Category Archives: Film Music

What’s On Brighton February 2017

Check out my monthly roundup of some of the best gigs happening in and around Brighton and Hove in February 2017, including gig previews, features and interviews.

There Will Be Blood: Live

Mon 6th February – Brighton Dome

there will be blood live brighton

Following on from their performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 30th January, this week sees the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) performing three dates of their fantastic ‘There Will Be Blood: Live’ show, with performances at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (Sun 5th Feb), Brighton Dome (Mon 6th Feb) and Bristol’s Colston Hall (Tue 7th Feb).

Read Full Preview

Barry Hyde (Futureheads) Acoustic Show

Thursday 9th February – Brighton Komedia

Barry Hyde (Futureheads) solo acoustic show brighton komedia feb 2017

Fans of indie post-punk rockers The Futureheads will be delighted to hear that guitarist and vocalist Barry Hyde will be coming to Brighton to perform an intimate solo show at Brighton Komedia (Studio) to showcase his debut album, Malody, which was released in June 2016 on Sirenspire Records. The show is hosted by local promoter Melting Vinyl, and as with most of their shows, features a great support from a local artist – in this case the gentle folksters Lutine, a Brighton 3-piece known for their delicate arrangements and vocal harmonies.

Read Full Preview

Little Comets + Eliza and The Bear

Sunday 11th February – Concorde II


7 Little Comets Quick Facts

1. The band is from the North-east of the UK, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and their names are Robert, Michael, Matt, Nathan and Matt II.

2. They were signed to Columbia Records in 2009, following a series of gigs in unusual locations, such as lecture halls and on public transport.

3. The Little Comets are the only act inside the top 200 to self-produce, record, release, market, distribute and publish an album.

Read the rest on

Gabrielle Aplin

Tuesday 14th February – The Haunt, Brighton

gabrielle aplin february 2017 tour brighton interview

This week, UK singer-songwriter and YouTube favourite Gabrielle Aplin will be embarking on a short 3-date tour in the south of England. Unsurprisingly, the shows have all sold out, but we are using this as an opportunity to trace her history so far, to give you a brief history of Gabrielle Aplin, told in just 6 videos. Enjoy!


More gigs to be added soon!



MOVES Festival 2017 banner


Esben and the Witch February 2017 UK Tour Interview Brighton



The Lady in the Van and Other Stories Review

Last night at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre, London, I attended a special one-off performance of film music by George Fenton, conducted by the man himself, entitled ‘Lady in the Van and Other Stories’. With the Philharmonia at his fingertips, pianist Clare Hammond as the soloist, and playwright, author and the man behind Lady in the Van, Alan Bennett as narrator, it looked like it would be a very interesting evening – and it certainly was that, but not always for the right reasons.

Many less film-score savvy amongst us will probably best know Fenton for his work as the composer to the original series of Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and Blue Planet, but from after yesterday’s concert it is clear that he is more than a one-trick-documentary-scoring pony. The theme of the concert was true stories, but this did not limit the scope of his music, with extracts of Fenton’s music performed in the concert ranging from animation (Valiant) to World War II documentary (Memphis Belle) to his latest project, BBC Predators (coming soon to IMAX cinemas in the UK). The concert also featured a collaboration with Alan Bennett, combining his spoken word readings with an orchestral underscore for the piece titled ‘untold stories’. Whilst individually I thought that both aspects of the composition had artistic merit, and were very interesting, I felt that combined they seemed somewhat disjointed from each other, like estranged brothers rather than twins.

That leads on to my main criticism of the concert – by combining extracts of music from a film over specially-edited montages, with both film footage and stills –  but not the scenes which the music was originally composed for, I felt that the two aspects of the compositions – the video and the music – did not gel in the way that the original score almost certainly did with the real films. The music for the most part was a triumph though, showing Fenton to be a true master of sweeping melody, orchestral timbres and thematic development, but the visuals left me slightly confused, as if trying to overhear two conversations at the same time, not knowing which to pay more attention to.

The Lady in the Van

Confusion aside, the finale of the first half of the concert, The Lady in the Van, was a fascinating story, with Alan Bennett regaling the audience with his experiences, in particular those with Miss Shepherd, aka the Lady in the Van. The snippets of dialogue interspersed with footage from the film scored by Fenton’s wonderful music, which sways from lighthearted to melancholic in the bat of an eye, was a pleasure to discover for the first time.

As a big fan of film music, I will always advocate for more film music concerts, but I think that there is scope for amending the delivery format, as for me I find film score extracts being performed live over original footage far more engaging. Having seen Fenton conducting live to film his Planet Earth and Blue Planet scores, for me this concert was a little disappointing, but this was mostly due to its delivery format rather than the content.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Review

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Triumphant Return To Brighton Dome

As the Brighton Dome Concert Hall filled up with a notably diverse audience, young children were noticeably part confused as to what was going on and part excited to have been brought out to see the spectacle that is a symphony orchestra performing in full force at the beautiful venue.

From the conductor’s entrance in a bright red waistcoat, worn under his jacket, to the dominant brass showcasing the opening credits to Star Wars, everything was set to stun the audience into silence as the programme of film music classics began. As with most film music concerts, the shorter pieces help to keep the audience in full attention, with an intermittent commentary from the conductor, who already has to keep the sizeable orchestra in check and in-time throughout. As by no means a pre-requisite of the job as a conductor, it was a delight that Pete Harrison took to it like a duck to water, providing the audience with some interesting back-story into the pieces, films and composers of the music which was being performed. He was straight-talking but engaging and steered away from bad jokes and awkward non sequiturs which can often come too easy in these kinds of concerts.

The orchestra was in fine voice, with notable performances from the Principal Trumpet, Chris Avison for his delicate and controlled solo from Apollo 13, Eluned Pierce with her beautiful harp playing, which added a contrast to the brass fanfares and sweeping strings of the film music repertoire, and the 5-strong percussion section and timpanist who kept everything together with strong rhythms on a wide assortment of instruments. The repertoire was well chosen for a concert of this type, although in my opinion could have done with an addition of a few more 21st Century film scores in lieu of one too many John Williams tracks, as is often the case  whenever a film music concert is performed.

It was great to see a number of younger musicians in the orchestra, as well as the seasoned professionals who had clearly been performing all of their adult lives. This will ensure that the future of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will live on for a long time and is something that I would like to see more of in orchestras across the country. I hope to see the BSO return to Brighton again soon with another film music concert, which if complete with a few more contemporary soundtracks, will surely help to resonate with the younger audience and have them coming back to concert halls time and time again.

What’s On Brighton February 2016

Welcome to the February 2016 instalment of my What’s On Brighton guide for live music. This month has somewhat of a classical music takeover with 4 fantastic concerts in the Dome and Corn Exchange, covering a wide spectrum of orchatral/instrumental music from contemporary film music to a romantic Valentine’s Day piano concerto, Stravinsky’s ballet suite The Firebird to three lovely string quartets. There is of course my usual picks of the best unsigned, breakthrough music as well as a few established artists who are gracing Brighton with their presence, so without further delay, here’s my What’s On Brighton February 2016 Guide.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Lindi OrtegaLindi Ortega

Brighthelmstone Promotions & One Inch Badge
Wed 3rd February – 8:00pm
Brighton Komedia – Tickets £12.50 – BUY TICKETS

I last saw Lindi Ortega performing in Brighton almost 2 years to the day (1st Feb 2014 at The Haunt), touring her 2013 album ‘Tin Star’, a fabulous collections of rootsy country tales of woe and adventure. Lindi’s latest record ‘Faded Gloryville’ proves that she is very much here to stay, with this sultry selection of mid-tempo ballads, reminiscing yet looking forward to a happier time that lies ahead. The gig will surely be filled with Americana and country fans, and most likely more than a few lonely hearts who will be using Lindi’s music and easy-on-the-eyes looks to ease their heartaches whilst sipping on tumblers of whisky.

A friend of mine who is really into his old-school country music thinks that Lindi is the bee-knees, so that’s good enough for me to think that I’m not barking up the wrong tree. One thing is for sure: her days of working in pizza places and fleamarkets look to be long behind her.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Bournemouth Symphony OrchestraBournemouth Symphony Orchetsra

Sat 6th February – 7:30pm
Brighton Dome – Tickets from £10.00. Children for £1! – BUY TICKETS

One of my very first reviews of a Brighton concert was the BSO performing a programme of film music entitled ‘Hollywood Blockbusters’ in 2013. It was one of my favourite classical concerts at Brighton Dome – read my review – and I am thrilled that three years later, they are back in Brighton with a new programme of film music to perform. ‘Heroes and Aliens’ will showcase some of the most famous and loved scores of John Williams (Star Wars, E.T), Michael Giaccino (Star Trek) and the sadly recently departed James Horner’s Apollo 13  and Avatar. – See my review of In Conversation With James Horner from May 2015.

Film music has long since made classical music more accessible to younger audiences and with shorter pieces of music,  the concert will be filled with short bursts of magic from well known films which will surely keep the whole family entertained. With children’s tickets available for just £1, this is one concert that really is out of this world and not to be missed.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Take ManhattenTake Manhatten

Overhead Wires – Tue 10th February – 8pm
Mucky Duck – FREE ENTRY

Slightly bias on this gig as I am playing it myself, but if I didn’t then I would probably still be going anyway! Overhead Wires are one of few local promoters who really champion local music, giving a platform to up-and-coming young performers for their first gigs and more experiences performers good slots at decent venues across Brighton and Hove. Headlining on this Pancake Day gig Take Manhatten – yet that is the correct spelling! This duo combine blues and acoustic guitars to great effect with their dueling guitars underpinning Andy Moore’s vocals.

The night will be completed with supports from well known acoustic artists Ross Trigwell and Tom Sayer with Tom Greenfield.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Brighton Philharmonic OrchestraBrighton Philharmonic Orchestra

Sun 14th February – 2:15pm
Brighton Dome – Tickets from £11.50. 50% student discount.- BUY TICKETS

Take the one you love to the Brighton Philharmonic for a cultured treat this Valentine’s Day. Featuring some truly beautiful music from Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Berlioz/ Weber, and Mascagni, this is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. With a 50% student disount, tickets start at £5.75 each, which is a mad price for seeing music of this calibre at the Dome. For the older audience, rekindle your love of classical music in the flesh with our resident orchestra, performing their 91st season. So get the bus to town and come down to show your support for our local philharmonic orchestra: there are only 2 concerts left this season after this one.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Rob Godfrey EP Launch Brunswick HoveRob Godfrey EP Launch

 Wed 17th February –  7pm
The Brunswick – FREE ENTRY

No month in Brighton would be complete without an EP Launch and this is my pick of the bunch for the month. By following the simple rules of a successful EP Launch: 1. Design a cool flyer (TICK), 2. Get a great sounding venue (TICK), 3. Get the price right (TICK) and 4. Promote the gig (I can tick that one myself), you can set yourself up for a great night, which is what this one certainly looks to be!

With a number of videos of covers including John Martyn and Tallest Man On Earth, if nothing else I can say that the guy has good taste. This track below, is the opening  track from the EP ‘Quarterman’, and it definitely piqued my interest to hear more from Rob.

Support comes from Josh Mac and Hazey.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Gabby Young And Other AnimalsGabby Young And Other Animals

SP Promotions – Fri 19th February – 7:30pm
The Old Market, Hove – £15 adv/ £20 otd – BUY TICKETS

After a gig in Paris earlier this month, Gabby Young And Other Animals (GYAOA) will be coming to Brighton & Hove to perform at The Old Market. With a host of 4-star reviews from the national presses, Gabby’s jazz and world-music influenced songs are sure to draw you in with a haunting operatic twist, lingering from her earlier training from her youth. Upon playing her music aloud for the first time, my dog was singing along to the whole song – make of that what you will – so I’m taking that as a good sign, as he is quite picky to what he sings along to, usually only vocalising to Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’.

Support comes from one of my favourite local singer-songwriters, Mr Edd Mann, whose fiery flamenco guitar playing will set alight your passion for his music.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Elias String QuartetElias String Quartet

CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust – Sun 21st February – 11am
Corn Exchange – £18.50/16. Free for under 25s. – BUY TICKETS

If you’re not heard of CAVATINA before and you’re under 25 – LISTEN UP. It’s a great charity organisation with the primary aim to promote chamber music to younger audiences – by allowing them to see it for free. As part of a series of events hosted nationwide, the Coffee Mornings Series on Sunday mornings at Brighton Corn Exchange are the perfect way to start your Sunday with some beautiful classical music performed by renowned ensembles.

The Elias Quartet is an internationally acclaimed string quartet, known for their intense and vibrant performances. They will performing works by Haydn, Britten and Mendelssohn are are sure to ignite a passion for chamber music in whoever hears them play. Whether you’re a music student, international student or just have an interest in hearing something new, this will be a great morning’s entertainment guaranteed. Find out more about Cavatina.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - Jesse Malin Jesse Malin

 MJR Group Presents 25th February – 7:30pm
Green Door Store – £12 – BUY TICKETS

Having collaborated with Green Day and Bruce Springsteen, you are not alone if like me you feel a little late to the party in discovering Jesse Malin. This New York songwriter who has previously performed in a number of bands ranging from Hardcore to Rock n Roll, before starting his solo career with his breakthrough record ‘The Fine Art of Self Destruction’ in 2002. Five records later, Jesse has just released ‘Outsiders’ which he will be promoting on this tour.

With a definite Hozier feel, despite Jesse being around long before his time in the Radio 1 and mass market came, his new record is instantly likely, quietly understated in places but driving throughout. With Green Door Store being a quite compact venue, I’m confident that Jesse will raise the roof off it! Be sure to get down early to catch the supports Don DiLego and Trapper Schoepp, who is touring his new album ‘Rangers & Valentines’.

Whats On Brighton February 2016 - London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra

 Sat 27th February – 7:30pm
Brighton Dome – Tickets £10-£32.50 – BUY TICKETS

Finishing off my quartet of classical concerts in Brighton this month, which are conveniently spread out at one per week, the London Philharmonic will be travelling south from their home at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, to perform at our friendly neighbourhood concert hall, Brighton Dome. The programme features Richard Strauss’s Macbeth, Mendelssohn’s Overture, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto and the grand finale of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 Version). As one of few orchestras to reguarly perform in Brighton, apart form the resident BPO of course, it is important to support these visiting ensembles else there may be a time when they do not visit any more.

With a busy concert series including a number of challenging contemporary pieces by 20th Century composers, the LPO is a valuable British resource for the development of classical/orchestral music and one which has to be seen, and heard, to be truly appreciated. Watch a movement of the Violin Concerto in the video below.

If you have any gig suggestions for next month, please drop me a line on

Hamlin – My First Feature Film Score

Just over 2 weeks ago I was contacted by a friend of mine who I had worked with at university, writing the music for a number of short films that he made during his degree at Manchester University. He told me that he was working on a new feature film this summer with the British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) which is sponsored by the Cooperative. Every summer the BYFA runs a summer camp where a feature film is made in just 5 weeks. Reece had been working with the BYFA for a number of years and is the producer of the new film, Hamlin, which is to be shot in Leyland, Lancashire over the upcoming weeks, starting on July 13th. He was looking for a composer for the score of this film and also somebody to act as the Head of Music for any music students who attended the summer camp and approached me to see if I would be interested in the role.

After showing my showreel to the Director, he was pleased to be able to offer me the position and I was thrilled to be able to accept the offer!

I will be heading up to Leyland in a couple of days to get settled in and ready for the start of the camp on 13th July.

I’ve read through the script, which is great and has a strong music relevance, and I think has the potential for a lot of interesting short compositions throughout, in addition to a main theme which will be used extensively during the film.

Hamlin - Scrabble

This is the first time I have worked on a film set, on a feature film and on site for the duration of the filming and I can’t wait to get started on the project!

As such, there will be limited output on this blog in the meantime, aside from occasional entries about working on the film, as I won’t have time to get around to writing my reviews/gig guides/ features until the middle of August/ early September.

Until then, please do have a look on my main page for examples of my previous work, or click the media player in the right side-bar for audio files of my film compositions.

In Conversation With James Horner at Royal Albert Hall

A week ago on Wednesday I traveled up to The Royal Albert Hall in London to attend BAFTA Conversations with Screen Composers featuring the composer of the best-selling film soundtrack of all time, James Horner. (If you’ve been living in a hole for the last 20 years, that soundtrack was of course the Soundtrack to Titanic.)

Held in the beautiful Elgar Room with the backdrop of Echoes 6 from the main area of the RAH, the stage was set with a bright red Markson grand piano, two seats and a projector screen, which would be showing clips of some of the film that the composer would be talking about. The audience was a mix of young professionals and slightly older film music and film enthusiasts with the dress code leaning towards the smart casual side – the RAH does feel like something of a palace so it does feel right to dress up to a certain level when going there for an event. I certainly did not feel out of place in my blazer, shirt and suit trousers.

With a career which has already spanned longer than my life-time, I certainly felt a little under-prepared when reading the liner notes that were helpfully left on each of the plush seats in the room. Having not heard of let alone seen half of the films which Horner had notably scored, the talk was definitely an educational experience for me in the not just the film music the composer but also of films from the 80s that I should probably get around to seeing sometime soon.

Even within my life-time though, I had seen a number of films scored by James Horner which I wasn’t even aware of: A Beautiful Mind (2001), Troy (2003) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) to name just a few. And then going back to other classic films which had somehow evaded my memory such as Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Apollo 13, Jumanji and The Mask of Zorro, I realised that I had seen and heard a lot more of Horner’s music than just Titanic and Avatar as I had initially thought.

With his background in classical music, having a doctorate in Musical Composition & Theory and having studied at Royal College of Music in London as well as the University of Southern California and UCLA, it was interesting to hear that he, like many others, chanced his way into film composition through an acquaintance, which led to the next thing and the next thing, eventually leading him to where he is today.

During the interview, Horner spoke passionately and with a clarity of mind about his early works – an impressive feat for a man with as long and expansive career. He spoke very fondly of a number of directors with whom he has worked, including Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, James Cameron and Jean-Jacques Annaud, expressing a desire to work with Gibson again in a new film and talking about how he overcame his differences with Cameron to form a close friendship over time.

For a man who does not interview very often, Horner seemed quite a natural at it, keeping the audience all waiting on his next story or interesting aside. It was fascinating to hear how he still scores everything ‘by hand’ and does not rely on click tracks when recording live with an orchestra, preferring to conduct along to the picture – alongside John Williams these are a very rare breed in today’s technological era of composition, particularly with film scores. Horner described Bernstein, Williams and Goldsmith as being the “Gods of the time” who were all influential in one way or another to Horner’s career.

The hour and a half session flew by, with a short Q&A section at the end, as usual dominated by other film composers of some degree and film music enthusiasts who wanted to share their admiration for the man amongst a group of 100 or so people who undoubtedly all felt the same.

Having attended a few of these sessions before, including talks from George Fenton (Frozen Planet, Planet Earth, Blue Planet) and David Arnold (Casino Royale, Godzilla, Sherlock), I always find the insight into a composer’s mind very fascinating. It is clear from what I have seen and from what I have studied that all film composers have a unique way of working, and that the best advice for any aspiring composer is to find their own way rather than attempt to use the well-trodden path of their idols. If anybody needs me, that is where I shall be.