Apples & Eve – StIcky Mikes Frog Bar – 4th April 2013

On a miserable, windswept Brighton night I head down to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar for the first monthly night from BrightonsFinest. Stepping inside the atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the stage is attractively dressed with village fête bunting, fairy lights and a merch presented in vintage suitcases. We are soon treated to a promising set from Bournemouth band Willowen, these guys are young and fresh-faced but have an impressive list of support slots on their CV (including Moulettes, Paul Heaton and KT Tunstall, who they cover in their set). As the band perform it is clear why they got the bookings, as musicians they are accomplished beyond their years. The trio play an upbeat folky set combining acoustic guitar, violin and percussion with lots of vocal harmonies and a sunny disposition. It’s a charming, buoyant start to the night and I expect they will go far!

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Electric Soft Parade

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The Electric Soft Parade are back this week with a new single and video, ‘Brother You Must Walk Your Path Alone’. This is the first track we’ve heard from their forthcoming fourth LP ‘IDIOTS’ which is due out in the summer. I say ‘back’ but really Alex and Thomas White have seldom been far from Brighton stages. ESP reunited as a live entity back in 2010, to raise money for the Martlets Hospice at their ‘Maximalism’ event at the Concorde 2. In 2011 the band released an EP featuring new material, toured in Europe with Noel Gallagher, and held a residency at The Albert where they played their back catalogue in sequence and showcased some new material. 2012 was a bit of a landmark year for ESP, it was the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Holes In The Wall’, which has probably been their most commercially successful record to date; garnering a Mercury Music Prize nomination and spawning several chart-bothering singles. This is all relevant because the band has reunited with the same production team (Chris Hughes and Mark Frith) that brought us their debut for ‘IDIOTS’. The band spent most of 2012 ensconced in a studio working on the record; these first results suggest it was time well spent!

‘Brother You Must Walk Your Path Alone’ is a charming piece of mature pop music; shuffling drums, soft acoustic guitars, pretty pianos and a luscious vocal from Thomas White. The track is shimmery and summery as hell, yet it is underpinned by a sense of melancholy and longing, dark contemplative lyrics contrast with a buoyant guitar hook and I’m left feeling both nostalgic and comforted. This is all perfectly illustrated by the video. In a series of beautiful shots we see a young man on a journey, reminiscing in black and white flashbacks of an old relationship. At the end we find he is visiting a graveyard, presumably his former lover is dead. It’s all very poignant, and if you look carefully you’ll see cameos from the brothers’ White. It’s a fantastic first release and a real tight piece of production, it’s not very often a ballad like this comes in way under three minutes! An extremely promising start for album number four, I can’t wait!

Terry Moore
BrightonsFinest
 
 

Playlist


Weekly Playlist

Sea Monsters Festival – The Price Albert – 23rd January 2013

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.

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The Mojo Fins – The Old Market – 30th November 2012

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!

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Myniemoe – The Brunswick – 20th October 2012

I arrived a little late for MynieMoe's EP Launch at The Brunswick and unfortunately caught only the last song of support band Le Juki. I'd been privileged to see them once before and was looking forward to another dose of their unusual, experimental 'toys-hop' tunes. I shall have to look out for another show as their set finale was received with warm applause accompanied by that genuine groan that gets released by an audience who really would like a bit more!

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WHY? – The Old Market – 8th October 2012

 

I arrived early for ‘Why?’s welcome return to Brighton’s shores and was treated to an intense introduction to support group ‘Young Fathers’. Rappers Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings and Alloysious Massaquoi were joined live by an anonymous percussionist with a single floor tom and a pair of splash cymbals to beef up the backing tracks they sang over. These guys were absolutely committed to their performance and locked audience members with thousand-yard cold stares between fits of exuberant dancing. Their commitment onstage sat well with a well crafted set of interesting tunes, great arrangements and fantastic voices: switching from heavy lyrical raps to surprisingly tender soulful vocals, definitely ones to keep an eye on.

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