Sea Monsters Day Six – One Inch Badge vs One Inch Badge

Saturday night was One Inch Badge’s own choice of local bands. There was one change from the original line up – unfortunately Soccer 96 couldn’t make it, but we’ll get to that later. Queues were building up before the doors even opened – After a Source cover and loads of storming shows, The Physics House Band are one of Brighton’s hottest tickets at the moment.

Luo

Luo

Luo were the first band to play. They mixed glitchy electronica with lush guitars – think Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross remixed by Plaid. It wasn’t all instrumental though – they were joined onstage for a track by Jacko Hooper, who played earlier this week. It was all really lovely stuff, who I’d love to find out more about, but search engines are no help whatsoever (“Did you mean ‘Lou’?” – No Google, if I’d meant Lou, I would have typed Lou).

Squadron Leaders

Squadron Leaders

Next up were The Squadron Leaders, a surf rock three piece. I had a glance at their set list before they started, and wondered how they were going to play fifteen or twenty songs when most other bands were only playing five or six in their allocated sets. The answer was that they sped through their short songs, barely stopping for breath. The crowd loved it, but it was a little dispiriting to hear references to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack – there’s a whole genre out there beyond Dick Dale.

Ed Prosek

Ed Prosek

The extra act on the bill following Soccer 96’s cancellation was Ed Prosek, who acknowledged that an acoustic folk act didn’t quite sit  with the rest of the bands on the line up. Ed’s Californian optimism meant that he was undeterred though, and the crowd soon warmed to him and his band made up of cello, double bass and mandolin. The highlight of their set was a cover of Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound, currently featuring on a cheese advert. Obviously.

Phoria

Phoria

Phoria were on the bill at October’s Source New Music night last year, but I was a bit distracted and didn’t really pay enough attention. What I missed was ambitious, intelligent songs, aiming for somewhere between Coldplay and Radiohead. Epic stuff.

Physics House Band

Physics House Band

The stars of last night’s show were The Physics House Band though. On paper they could sound difficult – non-standard time signatures, jazz, prog… In reality, they’re a fantastic prospect. Each individual player is a virtuoso, but they aren’t just tremendous musicians individually – together you won’t find a tighter set of musicians. But it’s not all just about the musicianship, their live show is also one of the most energetic in town. Being an amazing band is about being different, and being better, and Physics House Band have that in spades.

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Weekend gig picks

Three weeks in a row. This IS now a regular feature! Except in a couple of weeks it’s Christmas, and it could all go to ruin, but we’ll do our best.

Our pick for Friday night is the Source New Music night at the Dome Studio Theatre (which you might still be calling the Pavilion Theatre). We’re a fan of the regular monthly night at the best of times, but this month’s is a bit special, being the Miserable Rich‘s last gig before they take a sabbatical. The night also has Cate Ferris, Donna Fullman, and Ingrid Plum. (It’s also a big night for non Brighton Musicians, with Beth Orton, Rodriguez, and Father John Misty playing around town. Happy Mondays and 808 State were also meant to be playing but that’s been put off until June next year)

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Our choice for Saturday is a night called Endless Christmas at the Prince Albert – Saturday is the first of December, so we’ll let them get away with using Christmas so early. The night’s headlined by Surfin’ Lungs who are supported by local acts Los Fantasticos, Space Agency and Squadron Leaders. There’s not enough Surf Rock in Brighton, so it’s good to see this happening. This saturday is also the House of Hats next Harvest Sessions at the Brunswick, which comes highly recommended. Support comes from Conrad Vingoe and Kat Rose.

Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary part 7, 29th January 2012

So, that’s your lot. Six days of gigs, with an incredibly diverse line up, showcasing some of the best that Brighton has to offer. Thanks to One Inch Badge, The Prince Albert, and all of the bands.

The final night started off with The Physics House Band, who were kind of prog jazz, with arpeggiated wigouts with time signatures changing all over the shop. It would appear that this music didn’t die in the late 70s, it just went to sleep for thirty years and grew some balls in the meantime.

The Physics House Band

The second band were equally baffling on a line up which was predominantly indie. The Squadron Leaders were three middle aged men making authentic instrumental Surf Rock (almost) like they used to in the fifties. I say almost, because there was a bit of bass and the odd sample being fired of stage, but aside from that it was a basic twang guitar, sax and drums. Fans of Dick Dale, Link Wray or The Ventures would be impressed. I loved it, but then I’ve been hiding my passion for surf rock for a good few years now.

The Squadron Leaders

If The Physics Band went back to the 70s for their blueprint, and The Squadron Leaders looked at the 50s, it was like Us Baby Bear Bones hadn’t even seen the rulebook. Most bands on over the festival didn’t stray too far from the typical guitar / guitar / bass / drums – Admittedly, a few dropped one from the list, and some added keyboards, but overall there weren’t many surprises. However, each member of Us Bear Baby Bones had at least three instruments in front of them – Front woman Puff had two microphones (one of which should have been run through a sampler, but technical difficulties beset them), a clarinet and a tom tom, Daisy had several keyboards and an autoharp, and Luke was playing guitar, sampler and glockenspiel. Did I say front woman? Yes, UBBB were one of only two bands on the whole bill fronted by a woman (the other being Fear of Men). Musically, they play dreamy, yet ambitious pop. If you wanted some kind of reference point, I might mention Bat For Lashes, but also tell you that UBBB are much more magical, and that the comparison can tell you only so much and you really ought to listen to them to know what they’re like; Except the only track released into the wild so far is Rain, which is on the Sea Monsters compilation. The new stuff is being released on the 10th of Feb (coinciding with their next gig at The Hope), so you’ll have to wait until then to hear some more.

Us Baby Bear Bones

The last band of the festival was Tall Ships, and they had The Albert ram packed for their set of angular indie songs with post-rock breakdowns. They were an ideal band to finish things up, getting the crowd more animated than they had been all week.

Tall Ships

So that was Sea Monsters. I heard a lot of great music and discovered a lot of amazing new bands. The highlights for me were some of the bands who broke the mould – Us Baby Bear Bones, Restlesslist, and Speak Galactic – who obviously felt music so strongly that it just couldn’t be expressed in traditional ways.

How long until Sea Monsters 3?