Ramona @ Brighton Live Festival

Tuesday 5th October, 2010 live @ Madame Geisha, Brighton

Another month and it’s another music festival in Brighton in the shape of Brighton Live, now in its seventh year of showcasing the best up and coming bands in this happy seaside town of ours.

Covering 18 venues and featuring over 100 local bands it’s another free event to warm the cockles and get one out on these cool autumnal evenings.  Doing the honours on the festival launch night were Ramona, who have been making waves locally for a short time now.

Kicking things off with “Bowie” was a keen indicator of the 1970s musical references that pepper the set, albeit infused with a new wave sensibility of short, energetic songs. The current single, “How Long”, confirms early thoughts with its distinctly New York punk feel, by way of a hefty nod in the direction of Blondie and, of course, the Ramones. There was certainly an echo of Blitzkrieg Bop in there and the fact that the set later contains a song called NYC would seem to make such a comparison somewhat obvious I’m afraid.

Given that there is a definite style to Ramona it could be said that the material can seem a bit samey but a few  songs in and it was time for Karen Anne to take off her guitar and get a bit more spirited in her delivery.  This developed into a full-on routine for “Break Away”, another number in a CBGBs vein. Very much the focus of things Anne is indeed a striking figure, as the evening continues at a high tempo. She finished things off with “Steve McQueen” telling us that the song was inspired by the said actor’s cock, no less. No-one batted an eyelid. It was a short and sweet set to kick off four days of Brighton’s best young acts.

Brighton Festival, Brighton Live 2010: 6th- 9th October 2010

Brighton Live Music Festival
Brighton Live Music Festival

Brighton Live is back for its seventh year of showcasing the best up and coming bands and artists who are making waves in our city’s scene, who will doubtless go on to great things in 2011. Covering 18 venues and featuring over 100 local bands, the free event attracts around 20,000 music lovers to the heart of the city.

This year the festival are doing things a bit differently with some ‘curated’ nights alongside the festival’s traditional ‘open access application’ policy for local bands to play. More names are to be announced, but those already confirmed include Brighton Source Magazine, BBC Introducing, Meadowlands Festival and international soul jazz diva Z-STAR who has previously performed and collaborated with George Benson, Keziah Jones and Richie Havens. Concorde 2 will also feature a special flagship event headline act with names to be announced.

Spread over four days – with the launch party night at Madame Geisha on Tuesday 5th October – Brighton Live will run through to Saturday 9th October; on this day music related seminars, workshops, master classes as well as the opportunity to do lots of drinking and schmoozing all takes place at the Latest Music Bar.

Brighton Live offers an opportunity for all the key bands, promoters, labels and music industry professionals, who work together to keep Brighton at the pinnacle of the UK music scene, to show what they’re all about, and throw one hell of a party.

The Brighton festival is part of our city’s cultural landscape and offers a real chance to catch future stars play in small, intimate venues before they make the big time; and all for free.

“Brighton Live is one of the highlights of the year for the city. The fact that music fans can see so many of Brighton’s great bands in one go – and for free – is amazing. It’s also great for the bands that they connect with so many new music lovers. The festival is an exciting opportunity for local bands to gain national radio and press coverage in the city”. James Kendall (Source Magazine)

For regular updates check out the Brighton Live Facebook page.

These New Puritans, Fenech-Soler, Feldberg – The Great Escape @ Audio, Brighton

The Great Escape festival in Brighton offers 350+ bands playing in 30 venues over a 3-day period. Where to begin we thought, then headed off to Levi’s OnesToWatch @ Audio to see some much-touted up and coming acts.

First up were Icelandic duo Feldberg. Given the recent financial and geological shenanigans emanating from their homeland one might have found Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld & Einar Tönsberg nervous of the reception that awaited them but once into their  stride with the gentle melody of ‘Dreamin’ and upbeat tone of ‘Don’t be a Stranger’ the packed auditorium was easily won over. Perhaps some of the subtlety of the former track was lost in a bass-heavy sound, but well supported by a grafted-on rhythm section the simplicity of the composition filtered through.

It was all over too soon as at breakneck speed it was the turn of Fenech Soler to set up and get going in the similarly small time allotted to them.  This meant they could manage only 4 tracks before their time too was up prematurely, but in that short time they did their lustrous best to make an impression. Taking to the stage resplendent in sparkly tops to a man, they exuded a Gallic charm reminiscent of Daft Punk, a commendable feat for a group of young men from Cambridgeshire.

They threw themselves into their synth-heavy repertoire with ‘Lies’ best representing what they’re all about. Bass driven but with a keen-eyed pop sensibility, singer Ben Duffy has a chunky exuberance that does put one in mind of Simon le Bon for a fleeting moment. Backing this up with ‘Stop & Stare’ the packed crowd were certainly getting into Fenech Soler’s anthemic style when things were cut short by the night’s tight schedule.

The headline act These New Puritans were allowed a little more time to let their sound build over a number of songs. A sombre, measured start, blended a series of disparate sounds from what I believe were bass clarinets, synth drums, guitars and various percussions elements. A meandering opening number gave way to the punchy, bombastic sound of ‘Attack Music’. Singer Jack Barnett leads from the front with a staccato delivery that reflects the experimental nature of his band’s work, staying on the right side of avant-garde.  Classical references abound alongside a grand-scale, primal percussion backbeat, driven along by Jack’s twin brother George, that generates a lot of the energy in the performance. ‘We Want War’ is the focal point of the evening’s show, drawing upon influences of electronic pop, hip hop, classical and indie guitar that infuse The New Puritan’s variety of sound. A seven-minute mini-epic, with shades of Massive Attack, it’s very much on the dark-side of their oeuvre with the trade-mark clattering percussion to the fore.

Once again it was all over too soon on a night where the acts had to be precise and focused.  This was probably just as well, with the audience heading off for their next slice of action as The Great Escape continued across the city into the early hours.

Levi’s Ones To Watch Plans Another Great Escape

Levi's® Onestowatch® Plans Anoher Great Escape
Levi's® Onestowatch® Plans Anoher Great Escape

Following two incredibly successful years at The Great Escape, Levi’s® OnesToWatch® returns to the Brighton Festival this May with another line-up of live and acoustic bands, DJ’s, a secret show, and some not so-secret after parties.

Once again Levi’s® takeover the entire Audio nightclub for the three days, bringing some of the best up and coming acts to their stage. Levi’s® will host a series of afternoon terrace parties with super-cool French four-piece Kid Bombardos, electro-poppers Fortune and Canadian indie-kids Young Rival, who’ll be rocking the party in the summer sun. You’ll need special wristbands for entry to these sessions and these will be available exclusively at The Levi’s® Store in Brighton’s Churchill Square, every day from 9th – 15th May. Also watch out for Levi’s® one-off secret gig that you won’t want to miss…

Evenings will be a not-to-miss affair with some the industry’s top talents performing to a packed out house. Thursday’s headliner will be British art-rock powerhouse These New Puritans with support from hot dance-floor property that is Fenech Soler, and Icelandic duo Feldberg.

On Friday Vancouver Garage Rock band Japandroids lead the way with a little help from west Londoners Goldhawks, and self proclaimed ‘mad studio scientists’ North Atlantic Oscillation.

Summer Camp top the bill with their dreamy summer anthems on the Saturday, supported perfectly by the retro pop sounds of Frankie & The Heartstrings, and the psychedelic art-pop of Djanjo Django.

As the night draws in, Audio will play host to three Levi’s® After Parties which will featuring Alex Metric from Radio 1’s In New DJ’s We Trust, Primary One and Joe and Will Ask who will be supplying the soundtrack to the evenings proceedings.

The Levi’s® OnesToWatch® at The Great Escape Festival 2010 confirmed line-up:

Thursday 13th May
Levi’s® Kid Bombardos – Afternoon terrace set with Levi’s® 5.01
Levi’s® Feldberg
Levi’s® Fenech Soler
Levi’s® These New Puritans
Levi’s® After Party: TBC & TBC

Friday 14th May
Levi’s® Fortune – Afternoon terrace set with Levi’s® 5.01
Levi’s® North Atlantic Oscillation
Levi’s® Goldhawks
Levi’s® Japandroids
Levi’s® After Party: Alex Metric (Radio 1) & Primary One

Saturday 15th May
Levi’s® Young Rival – Afternoon terrace set with Levi’s® 5.01
Levi’s® Django Django –
Levi’s® Frankie and the Heartstrings
Levi’s® OnesToWatch® Summer Camp
Levi’s® After Party: TBC & Joe and Will Ask

Audio, Brighton, 10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL

These New Puritans

A British Art-Rock outfit from Southend-on-Sea, These New Puritans are influenced equally by hip-hop, synth pop, alt rock and classical music.  Their live show often includes a variety of instruments and sounds, from bassoon to taiko drums.  The band first came to prominence through series of high profile live appearances alongside the likes of The Kills and Klaxons, and their 2008 debut album, Beat Pyramid which was hailed by the music press.  Latest album Hidden incorporates elements of dancehall, electronica and pop, with songs that set them well apart from their guitar contemporaries.

Japandroids (AKA Jpndrds) is a two-piece band from Vancouver, Canada, conceived in 2006 as a creative outlet for the post-teenage angst of Brian King and David Prowse. Originally intended to be a trio, the boys decided to forgo the logistical nightmare of having a ‘lead singer’ and do it themselves. As a consequence, Japandroids are 1 guitar, 1 set of drums, and 2 vocalizers.  They call it garage rock.  They don’t care what you call it, as long as it’s not minimal. Japandroids are maximal – a two-piece band trying to sound like a five piece.

Summer Camp (Headline)
Started almost by accident as a clandestine musical project by Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley (their first ever track was a haunting, fuzzed out take on The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes For You”), Summer Camp create the kind of utterly mesmeric, sepia-toned dream pop which seems predestined to form the perfect soundtrack to first kisses and adolescent crushes; romance and yearning. The melancholic “Ghost Train”, for instance, sounds not unlike girl groups from the 60’s wrapped in a warm blanket of lo-fi gauze and dusted lightly with pure pop sugar, while the cinematic “Montgomery Avenue 1984”, like a snippet from a classic film, manages to evoke an entire universe of love and longing in its brief running time. Their single, out on Moshi Moshi this month, signals the arrival of a new and most unusual talent in the pop firmament, while also serving as an utterly spellbinding introduction to the slanted and enchanted world of Summer Camp.

Fenech Soler
Fenech-Soler are hot dancefloor property right now, having recently collaborated on Groove Armada’s remarkable Paper Romance and remixed the latest Marina & The Diamonds single Hollywood into a club and blog sensation.  New single Stop And Stare, released on Moda Music on 19th April, once again taps the band’s gift for radio-friendly hooks and peak time floor filling.
Originally conceived as a studio project by brothers Ben and Ross Duffy, with child hood friend Dan Soler – whiling away the hours of a sleepy existence in provincial Cambridgeshire – the trio combined with drummer and studio partner Andrew Lindsay to create an unlikely production powerhouse and a formidable live act. Brewing their own brand of fantasy pop, they were first spotted by French dance don Alan Braxe, who released debut single The Cult Of Romance on his Vulture label last summer. Introduced to London via Paris, the band have picked up plays from Pete Tong, Kissy Sell Out, Eddie Temple Morris, and Annie Mac, Zane Lowe and daytime Radio 1.

Named after the street where brothers Bobby and Jack Cook grew up, west London five-piece Goldhawks are a band with ambition, clearly demonstrated by the sheer depth and breadth of front-man Bobby’s vocal range and charisma. A new band that have already got fans blogging like crazy about their semi-legendary live shows that are more like revivalist meetings than gigs, their debut single Running Away features giant opening guitar riffs, and Bobby breathing fire and brimstone, swaying to the beat, tearing the songs from his soul.

Frankie & The Heartstrings
Produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons, Florence & The Machine), Frankie & The Heartstrings’ new 7” single Tender & I Want You Back (released on Popsex in April) is a recording of pure retro-pop class.  Currently working on their debut album, due for release at the end of the summer, the band have racked up performances at the NME Award show, Radio 1’s In Music We Trust and support slots with fellow North-Easteners The Futureheads.

Featuring the bluesy, soulful sound of vocalist Rosa Birgitta Isfeld, Icelandic duo Feldberg create music, which is a combination of electronic, acoustic, folk and percussion elements, whilst maintaining a pop sensibility.  The track Dreaming from their forthcoming album Don’t be a Stranger will be featured on the much-coveted 2010 Kitsune Maison compilation set.

North Atlantic Oscillation
Often compared to the likes of Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd and Sigur Ros, Edinburgh-based three piece North Atlantic Oscillation cite influences that range from Blur, to Orbital and Chick Corea, melding timeless rock moves with sequencing, and the latest laptop technology.  An ever-evolving entity, mad studio scientists who prefer to conduct their sound experiments on stage, NAO have shared stages with the likes of Explosions In The Sky, Everything Everything, Stardeath and White Dwarfs. Debut album ‘Grappling Hooks’ is a subtle yet powerful kaleidoscope of purring electronics, atmospheric layers and hook-laden melodies – out now on Kscope.

Django Django
Django Django are a four piece that met at Art School in Edinburgh, they sport a unique sound, almost impossible to put into words, perhaps best described as Psychedelic Art pop focusing on cadence and mixing live instrumentation with electronic sounds.  Buzzed by the music press, this band is gaining a strong following thanks to their great live show.

Kid Bombardos
Their average age may only be 19, but this four piece; hailing from Bordeaux in France have already made their mark on the uber-cool French music scene.  Comprising of three brothers – Thomas, Vincent and Simon Martinelli, along with childhood friend David Loridan, the band have appeared at a number of festivals including Le Printemps de Bourges, Garorock, Francofolies of La Rochelle, and Garden Nef Party in Angoulême. Influenced by New York rock acts such as The Strokes, the candor of British pop, and Velvet Underground, the band have opened for the likes of Hushpuppies and Vampire Weekend.

Picked and mixed from a variety of genres, from classic pop to electro and disco, Fortune write dance-floor-ready youth-anthems, which still manage to retain a ferocious rock dynamic.

Young Rival

Canadian indie-rockers Young Rival describe their sound as combining the subtlety of The Zombies with the brashness of Arctic Monkeys, and have toured with the likes of Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians.