Monday, 16 December 2013

THE DARKNESS | 7th December 2013 | Review by Dara Yazdani




Pop music has always been a little too po-faced for my liking.  To be taken seriously as an "artist" you either have to the act the tough guy, get your kit off or appear mysterious. There's not much room in today’s charts for "comedians". Humorous acts are instantly dismissed as novelties and relegated to the Christmas hinterlands or Comic Relief telethons.

So when The Darkness came blazing into our lives in 2003 in a blur of spandex, testicle-constricting vocals and sense of escapist fun it was hard to know what to make of them. I remember hearing their breakthrough hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love and thinking its big dumb riffs and mad multi-tracked falsetto were the perfect antidote to the sea of boring earnest mediocrity doing the rounds at the time (Beddingfield and Stereophonics I'm looking at you).

I wasn't the only one to catch the hair-metal bug as debut Permission To Land sold by the denim jacket load. Even the cynical music press embraced The Darkness's tongue-in-cheek love of rock 'n roll excess. Don't forget this is a band who won an Ivor Novello for Songwriters of the Year in 2004. There’s craft in their cheese.

After the party comes the hangover and the band started overdoing the Alka Setlzer (wink wink) as they begun to embrace the rock ‘n roll lifestyle a little too readily. Bassist Frankie Poullain was acrimoniously sacked and the good vibes that had powered the first album evaporated. As a result sophomore album One Way Ticket To Hell...and Back was an over-produced dogs dinner.

In 2006 Hawkins thought he might as well go the whole hog with the rock n roll clichés and promptly checked into rehab for drug abuse. True to form the band split and members of The Darkness spent the intervening years time playing in poorly received side projects like Hot Leg, Stone Gods & British Whale.

Hawkins got clean (he sips on nothing stronger than bottle water tonight) and the inevitable band reconciliation followed.  The second coming would yield the album Hot Cakes in 2011 which, although selling like lukewarm crumpets, was a handsome return to cock-rocking form.

So what of The Darkeness of 2013?  Justin emerges on stage looking lean and mean sporting his usual Lycra onesy and a new beard/moustache combo that makes him look like The d'Artagnan of hair metal. Poullain is back on board & tonight seems to have come dressed as Prince circa Purple Rain with his extravagant bouffant, tache and flashy trench coat. Fans will be pleased to know that it's (absurd) business as usual from the guys.

Tonight's set is a game of two halves. The first is a hodgepodge of old tracks, new songs and covers. The second part is Permission To Land played in its entirety (big cheers at this news by the predominately older rockers who make up much of tonight's audience).

The new song is The Horn which distils The Darkness to its ludicrous essence. Its balls out rock silliness with operatic flourishes. Sample lyrics

"Take off your dress, undo my tux
Stick your long, sharp nails into my pale buttocks"

Curse of the Tolland Man is The Darkness doing prog-rock and maybe the only misfire of the night.  It’s a non-album track from 2005 and it lacks the band's usual immediacy. With its new age lyrics and odd time signatures it sounds like a Jethro Tull B-side.  That's never a good thing.

Their cover is Radiohead's Street Spirit (Fade Out) which has been injected with steroids and kicked up the arse. It's an inspired makeover. Ed Graham's drums sound like a herd of horses about to trample you to death and Justin falsetto is so high it’s barely audible to dogs. It's magnificent and I actually prefer it to the original.



At half time Hawkins takes exception to a chap in the first few rows who has been filming the show since the start and tells him it’s illegal

"not to mention f*cking distracting. It’s this kind if sh*t that's killing music"

He then invites the entire audience to record the next part so they can upload it to YouTube.

"…as it will blow your f*cking mind"

The roadies come on stage for an inordinate amount of time and appear to be adjusting the drum kit for what is about to come.  I was fully expecting the drum kit to levitate or spin in the air a-la-Motley Crue but with the crowd poised for something amazing Graham does nothing more than the most basic of drum fills, like a 3 year old given a toy kit on his birthday. The crowd dissolve into laughter. The Darkness may appear ridiculous but they are certainly self aware.

Sonically it’s hard not to hear echoes of Queen in The Darkness back catalogue and there is much of the Freddie Mercury in Justin Hawkins live performance. There are the outlandish outfits, the showmanship, the impeccable vocals and the easy rapport with the crowd.  At one point during Growing On Me he stops and conducts the audience in an impromptu sing-along with a raising and lowering of his arm. He literally has the audience in the palm of his hand.



During Love Is Only A Feeling one middle aged fan emboldened by beer now feels its time to go for a spot of crowd surfing. He is doing well for a minute until his girth becomes too heavy for those supporting him and lands head first with a one way ticket to the concrete.

That's not the end of the crowd based fun. We are treated to an extended version of Love On The Rocks With No Ice with Justin getting on the shoulders of one of the roadies and riding him into the audience. He solos as he creeps closer to where we are standing all the while being groped by various rabid fans.  He doesn’t miss a note.

To top off an excellent show we get an encore of Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)
with the guys dressed up in their Xmas outfits (bobble hats, tank tops etc). I dread Xmas but this even managed to unearth the yuletide spirit buried deep within me.

The Darkness is in every shape and form a stadium band so it’s a privilege to see them in such close proximity. The songs, their attitude and their musical ability all scream Wembley Stadium.  They may be a joke to some but it’s a punch line that keeps on giving.

Review by Dara Yazdani / Photos by Mike Burnell (subject to copyright, all use to be agreed in writing first)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Crystal Fighters @ Concorde 2 | 21st November 13 | Review by James Lillywhite


Crystal Fighters are a band defined by their raw positive energy. Their music, a blend of synth-pop and alternative dance, shines with positivity and happiness and on record their tunes can bring a smile to the face of any listener. Both albums so far in their career, 2010’s Star of Love and this year’s Cave Rave, have been excellent listens, but it is live where Crystal Fighters truly come into their own. Energetic, talented and, most importantly, fun, the London based 6-piece are a band designed to be enjoyed in the live environment, and they did not disappoint at the Concorde 2. 



From the moment Crystal Fighters emerged to the sold out Brighton crowd the room went wild. Starting with ‘Follow’, the band played 90 minutes of their relentlessly happy dance pop. They are a band who seems to not only enjoy performing live, but thrive on it. Drum solos, crowd surfing and endless sequins are all on the cards tonight.

‘At Home’, ‘I Love London’, ‘Xtatic Truth’ and many other fan favourites are played to a raucous reception. In fact, the one moment they slowed down is for was Cave Rave’s sing-a-long ‘Bridge of Bones’, but by the time the song reached its crescendo the crowd were going as crazy as ever.

Frontman Sebastian Pringle leads the band emphatically. Wearing a gold sequined head scarf and aviators, Pringle never let the energy drop. Whether he was commanding the crowd at the microphone, or playing guitar in the audience, he dominated the stage. He is complemented perfectly by lead guitarist Graham Dickson. On first appearances he looks like he is playing in the wrong band. Contrasting the bright colours and vast sequins of the rest of the band, Dickson emerged shirtless in skinny black jeans. As soon as he started to play, however, it is clear that he belongs with the rest of Crystal Fighters. Running around the stage, jumping on speakers and pulling out all of the rock star poses in the book, Dickson’s clear passion and infectious enthusiasm make him another focal point in the band.




Crystal Fighters at the Concorde 2, the first show of their UK tour, were a true success. The bands raw energy, combined with their positive and catchy pop songs, came together to create an excellent live performance. The young Brighton crowd danced from the first to the last moment, and, when the lights went up for the final time, no one left disappointed. Dickson at one point, during a rare break in the set, spoke directly to the audience to remind us that “this is reality”. With this kind of reaction, and further shows sold out across the country too, it seems that it is Crystal Fighters themselves that should be reminded that this is not all a dream. They are a band on a seemingly unrelenting upwards trajectory and, if tonight’s show is anything to go by, it will take a hell of a lot to stop them.

Review by James Lillywhite


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Submotion Orchestra Review by James Lillywhite

Submotion Orchestra live at Concorde 2, 17/11/13

The right atmosphere is vital to playing a successful gig. Regardless of the genre or the size of the band, getting the mood just right can make or break just how good a show is. Submotion Orchestra understand this better than most. 

From the moment the house lights dimmed and ‘SubMo’ walked onstage, the audience could tell that they were in for a special night. Accompanied by stunning minimalist lighting, the band began 90 minutes of their signature combination of dubstep, jazz and soul. It is a unique sound and, combined with the tranquil light show, is perfectly suited for the live environment. It was a show designed to engross an audience, to demand the singular attention of every person in the venue. If attaining the right atmosphere is vital to a live show then, Submotion Orchestra are playing a perfect game. 


Touring in support of their new EP ‘1968’, the band included a large amount of new songs in their setlist. While this can sometimes be a negative thing in the live environment, in this case the less familiar songs allowed the Brighton crowd to marvel at the exceptional musicianship of the band. 




From the sheer energy of the two percussionists Danny Templeman and Tommy Evans, to the blissful vocal skills of Ruby Wood, Submotion Orchestra are undoubtedly a talented outfit. In particular, the multi-instrumental skills of Bobby Beddoe and Taz Modi shine. Whether it be Modi’s beautiful tinkering at the piano, or Beddoe’s wonderful trumpet solos, these two front the band as much as Wood. Even the moment when Modi’s chair gives way under him halfway through the set (to which the audience applauded mid-song) can only distract for a small moment.


While the new songs were successful, it was the fan favourites that provided the highlights of the set. ‘It’s Not Me It’s You’, ‘Sunshine’ and many others were played, but it was ‘All Yours’ that was the stand out song of the Sunday night show. Backed by moody green lighting, Wood commanded the crowd in a sing-a-long, and as the track built into crescendo, so did the audience reaction. It was a truly show stopping moment, and one which will live long in the memory. 




The only negative of the night actually had nothing to do with the band. While most members of the crowd were swept away in the set, there was an unfortunate constant murmur of drunken chatter throughout. During some of the louder moments this was fine, but it was especially distracting during the quieter nuanced songs. It was a real shame, as the performance of the band demanded a focused audience, but a small minority undermined that idea. 


Aside from that, Submotion Orchestra were truly a marvel at the Concorde 2. The Leeds based seven-piece manipulated the atmosphere to create a unique air of visceral beauty. It was a live performance of pure quality and one that confirmed ‘SubMo’ as one of the premier live progressive electronic acts in the UK today.

Review by James Lillywhite

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

CHARLES BRADLEY 

Review by Dara Yazdani

Sometimes I worry that I may be cursed by the Gods of Soul. I have a terrible track record of watching artists perform only for them to kick the bucket shortly after. James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Terry Callier: all dead within a year of my watching their shows. I am the human equivalent of that video in The Ring.

With this in mind I was slightly concerned when 65yr old Charles Bradley halted his performance after a handful of songs, mumbled complaints of tiredness into the microphone and sloped off stage. Could the curse have struck again?

Luckily, the interruption was only brought on by some sound gremlins that were bothering the sensitive Bradley and the need to change from one outlandish costume to another. 

  

You see, Bradley is an anachronism, a relic, a throwback.  Most importantly he is one hell of a character. In an era of detached cool his showmanship recalls a halcyon musical period where band members were fined for missing a beat and medallion-men with hairy chests bestrode the musical landscape unafraid to wear their hearts on their diamond encrusted sleeves.
  
Bradley’s quirks may be a result of his troubled past which is lengthy and well documented. Not knowing his father, abandoned by his mother at 8, homeless at 14, a life working in itinerant jobs, almost dying through illness and witnessing the aftermath of his brother's brutal murder.  With history this chequered he has surely earnt his PhD in heartache and pain.  

His turbulent past is evident in his impassioned delivery.  Together with his previous sideline as low budget James Brown impersonator "Black Velvet", at times you can close your eyes and hear the Godfather of Soul, right down to the same vocal tics and nuances. If you are going to steal, you may as well steal from the best.

It's not just in vocal delivery that Bradley echoes his musical hero. After a thumping horn-laden medley of Ike Turner’s Funky Mule and The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer In The City by his superb seven piece backing band The Extraordinaires,  Charles is grandiosely welcomed on stage by their keyboardist, and Zack Galifinakis lookalike, William Schalda Jr, in an echo the legendary introductions given by James Brown's personal MC, Danny Ray.

"Please welcome to the stage: The Screaming Eagle of Soul!  Chaaaaaarles Bradley!"

Dressed in an all white jumpsuit with gold embroidery you would be forgiven for thinking, as a tribute to Brighton, he was performing as the "Squawking Seagull of Soul" albeit for one night only.

Opener Love Bug Blues first introduces Bradley's trademark scream which is capable of pealing the enamel off your teeth. Rhodes keyboard and call and response backing vocals provide a soothing counterpoint to Bradley’s yelps.

Crying In The Chapel is an old smoocher in an Al Green/Van Morrison vein with its delightful horn swells reminding you of the golden era of Stax. It shows Bradley is not a one trick funk pony and can do the slow stuff when needed.

We up the tempo with the chugging funk of The World (Is Going Up in Flames) complete with its rhythmic guitar fills and staccato horns borrowed from James Brown’s The Payback.  This is a style that really suits Bradley’s gritty sand-paper screech.

It’s about this time that the big man has a costume change emerging from backstage dressed as a pimped out bullfighter in a spangled black bolero jacket. Bradley does have the air of a latter day James Brown about him, circa Living in America, with his strut, paunch and big hair. 

Only during the upbeat swing of You Put the Flame On It does Bradley’s lover man caricature venture into the ridiculous when he starts licking his finger and rubbing his nipples whilst gyrating against the mike stand.  It’s the sort of behaviour you expect from an over-excited account manager after he has had one too many beers at the office Christmas party.  Despite, or perhaps because of, this you cannot help but enjoy the spectacle of a pensioner behaving so disgracefully.


For me the highlight of the night is Confusion’s hard funk workout, its fuzz guitar a tribute to Curtis Mayfield’s Don’t Worry (If There's a Hell Below, We’re All Gonna Go). It’s not every day you see a Theremin used in the flesh and Bradley plays it like he is landing aircraft. He even has time for a Peter Crouch endorsed robot dance moves during the musical freak out. 

For the obligatory encore we are encouraged "to get intimate" with the gorgeous doo wop harmonies and paired down sound of Victim of Love.  Bradley says the lyrics to this on are particularly personal to him.  The sparse arrangement and spoken work interludes recall Isaac Hayes on his confessional …To Be Continued album. Bradley’s proclamations to the audience to love their fellow man would sound cheesy coming from anyone else but from him you sense a sincerity.

Finally, Bradley goes to church on signature tune Why Is It So Hard? (To Make It In America). Thematically in the same ballpark as the socially conscious records What’s Going On? and Innervisions it brings shame on us all that the economic disparities and political corruption spotlighted in this song ring as true today as they did in the early 70’s. 

After this autobiographical tale about Bradley’s hardships he jumps into the audience while the band continues to play, on a one man hug mission. When you have had it as bad as Bradley only the stoniest of hearts would deny him this small indulgence.

There can be no doubting he’s paid the cost to be the boss.

Review by Dara Yazdani

Photos by Mike Burnell (all use to be agreed in writing)





THE 1975 

Review by Dara Yazdani


The music industry is a cruel mistress. One minute you are the hottest thing since Hot Chip and the next you are fighting it out with The Pigeon Detectives to get a gig at the Butlins Indie Weekender.


The chart's transitory nature guarantees a never-ending quest for the next big thing. Right now the current NME darlings are The 1975, a Manchester 4-piece with a strong aroma of the 80s that permeates their music like a musky Drakkar Noir.


They have been championed by Zane Lowe, recently sold out The Bowery in New York and in a recent poll of Radio 1 listeners their single "Chocolate" was voted as the best single in the last 5 years. It would be churlish to compare regular Radio 1 listeners to goldfish so lets just say the buzz this band are generating is huge.


This furore is not lost on the fans who have come tonight judging by the chatter outside the venue. There is a reasonable cross section: some of them old enough to remember the 80's the first time around but mostly those who have been dropped off by their parents. All are aware that we they might not be seeing The 1975 in such close proximity if their star continues its ascent.


Front man Matt Healy comes out to a sea of camera phones and the pounding drums of opener The City.  Silhouetted by the back and white neon image of their album cover his grown out Mohawk, stoner chic and skinny frame make him look like a young Jim Bob from Carter USM.


The 1975 have a knack of drilling home a phrase or a melody so it becomes ingrained in your psyche. The City overlays an incessant synth throb with Adam Hann's metronomic guitar loops to a repeated chorus of "If you wanna find love you know where the city is". Its life-affirming stuff.


M.O.N.E.Y's irregular rhythms, percussion and programmed beats make it sound like an unreleased Talking Heads track. Sonically it's interesting but the lack of a chorus lets it down.


Talk! ups the anty with its funky riffs and anthemic refrain of "Why do you talk so loud?". The irony is lost on the couple in front of me who decide to shout to each above the music for the duration of song.


Head.Cars.Bending is not from the debut album but from the Music for Cars EP and plays out like a rockier version of Little Red Corvette using a similar chord progression as its template. The 1975 do use synths and electronica to great effect do give their songs added dimension, although live the sound is slightly paired back.


In many ways Heart Out distils the essence of The 1975 in one track. Lyrics such as "Obsessions with rocks and brown and f*cking the whole town" marry the bands twin preoccupations of sex and drugs perfectly. Throw in a bass line that borrows the staccato intro from Robert Tepper's No Easy Way Out, a dash of Buggles and a synth sax solo and they couldn't make it more 80's if they made it wear shoulder pads and carry a Filofax.


It's about this time of the evening where Healy complains about the heat and gets his shirt off and a waft of oestrogen temporally suffocates the room.  Such is his effect on the ladies its only right that the bubblegum pop of Girls gets an airing. My favourite song on the album it sunny riff recalls the Pointer Sisters. If they were to remake Beverly Hills Cop you would find this on the soundtrack.




Matt then unleashes the one song bulldozer of Chocolate. Its as sweet a pop overload as the name suggests (although its another song about drugs)and is the main reason why the band are making waves.  Tonight it has grown men screaming out its nursery rhyme chorus.


"Thank you for making this number one Brighton"


If the men get vocal the song literally has girls climbing the walls as one brave trio attempt and impromptu pole dance on the foot wide shelf at the side of the stage. Security quickly ushers them down but not before Healy as had chance to serenade them before leaving the stage.


The devotees know the band have one bullet left in the chamber and shout them back out for an encore.


"We Want Sex!" is chanted in unison before the group return for their encore in an explosion of strobe and the thrashing guitars of Sex


"Seen you soon...and if I don't see you have a good life"


The 1975's tick all the right boxes.  They show invention, variety and can deliver live.  Yet despite all these positives why do I feel that something is missing?


They only thing I can think of are that band lack a degree of soul. Both in delivery and in content, their music can sound detached and artificial like some musically proficient 6th formers singing about their nights out on the town. If they want to be a truly great band they need to connect with their audience on a deeper level. This I hope will come with time.


People will always listen harder if they think you have something worthwhile to say.


Review by Dara Yazdani




Friday, 24 May 2013

★ THIS WEEKEND AT Concorde 2 ★

Forget about the rain and the wind, we've got a whole three day Bank Holiday weekend ahead and that can only mean one thing: paaarteeee! And this is what we have in store for you at C2 this long weekend....

Friday 24th...

LIVE ★ Gentleman's Dub Club Prince Fatty | Superb live show with 9-piece dub/ska/roots reggae band with exceptional support from Prince Fatty | Doors: 7.30-10pm | Tickets: £12+bf adv from http://bit.ly/GDC_Concorde2 / tickets also available on the door



CLUB ★ Superfreq feat Mr.C and A Guy Called Gerald and more! |BEATSWORKIN and Death By Disco bring you Mr C's 'Smell the Coffee' album tour | Doors: 11pm-5am | Tickets: £8+bf adv from http://bit.ly/superfreq_c2 / tickets also available on the door

Saturday 25th...

LIVE ★ DIRTY DC - AC/DC Tribute | UK's leading AC/DC tribute return with the Dynamite performance | Doors: 7-10pm | Tickets: £10+bf adv from http://bit.ly/dirty_dc_c2 / tickets also available on the door

CLUB ★ High Focus Records & Boom Bap Hip Hop Festival present Return of the Twat Tour with DIRTY DIKE + KLASHNEKOFF + JAM BAXTER and many more... | More hip hop than you can shake a stick at, and with bargain price too! | Tickets: £2 before midnight, £5 thereafter / tickets available on the door only

Sunday 26th...

CLUB ★ GROOVY BAZAAR FUNdraiser for Action Aid | A night of diverse electronica, Glitch, Phat breaks, Groovy beats, Progressive & Underground/Psy trance | Doors: 11pm-5am | Tickets: £7 before midnight & NUS / £10 thereafter / tickets available on the door only

Have fun guys and see you on the other side! 

♥ C2 xx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NME Magazine's Britain's Best Small Venue - Time to get voting!!





*** CONCORDE2 NEEDS YOUR HELP! *** 


We're delighted to announce that we've been voted the regional winner of the South East at NME Magazine's Britain's Best Venue! But we really need your help to get voting like crazy for us over the next few days. Simply vote for us by clicking the image above. The winner also gets a SECRET GIG so please fling the word far and wide! Thank you for all your continued support.

Love & hugs as always, C2 xx

Friday, 17 May 2013

THE GREAT ESCAPE | FRIDAY 17th MAY | DAY 2...


It's day 2 of The Great Escape Festival and Friday brings us yet another installment from Rock Sound with headliners The Blackout and loads more at Concorde 2!

Stage times are as follows...
 

Doors: 6pm
6.15pm - 6.45pm - Your Favorite Enemies (YFE)

7pm - 7.30pm - Arcane Roots
7.45pm - 8.15pm - Marmozets
8.30pm - 9pm - Hacktivist
9.30pm - 10.30pm - The Blackout


Don't forget we still have some single tickets for this event only in advance for just £8.50 HERE

See you at the front folks!

C2

Thursday, 16 May 2013

THE GREAT ESCAPE | THURSDAY 16th MAY | DAY 1...


 The Great Escape Festival has finally landed in Brighton and Concorde 2 are gearing up for a mad weekend...!

Tonight Rock Sound will be hosting the C2 stage, times are as follows...


6.30pm - 7pm - Whirr
7.15pm - 7.45pm - [Champagne]
 

8pm - 8.30pm - Palm Reader
8.45pm - 9.15pm - SHARKS
9.45pm - 10.30pm - Title Fight


Don't forget we still have some single tickets for this event only in advance for just
£8.50 HERE: http://bit.ly/X1PcAr
 

See you at the front folks!
C2 <3
 

Friday, 26 April 2013

★ THIS WEEKEND AT Concorde 2 ★

We at C2 HQ can't believe it's already the last weekend of April, time flies when you're having fun, eh! Before we hit May (and hopefully some resemblance of spring), make sure you get yourself down to C2 for one these great shows...

Friday 26th...
LIVEHadouken! + The Qemists | New rave, dance-punk, indie, grime and hardcore with Hadouken plus support from d'n'b masters and Brighton boys The Qemists | Doors: 6-10pm | SOLD OUT, SORRY! No tickets available on the door...



CLUBJah Shaka Sound System + Brighton Up DJs | The return of the #1 reggae/dub soundsystem in the UK, if this won't warm you up nothing will! | Doors: 11pm-4am | Tickets: £9+bf adv from http://bit.ly/Yg4z5P / tickets also available on the door

Saturday 27th...
CLUBNoisia + Misanthrop + Dose | Electronic Dutch trio will blow your socks off with their rare and super popular Brighton set | Doors: 11pm-4am | Tickets: Advance tickets are now gone, tickets available on the door only. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.



Sunday 28th...
LIVEHatebreed + Black Dogs + Demoraliser | Connecticut heavy metal gods Hatebreed return to C2 for an explosive live set that will cure your Sunday hangover | Doors: 7-11pm | Tickets: £14+bf adv from / tickets also available on the door


Have a good one and don't do anything we wouldn't do ♥
Love, C2 x

Monday, 15 April 2013

★ SWANS | 2nd April | Review by Dave Harris ★

If I'm honest I went to this gig a little afraid of how brutal it might be. I'd heard stories of people passing out or vomiting due to the volume & intensity of Swans live. It certainly was VERY loud but the ear plugs I'd bought specially for the occasion were worth the money, allowing me to enjoy the show without fear of permanently losing my hearing.
 

I'd not explored the Swans' catalogue until fairly recently. When My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky came out in 2010 (their first studio recording for 14 years) it got great reviews and I gave it a couple of listens through Spotify. I found it a bit dense and difficult and didn't persevere, something I've subsequently rectified - turns out its bloody ace! Then I read a live review of Swans (I can't find it now though it might have been this one by superlative gig photographer Valerio Berdini) which basically suggested Swans were the best live band in the world and my interest was piqued. With a number of tour dates announced (including the Concorde 2, which is one of my favourite venues) I downloaded new album The Seer to have another go at getting to grips with the Swans sound. It took me a while (The Seer is almost 2 hours of music) but after several weeks heavy listening it finally clicked into place. I can't recommend The Seer highly enough, it's a legitimate masterpiece. Then I had a piece of good fortune as the Concorde 2 provided me with free tickets after I submitted a live review to their new blog.

I found myself a spot not too near the front but close enough. Somewhere that gave me a good view but allowed me an escape route should the volume reach the mythical vomit inducing levels. I've never worn ear plugs at a gig before and felt a little self conscious putting them in but have reached an age where I've started to fret a little about damaging my hearing and just about everyone I'd spoken to who'd seen Swans before had recommended wearing them. After a brief technical pause Swans kicked off with To Be Kind a fairly mild start but a chance to ensure that I was hearing nice and clearly. Around three minutes in Michael Gira's vocal power did something incredible. An immense deep throbbing noise that made me wonder if the ear plugs were cutting anything out at all. I could see the bloke in front tentatively rubbing his ears. Crikey, if this is what he can do with his voice, what's it gonna be like when they really get going? Then the band did up the volume and, whilst it was loud, everything seemed to settle down.

Gira prowled the stage, at times like some prehistoric predator, stomping about and cranking out guitar chords like whip cracks of sound. In the instrumental sections he'd use his hands like a conductor, urging the band on to greater exertions, often focusing on drummer Phil Puleo and pushing him to drive the beat on. Drums and percussion are an integral part of the Swans sound and I was excited to see they had two sticks-men. The wonderfully named Thor Harris was tucked in a corner but seemed quite a character with his flowing locks and collection of things to hit that included tubular bells and a medium sized gong as well as a brief parp on a trombone. The rest of the band were smartly dressed and well drilled. Long serving guitar slicer Norman Westerberg looked imperious throughout and alongside bass player Christopher Pravdica formed the basis of a wall of sound that underpinned most of the show. Christoph Hahn added interesting guitar noise over the top using his double lap set up which included some funky tremolo device for when he needed to hit the really high frequencies. Gira was the star throughout though. He seemed unexpectedly affable, keen for us to stay afterwards so he could "say hello and sign a few things" and at one point asking for the blue light set to be dimmed as they were shining into the eyes of a lady down the front.
 

A large proportion of songs Swans played on  European tour were, as yet, unrecorded songs. I like the idea of touring new music before recording it, I think it gives a band the chance to really explore a tune and get it perfected before committing it to acetate (or whatever the hep cats are suing these days). That said, the epic half hour version of The Seer was the undoubted highlight of the show for me. That merged into Toussaint Louverture Song taking the final track of the night to close on an hour of uninterrupted music. They played close to 2½ hours but it never lagged and come the end I was half hoping for an unlikely encore. A simply stunning show from start to finish and one that will live long in my memory.

Review by Dave Harris || All images © 2013 by Mike Burnell. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission.

Friday, 5 April 2013

★ COMING THIS WEEKEND TO CONCORDE2 ★

It seems like the weekend just finished and we're already being treated to another one! Do like John Travolta and shake off your post-Easter blues with these amazing shows from your #1 music venue... There really is something for everyone!

Friday 5th...
LIVE ★ The Wonder Stuff + Ericka | After two decades and 7 studio albums The Wonder Stuff embark on new headline tour | Doors: 7-10pm | Tickets: £18.50+bf adv from http://bit.ly/XdGEHd / tickets also available on the door

CLUB ★ Forekast feat French Fries (Brighton debut) + Deadboy + My Nu Leng + Dom 877 + more | The second installment of the new monthly night bringing you the future of House music, garage and bass | Doors: 11pm-4am | Tickets: £7+bf adv from http://bit.ly/ZMGvsA / tickets also available on the door

 


Saturday 6th...
LIVE ★ Mick Jogger & the Rolling Zones | The ultimate tribute to The Rolling Stones with UK's leading Jagger look-alike and sound-alike Mick Jogger! | Doors: 7pm-10pm - please note that Rolling Zones will be on stage at 8pm sharp | Tickets: £13+bf adv from http://bit.ly/Yvlh55 / tickets also available on the door

CLUB ★ Megadance feat TC + Dimension + XXtract + more | Monthly bass music clubnight, this will be roadblock so arrive early! | Doors: 11pm-4am | £3 ALL NIGHT on the door only

Sunday 7th...
LIVE ★ The Mosh Lives Tour feat Emmure + Chelsea Grin + Obey The Brave + Attila + Buried in Verona | 5 hours of untamed metal! | Doors: 6-11pm | Tickets: £13+bf adv from http://bit.ly/XbSmxc / tickets also available on the door

Have a great one y'all! ♥ C2 x

Thursday, 28 March 2013

★ THIS WEEKEND AT Concorde 2 ★

It's finally here - the loooooong awaited Easter weekend, with a whole 4 days off! Yippeeee! And here's a quick look at what we have in store this weekend....

Thursday 28th...
LIVE ★ La Roux | Extra special Coachella warm-up show, La Roux will be on stage 8.15-9.30pm on the dot | Doors: 7-10pm | SOLD OUT

CLUB ★ Gilles Peterson (Brownswood) + Russ Dewbury - Jazz Rooms + Hint (Tru Thoughts) + Anushka (Live PA) | Radio 6 legend and musical tastemaker returns to C2 with bags full of wonderful records - NO WORK ON FRIDAY! | Doors: 11pm-4am | Tickets: £10+bf adv from http://bit.ly/XTS85E / tickets also available on the door

 


Friday 29th...
CLUB ★ Dub Pistols (DJ Set) + Rodney P | This event is always roadblock so get here early! | Doors: 11pm-4am | Tickets: FREE before midnight, £3 after - tickets on the door only

 

Saturday 30th...
CLUB ★ Brighton Rumble Rockabilly Show | Easter special with Charlie Thompson + Pine Top Boys and host DJ Dave Mumbles | Doors: 8pm-2am | Tickets: £8+bf from http://bit.ly/10h7bRs / tickets also available on the door

 

Sunday 31st...
LIVE ★ Running Dogs + Two Jackals + The Basis | Brighton quartet Running Dogs will catch your ears and melt your minds in the vein of Blur and The Libertines | Doors: 7-11pm (not 6pm-10pm as originally advertised) | Tickets: £5+bf adv from http://bit.ly/101WinS / tickets also available on the door

Have a splendid long weekend and most importantly have fun! C2 x