As SOURCE gets out of the camper van on Bexhill seafront we are instantly greeted by beautiful sounds. Not just the lulling of the waves, but the start of Brighton shoegazers Winter Gardens on an outdoor stage which faces straight out to the English Channel. The neue deutsche welle (German new wave) 80s post punk sounds of ‘Moonjockey’ lead nicely into the more Slowdivey trio of songs taken from the ‘Tapestry’ EP that close the set.
Following a quick changeover, the crowd becomes very familiar, as the usual front row of most Brighton ‘room above a pub’ gigs take their spots. The Belly Crawlers Social Club is out in full force for SNAYX, just in time for the sun to make its first proper appearance of the day.
Despite Ollie’s bass having some serious sound crackle issues at first, this trio of professionals barely miss a beat and pull off their usual standard of performance with a set that sees Charlie regularly jumping into the crowd. Some quite rawkus moshing begins as the band plays ‘H.A.N.G’ and ‘Boys In Blue’, followed by the “We like to party” sample that leads into ‘FAYX’. Team SOURCE dives into the post-gig frenzy to make sure we all grab one of those Seaview special edition SNAYX badges based on the Jaws poster complete with one gold shark tooth.
A change of track and we are wrapped up in the comfort of full Neu!-style krautrock with the fabulous Pale Blue Eyes, as the sun warms our back and the beer we were covered in during SNAYX; turns very sticky. This Sheffield-based band really are a delight. Warm harmonic sounds delivered by musicians who are clearly enjoying themselves. “The view is fucking amazing! It’s real distracting that.” says guitarist and vocalist Matthew, with a big grin on his face, before he almost loses himself in the deep blue sea. The set draws from their 2022 album ‘Souvenirs’ as well as ‘This House’, soon to be released on the excellent Full Time Hobby Records. We are very much looking forward to the album launch in-store at Resident Records on the 6th of September.
The on-point programming continues with one of this year’s buzz new bands: Jojo Orm and her merry band of Heartworms. Since catching them on the beach Airstream caravan stage at 2022’s Great Escape (review here) we’ve seen the band grow and develop both in terms of performance and songwriting quality. The big question is whether they can keep the momentum going. Somehow, in defiance of all scientific possibility, Heartworms keep getting better and better and infinitely more confident, whilst continuing to radiate natural charm. New tracks ‘Jacked’ and ‘May I Comply’ bode well for the debut album they are recording with Speedy Wundergound’s Dan Carey, while ‘Constant Dedication’ is relaxing into its newfound status as a goth anthem, equal in every way to its obvious forebears.
Local indie supergroup Aircooled take the krautrock jam and add a touch of Hawkwind and mix in the playfulness of the early rave and free party scene. Justin’s drumming is impressive throughout, while the various Moog synths employed across the stage are used to impressive effect to get the crowd dancing. The chords of ‘Hyperproductiv!’ are notably fun while an extended ‘Supermotodisco’ brings the very enjoyable set to a satisfying end.
James Endeacott then provides a DJ break full of Turkish psychedelia and interesting post punky world music that provides a good opportunity to enjoy sitting on the lawn, chatting to some very agreeable punters and trying the very pleasant food and drink on offer. However, James’ set is eventually completely drowned out by an epic soundcheck for the next act.
BC Camplight takes to the stage with, what he announces is a brand new backing band, who are making their debut performance. Personal favourite track, ‘I Only Drink When I Am Drunk’, is almost unrecognisable as the first song of the set, taking on a sleazier edge: somewhere between Waits and the Mary Chain. As the set progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Brian is not happy about the sound, at one point making a play of wanting to throw his piano stool at the sound engineers. It does, however, sound great – even if his piano sometimes seems low in the mix. How can you not enjoy a band fronted by a self-deprecating lyrical genius? “You missed a hell of a party. I said to the kitchen floor,” he croons in ‘The Last Rotation Of Earth’. It certainly was. It’s just a shame the band did not have as much fun as the audience, even if Brian was swigging neat Gin straight from the bottle.
Speaking of having fun: can live music get any more fun than the punky, funky, hip-hopping, house music jacking Beefheart-loving sexy beast that is Warmduscher? What started in 2014 as a Fat White Family side project has been shaped by the drive and charisma of Mr Clams Baker into what is now a worthy headliner. The line-up has settled down for the last two albums and every member contributes to the musical mutant gumbo. From Ben’s funky bass to Adam’s effortlessly brilliant guitar playing via Blue’s frenzied drumming and Marley’s keys.
It doesn’t really matter what order the tracks come in. There are four album’s worth of classics now in the can and a fifth being recorded. Still, this set take no prisoners. ‘Tainted Lunch’ is followed by ‘The Salamander’ from debut album ‘Khaki Tears’, and then we get the DJ favourite floor filler that is ‘Midnight Dipper’. The band pull no punches and show remarkable composure despite having driven all way to Bexhill from a previous night’s set at Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival.
“This is a new track!” Clams announces before ‘Fashion Week’ brings an enjoyable return to the more bluesy Captain Beefheart sounds that were a fixture of the early albums. Then ‘Twitchin’ In The Kitchen’ takes the kitchen floor observations of BC Camplight and turns them into a battle cry. “Two-four out the door, sniff it off the kitchen floor, let’s go!”
The sun has long gone, we are surrounded by dancing friends and the bangers keep on pounding with ‘Eight Minute Machines’ and ‘Disco Peanuts’. Then suddenly after ‘Standing On The Corner’ and ‘I Got Friends’ from ‘Whale City’ we are cast adrift, braying for an encore that never comes, despite a resetting of the instruments by stage staff.
The encore will have to come next year. Seaview Festival 2023 was a fantastic beginning for an event that we hope will become a regular fixture on our annual calendar. That certainly appears to be Austerity Records ambition. If the line-up is anywhere near as good as this year’s we will be there with bells on.
Austerity Records Presents: Seaview Festival
De Le Warr Pavilion, Saturday 8th July 2023
Words by Nick McAllister
Photos by Ashley Laurence