After little glimpses of summer sun in Brighton over the last few weeks we’ve been getting excited for the fine weather to come and, following The Great Escape Festival’s announcement of a further 120 artists on Wednesday, we’re now absolutely desperate for festival season to roll around.
Taking place at East Brighton Park from Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th June, Land Beyond Festival has been making noises since the announcement of Dizzee Rascal as the headline act for the Sunday side of the event.
Brighton-based musician and songwriter Ellie Ford will release her second full-length album in May, Light.Repeated., and to celebrate the arrival of her sophomore record, she will be holding a special in-store performance at Brighton’s Resident on Monday 13th May at 6.30pm.
An unbelievable level of talent was on show at the 2018 Great Escape festival and some live shows stood out particularly, including Kojey Radical, Mahalia and Jimothy Lacoste. However, it is the big 02 Arena show that has taken the crown for me this year. Seeing King Kendrick rise out of the smoke on-stage before a light show and flame explosion, launching him into ‘DNA’, was something I’ll never forget and the show only reached higher and higher peaks.
It has been one hell of a year. From the influx of thousands of artists during festival season to watching many of our most-loved Brighton bands bloom into genuine world beaters, 2018 has been an incredibly successful year for music locally. Our Brightonsfinest writers now look back over the past 12 months to remember their highlights on record and in the live sphere as well as the ones we missed.
Brightonsfinest are once again taking over the breathtakingly beautiful St Mary’s Church on Saturday 19th May, during The Great Escape Festival, for another great day of music. After the success of last year’s Alternative Escape showcase, we are excited to bring you the full line-up that boasts to be our best yet. It’s free entry to all and features ten fantastic emerging as well as established acts from Brighton and further afield. Check out the line-up below.
SJ Brett, Charles Watson, Dog In The Snow, Thyla, Trudy and The Romance, FUR, Her’s, Wild Front, The Fiction Aisle, Phoria.
Back in 2015 when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released their eponymous debut album as a band, we all went on a swift, sharp turn down memory lane.
Returning, for a moment, to the era of 60s Stax Records and, in particular, the southern soul-inspired rhythm and blues of Sam & Dave, we were witnessing the feet finding of a group who are now, following the release of Tearing at the Seams, firmly planted in a new chapter of modern soul.
Kendrick Lamar knows how to put on a show. From his 2016 Grammy performance, in which he arrived on stage as part of a chain gang before performing in front of a giant bonfire, to his show at the same awards this year where he (fake) shot his dancers one-by-one and was accompanied by military-inspired performers on the night. Kendrick’s shows are always eye-catching and more often than not, politically charged.
Every year at about this time we ask our writers to look back over the past 12 months in order to write a personal summary of the year in music. We’ve already had our ‘Best of the Year’ lists, covering the first six months and the last six months, but this is different. Rather than only covering the best things that happened, this is the place where we look at trends in music and the general overall feeling the year has left us with. Scanning through the submissions it’s interesting to note that many of us ended 2017 not on a high, or a low, but with a resounding ‘meh’!
Perhaps, in a year dominated by the Trump tweets a number of us mentioned, we are all feeling a sort of current affairs fatigue that’s been colouring our impressions. Maybe 2017 simply pulled its punches towards the end, leaving the real highlights somewhat buried in our memories. If you ended the year in something of a musical malaise I’d highly recommend reading this, as all of us found, upon reflection, that there were many more things to be joyful about than we’d initially thought. As we prepare to enter another year of musical delights let’s see what our writers found most special, and, in some cases, most infuriating last year.
Right off the bat I’ll admit I’m no expert when it comes to Fazerdaze. While it’s clear the New Zealander creates teen-angst lo-fi pop – amassing over three million views of her recent single ‘Lucky Girl’ on YouTube – I can hold my hands up and admit I’m not the target audience. Still, I had heard good things and, as she descended on Brighton to play at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, I was intrigued to hear this up-and-coming musician play.
Following a long day in the Brightonsfinest office, wrapping up around 7.20pm and with an early 7.30pm start for the Friday night show, I had to dash across town on foot and bike to make it to the venue just in time to catch the opening number by local band Post Heather. Opening the door to Sticky Mike's with an escalated heartbeat already, the thundering combination of drums and guitar from Jack Watkins and Heather Sheret hit me like a gut punch.
Considering the early start, the venue was already filling up nicely for this shoegaze duo. The local two-piece have been in and around the Brighton scene for a while now and, with rumours of an EP on the way, they have recently ramped up their focus on the live show front.
Known previously for their psychedelic shoegaze-rock, they played a set featuring their back catalogue, including ‘Airplane’ and ‘Stone’, as well as a taster of what’s likely to come on their EP, with more pop-based numbers, such as their most recent release ‘Trust Fund’. Looking at issues of motivation and insecurity, the duo pack a rocking punch and, if their new music is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to hearing what else is to come.
Next up were North London band IDER. Utilising a synthesizer, keyboard and bass guitar, Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville produce pop songs laced with haunting vocals. Lyrically, the duo focus on the overarching emotional issues we all face on a daily basis, attempting to leave those feelings and attachments behind.
Stand out tracks from the evening included their a capella version of ‘GMLAA’, their latest single ‘Learn To Let Go’ (“So you got it together / But I'd rather be in my own mess”) and a slowed-down cover of Outkast’s ‘Roses’. Although not my vibe personally, the duo do produce catchy pop songs and are likely to find themselves on bigger stages by the time next summer’s festival season rolls around.
The final act of the evening was Amelia Murray, aka Fazerdaze. Returning to Brighton after her performance at The Great Escape Festival this year, Amelia and her three bandmates made their way on stage and began a set of lo-fi bubblegum pop tunes, dipping her toe in the shoegaze pond a number of times throughout the gig. Greeting the crowd downstairs at Sticky Mike’s, she announced, “I’ve just been in London and every time I go from London to Brighton I feel more relaxed”, which was met with a loud cheer and more than a few members of the audience clearly allowing a moment of mental backslapping throughout the venue.
At just 24 years old, the release of her debut album Morningside in May turned a few heads as she unveiled her cute fragility that’s layered time and time again with self-deprecation and teen angst. Writing, singing and playing practically every instrument on the record, and recording most of it from her room in (you guessed it) Morningside, Auckland, her tracks on the night came mostly from this debut album. The show’s midway point produced my personal highlight tonight with ‘Misread’: a jaunty tune camouflaging issues of self-doubt in a relationship, while other peaks came from tracks such as ‘Take It Slow’, ‘Bedroom Talks’ and ‘Half-Figured’:
“In my room, I'm so consumed by things that haven't happened yet
Sunlight drips in, night-time slips in
And I'm still here overthinking…
I've only half-figured it out”
While her bandmates complained about the difficulties of being tall in such a low-ceilinged room, all eyes were on Amelia as her easy-on-the-ear vocals and fuzz-pop short-but-sweet tunes captivated the packed out room.
One criticism of Morningside upon its release was its repetitive nature and lack of dynamic changes, however, it is the persona of Amelia that truly comes to the fore during her set and is what makes her live performance far more engrossing than the record allows. Appearing timid and somewhat self-conscious, her ability on-stage to draw the crowd in is truly consuming and, backed up with self-effacing lyrics and a solid band, it is no wonder she has been garnering so much attention of late.
Knowing little about all three acts prior to the show, the night was filled with performances that surpassed my expectations and I would urge anyone who has the chance to see these bands in town to check them out before they’re playing bigger venues.