Category Archives: Live Reviews

Review: Fleet Foxes At Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion 28 November 2017

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‘.

3.5/5 stars

Review: Kandace Springs – ACCA Brighton – 2nd May 2017

Last night I went back to my old university campus, the University of Sussex, to see American jazz pianist and singer-songwriter Kandace Springs and her trio performing at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), formerly the Gardner Arts Centre. The place had definitely changed since I left in 2009 but I must say that the new and improved ACCA is a stunning new venue. As I felt when I visited the Ropetackle Centre to see Courtney Pine last weekend, I was amazed that there was another great venue within close proximity of Brighton that I’d not visited, and again this is another venue that is really worth the effort to visit.

The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Located near the sports centre and facing Falmer Bar on the University of Sussex campus, there is ample free parking in the evenings near to the centre and a cafe/bar just outside the auditorium for you to get a pre-concert beverage. Inside, the venue is a modern theatre space with tiered seating and a stage big enough for any sized ensemble. The building itself is Grade II listed, but inside you would not tell as it looks like something that was made for this purpose very recently. The performance space is used for everything from dance and theatre to debates and live music, making it a very diverse venue indeed and a real asset to University of Sussex.

Kandace Springs at ACCA Brighton - 2nd May 2017. Photo by Nicola Jackson.
Kandace Springs at ACCA Brighton – 2nd May 2017. Photo by Nicola Jackson.

Kandace Springs

Following on from her bassist and drummer who led the way onto the dimly-lit stage, Kandace Springs bounced onto the stage with a broad smile from ear to ear and buckets of enthusiasm as she greeted the audience before taking her position behind the Steinway & Sons grand piano which occupied the left side of the stage. Her performance was confident and assured, not something that you would necessarily expect from an artist who is just 27 years old and on their first UK headline tour. It was clear from the start that Springs was a very accomplished jazz pianist and that the Steinway was not there for decoration whilst she plodded along through the set – she gave elaborate and technical jazz piano solos and extended introductions throughout the set without the tendency to overdo it or show off., as can be easy to do.

Springs’ trio played a solid 90-minute set, including tracks from her debut album Soul Eyes,  her previous EP,  some new and unheard tracks from their forthcoming album and some classic contemporary jazz standards including ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face‘ by Roberta Flack and Etta James’ big crowd-pleaser ‘At Last‘.  The musicianship of all three musicians was top-notch, with the drums and bass playing intricate parts to underpin the piano/vocal lead throughout. With her original tracks varying from upbeat grooves to down-tempo ballads, Springs is by no means a one trick pony, and with songs written for her by the likes of Grammy-award winning songwriter Jesse Harris (amongst many credits, Harris wrote Norah Jones’ hit ‘Don’t Know Why’), you know that you are in safe hands when you go to see Kandace perform live.

From the taster track from her next album, Black Orchid, it looks like the new record might be a bit more sombre than the first, but perhaps that track is just a curveball to catch the audience unawares. Whatever it may be, Kandace Springs is certainly one to watch out for in the future and I hope that her visits to the UK become far more frequent.

Review: Bill Laurence At Glee Club Birmingham 7th March 2017

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.

Bill Laurence Group - Glee Club Birmingham March 2017
Bill Laurence Group – Glee Club Birmingham March 2017. Photo by Nicola Jackson.

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.

Liverpool Sound City In Images

Sometimes there are no words. Here is my time at Liverpool Sound City In Images, taken by myself and Nicola Jackson.

Super Early Bird Wristbands On Sale Now until 8th June for Liverpool Sound City 2016, 27-29th May 2016.

3 Day Tickets just £50 + £5 booking fee.

Liverpool Sound City - SIgn
Liverpool Sound City Photo - Dock From Bridge
Liverpool Sound City - High Masts
Liverpool Sound City - Everything Everything
Liverpool Sound City - Flaming Lips
Liverpool Sound City
Liverpool Sound City - Hein Cooper
Liverpool Sound City - Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5
Liverpool Sound City - Hein Cooper Interview
Liverpool Sound City - Hein Cooper and Me 2
Liverpool Sound City - Hein Cooper and Me B&W
Liverpool Sound City - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Liverpool Sound City- Light Parade
Liverpool Sound City - Warehouse Door
Liverpool Sound City - Rust
Liverpool Sound City - Ship at Dusk
Liverpool Sound City - Belle and Sebastian
Liverpool Sound City - Belle and Sebastian 2


Keep the music live and alive.

Interview with Hein Cooper at Liverpool Sound City
#TGE – The Great Escape In Images

The Tempest Inn Open Mic Night

Launched this week by the brains behind the ever-popular open mic nights at The Hop Poles (Tuesdays), The Fishbowl (formerly Wednesdays), The Hanover (Thursdays) and the featured artist performances at The Cyclist (Fridays), The Tempest Inn is the newest open mic night to join the colony of Brighton venues which is taken over one night a week by Amy Forrester (AMiTY) and Rosie Powell, who provide the clientele the best live and acoustic music that the city has to offer.

  • FranClassic - The Tempest Inn Open Mic Headliner
    FranClassic - The Tempest Inn Open Mic Headliner
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Sami James - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Sami James - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Inside The Tempest Inn
    Inside The Tempest Inn
    26/03/2015. Image by The Tempest Inn.

Set a stone’s throw from the beach (no apologies for the pun) under the parade on Kings Road Arches, The Tempest Inn is a newly opened pub which offers all that Brighton’s locals could want: a large outside area with benches & parasols, neon signs and inside is designed to look like a cave, naturally.

Tempest Inn Open Mic - Line Up

As with their other nights, Amy and Rosie provide a highly organised open mic night with slots pre-bookable by getting in touch through their Facebook page on or by emailing This means that the performers know what time they are on, the audience can see who is performing before the night has begun, and new for The Tempest Inn Open Mic, there is a 30-minute headline slot for one performer each week, giving them a chance to show off a little more of their music to the audience.

  • Paul Murray - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Paul Murray - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Steven MacWrigley - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Steven MacWrigley - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Brandon McDonnell - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Brandon McDonnell - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Jack Evans - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Jack Evans - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Deirdre Faegre - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Deirdre Faegre - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.
  • Francesca Morris - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    Francesca Morris - The Tempest Inn Open Mic
    26/03/2015. Image by Rosie Powell.

With fantastic drink promos for everybody and a great sounding PA, professional photos taken by Rosie, see the slider above, and the chance to perform inside of a cave, The Tempest Inn Open Mic is surely going to soon be the place to be for acoustic musicians on the scene and fans of acoustic music.

For more information about Eyes and Ears Brighton visit:

For more information about The Tempest Inn visit:

Sofar Sounds Brighton @ Hotel Pelirocco

Tonight, in the ‘Kraken’s Lair’ basement of the quirky boutique Pelirocco Hotel in central Brighton, Sofar Sounds took over and made a stage for three local artists, Alex KP, Slam The Poet and Our Girl.

Sofar Sounds in Kraken's Lair. Photo by Nicola Jackson.
Sofar Sounds in Kraken’s Lair. Photo by Nicola Jackson.

Walking through the entrance of what looked like a bohemian brothel, down past the spiral staircase, ornamental fittings and plush carpets the Sofar Sounds Brighton team of volunteers were beavering away behind the scenes getting the stage ready for the show – the stage being the shell of a 4-poster sofa-bed. Adjoining to the makeshift venue was the Kraken’s Lair, a bedroom kitted out with a clam shaped-bed, mirrored ceiling, full-blown stripper’s pole and as much Kraken paraphernalia as you will ever likely see in a lifetime.

Sofar Sounds Brighton March 2015 - Alex KP
Alex KP at Hotel Pelirocco. Image by Nicola Jackson.

Performing to the most people who have ever been in one room, the opening act was Alex KP, a singer-songwriter from Cambridge who is currently residing in Brighton. She has a grainy voice like an old tree, and performs lengthy ballads which feel like Sunday afternoon car journeys down winding country lanes – but without the nausea. Her low salty tones have heavy flavours of jazz and blues with no loyalty to conformity or tonality.  Alex has a CD out very soon so keep an eye out for her next gigs to get one!

Sofar Sounds Brighton - Slam The Poet
Slam The Poet at Hotel Pelirocco. Image by Nicola Jackson.

Warming up backstage with some chips in hand were Slam The Poet. Performing to a backdrop of samples which sounded something like a cross between Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Eminem and Soul II Soul, the lead singer improvised his way through a number of original compositions. He engaged well with the audience, and commented that “…freestyling doesn’t stop, it just trails off. We set up a scaffolding and fill it in”.

After a short interval for drinks and loo breaks, 3-piece Our Girl brought the night to the end with some sexy Buckley-esque guitar lines and the type of grungy shoegaze that you used to hear from the live bands playing at The Bronze in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Their instrumentals were pensive and the vocals of lead singer Soph Nathan were light and floaty, like a good victoria sponge.

Despite the limited space, the attentive audience were very appreciative of the musicians and seemed to be having a great time. I’m sure that there were many regulars and also many more who would be telling their friends and applying for tickets again next time.

Sofar Sounds events happen all across the world, usually once a month in a number of UK cities including London, Manchester and Brighton. To find out more about Sofar Sounds or to sign up for their mailing list to be in with a chance of winning tickets, visit
@SofarSoundsBTN #SofarBTN

Sofar Sounds Brighton

How to write a music blog

In an age of mobile technology dominated by social media and online press, the power has been handed over from the few to the many, particularly with multimedia journalism. It’s easy to find reviews of almost anything online, from obscure indie films to mainstream platinum albums, but it’s not as easy as it looks to write the reviews.

Here is my 10 step guide to writing a music blog that people will want to read:

1. Know Your Stuff

To debunk what may be a common myth amongst music journalism, you do not need to have a formal music education to write about music. You do not even need to be an expert in the field. But what is important is that whatever it is you are writing about is something that you understand and would feel comfortable having a discussion with a fan of the artist about. If you want to say that an artist reminds you of Damien Rice for example, make sure that you know what Damien Rice actually sounds likes and justify (to yourself at least) why you think that. It is easy to make sweeping statement about music to overgeneralise or to look like an expert, but it won’t be long before your reader’s realise you don’t know your Dylan from your Ke$ha. Know your stuff and you will earn your reader’s trust, and if you are lucky, their loyalty too.

2. Write About What You Like

It is so easy to give something a good panning. By nature, we are critical beings and like to cast shade on what others are doing, and often justifiably so, but I ask you this: why? Who wan’t to read a bad review of something? You have have the razor sharp dry wit of a seasoned stand-up, but if nobody know who you are or your voice, then you are just another sarcastic hater who trashes things online. Unless you really hate something with a passion and feel compelled to warn others against it, I suggest writing about what you love, what you really enjoy and you and your readers will want to read about it – and so might the people who you are writing it about, which is the best way to get your work shared around.

3. Meet The Musicians

It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen or smartphone at a show, but the best way to find out information about a band is to get chatting to them. Most local bands are thrilled to talk about their music with anybody that listens, particularly if they might get a review written about their show from it. So get to gigs early to see the supports and stick around afterwards to get chatting with them. It will give you a unique insight into their music that other will not have and it will be interesting to your readers. Plus, you never know which support act you review might be the next big thing, and they may just remember that guy or girl who wrote about them back in the day.

4. Compare and Compère

Two things that audiences like about music blogs is for the acts to be compared and compered. By comparing particular tracks, or the band/artist in general, with known figures helps people to gauge their interest and also helps you as a writer to compartmentalise the music a little, which allows you to be more specific, which is always a good thing. There is nothing worse than vague wishy-washy music journalism, saying things like “the band sounded like Mumford & Sons on crack”… By compèring the acts that you review, you are introducing them to a potentially new audience so give a little background information – not a full Wikipedia biography. If you are reviewing a show, review the support too. It’s a good way to engage with more people, as support acts and local acts are more likely to share your work amongst their networks, and if you like them, odds are that other people will too.

5. Write Regularly

Not everybody can polish off a swift 2,000 words in their lunch break – and that is definitely a good thing. People have a finite amount of time and attention, so don’t overstay your welcome or become a nusiance. Write when you can, but regulate it. If you know you won’t be writing something for a while after a busy period, why not schedule your posts to go out evenly rather than writing in sporadic spurts every so often. People crave regularity, as much as they may not admit to it, and consistently well written work is the key to gaining and keeping readership of your blog. Keep it fresh, interesting and really care about what you write – writing regularly will really help you with this and prevent you from writer’s block or general writing malaise.

6. Good Quality Images

We’ve all done it, but don’t just grab any old image from Google Image Search for a band. Make sure the images you use are current and where possible signed off by the band. Most bands will have a press section on their website, or at least a gallery of recent images which should be fine to use to accompany your blog. If you can’t find anything, drop them an email to request some images and they will more than likely reply with what you need – after all, it is free publicity for them and it will really make your blog stand out by having the latest and best images to complement your writing.

7. Look Good/Mobile Friendly

Before you start throwing everything you write out at the world, you may want to think about how it actually looks. Depending on which platform you use, there is a lot of functionality and deign elements which you can customise, so it helps if you have a clear design idea in your head for how you want your blog to look. If you lack a creative eye for design, seek advice from friends, as your blog template and theme is like a shop window, and if visitors don’t like it, they are much less likely to stick around to have a browse. Most blogs automatically optimise for mobile devices, but make sure that yours does by testing it on your phone/tablet. Most users will be accessing your blog through mobile devices so if it doesn’t look good then it won’t keep them coming back for more.

8. Check It Twice

Just like Santa Claus, you should check everything in your blog is how you want it to be. Do your image link to the right places? Do your web-links work? Have you spelled all the names correctly? Is your factual information correct? It’s always better to double check before publishing to avoid the embarrassment of being corrected online, or losing reader through silly grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting mistakes.

9. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge field in itself – people work full time just in this field of IT – but put simply, it about making sure your website/blog shows up when people are searching for the information which you are giving. There are a lot of tools which can help you do this through your blog site which are very simple to use and can have a real effect on online traffic. It is helpful to get into good habits, such as giving articles useful names that are likely to be search terms for people, and inserting meta descriptions for articles and images. If you don’t know what these are or how to do this, its easy to find out online, and this would really help your blog to get noticed.

10. Spread The Word

This should be quite obvious, but once you have your work all polished and ready to publish, be sure to send it out to all of your networks with whom it might be relevant. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube are all powerful tools with huge numbers of online daily users, so use the resources that you have available to you and network, spread the word and take constructive feedback on board to help you become the best writer that you can be. You never know when it may turn into more than just a hobby – it could well lead into a full-time career!

Krater Comedy Club Review 2015

Upon entering the basement at Komedia where the Comedy Club is held, it was looking a little light on people. But by the time the announcement that the show was getting ready to start and to switch mobiles to silent, the place was packed and buzzing. The staff always seem really busy there, but maintain a friendly tone and good quality service with a smile, which goes a long way and puts you in a great mood for the rest of the night. A personal favourite of mine at the bar is a mixed pot of peanuts and mini-eggs at a steal for just £1!

Krater Comedy Club Review 2015 - Brighton

The compere for the night was the excitable Laura Lexx, a local comedian with more enthusiasm than The Lanes has quirky shops. A lot of her material came from pouncing on the front row people, as is to be expected in comedy shows, so if you’re the shy and reserved type or on a first date, you may wish to choose your seats carefully! Fortunately, on this Thursday night, the front row was filled with mostly 18 year old students who weren’t phased by having their early career choices slightly probed and mocked, all in good humour.

The opener, the unsurprisingly Welsh Rhodri Rhys started with a great joke about espresso before segueing into a set focused on changing his accent as he moved across the country, Cardiff on a Saturday night (which having experienced this myself rings very true), resentment for his successful friends and their “mid-winter BBQs” and mountain climbing. I really enjoyed his set and the audience seemed very responsive to his set. Always a good start to the night.

After an interval, next up was Jesus look-a-like Jay Handley. His resemblance to the Christian deity was uncanny, but I did find myself questioning whether he would have gotten into comedy without being the Lord Saviour’s doppelganger. That said, he really did look like him and his material was very funny. His story about bus companionship “til destination do us part” really cracked me up and I hope to see more of him on the circuit. Here’s a link I found to an interview with him – Jay Handley Interview

Krater Comedy Club Review 2015 - Jay Handley

Third up was Brummie giant Nicholas Clarke. His set was based mostly on his relationship counselling and for me fell a little too much on the dry side of anecdotal, without much comedic reward. After being unable to find any information online apart from his twitter, I can only assume that he may be in the early stages of his career on the comedy circuit, but I hope that he can mix things up in his set with some oneliners to keep the audience’s attention.

After another interval, headliner Romesh Ranganathan came confidently to the stage. I’ve seen him twice before in the last 6 months and both times I really enjoyed his set, so had high hopes for this one as well. His smart casual appearance and quick fire dialogue with the audience came across as confident, like a plumber fixing a sink for the 100th time: they just know what to do! His description of his son as “an unacceptable human being” really hit the spot for me. A lot of his humour was race related, but not dwelling on it and not saying the same kinds of things as other comedians from different cultural backgrounds might say. He advocated teachers and suggested leaving old people to be racist because they have earned it, an interesting and hilarious view when you think about it further. He talks about his veganism “to avoid dinner parties” and his mother’s alleged disgrace with his white attitude beneath his brown skin, or as he described it “coconut”.

Krater Comedy Club Review 2015

All in all, it was a great night. Everybody brought something different to the stage and the audience left in high spirits. With performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights,, there is always something to go and see over the weekend at Krater Comedy Club. With visiting acts each week, you can check the line up online at or you can check out some great January deals here including £6 student tickets for the Saturday late show and Sunday shows.

Check out the full range of shows at Brighton Komedia here including music, comedy, theatre, dance, spoken word and children’s events.

Mid-December Gigs Update

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.

Alfie Boe @ Brighton Centre – 9th December

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.