The turn of a new month yesterday brought another Bleeding Hearts Club – a firm favourite in the Brighton Music Blog diary.
First on stage was Ian Hannah, who admitted before he started that he couldn’t play guitar. It was a reasonable statement – he probably knew less chords than Status Quo – but what he lacked in guitar playing skills, he made up for with surprisingly good songs. The experience was a bit like an uncle who you’ve never associated with music suddenly grabbing an instrument and initially playing to your prejudices, and then completely changing your mind with a great voice. I doubt he’ll be causing too many waves on the Brighton Music scene, but he was a joy to watch.
Next up was Hattie Cooke, who had stepped in at the last minute having only been asked to play at 2 o clock that afternoon. She was also using a new guitar pedal and running extra effects through an iPad which led to one or two technical difficulties. Behind all that there was a great deal of potential – The songs were there, and when things were going right, the guitar playing was stellar. With more than seven hours to prepare, this could have easily been the set of the night.
The third set fell to Christine Cooper, new to Bleeding Hearts, and relatively new to Brighton. Christine used folk music as storytelling, with a powerful voice and fantastic talent on both the fiddle and the banjo. Christine made her traditional Welsh and American folk songs effortless as she used a loop pedal combined with her violin to provide the canvas to her songs.
Last night’s final act was something of a rarity at Bleeding Hearts – someone who I’d bought music by, completely independently of any Brighton connections. Back in 2002, Tim Keegan headed up a band called Departure Lounge, and their Kid Loco produced album Too Late to Die Young was hailed in many quarters as one of the records of the year. In the last decade Tim has relocated to Brighton and quietly kept on making music under his own name, and last night we were treated to a short set of this. Departure Lounge’s big strength was Tim’s songwriting, so it was no surprise to hear beautifully crafted stripped back acoustic guitar pop. Joined onstage by another guitarist from his band, intricate guitar melodies were interwoven as naturally as if the instruments were extensions of their bodies. Once again, another amazing end to another Bleeding Hearts Club.