OCS have never been a group to stand still for too long. Since 1997 the band have gone by Orinoka Crash Suite, OCS, Orange County Sound, The Oh sees, The Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees and Oh Sees and, now, landing us back at the beginning with OCS. These shifts represent line-ups, changes of direction and sometimes the reason isn’t apparent at all. Memory of a Cut Off Head marks the band going back to their earlier material, which was a more acoustic-folk influenced area.
This is probably around the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen Kagoule live now. I first caught the band at the 2015 Mutations Festival in Brighton which has very sadly stopped happening. I went to see them on recommendation from a friend and since then I’ve kept coming back for more. Kagoule are a band that are exciting to watch grow. Their debut album Urth was one of my favourites from 2015 and is still an album I hold dearly. They’ve been gearing up to release their follow up and have released the first single from the still unnamed album. ‘Monsieur Automaton’ is the band evolving and progressing. There’s still the same Kagoule DNA in there but it’s definitely a sign of growth.
It’s no surprise that the Girl Ray show tonight had completely sold out. They seemingly sprouted from nowhere and came out with one of 2017’s strongest albums. There’s huge applause when they walk on and quite rightly so. It’s almost surprising that they are playing a venue of this capacity, it’s an indication of how much they crept up out of nowhere. There was a buzz around the band since a major article in the Guardian on them and everyone was waiting for their release. When it did come it received praise across the board and the band, who were quite small at the time, found their way into a lot of people’s music collections. No doubt that Earl Grey will do very well on 2017’s album of the year polls. I know it’s on mine.
When Andrew Fearn comes on to plug in his laptop there’s long and held applause which is met with bashful laughter from Fearn. Sleaford Mods have become one of the UK’s most respected and cherished groups by their fan base and for good reason. There’s a very genuine quality to their music which strikes a chord with their fan base. Their biggest critics often come from people who have made their minds up about the duo before giving them a chance. They’re often framed like a set of political anarchists. Yet whilst politics are prevalent in their music, they want to provoke thought, not orchestrate a riot.
Tonight doesn’t get off to the best start. ‘Judge’ from the latest album Rocket, is an odd choice to kick things off and feels like it’s slightly misplaced. It doesn’t manage to hit the audience right or stir up much excitement in the room. One thing I really enjoyed about Rocket was the fact that the songs felt like they all needed each other to sound as effective. Played separately, they may not leave the same mark on the audience. These clouds clear quickly though and once Alex G finds his feet the live show makes sense.
PINS have had an absolutely stellar 2017. From the release of their Bad Thing EP earlier in the year they’ve been building a whole new level of traction around them and the spotlight has definitely started to shift towards PINS’ direction. After non-stop touring throughout the year they haven’t shown any hint of losing steam. Their latest single ‘Serve The Rich’ is an extended arm to the alienated and a song that oozes with PINS’ cool charm. Before they embark on yet another tour across the UK, PINS frontwoman Faith Holgate had a brief chat with us about their successes of 2017 so far.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor like to enhance their sound with a sense of theatrics and this was conveyed in their show on Monday night. Their music relies heavily on drone sounds and is clearly written with some orchestral influence. Their use of two drummers/percussionists creates unusual sounds that are almost unrecognisable and it’s sometimes hard to identify the instrument they came from. Needless to say, the concert at Brighton Dome was something unique, exciting and captivating.
Catholic Action’s In Memory Of is a strong and surprising debut. It’s an album of sounds that you won’t have heard from a modern group in a very long time and, once accepted, it becomes an album that’s almost modestly epic. The songs have plenty of charm under the skin and the album blossoms into something unashamedly romantic. They go the full hog with In Memory Of and the result is a very confident and quite warming listen.
It’s not often at The Joker, or any other venue of that capacity for that matter, when leaving it can be likened to the atmosphere of a football match. This is what George van den Broek, aka Yellow Days, managed to create in an impressive, surprisingly long set that left the soldout crowd buzzing for a long while after, on the finale of his debut headline tour no less. There’s been murmurings for a few months now and, with a swift hour, Yellow Days confirmed he’s the real deal.
There are moments on The OOZ which feel cold and have a whiff of stale cigarettes. King Krule manages to capture a sense of disillusionment that seems to be very ingrained in our generation. To say the man’s a genius is an overstretch, but he taps into something very real at the core of what a lot of people think and feel. It’s an empathetic listen, it’s something that’s understanding. It’s an album that feels dark and murky but it doesn’t bog you down, The OOZ extends a hand out to you in a city in decay.