Brighton singer-songwriter Edward Sansom has been impressive in his short career as a musician thus far. Not only has he played Glastonbury festival, but he won a bursary from the ‘Real Unsigned Project’ through Arts Council England and gained support from BBC Introducing in both Sussex and Surrey.
From the moment we first laid eyes on Brighton quartet Fur we knew they were onto something special. Since then, we’ve seen them dominate The Beach stage at this year’s The Great Escape festival – as well as our very own stage for the Alternative Escape – and headline The Haunt at the start of the year.
With the likes of Taff’s My Element EP, Caged Tigers’ dazzling new single ‘Home’ and Scarlett Fae’s soothing debut ‘Knew You’, it’s safe to say that Brighton label QM Records have been on a bit of a roll in the latter half of 2018. Following in that thrilling line of hip-hop and soul is Sylvia Mwenze with her gorgeous debut single ‘Alarm’.
Even we’re getting tired of our own voices when we talk about Thyla – but we just can’t help ourselves. Such is the dynamism and brilliance of the Brighton quartet – with brilliant 2018 singles ‘Candy’, ‘Blame’ and ‘I Was Biting’ under their belt as well as some breathtakingly exciting live shows – that we just can’t help ourselves but to wax lyrical about the four-piece.
The demise of Palma Violets was a sad thing, indeed, both indicating the difficulty in keeping an indie band going and how hard it is to make the next step after minor success. Despite the sadness, however, there’s reason to be positive. While Chilli Jesson has created Crewel Intentions, who we witnessed supporting Johnny Marr early last month and called, “A heady, intoxicating mix of Nick Cave and Echo & The Bunnymen”, the remaining members – Sam Fryer, Pete Mayhew and Will Doyle – have created Gently Tender. Also recruiting The Big Moon’s Celia Archer and guitarist Adam Brown, the band’s first trip to Brighton was a positive and upbeat one, showcasing that Palma Violets’ collapse may be a blessing in disguise after all.
It’s testament to the power of the Brighton scene that it feels like every week a local band is making the step up to headline a venue they’ve once played first support in to a couple of friends. This is true for Brighton quartet Twilight Driving, who played to a packed out Hope & Ruin in aid of their brilliant new single ‘Dangerous’ – which we called a, “Hook-heavy, synth-laden call-to-arms” on its release. No doubt one of, if not the, greatest showcase of the band thus far in their short careers, Twilight Driving owned the stage from start to finish, exhibiting their stadium-ready pop-rock to their passionate crowd.
While 2018 has, largely, seen the rise in raucous, politically-charged anthems take the limelight – with the likes of Shame and Idles producing incredible moments both on record and in the live sphere – and capturing the imaginations of wild, youthful audiences, there’s also been a quieter, more reflective style sending adolescent music fans into raptures. One such artist is Matt Maltese, who released his debut album, Bad Contestant, in the summer, and celebrated his fantastic year with a lowkey show at The Haunt.
Bryan Ferry is a pop legend. A true auteur in every sense of the word, he influenced a generation of new-wave, new-romantic pioneers with legendary band Roxy Music, and continued to reinvent himself as a solo artist. From out and out pop bangers in the form of ‘Slave to Love’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’, to more experimental records and Bob Dylan cover albums, Ferry is a true artiste constantly reinventing the wheel. His latest record Bitter-Sweet, sees him once again team up with his orchestra and explore the jazz genre after 2012’s The Jazz Age. It’s an atmospheric, smoky affair with Ferry’s sumptuous vocals aligning with the jazzy backdrop with aplomb.
Florence Welch has been there and done that in her (relatively) short career. She’s won an Ivor Novello award, she’s headlined Glastonbury festival, and she’s toured arenas consistently for the last five years, so you’d forgive her for phoning it in on one of her smallest dates on the High as Hope tour in Brighton. Never one to not put in 100%, however, she provided her adoring fans with an iconic greatest hits display and, in the process, showcased her beautiful, heart-rendering vocals and magnetic stage presence.
Voodoo and the Crypts have been impressing us for a while now, with excellent live shows across the city, and three excellent singles detailing their baggy outlook on indie-rock. Their show at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, their biggest ever headline show, was just another step in the rise of the band and felt like a genuinely special occasion with an excellent line-up and a beautiful cover from the band.