Category Archives: Review

Reviews of gigs in Hastings

Squid’s surprisingly sophisticated sensational sounds

LAUNDROMAT

Supporting SQUID tonight at the De La war Pavilion are Laundromat.

And right from the get-go those crushed 50’s RKO vocals provide the perfect foil for the band’s discordant – but somehow pleasant – ‘plonks’.

‘Plonks.’  Not a word I’d ever have normally associated with or even considered using in the context of a positive gig review. Bit, somehow, Laundromat seem to have mastered the art of the ‘plonk’ and raised it to an artform,

Everyone in the band is doing his own thing – and some of it is very odd indeed. But weirdly it’s all holding together.

Frankly it’s more than a little bit disturbing that I actually seem to get this…or maybe I just don’t.

Describing Laundromat is tough because it almost feels as if half the band are playing backwards…and the rest are playing sideways.

So rather than struggling with references to try and explain how this song by Laundromat sounds like so-and-so, or how that little riff was reminiscent of that-band, let’s just leave it here.

Laundromat are perhaps not totally unique – but they are far enough away from any mainstream acts that they may as well be applauded for doing broadly speaking their own thing.

SQUID

And speaking of doing their own thing … here comes SQUID, with a stop/start… synchronised jazz vibe that’s fundamentally messed up and somehow artfully infused with the cantankerous sounds of an industrial wasteland.

Bumping off the sides of tonality, Squid’s new material is both confident and unlikely.

Musically speaking this is so far beyond the years of the band members. Songs glide gently into sci-fi wobbles and farts, and, despite the challenging nature of what our ears are being presented with, it all makes a weird amount of sense.

Then. Wallop! – here comes the horn section out of nowhere…followed by a pounding electro drum rhythm that knocks both band members and audience members into immediate submission.

Between songs – and even during a few – band members scurry around the stage from instrument to instrument, looking to create a constantly shifting soundscape.

Then. BANG (again). Here comes the rocky wig-out number, with those distinctive vocals that are just as at home in a sub-metal style as they are echoing the jazz greats of yesteryear.

And then, suddenly, everything is percussion and howling pedal effects…a sort of homage to The Old Grey Whistle Test and, within seconds, much more than a nod towards the legendary Gong.

How do we describe SQUID’s latest foray into live territory?

A jam session made from premium grade fruits?

Elemental world music rooted in the streets?

What’s for sure is that this whole new direction is nothing less than a deliberate attempt to try and avoid BBC 6-music airplay on anything other than the Freakzone playlist.

And it’s a pretty safe bet that when a band’s repertoire rips up elements of The Fall, Talking Heads and CAN they’re not looking at commercial record sales in the current chart climate to boost their careers.

This is a good bet if, for no other reason, than the fact that trying to pigeon hole SQUID is like trying to make sense out of a phrase like ‘prog-indie-metal-electro-jazz’.

It just doesn’t compute – until you hear it for yourself.

And it’s safe to say to say that SQUID kept me interested. And guessing…all night long.

Gentle and forlorn ballads rub shoulders with angry spoken word that lives a precarious life suspended over a kick/snare/synth combo that’s reminiscent of something cast out from The Wall by Pink Floyd for being ‘too odd’.

There has been (and will be again) a time when this is stadium music…

It is epic stuff…if not now, then 20 years ago, or 20 years from now. Or maybe…today?

This Is the Kit supported by Hayley Savage

Elegantly understated and deftly enthralling, Hastings’ singer-songwriter Hayley Savage’s performance here at the De La war Pavilion tonight is both peaceful and demure.

Her charming songs are captivating and contemplative, and her performance in unselfconscious.

The applause she received time after time was both genuine and heartfelt – and by no means forced or polite as is sometimes the case at intimate gigs when audiences feel obliged to show some sense of gratitude regardless of talent…

All in all a great support slot from an up-and-coming star…

This Is the Kit may not have played live for ages, but their stage-show was still effortless… even if Kate Stables admitted to being “snoozy after too much trifle and chocolate coins…”

In this dark room it’s easy to pretend the audience is ten-fold from its socially distanced number – and you get the sense the band has rammed this idea into their heads in order to perform a set that truly befits their burgeoning status as an act worthy of proper-sized venues.

Every note and drum beat carefully chosen and crafted… nothing rushed.

Everything perfectly crafted.

Mark Knopfler guitar echoes are evocative of days gone by…

“This is our first chance to play these songs live since we recorded them in the first week of March way back in 2020,” says Kate, who goes on to take plenty of time tuning her guitar, but only to make it worse… ‘whoops, jinxed it!’ she laughs…

Tuning becomes a meme as the night goes on and Kate asks rhetorically ‘how do you tune a six string banjo?’

The answer is that only five of the tuning pegs are used! And Zither banjos are always a little bit out of tune.

As song follows song we hear a trickling extract of Eddie Bricknell, get a smidgen of rocking-out guitar hero treatment, and even a little Seth Lakeman-esque action…

… but weirder… building growing pulsing … too early, too late!

As the gig works its way to the end Kate shows her weakness as well as her strength.

Awkwardly wobbly and quaking she may have admitted to being – trying to remember how it goes. But ultimately This Is the Kit have what it takes and their forced absence from the scene hasn’t diminished their staying power.

Blowing away the cobwebs, with Kid Kapichi, SNAYX and Blabbermouth

21st and 22nd May 2021, De La Warr Pavilion

A poignant cobweb hanging a metre-or-so down from a light above the De La Warr Pavilion balcony was a telling reminder of just how long venues have been mothballed.

Tonight’s Kid Kapichi ‘album launch’ comes over three months since ‘This Time Next Year’ hit the racks with a glowing four-star NME review that called it ‘a snarling debut full of grit, determination and blood-curdling fury…’

Those with an eye for detail might have pointed out to the NME hack that the band’s first release was way back in 2016 – but this is their first long-player, so we’ll not split hairs over semantics.

But back to the present, and although the venue might have been a bit dusty, none of the bands were in any way rusty, effortlessly remembering which end of the guitar was which and what all those funny switch things at their feet do…

Due to demand for tickets and the need to still maintain social distancing this (almost) home-town return to the live stage was split over two nights – offering opportunities for both SNAYX and Blabbermouth to take turns at opening the shows.

However, the big elephant in the room was the looming question of how bands like these would work in the rigidly controlled setting that current rules dictate.

All seated, masks when not drinking, no jumping around, and all that jazz. And indeed, the amount of space around each little sofa-island of fans was enough for a pretty big elephant to have navigated its way down to the non-existent mosh-pit.

Did it work?

Well, yes – pretty much.

But it still wasn’t the same, and served as a telling reminder of how far we still are from any true return to normality.

As SNAYX hit the stage the first impression was of how the Pavilion appeared to have taken on the proportions of a stadium, given the distance from the band to the seated front row.

And there was a palpable wave of relief that rolled across the (admittedly sparse) crowd as they got their first dose of proper live rock in what felt like an eternity.

With bass-heavy riffs, SNAYX are reminiscent of early Red Hot Chili Peppers, but with a contemporary twist – and this is a good thing.

Their set was a perfect appetiser to whet appetites for the main course.

And the same could be said for Blabbermouth, who opened the Saturday night show.

Max’s voice may have been a little rough around the edges from a little too much rehearsal time in the studio, but nobody cared as the audience lapped up the band’s songs, which are as infectious as a boisterous Covid virus, and twice as deadly!

Catch them at The Crypt on 17th July: TICKETS

But what of Kid Kapichi’s two-night residency?

Well you could sense the magnetic lines of force that snapped between the band and the audience right from the opening strobes of a dramatic lightshow that was worthy of a stage entrance by Metallica.

Restraint was strained to its limits as fans were torn between the desire dash to the front and the knowledge that misbehaving and not following Boris’ rules might put the show at risk.

So fists punched the air and hair was flicked from side to side in an effort to somehow recreate the normal crowdsurfing chaos that a Kid Kapichi gig inevitably always ascends into…but all from the comfort of a sofa or café table.

https://www.facebook.com/857915415/videos/10165324885770416/

And throughout the two triumphant shows the band prowled and stalked the De La Warr stage with effortless perfection and precision – as if they had never been away and as if the hundred-or-so audience members were ten times that number and stacked two-deep.

Every song was another notch on the bedpost as old faves rubbed luxuriantly up against new raves in a deliciously well-blended cocktail of anger and social commentary spiked with musical and lyrical hooks that instantly addictive.

Last year should have been Kid Kapichi’s true break-through opportunity – but the world put their plans on pause along with the rest of the industry.

Now, with restrictions lifting and everyone hoping that the true normal will be back this sider of Christmas, perhaps ‘this time next year’ the whole world will be chanting along to their favourite Kapichi anthems in packed venues and festivals across the globe!

PHOTOS BY WWW.SARABOWREYPHOTOS.COM

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Enthralled, amused, and slightly confused… but not easily offended

Photos by www.sarabowreyphotos.com

Fat White Family, 18th May 2021, Bexhill De La Warr Pavillion

The headline perfectly describes the audience at Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavillion as three sevenths of Fat White Family played their fourth set since lockdown rules allowed them to get back on a live stage.

This was the second show on the second day of their ‘Moonbathing in February’ tour – a homage to their recent film, which was coincidentally inspired by a 1am mushroom-fuelled dip in the sea at Hastings.

The combination of vocalist Lias Saoudi, keyboard whiz Nathan Saoudi, and sax-man (here turned flute-player) Alex White, proved to be a truly engaging trio and offered up a show that was a million miles from the normally raucous and riotous affairs that FWF gigs typically descend/ascend into.

We laughed.

We sat in silent wonder.

We wondered if we should be shocked or laughing.

And we experienced a perfectly executed exercise in poetry infused jazz, that smacked of Hank William III-style country, and included some beautifully Noel Coward-esque music-hall stylings. All underpinned by subtlety throbbing synth wobbles and counterpoised by not-always-perfect, but none the less lovely flute solos and melodies.

From the outset I stabbed out gig notes and jotted down mid-song banter in preparation for writing this review…but within a few songs I stopped and just sank back in my socially distanced seat to enjoy the moment.

I decided that any detailed blow-by-blow write-up would just be a plot spoiler for those who are lucky enough to have tickets to the later dates on the tour.

So that’s all for this piece… except to say that if you don’t yet have your seats booked and there is a Fat White Family show near you in the next few weeks make a bee-line for it.

You’ll not be disappointed.

Kid Kapichi and Blabbermouth – Rocking in The Crypt

Two bands representing the healthy future of the UK music scene shook The Crypt to its foundations last night…and we were there to witness the intensity of the seismic event.

Kid Kapichi are already on escape velocity from small local venues, and with their national tour coming up in the spring we anticipate huge things for them in 2020.

Support act Blabbermouth were also on top form and we have more than an inkling that this is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more from very soon.

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Geoff Berner – the sharp-dressed, gentle kletzmer punk

Playing in the intimate setting of Hastings Drift In Cafe Bar following a last-minute relocation owing to a flooded venue elsewhere in town, Geoff Berner demonstrated in true style why he is definitely ‘one-to-watch’ if you happen to be heading to Glastonbury this year.

Photos by www.sarabowreyphotos.com:

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https://www.facebook.com/FestivalFlyer/videos/391022644846472/

The Adolescents and Casual Nausea at Crowleys…

The Adolescents have a history and a catalogue that goes WAYYY back to the earliest days of US hardcore-punk … and tonight they delivered a full-on broadside of anthemic proportions through the recently upgraded Crowley’s PA.

THIS is what it’s all about – Hastings rocks on nights like this… we love it

Support from the equally frenetic Casual Nausea

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