After weeks, but what really felt like months of miserable rain, gloom forsaken winds and an overall cull in most people’s social plans, it was a refreshing and more than welcome surprise travelling on the train with sunglasses at the ready. As the train was fast approaching and pulling into Brighton station, the rays of sun stood parallel and ready to be of service.
First act. First venue. Hailing from Newcastle, Lulu James bought forth her unapologetic brand of 21st century soul at The Haunt. In the midst of alternative, quirky female singers coming from every direction, Lulu James did her best to step forward as one that you should definitely take notice of. Tracks like ‘Halfway To Hell’ definitely set the afternoon off well. Haunting, tribal drums and James’ rough Morcheeba edged tone, it was a stark contrast to the striped back mellow set I saw next by Our Featured Embers…
Missing out on hotly tipped Mercury signing Karima Francis, due to a ‘beverage’ break, I headed over to The Alternative Escape to fill some time. At an intimate pub just before the coast line, Fishbowl, two guys, their guitars and a bar full of chatty punters and I got to hear a homely slice of comfy folk. Melodic ambient waves of strumming guitars and soft spoken songs casually filled the space. Although on CD, Our Featured Embers would probably be the perfect soundtrack to a chill out Sunday soundtrack but unfortunately, at times it didn’t seem to win over the sun happy talkative crowd. Nevertheless a great band to check out.
In need of something a bit more energetic, I made the right decision to check out the CC Smugglers. An eclectic jukebox of sounds where offered in the darkened basement of the Latest Music Bar from gypsy folk, to razz tazz blues. We were juking, twisting and clapping along like we were in a barn dance in Southern Alabama, rather than a basement in back street Brighton. Oh the joys of music!
Back to the serious stuff and back on track with the Escape evening plans. Gearing up for a great night of music, the artists definitely delivered. Playing with the sun set were pop/dance husband and wife duo New Look, we danced away at Digital, without care and only the joyful synths as our energy. Later we caught every A&R’s current favourite tip for the top, Haim. 3 sisters from LA who deliver great cross genre. Hints of Destiny child harmonies echoed throughout Audio and feet were stomping in sync to the addictive bassline during ‘Forever’. Definitely one to watch in my books.
On a musical high and with a Red Stripe in hand, we breezily took our time to the pier side, only to realise Willis Earl Beal had unfortunately cancelled his show at Life last minute. Upset, we mustered up enough strength to walk back to Komedia, just with enough time to catch Alabama Shakes. The whole venue was electrified, as lead singer Brittany Howard commanded the stage, with her powerful voice, demanding everyone within immediate distance to pay attention. Brilliant end to full day of music in Brighton.
By Tosin Adeniji
Spaceboy’s incredible stop-motion animation has just dropped. As part of Make Art on the Street the supremely talented Scot transformed a set of waterside shutters in Edinburgh into an extraordinary evolving artwork that now forms the basis to the piece. Using spray paints and pasted-up drawings, Spaceboy and his group of Edinburgh College of Art Graphics students took inspiration from the Jamaican studio culture of the 1970s and paid homage to some of the great Jamaican reggae artists. The work features many images of old school tape decks and references to Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark Studios. Immense. See it here and above.
One of our favourite festivals, The Great Escape, is taking over Brighton from 10th – 12th May. TGE is one of the best places to discover new music, and we want to discover some new writing talent. We’re giving away a pair of tickets, and need someone who loves festivals and music to come down and write a review for us. If you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, D.O.B and contact info and tell us why we should give them to you. Good luck…