It was as if I had immersed myself within a Jack Kerouac novel. Suddenly, without a word of warning, the quartet emerged on stage. An exhilarating and explosive start left the room roaring, as the revolving cast of twinned percussionists catalysed the crowd into dancing fruition; with their syncopated and scattershot rhythms building up the energy in the room.
A look back at the Brightonsfinest interviews with The Mercury Prize shortlist artists Wolf Alice, Sons of Kemet and Everything Everything. This year's ceremony takes place at the Hammersmith Apollo, London on 20th September.
Having been fortunate enough to experience a lot of festivals over the years, Brainchild is one that comes with its own unique vibe that few can replicate. I can only liken it to the atmosphere that you feel at Glastonbury Festival, where although you are in fields with lots of people you have never met, it’s welcoming, open and relaxed. You feel totally at ease, as if it was your own backyard surrounded by people you love. A lot of this is down to the DIY ethos of the festival: Brainchild is volunteer-powered and not-for-profit. This means that the people who are behind the festival aren’t getting paid for their amazing efforts, while all the acts and artists are forgoing a big pay packet (which they’d get at other festivals) for smaller fees in order to be a part of the festival’s special idealology.
With a breathful intensity that coarses through his tenor saxophone, Shabaka Hutchings’ sax-playing is instantly recognisable on his many projects, that include the analogue cosmic synth fusion of The Comet Is Coming, the punk-jazz of Melt Yourself Down, the tuba-infused jazz-grooves of Sons of Kemet, and the gentler free jazz of Shabaka and The Ancestors. Initially a clarinet player, and disliker of jazz, he was eventually turned on to it with mentorships under Soweto Kinch and Courtney Pine. Sons of Kemet recently released their third album, Your Queen Is A Reptile, which proposes alternative Queens to our present day monarch. Recorded with Theon Cross (tuba), and the double drum team of Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner, Hutchings merges his classical clarinet and jazz orchestra training with the music he’s heard growing up in the Caribbean, travelling in South Africa, and living in London. As well as performing at this year's The Great Escape, Sons of Kemet are one of the main attractions at this year's Brainchild Festival, and will be touring later in the year, including a date in Brighton. With some very rare down time, Shabaka Hutchings talked to Brightonsfinest.
To paraphrase that Marmite film classic, the streets were alive with the sound of music! Over three long days and nights, Brighton did truly come alive as The Great Escape juggernaut rolled into town for its 13th edition. The festival for new music saw over 500 acts playing in 40-odd venues, representing countries from all around the globe. If you add in the The Alternative Great Escape, and the plethora of events and pop-up performances arranged off the back of TGE and AGE, you’re looking at closer to 1,000 acts in 80-odd venues. Yes, it was mad, but glorious. Helped along by some beautiful mid-May sunshine, somehow within all the chaos, Brightonsfinest were out in force, documenting, commenting, and enjoying what we like to do best. Watch live music.
So, brace yourself. If you were there, hopefully memories will be stirred. If you weren’t, dive into our thoughts about the state of new music, and check out our many recommendations.
Back for its 13th year, The Great Escape is the premier showcase in Europe for new music. Over three days and nights, Brighton is host to 450-plus acts playing over 30 venues, from around 20 countries. You won’t have heard of many of these acts, but quality and potential is the name of the game here. Along with a few fairly established names, the bulk of the bill is made up of acts who have shown their talent, and are on the cusp of bigger and better things. It is a fabulous opportunity to check out new music, covering almost all genres known to man. Alongside The Great Escape, there’s The Alternative Escape, which also features a wealth of stunning new talent, and The Great Escape Convention, where many of the music industry’s movers and shakers congregate to check out the talent, and do a spot of networking and deal making. For three days in May, Brighton truly is the place to be! To help you get a grasp of what is out there, we asked various Brightonsfinest contributors, along with some industry players, to give us the lowdown on who they are looking out for.