Sons of Kemet – Komedia, Brighton – 30th October 2018

It was as if I had immersed myself within a Jack Kerouac novel. Suddenly, without a word of warning, the quartet emerged on stage. An exhilarating and explosive start left the room roaring, as the revolving cast of twinned percussionists catalysed the crowd into dancing fruition; with their syncopated and scattershot rhythms building up the energy in the room.

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The Breath – Komedia Studio Bar, Brighton – 8th November 2018

Support act, Brighton-based Ellie Ford, could be part white witch for the Joanna Newsom tone to her voice. Often sounding like the fairy from much-loved 80s Christmas film, Scrooged, by this I obviously mean that Ford can switch from sailing purity to something more guttural in the pluck of her harp string, making for a captivating performance. Also drawing on influences such as Karen Dalton and Nick Drake, she fronts a band of four other musicians who champion her brand of understated contemporary folk.

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Yak – The Haunt, Brighton – 2nd November 2018

As live bands go, you don’t get much more bang for your buck than Yak. Our first experience of the London band was at 234 Fest 2015, when lead singer Oliver Henry Burslem climbed up to the ceiling of the Green Door Store and dangled from the steel beam above the stage whilst screeching his rock’n’roll tones – memorable to say the least. Having released the fantastic debut Alas Salvation LP in 2016 and having featured on our Brightonsfinest Volume 2 compilation in 2017, the trio came to The Haunt for what should only be a show of epic proportions; especially with the almighty Sons Of Raphael in support.

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The Prodigy – Brighton Centre – 5th November 2018

Fireworks night proved to be the perfect timing for The Prodigy to put on a seriously explosive show, the only casualties being a few thousand sets of eardrums and surely a few sore heads the following morning. A night with Liam, Keith and Maxim is not one that goes by gently, and tonight is no exception. It is deafening, it is incendiary, it is a performance from a band that, despite some shaky recent recorded output, still put on one hell of a live show.

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Sam Walker – The Brunswick, Hove – 1st November 2018

This is a concert I had been looking forward to for a while now. To start with, it features two local artists I’ve know for over ten years, Sam Walker and Shona Foster, who I’ve seen countless times in a variety of venues and a number of different line-ups. Also, it’s in one of my favourite venues, The Brunswick, where I’ve seen them both play before numerous times and always left having enjoyed the gig.

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Bad Sounds – The Haunt, Brighton – 3rd November 2018

“Make bad better” goes the advice from the pre-show tannoy, followed shortly by, ”This is the room where you get better in.” Public service announcements at gigs normally get disregarded, but not tonight. Not this time. Bad Sounds, the indie-pop sensations from Bath, provided a hungry crowd with nothing but better times, and hands down one of the best live shows of the year in Brighton.

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Dream Wife – Concorde 2, Brighton – 30th October 2018

“Brighton tonight, where it all began”, so said Dream Wife on Twitter before their homecoming gig at Concorde 2. Indeed the birthing ground of the group, having formed at Brighton University originally as an art project, the trio brought some art-punk magic to the iconic seaside venue. Playing their first Brighton headline set since the release of their terrific eponymous debut album, it’s difficult to describe Dream Wife as anything other than vital, fierce and political luminaries.

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Sam Evian – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 24th October 2018

With two stunning albums to boot on Saddle Creek, both of which have somehow seemingly gone under the radar, surely it won’t be long before the talents of Sam Evian are recognised among musos alike. Brainchild of former Celestial Shore guitarist Sam Owen, a singer-songwriter/producer from New York, the band’s super smooth whispered Americana sound takes strong influences from some of the American guitar greats from the 60s/70s, holding a strong emotional retrospective edge to each track. We first came across Sam Evian at their astounding performance at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar over The Great Escape Festival 2018, so we were thrilled when we heard they were coming back to Brighton.

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John Grant – Brighton Dome – 29th October 2018

Since the dissolution of The Czars, John Grant has been steadily moving further down an electro lane with each new release. This year’s Creep Show side-project record was no anomaly, as last month’s Love Is Magic proved. Tonight’s return to Brighton is a celebration of his continued ability to balance devastating electro beats with his smooth, almost classic soft rock style. It may take the audience a little while to loosen those limbs, but by the night’s climax they are all eating out of his hand.

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