4 OR 5 MAGICIANS
With a debut album Empty, Derivative Pop Songs finally due to see the light of day in October, 4 or 5 Magicians should finally receive the recognition they so rightly deserve. Steve Lamacq loves them, as does Huw Stephens, but don’t take their word for it – go and see for yourselves just how good their anthemic, guitar driven indie rock really is. Effortlessly catchy chords progressions, caustic lyrics and songs from the Guided By Voices school of excellence – all in all we think they’re more than a bit good. (IC)
In recent years there has been a surge of ‘Anti-bling’ hip hop on our sunny shores. Astro-Physics take this strongly in hand and have grown a shining example. A live band producing pumping party beats enfused with jazz, funk, drum and bass and even some rock for good measure, providing a platform for two of Brighton’s best M.C’s. Deepblak and Skilf juggle lyrics like true wordsmiths, not held down by sterio-types and displaying impeccable timing. (AD)
This year The Crave have toured with Deep Purple, Buck Cherry and festival slots at Sonisphere, Download and Rock Am Ring. Rock with your cock out, and catch the last few home grown shows from this lot before they’re too busy in a booze drug fuelled melee and hanging out with the rock elite. (AP)
HEELS CATCH FIRE
After opening this year’s Loop Festival and a widely received performance at last year’s Beachdown, Heels Catch Fire are a must to watch. For lovers of Sonic Youth and the Pixies as much as dance hall electro, there is something very mesmerising about this quintet and it’s not just cow print guitars! (AP)
To most (Brighton and beyond), Hereldeduke is Ollie Brown, the one man, hip hop, electronica and harmonica sonic force, who looks to draw the seemingly undrawable bridge between the Beta Band and Mark Ronson into one knockout whole. To others (SOURCE, basically), Hereldeduke is actually more familiar as a fine Fantasy Football League player who narrowly missed out on claiming the 2008 Skint league title because he used all his transfers up too quick. Buying Denilson was also a mistake, surely. (BG)
HERE THERE BE MONSTERS
Putting the LOUD into Live this year, HTBM are flying the metal banner. Groovier than a 72 and as savage as a Rockweiler on a toddler. Long standing members of the Brighton metal scene, they’re well known for their tight and intense performances, they don’t fit in any hole, they’re just metal out and out. Influences range as far and wide as Converge to Clutch. (AP)
THE LONG GOODBYE
Golden alt-country with a propensity for lengthy jamming, courtesy of Neil Young acolyte Alfie Bernardi and his shifting band of roots musicians. Bernardi and The Long Goodbye have settled into an enviable rural existence in the West Sussex wilds, recording in a barn and hosting an annual festival on their farm. Open-minded collaboration with a wide range of the area’s musicians makes Long Goodbye gigs a bit of a celebratory wig-out when the mood is right. (SH)
MY FIRST TOOTH
Charmingly upbeat indie pop is the order of the day here and it’s certainly a lovely place to be. With their clattering symphony of guitars, violins, and horns combining with playful melodies comparisons to the likes of Fanfarlo and Slow Club abound; and if they continue their steady rise to prominence then they could well find themselves in a similar position before too long. (IC)
With Pink Narcissus, Oli Spleen has ditched the saveloy hurling shock tactics of previous band The Flesh Happening in favour of a measured return to his first love, Jane’s Addiction. Backed by a frighteningly pretty band of musical prodigies with reassuringly daft names (step forward Cod, Cookie and Pinkie), Spleen’s lyrics now focus on the psychology of desire as much as its physical manifestations. Superficially more approachable, Spleen’s fondness for yelping, screaming and interfering with the crowd are never far away. (SH)
When you conjure up your band name from memories of masturbating to your own reflection as a teenager, you can get away with a little narcissism (especially pink). Bonded then bound by mutual loves, the new outfit Fronted by Oli Spleen (Flesh Happening & The Flesh Machine), lay Between the plateau where everyday experience takes place and the depths of fantasy, where the outlandish visions of terror and humour emerge. This is the antidote to all that is kitsch and sentimental in ‘Rock’. (AS)
Music journalism owes Restlesslist an apology. So often are lazy, unoriginal groups over-hyped by the press as being “genre-defying”, that when a truly exotic band arrives, it’s impossible to know what to say about them. I could tell you that their purely instrumental blend of leftfield rock, calypso, r’n’b and….uh….lots of other stuff, defies any conventional classification, but you’ve heard so many generic indie-rock bands being described in the same way that you probably wouldn’t believe me. You’ll just have to go and see them instead. (DA)
On the long list of what public school boys shouldn’t be allowed to do on the ground of impropriety, surely playing rock n’ roll is right up there along with picking one’s nose in public? And didn’t their mothers ever teach them it’s impolite to swagger? Tut tut boys. However, with their Rolling Stones’ reminiscent stylings and Jagger-esque pout, we can forgive them almost anything. Bring your dancing shoes folks: these chaps put on a stonking good show. (AL)
This month’s cover stars head up the rock contingent with their revised take on 90s American alternative with two sets including a very special acoustic performance in the Unitarian Church. Expect some out of the ordinary sonic assaults to set a cat amongst the folk and blues pigeons. (AP)
THE SEA WILL DECIDE
Home-grown americana from The Sea Will Decide, evoking the heartfelt after hour’s melancholy of Elliott Smith. It’s certainly not at all gloomy though, as his songs are shot through with a starry-eyed optimism and a serene kind of contented happiness. Fans of Iron & Wine and Ryan Adams would do well to investigate further. (IC)
Summery indiepop from the fresh-faced Veloes and their dual vocalists, peddling the sort of cheery, jangly singalong tunes indicative of a relaxed youth studying British beat groups in parental record collections. The Veloes’ confidence in their musicianship sometimes sees them bringing string quartets and suchlike onto the small stages of the Sussex scene. Amiable outsiders worth keeping an eye on. (SH)
After support slots with the likes of Phantom Band and The Low Lows, Welfare Mothers are quite rightly building a reputation as an impressive live act. Drawing on a host of influences their sound is pitched somewhere neatly between the trippy psychedelia of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the grungy alt rock of Screaming Trees but all with a distinctly English edge. With a self released debut EP out later this year this lot are well worth a look. (IC)
THE WELLINGTONS Brighton Live Friday 2nd
The duo making up The Wellingtons, like breadcrumbs, leave a trail of charming quips and notes behind their songs whilst ever engrossing you further into their world. Playing the always haunting cello, and often an array of oddly yet innovatively used non-instruments, they can entice even the hardened-eared music lover with such romanticism. With harmonies so beautifully crisp and their whimsical mystique, you could easily fall in love with both of these girls, Brighton’s own Cocorosie. (AS)
It’s been a long time coming, but funk rockers Echo State have finally unveiled their album Desdemona in time for Brighton Live. Capital keyboardist Joel Roberts handled production, helping to make Desdemona a polished, mainstream affair, but it’s live that Echo State come across best. Any post Chilli Peppers band needs, at the very least, a pretty decent rhythm section, and fortunately it’s here that the amiable Echo State boys acquit themselves admirably. (SH)
Jaunty alt-country outfit The LayLanas have had a busy year already, with countless local festival appearances, repeat London visits at the behest of Alabama 3, and even some style press profiling, courtesy of well turned out frontwoman Lana McDee. Big on harmonies and snappy tunes, The LayLanas’ hoedowns make them perfect late evening entertainment for the flagging festival goer. (SH)
Folky, big hearted singer-songwriter fare from Bernice MacDonald and her close knit acoustic band. Set amongst Brighton’s numerous open mic and solo spots, MacDonald’s broad vocal range is her trump card. We saw her pull quite a crowd at the rather out of the way (well, Portland Road) Three Graces in the summer, so her Brighton Live slot should be worth a look. (SH)
Thumping meat & potatoes indie rock & rollers Riot Riot may lack subtlety, but with that name at least Trade Descriptions weren’t gonna come knocking. At last year’s Brighton Live show at the Albert, Riot Riot were still all trilbys and string vests straight out of the Xfm book of dressing like The Holloways, but hopefully they’ve toughened up their stage presence to match the solidity of recent single What I’d Do For Lilly. (SH)
Since their earliest gigs as a faltering, nervy duo a couple of years back, Restlesslist’s confidence has grown as their numbers have swelled. Their instrumental experimentalism crucially incorporates kid friendly riffs and noises, making Restlesslist resemble a mariachi Go! Team on occasions. Winning wide support from wonderful Radio One helps push Restlesslist to the top of Brighton Live’s “must sees” this year. (SH)
Kenny McCracken’s cheery guitar poppers were one of the big draws at Brighton Live last year, packing out Audio with some almost distressingly enthusiastic fans. Some excellent videos and artwork (picked up a Gloria Cycles beermat yet?) have all helped reward the faithful in between gigs too. Everything point to Gloria Cycles once again hosting one of Brighton Live’s most celebratory showcases.(SH)
BRIGHTON LIVE Q&A
Jack Thunder (Press officer)
Pretty much no one gets paid, it’s non-profit – why do Brighton Live?
Brighton Live is a great way for the Brighton music scene to give a little something back and to continue a tradition of live music that makes Brighton so great! Brighton is renowned for being a hotbed of musical talent and Brighton Live is a unique opportunity for emerging talent to get heard, regardless of cost. Magazines, radio and promoters all come on board and offer promotion and time to give these bands a well publicised gathering. It showcases their talent to new audiences and celebrates not only Brighton’s up and coming bands but also this year, more established acts. Everyone from British Sea Power, Bat For Lashes, Maccabees and 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster have played at Brighton Live on their way up.
How did the idea come about?
Brighton Live was conceived in 2003 when Brighton promoters, Lisa Maisery (Lout Promotions) and Anna Moulson (Melting Vinyl) worked on a multi-venue free music event for Radio One called One Live. The city was set alight with live perfomance and the duo thought “we can do this for ourselves”. With the help of Juice FM’s Steve Stark, Brighton Live was born and became the city’s only free multi music event.
Brighton Live seems to have got bigger and better but took a step s last year. What happened?
The event has grown and grown over the last six years and eventually got a little too big to handle and out of control. Last year the festival took time to regroup and this year the focus has been to get the event back to grass roots, with the number one focus being good music. This year it is truly back and better than ever, staying true to the original ideal conceived all those years ago. The event this September will truly be the ultimate antidote to the credit crunch and those end of summer blues. What more could you ask for? Free gigs and a chance to have a good old knees up to new and old Brighton musical faves!
Who’s your pick of the bands this year?
For me it has to be the dub step mentalists that are PRJCT MYHM, the ever-endearing Half Sisters, and the more established Paul Steel, Stars and Sons, Pangs, the electronically diverse Grasscut and Brighton’s one and only JFB.
How do the bands get chosen?
Bands submit demos to the Brighton Live board via either the festival website www.brightonlive.net or through dropping demos off at Juice. The line-up has been looked at closely this year to reflect the city’s musically diverse nature and to make sure everyone gets a chance to be heard.
Brighton Live runs from wed 30th – fri 2nd October.
WORDS BY DOM ASHTON, IAN CHAMBERS, ADAM DENCH, BEN GILBERT, STUART HUGGET, AMY LAVELLE, ANDY PARKER, ADAM STRANDT