#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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: T’Pau @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 24/11/17


   

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On Friday 24th November 2017, T’Pau came to perform at Concorde 2 in Brighton, in celebration of their Number 1 hit, ‘China In Your Hand’, 30 years ago – back in 1987! The band performed a string of hits, perfectly, with support from Scarlet and John Adams.


John Adams

Unfortunately I just caught the end of John Adams‘ set – a great singer-songwriter from what I saw with quite a distinctive voice (similar in some ways to James Blunt). I will be checking out more of his stuff.


Scarlet.

Scarlet. are a very polished band – their performance flowed smoothly and their timing was superb. I was particularly captivated by the singer’s fairly unique voice, though it does have some similarities to Avril Lavigne just with a slightly more indie/punk vibe. The bands energy was high and their songwriting style was rather brilliant. It’s not all too often that I enjoy support bands but these guys were definitely worth watching and certainly knew how to get the crowd pumped up.

The only drawback I found with this band is since I’ve come home… I can’t seem to find much of their music online. They had a PledgeMusic campaign for their debut album and there is a BandCamp account but I can’t seem to find their album to listen to, which is a real shame. Great sound though!


T’Pau

Carol Decker and the rest of T’Pau took to the stage, with a rapturous applause from the audience and a massive smile on her face. The audience’s diversity was impressive, from first-time-round fans to families, sharing their love of the band with their children – what struck me was just how much of a good time everyone was clearly having.

It’s a great shame that the band had a very strict curfew (as Carol Decker explained) which meant that some of their set was actually cut out prior to the show and there was less crowd interaction than she would have liked, but what between-song banter there was, was pretty hilarious.

There’s no doubt about it that the band have truly perfected their live performances; the vocal harmonies were unbelievably tight, the use of the different instruments was clearly audible across each song and the energy was electrifying. I particularly loved ‘Sex Talk’‘Secret Garden’‘Heart And Soul’ and ‘China In Your Hand’.

In honesty, I personally didn’t know a lot of the songs they performed, before the show, but I sure had a fantastic time and I would defy anybody to go to one of T’Pau‘s shows and not come out with the biggest grin on their face, having danced to their heart’s content – they truly are one of the biggest feel-good bands I’ve ever seen. I will certainly be listening to them a lot more from now on!

Highlights:

  • Carol’s voice was simply epic – I mean completely flawless and full of power.
  • The vocal harmonies between the majority of the band members (used in some of the songs) were unparalleled – I don’t think I’ve quite heard anything like it, ‘Secret Garden’ was one of the biggest highlights for me.
  • I loved Carol’s shameless plug of the band’s merch, suggesting that their latest album would make a great stocking filler and then pointed to one of the audience’s t-shirts, stating that it was now 30 years old and they needed a new one…hilarious!
  • The glances and subtle, glancing interactions between the band members was heart-warming and showed that their relationships were genuine and that they were having fun.

 Setlist

Thank You For Goodbye
Sex Talk
Island
Monkey House
Valentine
I Will Be With You
Secret Garden
Road To Our Dream
Walk On Air
Say You Will
Whenever You Need Me
Read My Mind
One Lesson In Love
The Promise
Bridge Of Spies
Heart And Soul*
China In Your Hand*

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


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Richard Coates and Tony Cradock for setting up the opportunity for me to review this show. Also a massive thanks and well done to Carol Decker and the rest of T’Pau for putting on one heck of an incredible performance!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Starsailor @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 25/10/17


   

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On Wednesday 25th October 2017, the massive post-Britpop band, Starsailor arrived in Brighton on their All This Life Tour in support of their latest album, All This Life (check out our interview with James Walsh here). The band put on one heck of a high-energy show, packed to the brim with many of their hits as well as tracks from their new album. They were supported by Paradisia and Tom Speight.


Tom Speight

This singer-songwriter was an interesting performer with a well-crafted sound – apparently he had recently been writing with James Walsh (of Starsailor). His lyrics were meaningful and the addition of a backing singer (complete with shakers!) added a nice diversity to his live performance (instead of the often uninspiring, “guy with a guitar” sound). He and his backing singer had clearly spent a lot of time rehearsing as their vocals were very tight. The only thing which struck me as slightly odd is that considering he is a solo performer, he gave quite a bit of time to his backing singer to take lead vocals; more than you might expect, however there was a certain depth to his performance.

Highlight: Tom entering the crowd with just his backing singer and his guitar to perform a song, unplugged, in the centre of the audience was definitely a highlight and quite a unique performance idea.


Paradisia

From the moment you see a harp on stage, your interest is instantly peaked – not many bands use one, so it was something quite unique from the offset. This trio of ladies didn’t disappoint either; they are remarkably talented musicians, songwriters and performers. Their songwriting style was incredibly individual and their vocal abilities were simply stunning – to harmonise the way they did, takes a lot of practise. The only criticism I had was the lead singer’s sincerity when talking to the crowd and expressing their excitement to be there, or lack thereof – I heard others make comments about this too. However, that aside, I was utterly enthralled throughout their set and have spent time listening to them since – they are undoubtedly fantastic!

Highlight: The perfection with which the trio performed their vocal harmonies was a stunning thing to behold and I highly recommend anyone to check them out. Regardless of your taste in music, anyone can and will appreciate this band’s pure talent and the hard work they clearly put into perfecting their live performances.


Starsailor

The crowd erupted with massive applause as the band’s intro music blared through the PA system…and from there the volume only got louder – both the audience’s screams as the band appeared on stage and the band themselves as they began to play! Undoubtedly, this was one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to (in fact two days later and I still have a very faint ringing in my ears).

Starsailor are clearly very professional at what they do – they’ve been in the business for over 15 years and toured the world – their set was flawless. They have clearly mastered their live performances, getting the right balance between not talking too much between songs (as sometimes happens with some bands) and playing a good ratio of new and old material. The audience were delighted to hear a string of the band’s biggest hits, including; ‘Alcoholic’‘Poor Misguided Fool’‘Four To The Floor’ and ‘Good Souls’ as well as some tracks from their new album, such as; ‘Listen To Your Heart’‘All This Life’ and ‘FIA (F**k It All)’.

Some of the standout performances for me, were: ‘Listen To Your Heart’ – as the band took to the stage, they made a massive impact on their audience straight away; ‘Take A Little Time’ which although I wasn’t overly familiar with it, was both catchy and a brilliant song to dance to – I’ve actually had it on repeat since the show; ‘Four To The Floor’ which had everyone pumped up and singing along and ‘Silence Is Easy’ as this track is just a real belter – the band played a slightly heavier version than the one they released but my god it was good!

The crowd loved every second of this show and I did too – the passion in the band’s performance and the vigour of the audience made it a truly special evening – one to remember. I highly recommend watching this band live; they will not disappoint…just make sure you bring earplugs – they’re LOUD!

Highlights:

  • The genuine, appreciative grin that occasionally spread across James Walsh‘s face every now and then – clearly showed he was grateful to be there and was enjoying the crowd.
  • James Stelfox‘s facial interactions with the audience were hilarious.
  • The high-energy impact and faultless nature of their set was remarkable – it was a truly special show to behold.
  • James Walsh asking the names of three fans at the front of the crowd who’d sung along to every word and danced without a care in the world, and then dedicating a song to them was a lovely touch of appreciation.
  • I liked Barry Westhead‘s use of different keyboards for different tracks – there was a great diversity with him switching between piano sounds on one keyboard and an organ.

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


Setlist

Listen To Your Heart
Alcoholic
Poor Misguided Fool
All This Life
Take A Little Time
In The Crossfire
Lullaby
Blood
Fever
Sunday Best
Caught In The Middle
Tie Up My Hands
Best Of Me
Tell Me It’s Not Over
Four To The Floor
Silence Is Easy*

Encore
FIA (F**k It All)
Good Souls

This song can be viewed on YouTube, below.


Finally, I want to say a BIG thanks to Rob Kerford from Sonic PR for setting up this review and interview with James Walsh from the band and to Starsailor themselves for putting on an incredible show and taking the time to talk to me.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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