Porridge Radio / Penelope Isles – Latest Music Bar – 30th September 2017

So Saturday is on and tonight’s show is set out as a ‘battle of the bands’ joint headliners set. There’s two of the biggest ‘about to breakthrough’ Brighton bands on the bill tonight. On the one hand you have Penelope Isles, who have been building their sound and following for years now. Notable fans would include Matt King, who everyone spots in the audience, then pretends as if they didn’t. Porridge Radio are certainly on the quirkier spectrum. They’ve been a name headlining the majority of local venues for a few years now.

Beachtape open up the show and each time I see them they develop more and more and become more refined. There’s something really enticing about their daydreamy lazy sound. Their main single ‘Again’ gets all the more charming each time I hear it and the indie scene seem’s to be turning their head Beachtape’s way.

The main stars of the show are Penelope Isles, whom I’ve watched live several times now. It’s been a while since the last time and the band have changed it up a bit and can only be described as ‘a bit more epic’. The room is full to capacity for their set with people watching from the stairs and ticket stand. The room goes dark and stays dimly lit through their set and it helps accent the mood for their much bigger sound. Not much has changed in the DNA of Penelope Isles, they’ve just gotten better at putting their sound through. Songs like ‘Cut Your Hair’ are still familiar but sound so much larger. Each song is greeted with a huge response from the packed room. Penelope Isles have a hypnotic charm about them. It’s not a clichéd ‘fall in love with a band moment’ but there is a genuine connection to them. Their music feels open and any listener can take what they want from the music. They are also Brighton’s champion band at the moment, it seems their success is a success for Brighton. There’s people in the audience who have worked with the band and they all look incredibly proud of how far they’ve come.

Switch the transition to Porridge Radio now. The joint headline aspect will make this review have a competitive slant, which is possibly unfair. The difference between the groups is night and day though. Porridge Radio represent the low-fi and the looser, weirder side of indie. They’ve almost become Brighton’s cult band of the moment with everyone that’s tapped into the music scene in Brighton having heard of them. Porridge Radio are the counter opposite to what Penelope Isles were, their set is a lot rougher round the edges but that is all within the Porridge Radio sound. All this is to their strength and they revel in the uncertainty. They’ve been going for a few years now and they still keep the same rough charm of a band just starting out.

Overall, tonight was a brilliant showcase of Brighton bands. The promoters have clearly picked the cream of the Brighton scene for the show. Each band has their own personality and a unique quality to their music. Tonight was proof of how healthy and vibrant the Brighton scene really is. Every set was as dynamic as it was engaging and it’s good to see that every band playing tonight has started to shape themselves a well-deserved platform.

Chris Middleton

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