2018 saw the usual mix of legends and newcomers appear across Brighton. At one end of the scale, Patti Smith’s Brighton Dome show was an absolute treat. All those years of poetic, powerful messages channelled into one unforgettable evening. A legend of a different sort, Jarvis Cocker’s surprise and intimate Patterns gig was one of those moments that you just can’t miss – his mixture of Pulp standards, solo classics and new ‘Jarv Is’ material made it a huge step up from the usual Britpop nostalgia. However, as a live moment, Shame at The Haunt is unbeatable. The explosion of a band grabbing their moment with both hands, in a venue that became woefully too small for them in the period between announcement and performance, the intensity of that night was unbelievable. To see them playing in front of a few thousand in London a few months later showed just what a dizzying ride they had enjoyed.
It has been one hell of a year. From the influx of thousands of artists during festival season to watching many of our most-loved Brighton bands bloom into genuine world beaters, 2018 has been an incredibly successful year for music locally. Our Brightonsfinest writers now look back over the past 12 months to remember their highlights on record and in the live sphere as well as the ones we missed.
Sometimes Brighton is a little too good for its own good. While Shame were rocking at The Haunt, Spanish four-piece Hinds were playing Concorde 2 and Manchester post-punk outfit Cabbage were at Patterns. Still, such was the impressive nature of South London’s Shame, it felt like a sizeable moment both for the band and the city, as both came together to create one of the gigs of 2018 so far, subsequently creating one of the most raucous, balls-to-the-wall atmospheres Brighton has seen for a while.
Back in January, Shame came out of the blocks fast with their stunning debut album Songs of Praise. Acclaimed across the board, their post-adolescent rage is infused with wit, a shed load of melody, and a fair degree of modesty. They didn't expect all this, but they may as well as take it as far as it goes. Following stints in Europe and the US they have just embarked on what they are now calling the 'Ibuprofen Tour'. Brightonsfinest spoke with guitarist Eddie Green about how a pub became the focus of their development, fighting at The Great Escape, and the stunning reaction to their music.
Barely two weeks into 2018, Brixton’s Shame have just made a compelling early case for Album of the Year. They are yet another band (but clearly not just another band) to emerge from the same South London scene as, amongst others, Fat White Family, HMLTD and YOWL and capture the same buzz as those other bright young things. Songs of Praise is a timely burst of socio-political angst, wrapped up in post-punk tones that draw comparison to the likes of Parquet Courts and The Fall. There is also a clever lightness of touch, dancing around the baggy suburbs of Madchester, while being propelled with the same frenetic energy that lifted The Rakes to brief fame in the early 00s. However, this is no pastiche and they only ever use these influences as springboards into something new, fresh and vitally now.