RAG’N’BONE MAN + MAVERICK SABRE + NORMAN JAY + ETTA BOND + IDA VALLENS – BRIGHTON RACECOURSE 27.07.19
Tonight’s Rag’n’Bone Man outdoor spectacular event has certainly seemed a long time in coming, although in all honesty it was only announced a third of a year ago. But I guess it was because I kept on spotting all of those giant posters on display at the various bus stops around the city, that I was regularly reminded about this gig and the previous night’s which featured Doves et al – Read that concert’s review HERE.
I am pretty sure that the owners of Brighton Racecourse would have been dead chuffed that Uckfield’s finest son would be pulling in the punters in their droves up to the top of the town. This was a big thing with the crowds packed on the eastern side of the course along with the impressive stage, and a large overflow on the western side where the stands can be found.
Did you attend the Rag’n’Bone Man concert or know anyone that went? If yes, then you can view our special photo album of the fans HERE.
Thirty-four year old baritone voiced Rory Graham (aka Rag‘n’Bone Man) has become a phenomenal success. It seems as though he burst onto the scene from nowhere when his debut album ‘Human’ in 2017 (featuring the huge hits ‘Skin’ and ‘Human’) blasted up to the very top of the album charts in the UK and indeed right across the world. It was also top of the tree in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. No.2 in Germany, No.3 in both Australia and New Zealand and No.4 in Austria.
He has won no less than three BRIT awards. Two came along immediately in 2017 when he was voted the ‘British Breakthrough Act’ for the year and he cemented his credibility with ‘Critics’ Choice Award’. The following year, his tune ‘Human’ was crowned ‘Single of the Year’. Earlier this year, Rag’n’Bone Man appeared at the BRIT Awards alongside Calvin Harris performing their monster hit collaboration track ‘Giant’ – watch it HERE.
Sell out tours and festival appearances around the globe swiftly followed as well as further accolades, including ‘International Newcomer’ and ‘International Male Artist’ at Germany’s ECHO Awards and ‘International New Artist of the Year’ at Spain’s LOS40 Awards.
I can recall when reporting at The Great Escape new music festival in Brighton, that suddenly there was an immense hive of activity amongst the delegates as Rag’n’Bone Man was announced as a surprise guest at the hub outside of the Brighton main library. You should have seen the press from around the world legging it there to catch a few notes!
It turns out that from a young age, he has been involved with music; beginning his musical career as a rapping and singing member of Brighton’s hip-hop collective The Rum Committee. So it is rather pleasing that he’s back in town and certainly hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Maverick Sabre is the alter ego of 29 year old Hackney born Michael Stafford, who at the tender age of four relocated with his family to County Wexford in Ireland. First championed by BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra’s MistaJam as one of his “Ones to Watch for 2011”, and subsequently described by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens as the “male Amy Winehouse”, Maverick Sabre’s gritty yet soulful voice is drawing audiences in and leaving them hooked. From Hackney to Wexford and back again, Maverick has silenced crowds with his catchy lamenting social-political content.
Having been championed the year before, Maverick certainly came to the fore musically in 2012 with his 14 track debut album entitled ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ which hit the dizzy heights of No.2 in the UK album charts. Three years later, the follow up album ‘Innerstanding’ followed and he released his third album as ‘When I Wake Up’ in March 2019. Independently released, the new record is an acutely personal and poignant body of work from the respected songwriter and artist and includes powerful features from Jorja Smith and Chronixx. Maverick was back again in Brighton after only a three week gap, having previously played to a sold out crowd at the Concorde 2 on Friday 5th July.
As well as writing material with the hottest producers, Maverick has been featured on Later With Jools Holland, live on BBC2 from Glastonbury Festival, collaborated with Professor Green on the club smash Jungle (NME Award for Best Dance-floor Filler) and with Chase & Status on ‘Fire In Your Eyes Again’. He has toured alongside chart toppers Plan B, Cee Lo Green, Snoop Dogg and The Script as well as collaborators Chase & Status.
Norman Jay MBE is unquestionably one of the most respected and popular DJs in the world today. Born in Notting Hill, Jay played his first gig aged 8 at a 10th birthday party. Influenced by his father’s record collection of blue beat, ska and jazz, by the late 1970’s he was considered an emerging authority on contemporary Afro-American music including funk, disco, soul and jazz fusion.
During a series of late-70’s trips to New York, visiting family, Norman was inspired by the city’s unique and vibrant club scene, and on his return to the UK teamed up with his brother, Joey, to build the Good Times Sound System, playing funk, soul and disco at Notting Hill Carnival. Cementing his reputation as co-founder of, and prime selector on, the then London pirate radio station KISS FM. Jay originally coined the term, and subsequently fostered the emerging ‘Rare Groove’ scene, filling the airwaves and many warehouse parties under his Shake and Fingerpop guises, with the best in 70’s & 80’s grooves and nascent house cuts. Pushing the boundaries of the UK’s emerging club culture he went on to co-found the first ‘Paradise Garage’ style club in Britain – ‘High On Hope’, and, alongside kindred spirit Gilles Peterson, Norman established the Talkin’ Loud label, spearheading the Acid Jazz scene.
Throughout the late 80’s and 90’s, Jay continued to build a reputation as one of the world’s most popular DJs, packing clubs to the rafters wherever he played, taking the underground sounds of rare groove and house firmly into the mainstream. The turn of the century saw Norman Jay assume the role of elder statesman, receiving an MBE from the Queen for services to deejaying and music.
Most recently he has taken his legendary Good Times parties to the East of London, sharing the carnival vibes with venues including St John at Hackney Church, Oval Space and Mick’s Garage. His latest compilation ‘Mister Good Times’ released with Sunday Best Recordings captures the true spirit of Good Times, ‘People who used to come to arrive early doors carnival will know exactly what this is about,” says Norman. Continuing his burgeoning work as a broadcaster, and playing an eclectic mix of black and dance music across the globe as the deejay’s DJ, Norman Jay remains at the forefront of club culture continually converting generations of clubbers to the cause, championing new sounds, yet never forgetting his musical roots, thus guaranteeing nothing but the ‘Good Times’.
Norman will be returning to Sussex when he will be appearing at the iconic St Paul’s in Worthing on Friday 20th September. Grab your tickets from the Box Office by calling 0844 249 1000 or click HERE to purchase online.
Etta Bond is another artist that was making a speedy return to Brighton having previously played Patterns on Wednesday 10th April. Her full name is actually Henrietta Bond and she was initially from Cambridge but is now a London based artist.
She was the first artist to come out of Labrinth’s label, OddChild Recordings. She has a superb finesse when it comes to songwriting, a powerful delivery teeming with a vulnerability and honesty that will warm even the coldest heart. So not surprisingly she cites Labrinth, Jill Scott, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Michael Jackson, J Dilla and D’Angelo as major influences.
She has released two eight tune mini-albums ‘Emergency Room’ in July 2012 and ‘Meds’ in August 2013, which was followed by a five track EP entitled ‘Cool Urban New Talent’ in October 2014. This year saw her release her ‘double sided’ debut album ‘He’s Not Mine’ – ‘He’s Mine’. Double sided debut album? Confused?
This what Etta said on 15th March this year: “Part one of the album is here and I can’t quite believe it!! I don’t really know what to say.. Thank you for being with me on this journey! I’ll speak a bit about the creative and emotional process of this album once you’ve had some time to take it in and find your own perspective. Let me know what you think. And if it touches you, please share it with other people so maybe it can touch them too. I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Honestly, you couldn’t comprehend how much”.
Then two weeks later on 29th March she added: “Part two of my album #HesMine is OUT NOW. About 8 months ago, #HesNotMine was all you were going to get in terms of my album. #HesMine didn’t exist.. I’d thought once or twice about the idea of a second side, but I just didn’t have the experience or perspective to make the music. The universe guided me then blessed me and I am so, so happy to be able to share this moment with you through my heart. I have no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what was supposed to happen. I have never known a love so pure. Love is out there for us all, but it has to start in our own hearts first. It’s been a long hard journey but every step was worth it. I’m not even mad about the darkness I’ve experienced, and trust me, I’ve experienced darkness. But the darkness prepared me for the light and helped me to be able to truly identify it when it shines. I hope that the album as a whole can guide some of you the way it’s guided me. And to my dearest Love… thank you for taking the role of my muse in your stride. You’re the first person I’ve written a song about who actually appreciates it. That to me says everything. This is my version of screaming it from a mountain top. HE’S MINE!!!!!!!!!”
Kicking off the whole event tonight was Ida Vallens which is the conceptual art project of 18 year old singer-songwriter and producer Anya Gradisher from Worthing.
Inspired by David Lynch films, stories of the occult and literature; Ida crafts ethereal electronic pop music that is truly in a lane of its own. Her sound is described by Mixmag as ‘part trip-hop and part trap’, and while she acknowledges the influences of these genres, her uniquely jazz infused voice evokes nostalgia, with production that takes us to the future, making it difficult to define.
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