Following their last sold-out performance at Brighton Dome, Fleet Foxes returned to the south coast last night to perform at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. The venue is a Grade I listed Art Deco contemporary arts centre, containing a large gallery as well as the near-1000 capacity concert hall, complete with balcony, which is where I was watching the show from. The balcony provided a great view of the show, but if you’re over 6-foot tall, try to get in the front row as legroom is certainly not going spare in the other rows.
Considering the size of Bexhill, roughly 1/6th of the size of Brighton, it did seem an interesting choice of location for the band to visit – but perhaps Spotify’s data told them that there was a loyal pocket of supporters in the area because the show was close to capacity. The Pavilion provides an abundance of nearby parking (on-street and the DLWP Car Park, which is free after 8pm) and one of the cheapest bars I’ve ever seen at a gig. The venue also has a restaurant, which was offering pre-concert catering (however, I opted for a local pub just a few minutes away).
The show began with a support slot from Nick Hakim, fresh from performing live in session on Lauren Laverne’s show on BBC Radio 6 earlier that day. His songs were pleasant enough but seemed to lack direction, merging his half an hour set almost into one long sonorous blur. By the time Fleet Foxes took to the stage, the audience had doubled, possibly trebled.
As their intro music played, six dark and enigmatic figured took to the stage. The band opened with a couple of tracks from the new record, Crack-Up, before they started peppering the set with their well-known hits. Throughout the performance, a number of things struck me: the number of bottle of different drinks on the table next to singer Robin Pecknold, the number of instruments the man on the right side of the stage was playing throughout the set (percussion, horn, sax, flute and double bass), the number of guitar changes required by the band, often mid-song (making it near impossible to cover their tracks in a live setting), and finally the number of anthemic tracks the band has written.
If I were asked to describe Fleet Foxes songwriting style, I would say that their signature tracks all feature clear clean melodic vocal verses, underpinned by guitars, keys, drums and the like, building choruses with vocal harmonies and a bit more oomph, and then a ‘weird bit’ at the end, which could be instrumental, or with vocals but is taking the track somewhere different. Whilst in their recordings, these parts really come into their own, however with their somewhat subdued live performance, unfortunately, a lot of their tracks sounded quite similar – and that is coming from somebody who is already quite familiar with their back-catalogue, so I wonder how any new Fleet Foxes fans might have felt about it.
Expectedly, the audience reacted strongly to anything from the first two albums, Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues, with a slightly dulled response to the more recent tracks from Crack-Up, with the exclusion of the track ‘Fool’s Errand’ which seems to be an instant hit too. It’s always a shame when a band’s latest album doesn’t represent their best work, and whilst Crack-Up is by no means a cop-out, I think it will take a while and a few more listens before it has a chance of joining its predecessors with an iconic status and getting the same reaction from the audience as the likes of ‘Mykanos’, ‘White Winter Hymnal‘, ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’ and ‘Helplessness Blues‘.
After some slight difficulty finding the venue’s entrance off a side street (no thanks to Google Maps), I found my way inside The Glee Club, a very clean and classy looking venue which regularly hosts comedy nights and music gigs. It’s always interesting to see how different venues use their space and the Glee Club used theirs very well, with a stage area set up along the side of the venue, rather than at the back as is common, with seats laid out in rows to give the most people the best view and sound of the show. The live sound was incredible, unusually not too loud even when sitting right near to the front and considering the mix of instruments being played by the quartet, including drums, percussion, synths and acoustic and electric bass, this was no mean feat.
The quartet played without a support, instead opting for the more traditional jazz format of performing two sets with a short interval between. With songs often lingering between the 7 and 10-minute mark, this seems like a good way for the musicians to pace themselves and for the audience to have some time to digest what is going on – and make no mistake, this is no walk in the park. The music that the Bill Laurence Group produce is highly technical, polyrhythmic, deeply layered and without a vocal in sight. Each track seems to take you somewhere far deeper than its duration should allow and the context in which most of the songs were created (a lot of the material was written by Laurence and the others whilst on tour as members of Grammy-winning group Snarky Puppy) seems difficult to believe given the complexity of the sounds that they achieve.
Laurence fronted the group from the left-side of the stage with various keyboards, synthesisers and his brand new ROLI Seaboard (fresh out of the box that day) at his disposal. His three-piece rhythm section included percussion, bass and drums, all of which seemed to be playing to their own rhythms, yet somehow it all worked together. Snarky Puppy drummer Robert ‘Sput’ Searight is one of the best drummers that I have seen perform live, effortlessly adjusting and modifying his kit mid-song to get the sounds out of it that he required. Far from the standard role of merely supporting the down-beats, the bass was played as a melodic instrument in its own right, with stunning lines, rhythms and interplay with the rest of the group. Finally, the mixture of percussion threw a real spanner in the rhythmic works of the group, often playing against the beat or groove laid down by the others, albeit clearly intentionally, but definitely making the music more challenging to listen to overall.
The advantage of no vocals on the tracks is that the music can ebb and flow as it sees fit, rather than conforming to a strophic formula that dominates popular music today. Following this show, the band has played a number of sell-out dates around Europe and it’s clear to see why they are so popular on the scene. Anybody who is able to make jazz more accessible and instrumental music more melodic and interesting is somebody with as skill that will always be in demand. It looks like the future will be very bright from the Bill Laurence Group.
I was recently asked by a friend for a few tips on how to get started busking. I quickly jotted down a list which soon turned into this Beginner’s Guide To Busking.
This is based on my extensive experience of having busked about 5 times in London, Bangor and Bath. If you have any experience of busking I’d love to hear any tips that you may have! Here are my selected words of wisdom.
People Don’t Care
Probably at least 90% of people will be indifferent to buskers, so focus on the 10% that are interested and engage in a friendly but not pushy (e.g give me money) way. If they think you’re enjoying yourself they are more likely to enjoy it too.
People Expect Things For Free
People are tight bastards and in a society where they can stream almost anything on their phones for free, they are often reluctant to dig into their pockets.
Location Location Location
Don’t busk near a cash-point as you look like an aggressive tramp. Do try to find a place slightly away from the centre, perhaps with outside seating near to a coffee shop. Also near-ish to shops were people are likely to have change isn’t a bad place to be e.g. supermarkets, but not RIGHT outside. Also, make sure that your music is not too loud. I think the legal side of things says that you shouldn’t be able to be heard 50m from where you are playing. Less is more.
Not Getting Arrested
If you get asked to move on by a shopkeeper don’t be offended. They are within their rights if they do not want you there so find another place in a different location – not just one shop to the left – and see how that goes. In some areas you need a permit/licence to busk so be sure to check the local laws. Also, in most places it is illegal to sell your CDs as this counts as street trading, which again you’d require a licence for. I’d suggest it’s better to have some CDs if people ask, but don’t have them in front of your case with a price. Maybe invest in some business cards and give people a link to download one track for free from the album and then the details of where to buy the rest of your music.
As a general rule it’s considered polite to not play for more than one hour in a particular spot/area. Also, don’t play within close proximity of another busker. If there is somebody playing in an area that you would like to play in, why not ask them how long they plan or playing for and if you can take over when they have finished.
Do mention if you’re planning on busking in an area on Facebook/twitter as people may be around town anyways and will keep an eye out for you. If you can get some videos/ pictures of you busking that is a good way to generate some attention online and shows that you are putting your music out there. Also, don’t forget to promote any gigs that you have in the area with flyers, posters, hand-made signs or whatever you can muster together.
In general people like hearing stuff that they are familiar with but sometimes people will want to hear something completely new. Maybe have a couple of well known covers to throw in if needed.
Always throw somebody a smile or a thanks and make eye contact if they give you some money or say something nice about your music. It goes a long way and you can start to build a good reputation.
Don’t be afraid to get advice from other buskers on where is good to play, when they like to play etc. It’s always handy to have musical friends in the same boat as you. You never know who you may work with in the future.
Have fun! Do it for the enjoyment of the music, not the money and you’ll never be disappointed with any money that you receive. HAPPY BUSKING!
For anybody who has been in a musical black hole for the last decade, I would like to introduce you to Brighton’s great metropolitan music festival – The Great Escape. This three-day inner-city festival and convention is held annually in May and this year is to be its tenth, so I thought I’d give you all a brief history of some of the great acts which have played at the Great Escape:
2006 – Bat For Lashes, Paolo Nutini, Rumble Strips, The Fratellis and The Kooks 2007 – Adele, Foals, Kate Nash, Laura Marling, Passenger and The Magic Numbers 2008 – Bombay Bicycle Club, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, The Futureheads, The Wombats and Vampire Weekend 2009 – British Sea Power, Kasabian, Metronomy, Mumford & Sons, Noah & The Whale and The Maccabees 2010 – Chase and Status, Ellie Goulding, Ghost Poet, Michael Kiwanuka, Stornoway and Tinie Tempah 2011 – Bastille, Ben Howard, Daughter, Ed Sheeran, Foster The People, Frank Turner, Lucy Rose, Rizzle Kicks, Sufjan Stevens and Warpaint 2012 – Chet Faker, Django Django, Foxes, Jake Bugg, Mystery Jets, Slow Club and The Temper Trap 2013 – Chvrches, Klaxons, Kodaline, Kwabs, London Grammar, Luke Sital-Singh and Tom Odell 2014 – Alvvays, Clean Bandit, Dry The River, Fat White Family, East India Youth, George Ezra, Kiesza, Marika Hackman, Rae Morris and Royal Blood
(You can see more highlights from the earlier TGEs here – TGE HIGHLIGHTS)
If like me you were pleasantly surprised at how many names in the above list that you have heard of, seen performing locally or seen at a music festival, then you too will realise that The Great Escape is THE place to go to see and hear the latest and best music talent from across the country, often before the radio stations and your friends have even heard of them!
So here is my guide of 10 reasons why The Great Escape 2015 is a music festival not to miss!
1. The Bands
TGE15 will feature performances from over 400 bands and solo artists, with many giving more than one performance to help ease the inevitable problem of clashing sets. There is a huge variety of bands on display cross-sectioning most popular music genres and sub-genres, with an arsenal of formidable local acts and others from around the country and the rest of the world.
The main problem with so many bands is deciding on who it is that you really want to see, so I suggest heading over to The Great Escape Website to have a browse and see who your top festival picks this year are. You can then plan your festival using the handy online festival planner to see who is playing where and at what time. Aren’t they helpful?!
2. The Price
With TGE15 tickets originally going on sale at just under £50 for a Super Early Bird 3-day pass (including all booking and transaction fees), the festival is fantastic value for money with over 400 bands playing at 35 venues, spread over the three days – Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th May 2015.
Please note that all super early bird, early bird and saver tickets are now SOLD OUT, but there are still a limited number of full price 3-day tickets available for only £66 (including all booking and transaction fees). There were also 1-day and 2-day tickets available but these have completely SOLD OUT.
3. The Venues
As I have mentioned, there are around 35 venues being used for The Great Escape this year including a number of well-used music venues and a number of alternative venues including churches and pub takeovers. For a new visitor to the city, it is a great opportunity to discover many of the hidden coves that Brighton has to offer, and if you are a local, it will likely have you discovering some new venues away from your usual haunts.
4. Alternative Escape
In addition to the main festival, The Alternative Escape is an official associated fringe festival, filled with showcases and with a particular emphasis on local artists. With over 200 artists performing at 15 different venues, it is safe to say that there won’t be a dull moment during The Great Escape weekend. TGE has lulls in the programming between 4pm and 6:30-7pm so this would be a great time to check out some of the local talent in the Alternative Escape which will be running throughout the festival.
In addition to TGE15 festival there is also TGE Convention, a music conference which runs during the day times including talks on music marketing, branding, licensing and streaming. The Convention ticket grants the user access to TGE Convention, networking events and priority entry to all core venue gigs over the festival.
If you’ve not been to Brighton before, TGE15 is the perfect way to combine all the live music that you could want to see and hear with the sights and splendours of the city including The Royal Pavillion, Brighton seafront and Brighton Pier. The city is also filled with quirky shops, markets and boutiques in The Lanes and North Laine, as well as all of the major high street brands in Churchill Square Shopping Centre, so if you want to shop between the gigs there are plenty of places to do so!
7. No Transport? No Worries!
In short, you don’t really need to use any transport at The Great Escape, other than travelling to Brighton if you from outside the city. Brighton has a very compact city centre, with the majority of TGE venues being within a 10 minute walk of each other so you don’t need to spend time and money on public transport, but you should check where venues are if you haven’t been to them before and aim to arrive about 15-30 minutes before an act that you would like to see to make sure that you can get in and don’t miss them!
If you do want to explore the surround areas of Brighton and Hove, our bus service is very regular and is an easy way to get about. A day saver ticket is £4.70. Find out more about Brighton and Hove Buses.
8. Food and Drink
Brighton is renowned for being a culturally diverse city, with a high population of tourist visitors from overseas as well as a thriving population of students and locals from all walks of life. As such, the city caters for many cultures with a wide array of restaurants and take-aways to suit any palette. With a particular lean towards vegetarian and vegan food, Brighton has a lot to offer – and at reasonable prices unlike a lot of traditional festival food.
Instead of sleeping on a hard floor in a questionably insulated sleeping bag inside a leaky tent during a gale force wind, as may be the case at a traditional music festival, why not treat yourself and sleep with a room over your head?
TGE15 offers a number of accommodation packages from luxury to basic, starting at just £82.50 for 3 nights including breakfast. Find out more about Accommodation Packages.
10. No Wellies Required!
Finally, for those of you who are put off of going to music festivals because of the inevitable slug through a large muddy field dragging behind you a broken tent and three times your bodyweight in ‘festival essentials’, TGE15 is definitely the festival for you.
Set in the city centre of Brighton, you won’t need a tent, wellies and the rest of the usual festival paraphernalia. Plus if you forget anything, there are shops all around to buy whatever you need!
Tonight in Birmingham at the majestic Symphony Hall, I was privileged enough to be in the audience of a wonderful concert, displaying some of the finest film music of the 21st Century (so far)!
Hosted by Tommy Pearson and conducted by Michael Seal, Friday Night Classics: 21st Century Blockbusters was a fantastic journey through recent cinematic history through a marvellous selection of film scores, covering a wide range of film genres as well as composers and styles of music. Opening with an extract from the instantly spine tingling score of John Williams’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and continuing onwards with extracts from popular family favourites such as The Hobbit, Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as some scores from more adult films such as Gladiator, There Will Be Blood and The Bourne Ultimatum. The compere’s introductions to the pieces with some back story were very interesting and worked well to engage the crowd, which seemed to be a very mixed age range audience, which was a real pleasure to see at a classical concert!
My personal favourite apart from the opening piece were the extracts from David Arnold’s entertaining and exciting score to the popular TV series Sherlock, Michael Giaccino’s wonderfully warm score from Star Trek: Into darkness (which Tommy rightly dedicated to the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy) and the amazing cultural experience that was the juxtaposition of hearing the sitar and orchestra in A.R. Rahman’s score to Slumdog Millionaire.
A final mention must go out to Craig Armstrong’s ‘Glasgow Love Theme’ from Love Actually, which is always a joy to hear with its beauty and simplicity performed live. The orchestra played brilliantly and whole audience left with a real buzz – as one younger Twitter fan said of theconcert:
“We are literally dying at how amazing the orchestra is.”
With student/under 25s tickets available from just £5, the CBSO have attracted a younger audience to their shows and if the great scores keep being written and the concerts keep being performed to such a high standard, I am sure that they will stick around for many years to come. I know that I will be coming back for more from the CBSO!
For more information about the CBSO concert series, visit http://www.cbso.co.uk or follow on Twitter @TheCBSO. Check out the trending tweets from the concert on #CBSOfilm.
As only the bravest are going out, even with their Christmas Jumpers and Duffle Coats, December is always a tough time for musicians to fill out their gigs. That said, I’ve been to some amazing gigs already this month at some great venues that you may not have been to before. Have a read and checkout what is on over the upcoming months.
Martin Harley @ Latest Music Bar – 3rd December
Having first seen Martin play in a small cafe in Bangor a few years ago, it felt very comfortable seeing him this time from the back of the small basement venue at Latest Music Bar. The place was packed with fans of the music and the venue, as everybody sat comfortably at their little tables enjoying the support Sam Lewis and I saw a lot of people come up and by his CD during the interval after his performance of his self-confessed sad songs, which he performed in between sips of red wine.
Martin came on to play a few tracks during Sam’s set, which is always nice to see as it is usually the support who is “honoured” to play on a single track for the main act. It was clear that the guys were close friends and performed well together in a very relaxed way, improvising over each other’s parts confidently. Martin has a really calm demeanor on stage and a crazy powerful voice which goes hand in hand with his brilliant guitar skills. I’ve certainly never seen a white man play the blues like him before. Check out his music if you like that kinda thing. It’s awful good!
The venue is intimate, great for acoustic music but equally good for bands as the sound man is some kind of wizard who can make anybody sound great playing there from his dedicated crows nest at the back of the venue. With a varied programme, there is a lot to choose from so why not have a look below and see what is coming up soon?
British Sea Power @ All Saints Hove – 5th December
Always a fan of this venue, One Inch Badge have been using it over the last year as a larger venue to put on some of the great acts that come to Brighton. With plenty of space at the back for the bar and merchandise tables, it’s only real downside is the toilet facilities which often leave you queueing for a little while. So go before you leave the house, like your mum probably used to tell you as a child. Other than that, the sound is great and the setting is beautiful. What more could you want.
British Sea Power were performing as a part of the Brighton Drill Festival, a winter-equivalent to May’s Great Escape Festival, just with fewer venues and bands, but nonetheless still an impressive lineup.
The band on before BSP were called It Hugs Back, an atmospheric and slightly spacey band who made some great musical textures. They were also selling CD albums for £5 with a free t-shirt. Other bands should take note of this as I’m definitely gonna give the album a proper listen very soon and the t-shirt is great promotion for the band so it’s a win-win really.
British Sea Power played a beautiful hour-long set, mostly with accompaniment from a brass quintet from the Bournemouth Symphonic Orchestra, which really gave their filmic dreamy sound some teeth to bite into you with. BSP are also playing at The Haunt on 19th December and from their strong performance on 5th December, I’m keen to see them again!
Brighton Philharmonic @ Brighton Dome Concert Hall – 7th December
I’ve always been a big fan of the Brighton Dome as a venue. Inside it looks like a palace, and is the closest thing that Brighton has to the Royal Albert Hall. The sound is great and the venue works just as well for electronica raves, northern soul parties, pop and rock concerts and somber instrumental music. The seats sometimes feel a little bit on the cozy side, but the sound from anywhere in the venue is good. I would recommend the circle if possible though, particularly for an orchestral affair.
The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra‘s concert series is in its 90th year, so they must be doing something right. The audience is primarily made up of connoisseurs of classical music who were clearly raised on it or grew to love it over time, but there is always room for new faces and younger members in the audience, and it is quite an experience to see an orchestra playing live for the first time. Each concert is quite different, this one being based on the compositions of British composers. The next show is on New Year’s eve at 2:45pm and is always the busiest of the year so book now to avoid disappointment.
Unfortunately, due to illness the concert was cancelled at the last minute. However, The venue still deserves a shout out for the varied programme that it provides. Admittedly, a lot of the music that is performed there is quite mainstream, but you need to be popular to sell out an over 5,000 capacity building to make it worthwhile playing there on your tour.
However, despite this the venue still has a part to play in supporting the local music scene, with Brighton-based singer-songwriter Jacko Hooper recently supporting James Blunt for his sell-out show at the Brighton Centre. Hopefully more of the acts performing there will handpick local supports as it’s a fantastic opportunity to perform to such a large hometown audience.
London Symphony Orchestra @ Barbican Hall, London – 11th December
Not in Brighton, but pretty easy to get to in London, The Barbican is a multi-purpose arts centre that features a theatre, cinema, galleries, exhibitions and of course the concert hall. I’ve only been to a few concerts there but they have all been sensational, and last night’s was no different. The film music of Alexander Desplat including suites from The King’s Speech, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and a previously unreleased extract from The Grand Budapest Hotel were all performed by the LSO and conducted by the man himself, with some visual accompaniment too. What a night!
There is a great view from the circle wherever you sit and you can join the Young Barbican scheme for free if you are under 25 and get cheap tickets (and sometimes even free tickets) for a number of concerts all year round. My ticket for the concert cost £10. I’d definitely recommend checking out the programme at the Barbican as most of London’s orchestras perform there regularly, and they are the best in the world! Have a day trip to London and have your mind blown in the amazing venue.
When I asked Sol3 Mio how excited they were to be featured in my blog this month, they took this photo from Sydney with a few of their fans to show their appreciation.
Now as anybody who has been into a shop in the last few months will realise, Christmas is fast approaching. I’m pretty certain that this year has gone at a record pace so before you knew it, the time for advent calendars, sock buying and going through the all important Christmas card list to see who makes the final cut.
Fortunately for those who are driven slightly crazy by the frenzy of people all around EVERYWHERE, the music scene in Brighton does not shut down for December and there are some great gigs coming up this month, from local bands to international artists. So whether your musical tipple is classical, orchestral, operatic, acoustic, folk, electronic or experimental, there will hopefully be something for you this month in my guide “Who To See in Brighton in December 2014”.
I hope that you all have a musical December! Keep music live and alive.
Monday 1st December
Melting Vinyl Presents: Xylouris White + Thus Owls
Two for the price of one! Everybody loves a BOGOF deal at the supermarket, so why should a gig be any different? For this wonderful show, Melting Vinyl have paired up two duos for your delight – far better than a partridge in a pear tree if you ask me! Xylouris White is a combination of Jim White, the founder of Australian instrumental trio Dirty Three, and Giorgos Xylouris, a master Cretan lutenist – (it means he plays the lute – don’t worry, I had to google it first to be sure). Expect contemporary, melodic and adventurous music from this duo.
The second act performing is called Thus Owls – (A great name, that I would love to imagine stemmed from a fantastically intellectual conversation between two professors at Oxford University). Thus Owls is based around husband/wife duo Simon and Erika Angell, who were drawn together across the Atlantic (Simon was based in Canada before he moved to live with Erika in Sweden). Musically, her beautiful vocals rest comfortably on his spacious yet gutsy guitar parts in a delightful counterpoint.
If duos aren’t your thing, then perhaps you will prefer the eclectic genre-juxtaposing musical mayhem of Beardyman, the beat-boxing laptop-wielding looper genius man. Combining elements from Drum’n’Bass, Dubstep, Trance, Techno and pretty much every other niche of dance music, his music screams diversity as he carelessly throws a reggae beat or some folk ballad into the mix of things. Figuratively speaking, he opens the kitchen cupboards and throws a little of all the herbs and spices into the mix, but giving each on the chance to have its unique flavour before shifting it into something else. It will be something special so don’t miss out!
I first saw Martin Harley playing an intimate gig in Blue Sky Cafe in Bangor, whilst I was studying at the University there. I was very pleased to discover that he would be returning to play there again this year on his UK tour, as well as at Brighton’s Latest Music Bar. Martin is a sensational guitarist and a charismatic storyteller. His songs combine elements of blues, folk and roots, often featuring slide guitar playing and lap-guitar for an authentic country Americana sound, but coming from the UK (Martin was born in Cardiff). With his diverse range of songs and strong musicianship, I am sure that it will be another captivating performance.
Support for the tour comes from Nashville-based country and soul singer-songwriter Sam Lewis, who was handpicked by Martin after a chance meeting to accompany him for Sam’s first UK tour. Lets be sure to give him a warm welcome eh?
The third installment of the BPO’s 90th Concert Season is a varied programme of shorter works, perfect for those worried about clapping at the wrong time in the middle of a symphony! The concert includes well known pieces such as Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave)’ , Sullivan’s Overture: Pirates of Penzance and Vaughan Williams’ ‘A Lark Ascending’ to some less widely known pieces by composers Arnold, Butterworth, Coates and MacCunn. This concert provides a wide range of composition styles and forms all performed by the style and panache of the Brighton Philharmonic, u
Good news for all today as the Early Bird Tickets for Love Supreme 2015 were released today at 1pm. Following on from the huge success of the past two years (and impeccable weather), we can certainly expect big things from the festival which will be returning strong for a fourth year.
The festival is the UK’s biggest outdoor jazz festival and will return in July 2015 for three days of world-class music set against the stunning backdrop of Glynde Place in East Sussex. Having attended both of the the previous iterations of the festival, I can vouch that it is one of the best festivals I have ever been to, with a family friendly atmosphere and a feel good friendly atmosphere all around.
Launched in 2013, Love Supreme quickly became one of the summer’s must-see festivals thanks to its spectacular setting, countless rave reviews (“The British jazz world’s Glastonbury” **** The Guardian, “Love Supreme festival is a Woodstock moment for British Jazz” ***** The Independent) and an accessible yet sophisticated mix of jazz, blues, soul, funk, hip hop and r&b. Having enjoyed record attendance figures in 2014, with over 20000 music fans on site over the course of the weekend, the organisers have confirmed that the festival will return next year from July 3rd – 5th and are set to name a string of high profile headliners over the course of the coming months.
Here are some of my favourite artists from Love Supreme 2014 –
With headliners in the first two years including Jools Holland, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum and Soul II Soul, this festival is no lightweight by any means, yet carries a price tag significantly lower than most: Early Bird weekend camping tickets are just £110 (usually £135), £99 for non-camping(usually £110) and £50 per day ticket (usually £55).
Even without a confirmed line-up yet, it is worth buying your tickets because Love Supreme is more than the sum of the individual acts, it is an experience (and one for the whole family). With good public transport links to Glydne by road, bus, coach and rail and a great range of food, drink and clothing stalls, Love Supreme should be the first thing that you mark in the new calendar for 2015.
As the autumn leaves adorn the trees (and pavements) we welcome in the closing months of the 2014 – Where has the time gone really? With the Brighton Comedy Festival passed, November is the perfect chance to get back into live music and wean yourself off evenings at home in front of the TV or reading the latest Buzzfeed about absolutely nothing. This November has an exceptional variety of artists from jazz to folk and everything in between so why not take a look at my hot picks for for the month in Brighton and see what you like the look of. Keep music live and alive.
Ben Watt, it’s safe to say, has more than a few strings to his bow. As a performer, songwriter, singer, DJ and author, he certainly has plenty to keep himself busy and I’m sure that he rarely has idle thumbs! Former half of alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl, Ben has embarked on several other projects since their final performance in 2000 including a successful DJing career, setting up his own independent label, an online radio show, writing and publishing a couple of books and as of March 2013 continuing his solo career as a singer-songwriter. This month he will be performing some of his recent material with his trio. Support from Meadowlark.
Formerly of The La’s and Cast, John Power is a Liverpudlian singer-songwriter who has been performing music since the 80’s. Probably most famous for the song “Guiding Star” with Cast, his solo material has a grainy detail to it, with experienced hands of a seasoned guitarist and undeniably relaxed stage presence, he is just as comfortable flying solo as playing with a full band. For fans of Ocean Colour Scene and other Britpop/folk acts. With support from Alex Lipinski and local solo artist Lewis McKale
The Thirst – Green Door Store – 7pm – £5 I first saw this band supporting Will and The People back in September 2013 and they were actually the first band that I ever did a video interview with, discussing Jamie Oliver, viral videos and of course their music. The guys were really friendly, hard-working and perform their catchy upbeat funky music with style and swagger. For fans of Bloc Party and funk bands. Check out their great cover of Get Lucky below!
Having seen Gregory perform at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Love Supreme Festival two years running, I can safely say that he is not somebody that you will ever get tired of seeing live. His band of piano, double bass, drums and sax are super tight, supporting Mr Porter’s huge and beautiful voice which can fill concert halls and stadiums with ease. His songs are catchy, rhythmic, heartfelt and melodic, earning him great critical acclaim including the Best Vocal Jazz Album Grammy for his second album Liquid Spirit. Having spoken to him on several occasions, I know that Gregory loves performing in the UK and always puts on a fantastic show so dig deep for this one and come along to check out a contemporary jazz legend in the making. You won’t be sorry!
iluvlive – Komedia – 8:00pm – £2 iluvlive is a live music event which launched in London in 2004. Supporting homegrown talent through regular nights in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester, it has previously featured big-hitters such as Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Tinie Tempah, PLan B and Emile Sandi. Following the launch night in October, iluvlive is returning to Komedia for the second installment, showcasing local artists featuring Staniford, Kyra, Lu’Ami, Ceezlin and more artists to be announced. With 15 minute sets and a penchant for hip-hop/dance music, it’s a chance to see a wide range of up-and-coming artists for just a couple of pounds, or free when you sign up for the guestlist on http://www.iluvlive.co.uk/.
Reviews of “Devastatingly Brilliant”, “Sensational” and “A revelation” from the national presses captured my attention with Paul Thomas Saunders, and rightly so. With rich synth textures Snow Patrol drums and Fleet Foxes style vocals, his music is quite poppy, friendly and very easy to listen to. With interesting track titles including ‘A Lunar Veteran’s Guide To Re-Entry‘ and ‘In High Heels Burn It Down’ his album Beautiful Desolation is certainly an interesting addition to any CD collection. Check out the video ‘Appointment In Samarra‘ below.
Another find of mine from Latitude Festival this year, Marika Hackman is closing her November tour of the UK with a performance at Brighton’s Green Door Store. I was instantly captivated by her song “Bath Is Black” and from then on I was hooked. She combines a lyrical rhythm and narrative style often associated with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, telling things how they are, underpinned by a wash of bouncy synths, guitars and drums. Lots of acute little melodies to keep you humming along for weeks after. Don’t miss out!
Melting Vinyl Presents: Asgeir – Komedia – 8pm – £12.50/£14.50 Writing and performing catchy Icelandic folk-pop songs with a beautiful atmospheric edge to them has brought Asgeir a strong international fanbase. I saw his set at Latitude this year and the audience were captivated by his soft falsetto vocals and simple yet moving lyrics: “Higher, higher Far away And the glare of this world Is small and humbled” For a man with a clearly limited knowledge of English language – there was not a lot of talking in between his tracks – Asgeir is a straight down to business kinda guy with the music to back it up.
Ruarri Joseph Trio – Komedia – 7:30pm – £11.50 Edinbugh-born Ruarri Joseph found his roots in songwriting after moving to New Zealand at the age of 11 in a remote farming community called Dannevirke. After moving to London (age 16) and then Cornwall (age 17) Ruarri had the first of his three children aged just 19. After prioritising his family, he decided to venture on with his music as a solo artist, with his first EP ‘All Substance and No Style‘ catching the attention of Atlantic records who oversaw the release of his debut album ‘Tales of Grime and Grit’ in 2007. Since then, Ruarri started his own label, Pip Productions which he released his following albums on, including most recently Big Brother in 2012/2013. His folk songs are personal, warm and sincere. For fans of classic folk artists like Dylan and Cohen, as well as next generation folk artists like Jack Johnson and Ben Howard.
Fresh from the release of his third album, Too Bright, Seattle-based solo artist Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius, is touring America in October before heading over the Atlantic for his European and UK tour, Performing in Brighton on 26th November. With a reputation for piano ballads, Perfume Genius builds on this in his critically acclaimed new album which is no longer “a little timid” and more staring you straight in the eye and giving you a good talking to. As he recently told Port Magazine “[For this album] I have this very specific man-dressed-as-a-woman-dressed-as-a-man kind of thing, like an Inception drag. I want things to look iconic and have a classy feel, but still feel like me”. Check out the video below for his track ‘Grid‘.
Ian Shaw – The Brunswick – 8pm – £12/£10 advance Twice winner of “Best Jazz Vocalist” at the BBC Jazz Awards, presenter of the Ronnie Scott’s radio show on Jazz.fm and performer on a number of highly acclaimed albums, Ian Shaw’s name has become a household name when talking about male jazz vocalists. Having performed on a number of TV shows from Jools Holland to Top of the Pops and collaborated with everybody from Quincy Jones to Cleo Laine and Joe Beck, Ian has had a prolific and successful career in the jazz arena. His latest show, A Bit of a Mouthful, fresh from his run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, combines comedy, original songs and great musicianship for a night of class and entertainment.
For more updates of local music reviews, articles and interviews, follow my blog or follow me on twitter @tomsayeruk. If you have any gigs that you would like me to review, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official blog of Brighton-based freelance music journalist Tom Sayer