I was intrigued when I saw Moulettes and The Sly Tones were sharing a bill so I made my way down to The Haunt to see if it would work! Admittedly I’d never seen Moulettes before, or listened to much of their stuff. I had vague ideas of them being a fairly esoteric folk group so I was imagining a real clash when they came up against the Sly Tones brand of progressive rock music.
I had a small window of opportunity to catch Simonne & The Dark Stars supporting Dr Scardo at The Albert last night. We’ve been hearing their name a lot at BrightonsFinest HQ recently so I was dispatched to investigate. Simonne is an excellent pianist with a distinctive vocal that immediately made me think of PJ Harvey’s recent ‘Let England Shake’ record and Kate Bush’s wonderfully eccentric approach – a dramatic style that suited her piano-driven melodic songs. She was joined onstage by The Dark Stars – Mark Robbins on bass and backing vocals and Billy Poole on drums, who did a great job providing a solid backbone to the music. Robbins made some creative choices with the bass, playing some fantastic slide-bass on the opening song, using what looked like a small beer bottle, and later in the set it sounded like he was using a pitch-shifter, perhaps to compensate for the absence of guitarist Andy Small.
The band was joined this evening by a multi-instrumentalist who was introduced as Jules, “a one man junkyard orchestra”, playing the saw, shakers, harmonica and a tiny saxophone-like instrument that sounded quite Middle Eastern to my ears. Jules turned out to be an excellent saw player who not only used a bow to create haunting string-like sounds but also used it as a percussion device, using the teeth of the saw to sound almost like a guiro and hitting it with a spoon to make a combination of the two! He got some fantastic noises out of it, but I must confess towards the end of the set I felt he could have eased off a little or perhaps I was just missing the clarinet parts I’d heard on their soundcloud page (http://soundcloud.com/s_thedarkstars).
The band seemed to take a couple of numbers to get into their groove and I felt the arrangements of a couple of songs slightly too long at the start, but by the end of the set they had me and the whole crowd in the palms of their hands. I was ready for a storming finale when the soundman told them abruptly that they had over-run and had to stop: very frustrating! I’m look forward to seeing this band again and watching their sound develop, those hats are brimming with potential.
So the time had come for The Great Escape’s ‘Spring Party’. However ‘Spring’ was certainly not in the air. Brighton seemed pretty deserted until I arrived at The Green Door Store which was buzzing with anticipation for an evening of great music.
This years' One Inch Badge's 'Sea Monsters' Festival was an early entry in my diary after being enticed by the fantastic line-up featuring; Abi Wade + The Holy Vessels/Plasticine/Jacko Hooper.
The night opened with the wonderfully delicate Jacko Hooper. With a beautiful voice that lingers in the air like cigarette smoke from a 1950's film, Hooper captures the audience with his gentle melodies and lyrics that tell poetic tales of love and lost love.
I’d been looking forward to The Mojo Fins Old Market show for weeks, so it was a great disappointment when I saw online that band were being forced to pull out due to illness. It was a shame as I hadn’t seen the group play live in a long time – I was eager to see them in such an elegant setting and hopeful we’d be hearing some of the new material they’ve reportedly been working on. Luckily the line-up for the night was so strong I wasn’t perturbed, and judging from the excellent turnout few people were: extended sets from Apples & Eve and Shona Foster were still a very enticing proposition. I even spotted the uncontaminated members of The Mojo Fins sitting in the front row enjoying the entertainment!