Last night we had options – a few pints in the Old Town, some rockabilly from the Memphis Flyers at The JD Bar, or a little psychedelic weirdness from Warrior Squares (and a bunch of other oddities) over at The Tub were all high on the list.
But then we got sidetracked into exploring The Printworks bar down in the heart of the America Ground. We’d missed the first Lantern Society gig there earlier in the week, so were keen to check out the space.
You’d be forgiven for not having been there yourself, because ‘well hidden’ is probably the most obvious two-word description of this buzzy little cave.
It’s at the end of Claremont – but don’t expect to see a sign.
You have to swing left into the alleyway between the Observer Office and the big green roller shutter, and then try the first nondescript door on your left.
Inside it’s worth the trip – if you are a fan (as we are) of industrial chic, good beer, and a varied and funky soundtrack to your night out.
There was no live music tonight, but the vinyl DJ had a great box of tunes, and although the volume may have been a tad to loud for our old ears, there were plenty of people less than half the age of the songs getting up to get on down.
For a change of pace we upped sticks after a couple of pints and took the short walk round The General Havelock – just in time to catch the start of two sets from the night’s main event, the Kayleigh Ann Band.
The Havelock has a lot going for it. It’s central, easy to find (!), friendly, cosy, and it embraces live music.
It’s worth noting that The General Havelock also has some of the best painted tiles of any pub in the whole of the UK, with a selection of designs dating back to the late 1800s which originated from the Royal Doulton factory.
The General also has a good PA, and it puts on musicians who know how to perform.
Kayleigh Ann may only be 19, but this local rising star is no exception to that rule.
Her voice is her key strength, but she also has the charming stage presence that marks out the great from the good. And whilst the original material may be largely borrowed from elsewhere, she has a knack for arrangement and knows how to make the songs her own.
We know there is a feeling there may be too many covers acts in Hastings – but as long as the standard stays this high, we’re not complaining.
Kayleigh Ann with ‘No Light, No Light’ by Florence and the Machine
So if you are scratching your head for where to go of an evening and you spot her name on our gig calendar we’d seriously recommend you head over to check out what we mean.
Kayleigh Ann with ‘Life on Mars’ by David Bowie