Category Archives: Top Navigation Bar

Love Supreme Festival Back in 2015 – Early Bird Tickets Out Today

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.

Here is my review from 2013 –

Love Supreme 2013 Review

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 –

Artists to Watch at Love Supreme 2014 

New Discoveries at 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.

For more information, check the official website:  www.lovesupremefestival.com.

Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were Review

Ben Howard has to be one of the greatest breakthrough artists of the century. The success of his debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ in 2011 earned him a Mercury Prize Nomination as well as two BRIT Awards in 2013 for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Solo Male Artist, besting Olly Murs, Plan B and Calvin Harris! Off the bat of his performance of ‘Only Love‘ at the BRITS, he went to the Top 10 in the singles chart (previously at 190!) and number 4 in the album charts (previously 46), proving that people had just to hear him perform live in order to be captivated by his music.  Continue reading Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were Review

REVIEW: Luke Sital-Singh, Karima Francis and Jacko Hooper @ Haunt 9th September 2014

As the buzz around Brighton was that there was to be a secret (not so secret) last minute Foo Fighters gig at Concorde II the next day, I was getting ready for a gig that I had been looking forward to for weeks, singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh playing at The Haunt in Brighton, with supports from previously unknown to me Karima Francis, who is supporting Luke for the whole tour, and local champion Jacko Hooper, a personal favourite of mine since seeing his EP launch gig at The Brunswick back in July. Read my review of the show and his EP here.




The venue was quite sparsely filled as Jacko opened up the proceedings for the night, far from empty yet not the audience that he deserved. I must admit that I do tend to favour the “one man and his guitar” approach to songwriting, but that said Jacko is a fine example of how that should be done and how you can do so much with just a voice, a piece of wood and six strings. His confident control of the music was exercised with the surgical precision of a Swiss watch-maker, skillfully manipulating every aspect of the songs from the tempo to the melody, the dynamic to the timbre of his voice. As he played through the tracks from his debut EP and a few older numbers the audience filled out, but I still often wonder why people don’t arrive earlier to gigs and see all of the music that they’ve paid for. I’d say that it is their loss but in truth it affects the artists too so I’d strongly suggest people to check out the supports if possible because you never know what you might be missing out on! Fingers crossed in a year or so Jacko will be headlining his own shows in similar venues, with an album under his belt and a fanbase deserving of his songwriting and performing talents.



The main support was Karima Francis, a singer-songwriter from Blackpool, armed with a clean electric guitar sound and a serious head of hair that fell somewhere between Brian May and Slash. Her opening couple of tracks were really good, using some lovely floaty chords and showing a good range in her voice through her interesting melodies. She talked in a very relaxed way to the audience between the songs, coming across as very down to earth but as her set continued, I felt that her voice was slightly lacking in the upper register, not quite belting and not quite going into falsetto but sounding somewhere in between which sounded like it needed a little support. As she spoke about usually playing with a band, perhaps she was a little unaccustomed to performing solo, but nevertheless she gave an assured performance. 



At 9pm Luke took to the stage, sitting quietly at an electric piano before bursting out with his first song. His voice is tremendous and he is a fine pianist and guitarist too, skills which are consistently delivered throughout the performance. He was accompanied by a friend on electric guitar and backing vocals whilst he split his time between piano and acoustic guitar, in the way a child shares their time between divorced parents. Having already listened to his album, see my review of it here, I was familiar with the majority of the songs, which were delivered faithful to the recordings but with more room for interpretation in the vocals when performed live. The combination of vocals, particularly in Bottled Up Tight, 21st Century Heartbeat and Greatest Lovers, sounded very lush, but not a touch on the performance at Latitude with the backing of the London Contemporary Voices Choir. 

Luke’s way of talking in between the songs seemed very mismatched to his music, which is fairly introvert and gentle. He declared flippantly his dislike for festivals, calling them a massive pain (which granted did get a laugh from the audience, but it was hard to tell how sincere he was being at the time), and suggesting that everybody take a minute to delete the new U2 album from their phones which Apple had kindly gifted its users (whilst this is a weird publicity stunt from U2, I can’t help but feel that any ‘un-camaraderie’ between musicians is a bit of a step in the wrong direction.) He was very outspoken in a kind of playful way but with a slight bite to him. Also, I guess I just wasn’t as impressed with his “depressed-ival” idea as some of the audience were. His 45 minute set had no encore and his thanking of the supports just before the final song felt like an afterthought that lacked sincerity, which is far less than what they deserved. As somebody who has been in their situation not so long ago, I expected a little better.

 

Whilst I am still a fan of his music and have a strong admiration for his songwriting and musicianship and wish him all the best for the future, I think that he would do well to remember his manners and bite his sometimes acid tongue in order to keep his fans coming back for more. And perhaps an extra couple of songs at the end would go a long way too.

Luke Sital-Singh’s Album ‘The Fire Inside’ is out now.

  

Jacko Hooper Live Review and EP ‘For You’ Review’

I arrived at The Brunswick just after doors had opened and already the venue was half full. By the time the first support Ellie Ford took the the stage, there was only standing room left at the back. The dimly lit lampshades and candles on the tables gave the room an aura of light orange and red. The audience was made up primarily of people of what I’d call parental age (30s-50s) which was good to see as this demographic isn’t usually represented as fully on weeknight gigs. They clearly knew that they were in for a special evening and they were most definitely right.

Ellie Ford is a Brighton-based singer-songwriter who is also a very accomplished harpist. Having already seen her performing a number of support slots including local band Time for T and touring solo songwriter Tom Hickox, Ellie seems to be a popular choice for acoustic gigs and it is clear to see why. Her songs are enchanting, with her guitar and harp parts underpinning her sultry vocals. For an accomplished songwriter, she seems slightly uneasy in between songs, but I am sure that over time she will grow more comfortable under the spotlight, as she should well be.

The second support was Tom Staniford, who performs under the name of Staniford. He is surely used to being the tallest man in the room as his presence towered over the audience, which he broke with a friendly face and some lovely music. He seemed more comfortable engaging with audience, introducing his songs with clarity and performing them with a passion seen in artists such as Bon Iver and Glen Hansard. His guitar songs reminded me a little of Ryan Keen with a certain faint air of Something Corporate in his piano ones, which he played well despite the out of tune piano causing some problems. His lyrics were grounded, my favourite being in the last song which he played unplugged… “Should we play it safe or punch above our weight“. Below is the video for his recent single Elizabeth, a haunting and beautiful track.

After these two wonderful support slots the man of the hour took to the stage, to great applause from the fully packed venue even before he’s picked up his guitar. Dressed in a smart shirt, waistcoated and with and hat and his thick rimmed glasses he looked like a man who meant business. He opened without introducing himself, playing a song that showed off his vocal and guitar abilities immediately. The emotional intensity of his performance was overwhelming even from the start. He appeared to be quite a shy and introverted guy, describing himself as “an emotional chap”, looking visibly moved by the first rapture of applause, which in such an intimate setting was by no means the usual response to a solo singer-songwriter. He humbly thanked the audience for being there and the supports, whom he endorsed enthusiastically. He seemed to have a mismatched confidence to his slightly nervous facade, a confidence grown from a young man finding the thing that he is meant to do and doing it: Jacko Hooper is meant to write and perform music and I, amongst the rest of the audience, am so very glad that he does.

I could go on and on about the performance but I think sometimes simplicity is best so I will try to be concise. I go to a lot of gigs, seeing a vast amount of bands and solo artists at all different stages in their careers, from people playing tiny pub gigs to festival headliners, and I have not been this excited about discovering a solo artist since first stumbling across Ben Howard in 2011. His set is filled with originals as there is no space for covers in it. There was not a single track that I would have dropped from it, no set-fillers or haphazard B-sides, simply a masterclass in songwriting and solo performance, both vocally and instrumentally. Jacko’s voice is full of great grainy textures, from the deep gravelly bottom through the rich middles to the powerful falsetto, which each seem to come to him just as easily as breathing. He seems totally at home on the stage and hopefully with the continued support of his friends, family and supporters he will continue to spend a lot of time there!

Below is my review of his new EP ‘For You‘, which has been over a year in the making and hits like an fine cask-aged whisky, burning straight to the heart.



1. Egg Shells

Starting gently with the acoustic guitar, banjo and subtle female backing vocals, the song builds til the drums enter at the second verse. It stays somewhat contained in the recording, but live the song is given more of a boost with vocal ad libbing, but in its recorded version it is still it is a neatly packaged gem, gentle and sparkling with very moving lyrics: “So you my lover, stay if I can gather all the reasons why I believe that we’re together“.

2. November 5th Song

Again starting gently, this song has a delicacy of a Damien Rice track until the chorus, which is fantastically catchy and simple; this could be easily be a song in the charts right now if marketed in the right way. The vocal is precise and heavy with emotions and will in all likelihood haunt you for weeks after hearing it.

3. Run Away With Me

Just when you think the songs can’t get any more raw, the simple strumming and exposed vocal take it to another level. The chorus reminds me slightly of David Gray’s ‘Sail Away’, not just because of the lyrical similarity but the style of the performance and professionalism of the song. Hints of James Morrison slip into the vocal in places too, which is by no means a bad thing.

4. Roaming

Closing the EP, Roaming is a song about travelling and not knowing where you will end up. This is a live recording with just vocals and guitar, doused in just the right amount of reverb to make it sparkle.

The EP is available to buy through itunes here for a meagre £2.49. But take it from me, you will want to catch this guy live soon, because if there is any justice in the world then he will be skyrocketing to the dizzy heights of the world stage sometime very soon! 

www.Jackohooper.com
@jacko_hooper