Sea Monsters Day 3 Review
The third night of 2013’s Sea Monsters festival was held in collaboration with Love Thy Neighbour, a Brighton label collective who put on shows too. This evening’s aural entertainment is opened by singer-songwriter Jacko Hooper. With boy-band looks, a talent with the guitar and catchy, pop indie hooks, he’s the kind of musician that label scouts salivate over. The charts may be saturated with male solo artists at the moment but Hooper’s heartfelt, longing voice elevates him above his competitors. Some of the songs run into each other but there are moments of true beauty, and when he develops these, it seems very unlikely he’ll be playing above pubs any more.
Second to take the stage are Brighton four man band Plasticine, who are billed as Brit-pop and certainly look the part, with tousled hair, stubble and stripy tee-shirts. There’s a hint of Suede in the soft guitars and a bit of Blur in the choruses, but although their musical influences stem from that era, they’re not defined by it. There’s choppy, modern structures in their songs and an underlying tightness that belies the languid, stylised delivery.
Holy Vessels were SOURCE cover stars last summer, and we like them so much that last year’s single, ‘Springtime Bloom,’ topped our Writers’ Chart for 2012. Their folksy, country-rock sound has an uncanny knack for sticking in your mind, and feeling pleasantly familiar from the first listen. There’s something about the guitars and sing-song tones, that when played live, are reminiscent of The Velvet Underground, but the vocals are lighter and more organic. Even as it’s snowing outside, listening to Holy Vessels is like lazing in a summer meadow: natural, warm and somehow right.
Abi Wade is primarily a cellist, but veers far from the traditional use of her instrument. With tapping, plucking and shaky layering over the classic bowing of the cello, she creates a sound that is tense, haunting and the perfect complement to her voice. ‘Heavy Heart’ is one of her better-known and most accessible tracks, and her newer material reveals even more experimentation, to great effect. She opened her set with a little self-deprecating introduction, which was wholly unfounded. She may not see herself as headline act material, but every other person in the room did – an awe-filled silence fell at the start of her set and didn’t lift until she started to pack away, as the audience awoke from her spell. Abi Wade is one of the best recording artists in Brighton at the moment, and keeps improving.
Prince Albert, Wednesday 23rd January 2013
Words by Jessica Marshall McHattie
Photos by Rob Orchard for Brighton Music Blog