THE CULT OF DOM KELLER + BLACK DOLDRUMS + CIEL – HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 23.02.19
Once again congratulations go out to Polly Miles and Ollie Thomas from Acid Box for putting on another fab evening’s entertainment – they certainly have an eye for fab bands!
Tonight they had invited The Cult Of Dom Keller, Black Doldrums and CIEL onto the bill at the Hope & Ruin and all three acts came up with the goods!
I must confess that we had decided to report on this evening’s concert on the back of seeing Black Doldrums perform their first ever Brighton gig at the Rialto Theatre back in November, as they totally blew me away. An added bonus tonight was that CIEL had been added to the bill as well. We had seen them perform their first ever set as a band last December up at the Prince Albert and there was definite potential here. Whereas tonight’s headliners The Cult Of Dom Keller was to be the wild card as we weren’t really aware of their material despite knowing the distinctive name.
Headliners, The Cult Of Dom Keller are Ryan (lead guitar/vocals/keys), Neil (synthesiser/vocals/tambourine), Jason (guitar/keys/backing vocals), Liam (bass) and Al (drums/samplers) and since late 2007 have toured Europe and USA and played festivals such as Kozfest, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, Raw Power festival in London and Austin Psych Fest, Texas as well as Rewire in Holland and Fuzz Club festival, Eindhoven and have established a loyal, cult following that seems to grow and grow.
Tonight I was having a conversation with the legendary UK Subs frontman Charlie Harper and he told me that he was here with his wife simply because he had heard that The Cult Of Dom Keller were going to be loud. They were loud but not overly so.
Within seconds of the guys entering the stage and launching into their hazy 60’s sourced keys and looping gridlocked riffs of mind expanding proportions and blissed out frenzied fuzz, I knew that it was going to be a memorable performance as to me they sound just like Moon Duo and The Limiñanas, both of which I have had the fortune of seeing play live in Brighton. There’s a hint of Stereolab in their sound too. Talking of which I note that their forthcoming Concorde 2 gig sold out in a matter of hours, so if you are after tickets for that, then I think that you will be empty handed.
From the off the The Cult Of Dom Keller quintet were in the zone, especially drummer Al, who kept bouncing his back off of the wall behind him whilst he was in full flow. He had indeed got my attention and throughout the set I was aware of the rhythmic bashing. I’m rather partial to synthesisers and Neil was doing a fine job of singer and hitting the right notes on the keyboard, but it could have been just a tad louder for my liking. The trouble is when you are trying to compete with a bass and two guitars, then it’s not easy.
I wished that their set included more beauties, as just 8 tunes is a big tease, but there was an 11pm curfew this evening, so there was nothing that they could have done. But there wasn’t a bad track amongst tonight’s set and immediately afterwards I headed to their merch stand and duly purchased two of their releases. My fave track of theirs this evening was ‘Worlds’. I would most certainly see them live in Brighton again.
The Cult Of Dom Keller setlist reads: ‘All I Need Is’, ‘Nowhere To Land’, ‘Behind All Evil’, ‘Shambhala Is On Fire’, ‘Swamp Heron’, ‘Eyes’, Worlds’, ‘Plague Of All’
Prior to The Cult Of Dom Keller set, we had the wonderful Black Doldrums who are a male-female couple combo of singer-guitarist Kevin Gibbard and dark haired drummer Sophia Lacroix. These guys are renowned for delivering multiple layers of echo-drenched guitar and heavy relentless drums and thus creating their powerfully distorted transient and euphoric dark-psych, shoegaze sounds akin to Moon Duo, The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Brighton’s lost band Morning Smoke.
Their single ‘Those With A Rope Around Their Neck (Don’t Always Hang)’ backed with ‘Exit City Lights’ saw the light of day last April. Their recent ‘Sad Paradise’ EP was released on limited edition 12″ Black and Purple Splatter Vinyl on 30th November!
The band is influenced by much of the proto-psych of the 1960’s, icy post-punk of the 80’s and the Brit Rock swagger of the 90’s, taking their name from Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Denver Doldrums’ and their gothic-psych aesthetic, charmed from Syd Barrett’s ‘Madcap’ era.
Thankfully tonight was a rerun of their previous gig in Brighton with the same tracks in the same order and because they were brilliant last time, this topped up my excitement in the band, despite still only being five tracks performed. Having said that they are certainly not coming in at three minute pop songs. Once again the highlight of their set was the final number ‘It’s A Dandy Massacre’.
Black Doldrums setlist reads: ‘There Is No Eye’, ‘Those With A Rope Around Their Neck (Don’t Always Hang)’, ‘She Devine’, ‘City Lights’, ‘It’s A Dandy Massacre’.
First up tonight was CIEL, which is pronounced (She-Elle). This has been until very recently the solo project of Dutch born Michelle Hindriks. A few years ago, Michelle came over to the UK and attended the terrific BIMM musical school in Brighton and the city has been calling her back ever since and now she is a resident here.
She has put her band together which for their very first gig that we were lucky to attend consisted of Hannah on drums, Jorge on guitar and Scott from Bloom who was just filling in. This evening he was replaced by Kieran on bass and the guys played a longer set than their first one. We were treated to seven numbers of shoegaze style mellow dream-pop.
On their debut gig the certainly reminded me of elements of The Cure and Clan Of Xymox, however, this evening, I believe that they have moved into New Order territory, with sound like The Wake and Stereolab. If they had been together in the early to mid 1980’s, they would no doubt be signed to Factory Records. Their penultimate number called ‘Awake’ is their most electronic song and I felt that Hannah was I would assume unknowingly giving off the vibe of New Order’s moody hypnotic anthem ‘In A Lonely Place’.
Seems CIEL has picked up a fan in Jack from Penelope Isles who watched their set and spoke to Michelle afterwards. That’s a step in the right direction for a new band as the Penelope Isles are due to release an album on Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union label.
Prior to the formation of the quartet, Michelle had released her debut 4 track EP entitled ‘Anxiety’, which includes the aforementioned ‘Awake’ as the opener.
Tonight’s CIEL setlist reads: ‘Castles’, ‘East Song’ (working title for new track), ‘Acrophobia’, ‘Pictures’, ‘Naked’, ‘Awake’, ‘The Shore’.