londoners Rivieras from the back of a packed room. When they were done, we took the opportunity to get to the front so we could make up for all of the photos that we didn’t take at the New Union gig. IYES were on top form, showcasing the demos that the crowd was familiar with as well as a brace of new tracks including the first play of their upcoming single Infinity.

Click pics to view large:

 

Weekend Gig Picks

Last weekend’s gig pick post was all about quality not quantity, and we promised we’d be back this week bigger than ever. We’re still not scrimping on quality but we’re probably featuring more gigs this week than we ever have done.

IYESWe’re going to kick things off with a couple of gigs happening tonight. Normally we treat Thursday as the start of the weekend, but when two of favourite bands are playing we’d be fools not to give them a mention. IYES play their first ever headline show at the Prince Albert, which we’re very excited about. We’ve been huge fans since we first heard Lighthouse at the end of the year, and they haven’t disappointed since. Best of all it’s a free gig! Elsewhere, down at the Blind Tiger, Brighton Music Blog favourites The New Union are supporting Let’s Buy Happiness.

Thursday night is where we normally start our weekend gig round up, and the weekend proper is starting strong with Calico headlining Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. Support comes from 900 Spaces and Blackwell, and it’s four pounds to get in. Meanwhile, Normanton Street are playing at the Mesmerist.

PawwsOn Friday some more of our favourite bands are supporting at the same gig. Pawws are supported by the fantastic GAPS and Dog in the Snow (as well as Saint Savanna, who are local and new to us). And it’s a free gig – Green Door Store, you do spoil us. There’s also a free gig at the Blind Tiger, headlined by Transformer, with support from Eagles for Hands, whose new EP we love.

Saturday night’s big gig is the Physics House Party taking place at Sticky Mike’s. As well as the awesome Physics House Band, AK/DK, Alphabets Heaven and Suffer Like G Did are also playing. Over at Fitzherberts, Speak Galactic and Soft Arrows are playing at a night called Ruff Stuff, where Owen from Speak Galactic and some of his old bandmates from Cinemascopes are unveiling a new project called Merlin Tonto.

EsbenRounding off the weekend nicely at Sticky Mike’s, Esben & The Witch play the Brighton leg of their national tour promoting Wash The Sins Not Only The Face. At the Green door store, there’s an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gram Parsons early death in 1973, aged only 26. There’s loads of local bands getting involved – the list includes The Self Help Group, Dollboy, and Amy Hill plus various members of Laish, The Repeat Prescriptions, Super U, The Standard Lamps, Woodland Blue, The Pooh Sticks, Lolly & the City of Flies, Redlands Palomino Company, Englemann Spruce, and Lost Dog. Get there early enough and you’ll also get to see Pete Wiggs from Saint Etienne DJing before the live acts.

Weekend Gig Picks

Just a very quick round up of this weekend’s gigs for you all, since we’re off out to see some live music tonight ourselves.

audio

On Friday night Audio celebrate their ninth birthday. That makes us feel very old indeed. There’s a big club night take place after 10pm, but a gig with local bands before then starting from seven, put on by our friends at Les Enfants Terribles, with Curxes, King Dinosaur and Alphabets Heaven playing. We also spotted that this week’s Brighton Rocks at Sticky Mikes with Alice Amelia, Faux Flux and Lu’Ami.

FBB

Saturday sees Brighton Music Blog favourites Bent Cousin are headlining at Prince Albert, which should be good. Elsewhere, Mok and Tiny Dragons play The Haunt, and Crayola Lectern is supporting William Drake at the Komedia.

Our recommendation for Sunday night is Flash Bang Band’s album launch at the Green Door Store. Support comes from P for Persia and Clowns – there’s three great bands to see for free. We’ll have an interview with Andy from Flash Bang Band going up very soon, so look out for that.