As far as years go, Brighton’s Sick Joy might have had the most impressive 2018 of any Brighton band. Not only did they release two excellent singles and their debut EP, but they wowed audiences with huge support slots for the likes of Tigercub at Concorde 2 and Feeder at Brixton Academy.
Tryptich is a festival over three days in the middle of January, which you might think is a crazy time to have a festival. Though Brighton has a long tradition of mini-festivals around this time of the year and I’ve been to quite a few over during that time. Despite it being the coldest night of the year so far, The Hope & Ruin was rammed when I turned up at the beginning of the night. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix of bands tonight but I have been looking forward to this show for a while.
Another first for me, a trip to the local Love Supreme festival to see Mr Jukes, Tom Misch, Zara McFarlane, Mavis Staples, Earth, Wind & Fire, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Level 42, James Taylor Quartet, Elvis Costello and more all in one blistering hot weekend. The weather was as good as the music and so much talent on the stages that I’ll never forget that weekend.
Every now and again you listen to an album for the first time and it makes you fall in love with music all over again. Afro Celt Sound System’s new album, Flight, is one of them for me. This is not a random collection of songs designed to fill up 60 minutes of your time or with the aim to launch that next chart topping single. This is an hour of pure musical joy.
I have a friend who, over the last ten years or so, asks me at least once a year, “Have you seen Afro Celt Sound System live?” to which I answer “no” and he tells me I really must. So when I saw they were playing the Dome it seemed like a good chance to see what he was on about. The band do not have a support as they play from 8pm till they are kicked off stage with a short 20 minute break in the middle. So for the first set they come on to the stage with a droney sound playing and kick things off with an African female singing solo before the rest of the band join in. More and more layers are added until it’s in full swing with all the ten members playing an eclectic mix of instruments and sounds.
As any fans of The Smashing Pumpkins who have been following them since their first album Gish will tell you, it’s been quite a ride. Back in the early 90s Billy Corgan had hair and their dreamy pop rock was a refreshing change from the noise bands coming out of the Seattle grunge scene. They also launched themselves with impressive videos for ‘Siva’ and ‘Rhinoceros’ which were so different you might be fooled into thinking they were two different bands. It was this that I, and many others, loved about them. They excelled at rocking out and doing the quite melodic stuff. The follow-up, Siamese Dream, was just as impressive and then, like Guns N’ Roses, they dropped a double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which was about two hours long and was an impressive collection of music. This was also when they added ‘The’ to the name Smashing Pumpkins.