Thomas White supporting Fragile Creatures at the Prince Albert

Back in May, Thomas White played a low key set for the Great Escape Festival at a venue called Shipwrights Yard, a hidden courtyard off Middle Street overlooked by Lout and Republic of Music’s offices. One of his backing vocalists for this gig was a certain Mr Adam Kidd, who had recently formed a band which had still yet to have recorded any music, or settled on a final line up. Fast forward seven months, and the tables have been turned, with Thomas White giving Adam’s band Fragile Creatures a leg up by playing a support slot.

Thomas White

Thomas White

Thomas White has spent his last gig of the year playing a fresh set of songs. He’s spent much of the past twelve months playing shows drawn from this year’s album Yalla, but now he’s looking forward. Armed with nothing but his guitar and his voice, White played a short set of covers, taking in a rare Beach Boys track and a stripped down version of Wonderful World, and rounded things off with the Twelve Days of Christmas and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Fragile Creatures

Fragile Creatures

Fragile Creatures didn’t play any Christmas Songs, but they did alter the titles of their tracks to give them a festive edge. Over the course of 2012 Adam Kidd has been honing his accomplished guitar pop, and last night showed a fine performance of some very polished songs. It was Adam’s backing vocals with Thomas White that first caught our attention and it was the harmonies that really shone last night and made their songs – none too shabby in the first place – really stand out. I look forward to hearing more of what Fragile Creatures have got to offer in 2013.

 

More assorted bits and pieces

Time for a blog post with more bits and pieces that have come up on my radar to share with you all.

First up is Pete Fij & Terry Bickers. Back in the 90s, Pete was signed to Creation Records as part of the band Adorable. These days he sells second hand books down by the West Pier. Terry Bickers played with House of Love back in the day and now teaches in Brighton. I’m glad neither of them have completely turned their back on music though, because otherwise we wouldn’t have “I don’t give a sh*t about you”:

Next Monday, Sealings release their new EP on the Italian Beach Babes label. You can download the Face Basement from it here:

Thomas White has put up a video for I’ve Seen The Sunshine from his album Yalla, which you can watch here:

The Kingsmiths have put out another taster from their EP. Bottle Top is also currently available as a free download over on Soundcloud if you like the sound of it:

Finally, here’s the video to Augustus Caesar’s Hope, a beautifully shot film made late last year on Brighton Beach.

 

Thomas White – I Dream of Black played in full at the Green Door Store

The phenomenon of playing a whole album live from start to finish isn’t a new one. Things really kicked off when All Tomorrow’s Parties introduced their Don’t Look Back series in the noughties, and the world and his wife have joined in, including Electric Soft Parade who got back together last year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut Holes in the Wall. Thomas White obviously enjoyed the experience because over the next few months he’s revisiting his back catalogue, starting last night with his 2008 solo debut I Dream of Black.

Support came from Red River Dialect, who launched their Americana / Country tinged debut album at the Prince Albert this Monday, and from local folk legend Mary Hampton, who would have been worth the ticket price on her own.

Thomas White and his band came out in their now trademark African gowns and played the album in full as billed, in the dark save for a b-movie* projection onto the wall behind them. There were some familiar faces in the band : his brother Alex on keyboards as well as assorted other people he’s played with in many of his other collaborations. Thomas explained towards the end that he writes his albums to be listened to as a whole, despite seeming a little embarrassed by some of the proggy instrumental interludes, which he attributes to the album being made when he was very stoned. It works as a whole too, thanks to the fact the record takes in a wide variety of styles and has stood the test of time. The band had learned the album and nothing more, so for an encore we just got the one song – a replay of one of the more upbeat tracks.

Thomas White

Thomas White is back on 9th August playing his second album The Maximalist, and again on 22nd September playing his most recent release Yalla.

 

 

*knowing my luck, it’ll turn out that it’s a really famous film that I should have spotted

Bleeding Hearts 10th Birthday Gallery

It feels kind of appropriate shooting the Bleeding Hearts Night on film, because aside from Hattie Cooke’s iPad adding a bit more reverb to her guitar, everything else onstage could have been from any point in the last fifty years, so why not record it in a similar way too?

Anyway, happy birthday Bleeding Hearts – ten years is an amazing achievement. Here’s to the next ten!

(click on the pics to view large)

There’s some more pics over at out friends Brighton Noise

Brighton bands at the Great Escape

If you hadn’t noticed, it’s just been The Great Escape Festival around town. What a weekend! Officially I was taking photos for the festival themselves, which I’ve done for the last few years. Unofficially, I made it my mission to get around as many Brighton bands as I could. Over the course of the weekend, I saw Abi Wade at Unitarian Church, Dear Prudence at Above Audio, Us Baby Bear Bones at Green Door Store, Abi Wade (again) at Latest, Catherine Ireton at Latest, Fear of Men at Queens Hotel, Nordic Giants at Komedia, Speak Galactic at Latest, Thomas White at Shipwrights yard, Us Baby Bear Bones (again) at Latest, Woodpecker Wooliams at the Fishbowl and Kinnie The Explorer at The Haunt. Phew!

(click through to the pics to view them larger)

 

Thomas White Interview

This week sees the release of Thomas White’s new album Yalla, and I thought I’d find out a bit more about from him via the pubs he lists in the lyrics of the closing track English Sargasso: The Dorset, the Hand in Hand, Fitzherbert’s and The Globe.

Thomas White - Yalla!

We start things off at The Dorset, or to give it it’s full title, The Dorset Street Bar. There are records of The Dorset being a pub going back to 1845, so it’s been a firm fixture in Brighton for quite some time. Continue reading

Album Review : Thomas White / Yalla!

It’s easy to get bored on holiday. You don’t have all your daily routine to keep you preoccupied. But when most of us get a bit bored when we’re away, we reach for a paperback, or head to the bar. Not Thomas White though. When he was bored on holiday in Egypt (before last year’s Arab Spring), he knocked up a whole new album, just using his guitar, his laptop and the the microphone of his pocket videocamera. He wasn’t even going to release it until he was persuaded by friends that he’d be a fool if he didn’t.

Thomas White - Yalla!

Yalla! is Thomas White’s third solo album, on top of those he’s made with Electric Soft Parade and Brakes (and numerous guest spots with others), and it quite possibly his most personal and accomplished work to date.

The album fades in quietly, opening with All The Fallen Leaves. Nearly a minute passes before the first chord is played. The lyrics tell of a aching for home – Brighton – despite the fact that “the sun beats down on desert ground”, and that home is “cold, wet and brown”. An acoustic guitar plucks away at simple chords, and a haunting close harmony joins in for some of the repeated lyrics which aren’t quite a chorus.

I’ll See Her Again and That Heavy Sunshine Sound are a bit more upbeat, but the undercurrent of yearning is still there – not for Brighton this time, but for a woman. The latter is definitely one of my highlights of the album, with the near perfect stanza “I am a boy / with a crush on a girl / who is out of my league / and is certainly out of this world”, which encapsulates exactly how I felt far too often in my early twenties.

The album continues in it’s psychedelic folk theme – Nick Drake with harmonies by the Beach Boys, with Norwegian Wood by the Beatles playing on the radio in the next room. For a more recent comparison, it occupies the same musical space as Balcony Times, the album put out at the end of last year by Milk & Biscuits (which incidentally, Thomas played on).

The best is saved until last. Album closer The English Sargasso lasts for nearly six and a half minutes, and by this point, Thomas is homesick for his friends and the pubs of Brighton – “We’ll hit the Dorset, and maybe The Hand, and down to Fitzherberts and the Globe after that”. While the last piece clocks in over five minutes, it doesn’t drag, but feels unhurried, moving along at a different, slower pace. The kind of pace that things move at when you’re on holiday with absolutely nothing to do – an incredibly clever trick to nail.

If this is what happens when Mr White goes on holiday, I can’t wait to hear the results of his next trip.

Thomas White playing with Brakes at the Green Door Store 23/1/11

Yalla! by Thomas White is released on Bleeding Heart Recordings on 19th March 2012. The first 50 copies – available through Resident Records in Brighton and Rough Trade in London – come with a bonus five track cd, and there will be a free instore gig at Resident at 6pm on 19th March, where the album will be available for £6.99.