As we arrive at the Con Club everything is delayed due to a sound issue. Sadly, this means, the former member of Slum Of Legs and Porridge Radio that is You&TH (which stands for The Horizon) only gets to play a short mournful set of looped folk on her violin over sampled sounds. It is incidental music for a film shot in a forest or moorland landscape in which the young protagonist explores their environment and sunlight glistens through raindrops, but danger does lurk amidst the beauty. It is stunning.
A quick change and Samana take to the stage barefoot amid twinkling bells and echoing reverb and the rustle of a gong before a bodhran drum kicks in. Last time we saw them something didn’t quite gel with us, to be fair possibly because they came on after Lambrini Girls. Tonight they build an epic psychedelic soundscape. The ambience resonates in the room as two front singers sing a choral-like hymn. The lack of kit drums suits the music and merging the songs into one maintains the dream state. The last song is about the Preseli Hills, where some of the band now live.
The fullest stage we have ever seen is then cleared of some instruments, before Silver Moth start with zero fanfare. Things get off to an excellent start with the melodic post rock of ‘Henry’ before Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai fame leaps on the smallest of his 18 pedals and all hell breaks loose. SOURCE is stood squarely in the blast zone of his fender twin.
Elisabeth Elektra then takes to the stage for ‘The Eternal’, her vocals soaring sweetly above the growing maelstrom as we wait in hope that Stuart hits that pedal again.
‘Mother’ rolls in gently while the engineer sorts a monitor problem. Once fixed we can relax into the song. Stuart plays a beautiful high-note guitar part over the rolling song that leads into an incredible solo.
‘Gaelic’ is introduced as being about the Isle of Lewis, not this Lewes, and a poem written by bassist Matthew Rochford’s father. Matthew then downs his bass and takes to the mic to deliver that poem.
The next song is a cover of ‘Especially’ by Low and is lovingly dedicated to Mimi Parker. It is a beautiful tribute and leaves us broken hearted that there can never be another Low show at St George’s in Kemptown, for they were some truly incredible shows.
‘Sedna’ has the fanciest rhythms yet as again Stuart plays the high end of the guitar neck before our wait is rewarded with the pedal; that glorious fuzz-based weapon of destruction.
“This is our last song. Don’t worry it’s a long song,” jokes Elisabeth, as You&TH joins them on stage. A string thunder leads to the most stunning guitar part of the night, the sound is so full. The track builds and builds and builds… there’s only one place left to go: that pedal!!!
As the stage clears we join a clamour of excited guitarists, and local bands, at the front. What was it? Turns out it the smallest version of the classic Big Muff pedal source has ever seen. What a truly delightful treat to be so close to such amazing musicians in a room where the power of a Big Muff can take out the back wall of a venue.
One last observation is how lucky we are in these dark dark times to live in a place where it is just a guitar pedal and not a missile, and the talk of destruction is just an image to describe something truly beautiful and not your neighbourhood in flames. A pox on all those who commit genocide.
Love Thy Neighbour presents: Silver Moth
Lewes Con Club, Thursday 9th November 2023
Words by Nick McAllister
Photos by Lewis Rothwell