Stonefield – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 5th July 2018

Photo by Dan Whitehouse

In support of their impressive and most recent album, Far From Earth, Stonefield took to The Hope & Ruin this week for the first date of their UK/EU tour, which will see them perform in London, Manchester, Paris and many more. The show featured support from Hill and Sister Witch, initially seeming pretty empty even for a small venue such as TH&R, but quickly gathering attention once the music had begun.

Having not heard any material of the support bands prior to the show, they both were surprising performances.

When Hill took to the stage, they opened with a spoken word segment and began to perform their extremely experimental sound. The performance was unlike anything I’ve seen all year but I’m not sure whether they were the right act to support Stonefield, given the vast difference in genre. Unfortunately their set suffered from several technical and tuning issues, meaning the band probably didn’t get the opportunity to express their work in the way they would’ve intended, especially considering the low amount of people who had arrived by the time they actually got to play.

By the time Sister Witch were due to play, the crowd had picked up significantly so the band had a lot to live up to, but they handled it tremendously from the get-go. One thing that was immediately noticeable was the difference in age and appearance between the members, which explains the vast influences and direction behind the band’s sound. Their music had a fresh but vintage feel to it, taking influence from traditional rock’n’roll with a slice of psychedelic modernism thrown in. With anthem after anthem, killer riffs and flawless drumming, the band were most definitely a hit with the punters.

After Sister Witch, it was time for the headliners to take to the stage. After two interesting and very different sets, it was clear who the crowd were really here for. Taking to the stage, my initial thoughts were that they seemed like a heavier Haim. Oddly enough the band consists of four sisters, but their sound couldn’t be further from traditional pop music. The Australian rockers’ youthful appearance was definitely not representative of the depth of their sound either, which continued in the psychedelic direction, but was perhaps slightly more accessible than that of the previous bands on the bill, due to their catchy guitar pieces. Having spoken to a fan before who informed me he had “Seen them three times”, it’s clear these girls are growing in popularity and their ability to produce music that can satisfy both heavier fans and commercial listeners should see them go far. As an experimental group, it was really great to see each member offering a significant contribution to each track and with two guitar players, a keyboard player and a drummer, along with immersive vocal performances, they’ve got all corners covered. For an evening of performances, Stonefield really showed the crowd why they deserved to be headlining  and they’d clearly be able to pull off shows in much bigger venues, it’s rare you see a band this versatile.

Dan Whitehouse