Suzi Island – Green Door Store, Brighton – 17th July 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

Brighton’s Suzi Island have been on various blogs’ ‘ones to watch’ for a while now, but it was not until their most recent single that they’ve really shown their potential to bloom. ‘Actor’ has not only featured on countless amounts of hype blogs and prestigious Spotify playlists, but it was also showcased at half-time of BBC One’s coverage of England’s World Cup quarter-final match against Sweden. So there was a lot of hype building up to their headline showcase at Green Door Store and, in the criminally short time they were on stage, they exhibited themselves as a very exciting band indeed. Exuberant, passionate, and with a whole host of indie floor-fillers, Suzi Island could well be indie pop’s next big thing.

With Brighton’s musical prowess thriving at the moment, the bill was absolutely top notch too. Nature TV, who impressed us with their support slot for Swimming Tapes back in April, opened the bill with their jangly pop. The last time we saw the four-piece we described them as dream pop but, this time, there was a smoother, lackadaisical atmosphere to their set. Littered with smooth jams such as ‘Moonlight’, Nature TV’s sound is an amalgamation of something that falls between slacker rock, elevator music, and rhythmic jazz much like Rex Orange County and Tom Misch.

Next up was L.A. Peach, celebrating his third EP release which dropped last Friday. This was an incredibly impressive set brimming with tender and gentle pop songs with an Americana twinge in the vein of the likes of Angel Olsen. Featuring musical meanderings, and some of the funniest on-stage talk I’ve ever seen, this was an exceptionally professional and credible performance that truly exhibited his unique knack for clever, narrative-led musical storytelling.

Unfortunately, by the time Suzi Island made their way to the stage, the crowd had filtered a little bit, such is the way with midweek free gigs, but that didn’t dampen the band’s party spirits. Featuring Hawaiian leis given out to the crowd, as well as a projection of the band’s name on the left hand side of the Green Door Store, it was clear the band came here to put on a party – and that’s exactly what they achieved in a relatively short amount of time. Rifling into debut single ‘Show Me The Way’, which resembles Sigala’s massive summer single ‘Give Me Your Love’ with John Newman and Nile Rodgers, but transformed into an indier sound, a la The Wombats’ finest output, the limited crowd didn’t stop moving and jiving for the remainder of the set.

Their second, and most recent, single ‘Actor’ came next and it was instantly evident why it has lifted the band to the next tier of their musical career. With its slightly more guitar-based sound compared to ‘Show Me The Way’, it has all the makings of an indie anthem with its shout-along chorus, and stomping drum beat all the way through. With just two songs, admittedly their only singles released so far, the band looked and sounded about ten times bigger than the venue and the crowd they were playing to.

Ending on ‘Real Life’, which was proceeded with, “This song means a lot to all of us because we’ve just left uni”, it was over way too soon but, as a taster to one of the most exciting new bands to emerged from Brighton’s impressive musical scene, this was a tantalising experience of captivating, youthful pop music. On this evidence, Suzi Island will be a destination for many of the coming months.

Liam McMillen