CLICK HERE to check out our second monthly playlist! Plenty of new tunes for you! This month features tracks from Fragile Creatures, Russell Swallow, Stark, The Mojo Fins, Richard Allan II, O. Chapman, Apples & Eve, The Beautiful Word,Laish, The Black Fields, Emma Gatrill + Willowen
I’d been looking forward to The Mojo Fins Old Market show for weeks, so it was a great disappointment when I saw online that band were being forced to pull out due to illness. It was a shame as I hadn’t seen the group play live in a long time - I was eager to see them in such an elegant setting and hopeful we’d be hearing some of the new material they’ve reportedly been working on. Luckily the line-up for the night was so strong I wasn’t perturbed, and judging from the excellent turnout few people were: extended sets from Apples & Eve and Shona Foster were still a very enticing proposition. I even spotted the uncontaminated members of The Mojo Fins sitting in the front row enjoying the entertainment!
I’d really been looking forward to catching opening act Apples & Eve, having recently caught their BBC Introducing radio session, which sounded fabulous. They opened their set confidently with the title track from their recently released ‘Dionysius’ EP. Apples & Eve are an excellent live band built around the duo of Eva Rose (accordion, acoustic guitar, lead vocals) and Francine Perry (drums, acoustic guitar, backing vocals). They are backed with classic instrumentation (double bass, violin and a lead electric guitar) and play a classy atmospheric take on alternative folk. Stand out tracks for me on the evening included EP tracks ‘L’Homme’ and ‘Creatures of The Sea’. ‘L’Homme’ conjures up a mystical fantasy world with its beautiful picked guitars, fantastic fiddle licks, insistent shuffle and uplifting harmonies. The reggae-tinged ‘Creatures of The Sea’ came towards the end of the set, holding the audience on tenterhooks with extended false endings which repeatedly drew us back in to the groove. I recommend you check these guys out live at the next possible occasion and pick up a copy of their EP - I’m expecting big things from them next year.
Next up was Shona Foster, playing with a more stripped back setup than I am used to seeing from her. Shona sang and played a classical acoustic guitar backed by pianist Matthew Gest and guitarist Chris Otero (who I recently reviewed as the front-man of MynieMoe). Shona opened the set with ‘No. 34’ from her debut album ‘The Moon and You’ a song which is still echoing round my head almost a week later! ‘No. 34’ is one of my favourites on the record, so it is a tribute to the song-writing that it holds up so well with the stripped back line-up, as do all of the familiar tracks in the set. The effect is intimate and intense, getting right to the heart of the songs and showcasing Shona’s incredible voice… you could literally hear a pin drop.
The front half of her set was dominated by a batch of promising new songs; one, which I am desperate to hear again, had a haunting Latin feel to it leading. Intentions’ It will be interesting to see if this more stripped back approach remains when they record her next album, as it certainly had a powerful affect on the audience tonight. Later in the set we’re treated to more familiar songs ‘Oh Patience’ sounds lush, with superb backing vocals from the boys in the band and set closer ‘Bad Intentions’ brings the house down. There were a few technical difficulties, the sound engineers struggled to get Otero’s backing vocals in the monitors and the lighting, atmospheric as it may have be, became so dark at one point Shona couldn’t read her set-list! Any troubles were borne with good humour and professionalism and it was no surprise that the audience called them back for on more tune. ‘Collision’, the closing track from ‘The Moon and You’ is a haunting piano ballad that brings to mind a romantic stormy sea. Shona’s heart-wrenching vocal delivery sends shivers up my spine and I find myself completely lost in the music a beautiful ending to a wonderful evening.
We’re told The Mojo Fins will be re-scheduling their performance at The Old Market for early in the New Year. On the strength of tonight’s show that one is going to be unmissable!
Terry Moore (words) Adam Kidd (pictures)
C A R A V A N P A L A C E
(Thursday, 22nd November 2012 @ The Concorde 2, Brighton)
I arrive early at the Concorde 2 to find a room brimming with anticipation and excitement. The audience is ready to party boasting brightly-coloured swing dresses, waist coats, 50’s suits and Handlebar moustaches (to name a few).
I manage to catch the support act - ‘Swingrowers’ (from Sicily) who did an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the evening with their own style of electro swing twists and beats. Loredana Grimaudo, had charming stage presence, whilst belting out incredible melodies and catchy riffs.
The room was packed during the support slot, but as members of Caravan Palace began to stir on stage, more people than I imagined possible flooded into the main room of The Concorde 2. As soon as Colotis Zoe (singer/front woman) appeared on stage - the crowd went wild. They clearly knew what to expect from Caravan Palace.
Zoe was dressed in a black, high-top blouse and a long net skirt, which she began using almost as a prop in her performance. Not even halfway through the first song, she whipped it off to reveal another skirt underneath. For those who have seen Caravan Palace before will be aware of Zoe’s well renowned wardrobe change throughout the set. I counted a total of 5 outfit changes during the show which all received tremendous cheers and whistles of approval. As Zoe isn’t on stage during the entire set, it allows her time backstage to change and also to re-charge her batteries - so when she comes back, she gives a high energy performance. During this time, the lead is handed over to the violinist/scat singer Hugues Payen and Clarinet player ‘Chapi’ who work exceptionally well together as a performance duo keeping the audience jumping up and down and engaged.
During the song ‘Rock It For Me’, one member joins Zoe at the front of the stage for a ‘dance off’ during the instrumental. This traditional swing-style dance is beautifully choreographed all the way through, ending with one of the tech guys crossing the stage with precision timing to hand back Zoe’s microphone leading effortlessly into the chorus. The crowd responded to this with a roof lifting, foot stomping scream.
This is clearly a band that is madly in love with music as well as creating, gigging, performing and travelling the world. No matter where you look, you are blasted with and an electric energy from all seven members of Caravan Palace, but the thing that comes across most of all is their enjoyment of the performance. None of them stop to rest, all moving to the beats with their instruments until sweat is visibly dripping off them.
At the end of their set they are greeted with a roaring encore from the audience, after which they rejoined us with a foot-stomping ‘Jolie Coquine’ then proceeded to come to the front of the stage and give a mighty bow, with smiles the size of saucers and thanked the audience for joining them, leaving an emotional blanket of warmth and happiness that we all took home (along with very achy muscles the next day!)
See them live here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7JOa3dISg0
I arrived a little late for MynieMoe’s EP Launch at The Brunswick and unfortunately caught only the last song of support band Le Juki. I’d been privileged to see them once before and was looking forward to another dose of their unusual, experimental ‘toys-hop’ tunes. I shall have to look out for another show as their set finale was received with warm applause accompanied by that genuine groan that gets released by an audience who really would like a bit more!
Soon the men of MynieMoe were taking to the stage, but unfortunately the Le Juki setup was not as compatible with theirs as we might have hoped and it seemed the whole rig had to be re-wired for the headliners. MynieMoe is the brainchild of former 12 Stone Toddler’s Chris Otero and Ben Jones, Toddler slid from view some time ago, but I always suspected it was only a matter of time before these talented men returned to Brighton stages, with song writing like theirs it would be a crime not to.
For this incarnation Jones remains the master of all things keyboard, sporting a lovely Nord and a fancy looking Moog synth as well as providing backing vocals and a bit of harmonica on some tunes. For MynieMoe lead singer Chris Otero seems to have decided that six strings = good and four strings = bad; not only has he stopped playing the bass guitar he has also banished it from the band, recruiting Bruce Stevens (The Swing Ninjas) to provide the low notes on sousaphone. If you’ve never seen a sousaphone in action before you have to picture a man wrapped in a brass anaconda with the mouth of a gramophone issuing the sound of sublime authentic polka. Completing the line-up we have an excellent singing drummer, Mr Robin O’Keefe, who’s been seen providing percussion for The Sly Tones. O’Keefe’s drumming is flawless, but it’s his backing vocals that really bring the beast alive for me, complimenting Otero’s sensational croon perfectly.
After what seems like an age MynieMoe begin with the opening sousaphone riff of ‘Rataplan’ and the audience are transported into a wonderful world where every groove taps your toe and every melody is an earworm. Mr Bungle comes to mind from time to time, but equally so does Ennio Morricone, as pop melodies and arrangements give way to atmospheric instrumental sections crafted from Jones’ and Otero’s attention to sonic detail. Elements of ska, swing and good old fashioned rock’n’roll are cooked into something entirely new yet comfortingly familiar in their magical cauldron. Towards the end of the set the band are joined by guest clarinet & baritone sax player Bjorn Dahlberg, encouraging them to confidently extend instrumental passages, electrifying the crowd and band alike – I can’t remember the last time I saw a group having so much fun onstage! As the set draws to an end Otero reluctantly bats away calls for an encore, sadly they have reached curfew and the venue has no leeway. I rush home grinning fro ear-to-ear, there’s still time to slap the MynieMoe EP in my CD player, crank it up and live the show again – I don’t think my neighbours will be complaining!
Why? – Monday 8th, October @ The Old Market, Brighton
I arrived early for Why?’s welcome returnto Brighton’s shores and was treated to an intense introduction to support group ‘Young Fathers’. Rappers Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings and Alloysious Massaquoi were joined live by an anonymous percussionist with a single floor tom and a pair of splash cymbals to beef up the backing tracks they sang over. These guys were absolutely committed to their performance and locked audience members with thousand-yard cold stares between fits of exuberant dancing. Their commitment onstage sat well with a well crafted set of interesting tunes, great arrangements and fantastic voices: switching from heavy lyrical raps to surprisingly tender soulful vocals, definitely ones to keep an eye on.
Why?, in contrast, were relaxed and seemed very much at home, a suspicion confirmed when Yoni told the crowd Brighton is one of his all time favourite towns; “you should go to Cincinnati if you don’t believe me!” Yoni, Josiah and Doug were joined onstage tonight by Ben Sloan on second drum kit and multi-instrumentalists Liz Wolf (née Hodson) and Sarah Winters. The band played a crowd pleasing, representative set featuring plenty of Alopecia and Eskimo Snow, whilst showcasing hook-laden tunes from their new album ‘Mumps, Etc.’, released the day after on Tuesday 9th. ‘Sod in the Seed’ and ‘Strawberries’ went down a storm, making great use of the new female vocals and showing their song-writing is going from strength to strength.
It must be said that Why? are an excellent prospect live, with two drummers on either side of the stage with custom drum-sets, incorporating xylophones amongst an arrayof percussion devices. This enhanced rhythm section makes the grooves even more exciting than on record and many songs get re-worked to make best use of the available instrumentation. Yoni’s vocals are souped-up with delays and fabulous backing singing from the rest of the group. At one point, after pulling out some hilarious dance moves, Yoni quips, “you came for a concert and we gave you theatre,” but he’s not far off the truth: I was entranced. They finish a two song encore with my personal favourite from Elephant Eyelash, ‘Gemini” and the audience shuffles out smiling, fully sated and eager to pick up their copies of ‘Mumps, Etc.’ the following day.
Faulty Towers - The Dining Experience 27/07/12
Any Faulty Towers fan would be able to tell you that there were only twelve episodes ever made, but as it is so deeply embedded in the national conscience, people can’t help but assume that more exist. There is obviously a demand for more Faulty Towers exploits and so we head down to The Thistle Hotel (Brighton) for a night of ‘Faulty Towers - The Dining Experience.’
As soon as we walk into the hotel bar, we were hit with a warm buzz of excitement and anticipation from the other audience members. After everyone had ordered drinks and got comfortable with their surroundings, we heard in the distance a click-clacking of heels and were almost blinded by a bright pink, spotty dress which could have be owned by non other than Sybil Faulty. Straggling on behind was Manuel struggling with some nuts and Basil looking as highly strung as bunting during the Queens Jubilee. Had I not been reminded by the tickets in my hand that I was there to see a show, I could have easily mistaken the Thistle for the unmistakable hotel in Torquay.
We were soon led into ‘the dining room’, which, unfortunately lacked any sort of ambience or atmosphere and almost felt as though we were waiting to be called for a dentist appointment. It was clear that the majority of the audience were die-hard fans who were not to be disappointed.
The food however, was not fine dining in the slightest. Warm and dry, both the meat and vegetarian option were rather tasteless and a bit of a let down but rather suited we thought to the type of food you could imagine being served at Faulty Towers.
Only minimal text was recycled from the original series, the improvisation was extremely impressive and kept your attention glued to the show. The characters were certainly at their most exciting and comical when using the audience as props for witty banter, and, whilst both Basil (Edmeades) and Manuel (Scottile) were extraordinarily believable in their mannerisms and accents - It was clear that Sybil (Pollard) was the one holding the entire performance through her utterly convincing and believable character. Polly or The Major would have been a nice addition to the show as it would have added more colour, texture and scope for engaging the audience as at times some of the tables were a little neglected.
On reflection, a good experience all round and certainly suitable for all the family.
- Amelié Foret BF
This weeks: ‘BrightonsFinest Must See’ event.
What? : Faulty Towers The Dining Experience.
When? : 24th - 29th July
Where? : The Thistle Hotel (Brighton)
Cost? : Dinner Performances Tues-Fri £46.50pp
Lunch Performances Sat-Sun £46.50pp
Dinner Performances Sat-Sun £52pp
“Featuring new material, all the best gags and a three-course meal, this Experience is a loosely-scripted tribute to the TV series. The fun starts as the audience are called to be seated in the restaurant of the Faulty Towers hotel, and it hurtles along as Sybil, Basil and Manuel serve the meal… Basil is manic, Sybil domineering, and Manuel – of course – is hopelessly language-challenged. Everything that can go wrong, does. It’s beautifully orchestrated chaos bundled into two hours of “fat-wobbling, gut-busting, face-aching laughter” (groggy squirrel).
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is a site-specific, ‘total immersion’ piece of interactive comedy theatre performed in a restaurant: the audience are the diners and the cast their warring waiters.”
Want to know where the best place to get Sushi is during the Brighton Japanese Festival?
Then take a wander up the 7 Dials to Murasaki. It’s a small, family run Japanese restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere with food that will blow your socks off! Their recipes are traditional and have plenty of vegetarian options - but book fast to avoid disappointment as they can get busy!
Where? 115 Dyke Road
Cost? A little on the expensive side - but a generous portion.
More info? Click Here
The Brighton Japanese festival is still young having been founded 2008, however this festival has evolved and has encompassed some of Brighton’s most prestigious venues this year and is now the biggest Japanese festival in the United Kingdom.
The Brighton Japanese Festival aims to highlight both the traditional and the modern side of Japanese culture. Expect to find things like; Taiko drumming, stunning Origami based theatre, Gothic Lolita fashion, Cosplay, retro video games and many more.
TONIGHT - As part of the Japanese Festival:
“Brighton’s hippest café turns back the technological clock again this year, with video games from antiquity. A run-away success last year, Nintendo DS and Sony Vita aficionados will be in seventh heaven.”
How Much? FREE