Triptych, a three-day festival courtesy of Love Thy Neighbour, has seen such an amazingly eclectic mix of Brighton’s favourite artists play, that it is vital to providing a platform for up-and-coming talent. Winter Gardens are determined to use the opportunity wisely. Touting themselves as ‘dream punks’, the quartet amalgamate everything that was glorious about bygone days of 4AD and Creation to produce a melodic, synth-driven journey through time that definitely gets the crowd’s attention. Singer Ananda is confident in her performance and she is ably accompanied by the rest of the band. Latest single ‘Coral Bells’ means WG are definitely of note on the East Sussex scene and one of their next appearances is at Austerity Records’ Hastings launch party in February, where Idles are doing a DJ set, no less.
Radidas are locally-based students, which says a lot about the calibre of young musical ability on the doorstep. The audience’s limbs are flailing uncontrollably as the energy that these two blokes generate runs through the dark and sticky room like a gurning-but-happy Happy Mondays furiously shaking their maracas. This time harping back to Factory Records’ New Order era but with their own influence of modern electronic sound, Radidas’ kitsch and rather crap name betrays how good they actually are. Though it’s refreshing that the duo don’t take themselves too seriously, regardless, they should ensure that they have something really interesting in what they do as, with a little refinement, it could make them yet more popular outside of this fair city. Brighton is definitely picking up on the hype if tonight is anything to go by. Don’t listen to their Spotify page though. It doesn’t sound like them.
To be honest, Hollow Hand now seem something of an odd headliner in lieu of the atmosphere supplied by their support acts but, as a more established act, the trio are creating their own ripples with last year’s release of their simply gorgeous Star Chamber LP. They also have full marks for refusing to shed most of their winter clothing onstage and sweating only a little profusely throughout. Singer Max Kinghorn-Smith has to keep his satin scarf on because it matches his stunning pout, adding to the subtle glamour they exude.
Hollow Hand’s songwriting is as lustrous as their hair, though they get off to a slow start. Despite delivering some charming tracks full of retro harmonies, hooks and riffs, the lack of chemistry or charisma from Hollow Hand, and between them, sometimes means that the chattering offstage is actually louder this evening. This reaction is really disappointing because they are fantastic musicians and, on record, their potential suggests so much more is possible. At one point, Max admits that he is not a natural frontman, though he does appear to relax as he introduces his guitar, which he bought from metal saviours, Raging Speedhorn, when he was a teenager. Sadly, quintessentially English tracks like ‘Blackberry Wine’ and ‘Ancestral Lands’, brimming with a love of Marc Bolan, The Kinks and Simon and Garfunkel, are lost on all but their most faithful fans – a shame because if Brighton isn’t the place to embrace such gloriously classic 60s-inspired style and grace, then where is?