#EventSpeaks: LAUREL @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 01/10/18


   

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On Monday 1st October 2018, LAUREL came to Brighton in support of her debut album, Dogviolet (check out our review here). Since her last, solo performance in Brighton, the songwriter returned with a full band to delight her audience with offerings from her recent record. She was supported by Another Sky and her guitarist, Polly Money.


Polly Money

It always amazes me how someone with just an electric guitar and their voice can produce such a big sound but Polly Money certainly achieved this with her performance. Just funky guitar riffs and her sugary-sweet vocal (somewhat similar to that of Leah McFall or NAO), wowed the audience. A very humble performance with some lovely melodies.

Polly Money Instagram


Another Sky

This band truly blew me away (and I believe the rest of the audience too!) – they have an incredibly full-on sound with excellent use of backing tracks as well as their live instruments. Each song of theirs was pretty unique – for example, the opening to their set was ambient and airy whilst their next song brought about a huge wave of excitement due to its intensity and just how tight their performance was. The vocalist’s voice is incredibly diverse, whilst mainly quite low-pitched, is capable of a wide range. The guitarist had some funky little moves too. Another Sky are definitely going to be a band to watch out for, and certainly recommend catching them live!

Highlight: The biggest highlight, was this one note the vocalist did, towards the end of one of their songs; it was so loud, high-pitched and perfect that it was all-consuming. It sent shivers down my back.


LAUREL

Having seen LAUREL play a solo set at The Green Door Store (review here) back in 2016, it was amazing to watch her performing with a full band. Although it was a relatively short set, it was amazing to see her playing songs from Dogviolet, with a full sound.

Some of the best songs were: ‘All Star’ for its wonderful guitar riff; ‘Lovesick’, which is just a catchy track to get the audience going, ‘Sun King’ which was beautifully intimate – just LAUREL with an acoustic guitar and ‘Life Worth Living’ – it’s just a downright tune!

Of course I won’t be the first person to say it, but there are great similarities between LAUREL and Lana Del Rey, however there is something much more vulnerable about LAUREL and it feels like she has more integrity about her.

It was also interesting to find out that she has recently released a book called, The Mutterings of a Laurel, which is a journal she kept during the writing and recording of Dogviolet – definitely worth checking out.

Having seen LAUREL perform twice now, I can assure you that she puts on a show you don’t want to miss. You really need to catch her now before she’s selling out bigger shows, especially since she just filmed her appearance for Later… with Jools Holland the morning of the Brighton show…sounds like the start of something big for this little star.

Highlights:

  • LAUREL is a very humble artist with an endearing awkwardness about her audience interaction, you can’t help but love.
  • The hilarious names she has for her guitars, which her manager proudly embarrassed her by announcing. It’s not my place to share them, but go see her live and you might find them out! 😂
  • Her ability to perform songs with such passion that you are drawn in by her every word – she’s a real star.

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Setlist

All Star
Lovesick
Hold Tight
Sun King (Solo Acoustic)
Same Mistakes
South Coast
Adored
Blue Blood
Life Worth Living*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Chris (LAUREL’s manager) and Henry (in LAUREL’s PR team) for enabling this review to happen. A big thanks also to Polly Money, Another Sky and LAUREL herself, for putting on such an incredible, intimate show.


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#EventSpeaks: Brighton Pride 2018 @ Preston Park, Brighton – 04/08/18


   

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On Saturday 4th August 2018, Preston Park was brought to life with the UK’s largest, annual Pride Festival and this year was especially huge, with over 57,000 people partying the day away. This was, in part, due to the presence of the one and only Britney Spears, headlining the main stage. Also performing were Louise, MNEK, Mabel, Pixie Lott and Ella Eyre. The afternoon was utterly incredible and people had a truly unforgettable time…the best Brighton Pride yet!

Relive the whole thing with our Brighton Pride Weekender playlist.


Mabel

Mabel‘s performance was great – considering she’s not released an album yet, I still knew most of the songs she performed (through their online presence and radio airplay), such as ‘Fine Line’‘Ring Ring’‘My Lover’ and ‘Finders Keepers’ (which can be seen in the YouTube video below). However, even those I didn’t know were captivating to watch due to her excellent live vocals and high energy. A lot of her songs have clear R&B and reggae influences which means her debut album (that she is currently working on) should be really interesting!


Pixie Lott

It’s been a while since Pixie Lott‘s last album (the self-titled Pixie Lott in 2014) but she sure showed how sensational her voice and just how many massive hits she’s had with this fun-filled performance. Some of the stand-out performances included ‘Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)’‘Boys And Girls’‘Turn It Up’ and ‘All About Tonight’ (which can be seen in the YouTube video below). I’m just gutted she didn’t perform her summery 2017 collaboration with Anton Powers‘Baby’. Regardless, her vocals were flawless and she looked like she was having the time of her life…let’s just hope it won’t be long until a new album emerges!


Ella Eyre

Considering she’s only had one album, Ella Eyre has had a lot of hits, not only through her own tracks but also through her incredible collaborations. The set was packed with notable performances and in fact I could mention them all for different reasons…she was just truly remarkable.

‘Good Times’ followed by ‘Together’ really got the crowd going; ‘LOV(E)’ had some great audience participation elements with a real Caribbean feel to it; her cover of Jermaine Stewart‘s ‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off’ was pure perfection and then her final tracks were all some of her most notable collaborations – ‘Waiting All Night’ (originally with Rudimental), ‘Answerphone’ (originally with Banx & Ranx) and it all came to a close with the monster hit ‘Came Here For Love’ (originally with Sigala). Her vibe is very dancehall meets drum & bass topped off with a touch of soul…it was the perfect summer sound to bop around to at this year’s Pride and get everyone warmed up for Britney!

Highlights:

  • Her vocals were flawless and crowd interaction was top notch.
  • The songs she performed were perfect – the audience pretty much knew them all and if they didn’t, she taught them to us.
  • Her use of audience participation was brilliant, particularly on ‘LOV(E)’.
  • The energy she pours into her performance is truly contagious and certainly got people moving!

Setlist

Good Times*
Together
LOV(E)
Ego
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off (Jermaine Stewart Cover)*
Waiting All Night
Answer Phone
Came Here For Love*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Britney Spears

BRITNEY. WAS. AMAZING! Sure, she didn’t sing a word live, but when you look past that, her performance was out of this world!

It had everything you could want from a superstar of her calibre; it was fast-paced with high energy, superb choreography, several costume changes, interesting set pieces and video backdrops, a live band and it was packed to bursting point with hit after hit. Including some off her most recent album, Glory, which I was really pleased about!

Her set was further diversified with different versions or intros to some of her hits, such as ‘…Baby, One More Time’ and Toxic’.

With someone like Britney it’s very difficult to pick out favourite performances of tracks as it’s just one big, epic show that you can’t help but enjoy from start to finish but if I had to pick some; ‘Work Bitch’ was an incredible way to start the set and had the audience going wild, ‘Me Against The Music’ had some amazing set pieces just like the music video (cracked walls), ‘Slumber Party’ as the choreography was sexy and the song is just sensational and ‘Till The World Ends’ as the audience were loving every second of it and at the end, the confetti canon exploded with rainbow colours…it was magical!

It is a shame that Britney doesn’t really sing live but there are so many other ways she makes up for it and I still can’t believe she headlined Brighton Pride…it was certainly a performance you did not want to miss!

Highlights:

  • There really are so many highlights to choose from; the colours, the lights, the sounds, the movements; she is just a sensational performer that puts her every effort into what she does – she’s remarkable!
  • Oh and Britney getting someone out of the audience to chain up and be a part of the choreography for a song was hilarious!

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Setlist

Act I
BRITNEY (Introduction)
Work Bitch*
Womanizer*
Break The Ice/Piece Of Me*

Act II
Darkness (Interlude)
…Baby One More Time/Oops!… I Did It Again

Act III
If I’m Dancing (Interlude)
Me Against The Music*
Gimme More
Clumsy/Change Your Mind

Act IV
Scream & Shout (will.i.am Interlude)*
Boys
Do You Wanna Come Over?
Work It/Get Ur Freak On/WTF (Where They From) (Dance Interlude)

Act V
Get Naked (I Got A Plan) (Interlude)
I’m A Slave 4 U
Make Me…*
Freakshow
Do Somethin’

Act VI
Magic Circus (Interlude)
Circus
If U Seek Amy
Breathe On Me
Slumber Party*
Touch Of My Hand

Act VII
Jungle Fever (Interlude)
Toxic
Stronger/(You Drive Me) Crazy*

Encore
Till The World Ends*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to the Brighton Pride organisers for putting together such an incredible line-up for this year’s Pride…it was amazing! Now…how the hell are you gonna top Britney next year?!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: David Ford @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 22/06/18


   

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On Friday 22nd June 2018, David Ford came to Brighton and performed a sold-out show at The Hope & Ruin in support of his new album, Animal Spirits. He was supported by the angelic-voiced Beth Rowley.


Beth Rowley

Beth Rowley put on a fantastic set, supported on guitar, by David Ford himself. The songstress delivered a flawless set of her trademark sound, which combines elements of soul, gospel and jazz. It was wonderful to see this accomplished singer and songwriter at a modest-sized venue, performing a raw and stripped-back set.

Highlight: It was great to see the two artists collaborating for her set and her voice was simply stunning.


David Ford

As David Ford took to the stage, applause erupted as people eagerly anticipated the talented songwriter’s first song, which was ‘Downmarket’, taken from his new album, Animal Spirits.

The set consisted of a real mixture of new and old songs, intertwined with Ford’s crowd interaction which is laced with his incredibly dry sense of humour (as can be seen in the ‘State Of The Union’ video below).

The multi-instrumentalist used his loop pedal to perfection, crafting entire songs, by himself, showing that it is entirely possible to be a one-man-band, if you’ve got the talent. This is something he’s developed since his debut solo single, ‘State Of The Union’ (the video for which was shot in one take), but it’s still impressive to see done live!

He doesn’t overuse this though, as certain songs were performed solely on one instrument, such as ‘Song For The Road’, for which he brought but Beth Rowley to collaborate on.

In fact their cover of Aretha Franklin and George Michael‘s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ closed the show and it truly sent people away on a high; it’s so nice to see that a wonderful songwriter isn’t afraid to do a cover when they like a particular song!

David Ford is honestly someone you need to see live at least once in your life. He is captivating in many ways; from his ability to play various instruments and construct songs with a loop pedal, to his quick wittedness and dry interaction with the crowd…it truly will be an evening to remember!

Highlights:

  • David Ford‘s impeccable use of a loop pedal means he can cleverly build a song to sound like a full band, all by himself.
  • He’s an incredibly talented musician too, playing multiple instruments; it’s truly a marvel to behold.
  • The chaotic end to ‘State Of The Union’ was loud and dramatic but oh so brilliant!
  • The balance of new and old songs was great; it gave a flavour for the new album but paid homage to previous releases.
  • The duet of Aretha Franklin and George Michael‘s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ was stunning.

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 Setlist

Downmarket
Isn’t It Strange
Waiting For The Storm
Animal Spirits*
Why Don’t You Answer Your Telephone?
To Hell With The World
Real Damn Slow
One Of These Days (with Beth Rowley)
Song For The Road (with Beth Rowley)
State Of The Union*
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Aretha Franklin & George Michael cover) (with Beth Rowley)

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to David Ford himself, for being so accommodating and allowing me to come and do this review; it was a fantastic evening!


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#EventSpeaks: Now, Now @ The Great Escape 2018, Brighton Beach – 18/05/18


   

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On Friday 18th May 2018 (the same day they released their brand new album, Saved – review here), American band, Now, Now performed their second set at Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival 2018.

Upon arrival at The Hub, we waited patiently for the band to take to the stage but no sooner had KC taken to the stage, than she announced that they were in fact going to take the set out to the beach, for a short, impromptu, acoustic show.

The audience happily followed them out to a spot in the middle of Brighton beach, where everyone sat down and gathered closely around the band for one of the most intimate shows I have ever witnessed.

The modest set consisted of just 5 songs (4 from their new album, Saved) and showcased the brilliance of the songwriting itself, regardless of the slick production on the record.

In honesty, the first song was quite tricky to hear, due to there being no PA system and the beach being fairly busy, but after the band warmed up and the crowd had adjusted, we could make out the songs perfectly…in fact it was almost like the beach quietened down, just for them.

After the short, 5-song set, the band thanked people for coming and stuck around to chat with people and it became quite the intimate gathering. This was far from a conventional gig, but it was definitely something special…something you would have been privileged to have witnessed.

Highlights:

  • The sheer fact that the band took their show outside, to the beach, was a wonderful thing.
  • KC’s clear range of emotions at being able to put out the band’s third album, showed a very vulnerable and sweet side to her. There was a lot of gratitude for the support they receive too.
  • The time they took to speak to their fans and members of audience, on the beach, was really special too.

 Setlist

SGL
Drive
Set It Free
Prehistoric
AZ*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Now, Now for making this a wonderfully unique experience, and to Isobel and Rick at Whiteboard PR for letting me know about this special show.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Isaac Gracie @ The Haunt, Brighton – 25/04/18


   

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On Wednesday 25th April, Isaac Gracie arrived in Brighton to play a headline show, in support of his self-titled debut album (review here) with support from up-and-comer, Matt Maltese. It really was a fantastic show!


Matt Maltese

The singer took to the stage, dressed in a retro-looking brown suit, and performed a string of songs taken from his upcoming debut album, Bad Contestant. His songwriting is quite politically-charged and certainly has a folk/indie vibe to it. There’s an excellent power behind his vocals and a real satire to his between-song banter.

Highlight: The hilarious concept behind the final song of his set, ‘As The World Caves In’; the idea of Donald Trump and Theresa May having a final night of lovemaking as they click the red button, destroying the Earth.


Isaac Gracie

Isaac Gracie took to the stage in front of his sold-out audience, to a deafening applause, launching straight into the thought-provoking, ‘All In My Mind’. Isaac is certainly a brooding artist and for the first few songs, you could hear and feel the aching anxieties he pours into his songwriting, with little audience eye contact, show-casing his artistic vulnerability perfectly.

It wasn’t long before he warmed up to the audience, cracking some jokes during his between-song banter, making reference to ‘Terrified’, saying that maybe he is cut out for it after all. He also fed off a couple of audience members calling out, superbly; it brought the audience closer to him and let them in on his dry, almost geeky sense of humour.

You can’t help but marvel at the passion behind Isaac’s voice and lyricism; he is someone who has clearly worked incredibly hard, crafting their songwriting and made every effort to create a collection of songs that are brilliantly diverse yet still remain true to him, as an artist. His show was impeccable! Some of the most stand-out performances included, ‘Terrified’‘One Night’‘The Death Of You & I’‘Running On Empty’ and ‘Last Words’.

At one point, he made reference to the last time he performed in Brighton, at this very venue, when he supported The Japanese House in February 2016 (see our review here) – it was great to see how he’s gone from being a support act, to headlining his own show in such a relatively short space of time, and much deserved too!

This is an artist who is only just scratching the surface of their career, with their honest and genre-blending music; I truly can’t wait to see what he does next.

Highlights:

  • Isaac’s
  • The fact he came straight out after his set, to meet the fans, taking time to have photos with them and sign merch – it’s fantastic when an artist gives back to their followers!

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 📸 All of the photos in this post (except me with the band) are credited to Chloe CZH 📷
Go and give her a follow on Twitter and visit her website.


 Setlist

All In My Mind
That Was Then
Terrified
Telescope
When You Go
Love (Ain’t Always So Good)
All The Burning Lovers
Silhouettes Of You
One Night
Darkness Of The Day
The Death Of You & I *
Running On Empty *
Reverie
Hollow Crown

Encore
Last Words

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Hannah Braid for setting up this review and to Isaac Gracie and Matt Maltese for putting on a fantastic show. It was also great to have the chance to meet Isaac too!

Isaac Gracie & Matt Wright.JPG


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#EventSpeaks: Fickle Friends @ Resident Records, Brighton – 19/03/18


   

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On Monday 19th March 2018, Brighton-based indie/pop outfit, Fickle Friends, came to Brighton in support of their debut album release (You Are Someone Else review, here), to play two shows; one stripped-back, short set and album signing at Resident Records and the other a full-on, full-length set at Concorde 2, later that same night!


Fickle Friends

The Resident Records set was short but very, very sweet!

The indie/pop quintet had been mingling in the store for a while before modestly starting their mini set, at 6:30pm.

As they began, Natti explained just how nervous she was, given how stripped back the performance was going to be. However, the band soon proceeded to launch into their alternative version of ‘Brooklyn’, led by rather cheesy yet somehow adorable, programmed drums.

As the set progressed, there was some instrument swapping and a real admiration for their fans’ support. Natti also explained that today marked some milestone achievements for Fickle Friends; 1) an in-store performance and signing at Resident Records and 2) to play a sold-out show at Brighton’s Concorde 2, which she went on to state, was perfect timing, as she’d just moved out of Brighton and felt that it was a very fitting send-off.

This type of performance was truly special and demonstrated the band giving something back to their loyal and dedicated fans. Plus, as they finished, they announced that it was looking like they were heading for the Top 10 in the UK Charts and could not have been more ecstatic about it.

Immediately afterwards, the band stood behind the shop counter and allowed their fans to get their CDs and Vinyls signed, and spent time chatting to each of them; it was really lovely to see.

Highlights:

  • Seeing just how humble and modest the band were.
  • The appreciation they showed for their fans not only being their but supporting them by purchasing their album, plus the time they took to talk to each of their fans, whilst signing copies of their album, You Are Someone Else.
  • Natti‘s incredible voice and being a part of witnessing the band put on such a vulnerable but perfect performance, given how full-on their sound normally is.
  • The alternative versions they performed, made it feel very unique and like it was a truly one-off performance.

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 📸 All of the photos in this post (except me with the band) are credited to Chloe CZH 📷
Go and give her a follow on Twitter and visit her website.


Setlist

Brooklyn
Wake Me Up
Glue*
Hard To Be Myself
Swim

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Simon Neal for setting up this review and to Fickle Friends themselves for putting on a fantastic mini show and being so lovely to all of their fans – a really fantastic, intimate performance!


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#EventSpeaks: Jake Bugg @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 13/03/18


   

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On Tuesday 13th March 2018, Jake Bugg concluded his acoustic, UK tour at Brighton Dome, in Brighton. The set was packed with a string of hits and supported by up-and-comer, Georgie (interview here).


Georgie

Georgie took to the stage with quiet confidence and launched into her first song, which by the end, had the audience in the palm of her hand and breaking out into waves of cheers. Her voice is beautiful and powerful and her inspiration from the likes of Sheryl Crow, really shine through. Her songwriting is honest and humble. She is a raw talent that is surely headed for big things.

Highlight: The sheer power and tone behind her voice was something very special to watch. ‘Too Much TV’ (her latest single) was great to see live too!


Jake Bugg

By 9pm, the audience were ready for Jake Bugg to take the stage, and he did so to massive applause and cheering from the crowd.

I must confess that I only knew a couple of his tracks prior to this show (namely ‘Lightning Bolt’) but this show proved he is SO much more than that! His songwriting is exceptional and considering this was an acoustic tour, each song really held its own as a stripped back version.

His voice is incredibly distinctive with a real stamina behind it and he was note perfect from start to finish; not something to brush off, considering he was so exposed by doing an entirely acoustic set. Some of the intonation and speed of his vocals is impressive too.

His guitar-playing was sensational too and by doing this stripped-back show, really allowed you to marvel at how talented you have to be (and he is), to sing and play the guitar at the same time. I actually came away wishing that he would put out a live album of the show, or even just an acoustic studio album, of all the versions he sung; something I really think he should do.

If you haven’t seen this guy live before or only know a couple of his songs, I can’t recommend going to see him, highly enough; he doesn’t disappoint and you’ll come away waning to hear more.

Highlights:

  • The sheer stamina and speed behind Jake’s voice were remarkable.
  • Variation between the songs was remarkably dynamic, considering it was solely him and a guitar.
  • The tones, rhythms and volumes he produced on his guitars added further diversity to his set.
  • About half way through the set, Jake asked the audience what they wanted to hear but from then on, whenever there was an opportunity, people shouted out requests. His responses to some of the calls were witty and well handled.

 📸 All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce 📷
Go and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Setlist

How Soon The Dawn
Saffron
Strange Creatures
Slide
Indigo Blue
Taste It
Two Fingers
Bigger Lover
Someone Told Me
Old Man (Neil Young Cover)
Simple As This
Me And You
Country Song
Trouble Town
There’s A Beast And We All Feed It
Broken
In The Event Of My Demise
Slumville Sunrise
Seen It All
Waiting
Lightning Bolt*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Thom Williams for setting up this review and arranging the interview with Georgie. Also, massive thanks to Jake Bugg and Georgie for putting on a fantastic show – the crowd loved it!


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