PIZZAGIRL + HONEY MOON + JUMANJI + SUZI ISLAND – HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 5.12.18
It’s wet and soggy mid-week December night in Brighton and everything appears to be a tad meh! However, this is not the case up at the Hope & Ruin on Queen Road, as those nice people from Hidden Herd have gathered together some pretty decent musical talent.
Arguably their name could as easily be Hidden Heard, as in discovering new sounds as that is the case tonight. There are four acts on this evening and we haven’t seen any of them previously, thus it’s an interesting experience. The talent touting their wares are Pizzagirl, Honey Moon, Jumanji and Suzi Island.
First up were Suzi Island, who are a smart young funky Brighton outfit made up of Carlie, Matt, and Hugh with the assistance of Harvey on drums. These guys have already been flagged up by BBC Music Introducing and my colleague picked up on the part Years & Years vibe. They have great harmonies and their set was orchestrated rather well. They performed their first single ‘Show Me The Way’, ‘The Real Life’ (which is about leaving Uni and entering the big wide world) and a new track entitled ‘Welcome To The End Of The World’ as part of their decent six song set. They definitely have the potential to go far and should be picked up by a much larger chart act as a support band to set them nicely on the road.
Tonight’s Suzi Island setlist reads:
‘Halo’, ‘Show Me The Way’, Actor’, ‘Wiser’, ‘Welcome To The End Of The World’, ‘The Real Life’.
Next up were Jumanji who are a Brighton based outfit made up of Neneh Atkins (vocals), Aaron Butler (guitar/backing vocals), Nathan Maskell (guitar/backing vocals), Jonty Poulter (keys) and Joe Sayers (bass), with the assistance of Josh Caplin on drums. They are a young band with a powerful modern sound, which they call ‘tropical pop’. They performed half a dozen catchy tunes for us lucky punters, which for me personally included the standout track entitled ‘Higher’. Once again another band with real potential, who with a slice of good fortune, could be heard on a national radio station very soon.
Tonight’s Jumanji setlist reads:
‘Shindig’, ‘Swings And Roundabouts’, ‘Alyssa’, ‘Higher’, ‘Foxes’, ‘Constellations’.
It was now the turn of Honey Moon, who are a London based act made up of Jack, Zach, Sam and Joey, with the assistance of the Ron Mael-esque Daniel on keyboards. These lads are purveyors of jangly croon pop to please your ears and warm your hearts. During their set I picked up on the Richard Hawley and Laish vibe, which I conveyed to the guys after their seven song set, which pleased them no end. There were also nods to John Lennon’s ‘Just Like Starting Over’ and the high-pitched vocal style of Pete Wingfield’s ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’, within tonight’s enjoyable set, which also included their interpretation of The Cardigans ‘Love Fool’. Prior to the commencement of this evening’s performances, my colleague and I were sitting downstairs and I immediately knew that the guys sitting next to us were a band as tall singer Jack (with his trademark Dexy’s Midnight Runners woolly hat) had that aura about him. They will be coming back to Brighton in April when they play the Green Door Store.
Tonight’s Honey Moon setlist reads:
‘If I Could Only Dream’, ‘Magic’, ‘(Why Do You Think You’re So) Special?’, ‘Yours, Girl’, ‘Lovefool’, ‘Tripping (On The Thought Of You)’, ‘Best In Town’.
Headlining this evening was Pizzagirl, who actually isn’t female as the name suggests, but is in fact a chap based in Liverpool going by the name of Liam Brown. On stage tonight, it was just him and Denise. Denise is his newly purchased spangly guitar! Also in attendance was his laptop, a tiny AKAI keyboard and some drum pads. For me the Pizzagirl sound is a modern take on that long lost mid 1980’s sound that no-one plays anymore. This being something akin to China Crisis, Haircut 100, Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones and the quieter early New Order tracks. I’m glad Liam is on the case with his slabs of 80’s retro musical nostalgia. Tonight, we were treated to eight songs, which included standout tracks ‘Seabirds’ and his rendition on Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ from the famous ‘Drive’ movie soundtrack. Liam brightened up the evening with his humour and tales of being a Brighton tourist for the day. I would love to see him and Denise return to Brighton pretty soon.
Tonight’s Pizzagirl setlist reads:
‘Body Part’, ‘Gymnasium’, ‘Coffee Shop’, ‘Carseat’, ‘Highschool’, ‘Blossom At My Feet, Flower’, ‘Seabirds’, ‘Nightcall’.