THE BAR STOOL PREACHERS + BAKK LAMP FALL + YUMI AND THE WEATHER + IMMERSION – BRIGHTON DOME CONCERT HALL 17.10.20
Thank God for that! After a wait of more than seven months, there was finally live music on offer here in Brighton last night.
There is certainly no doubt that Brighton and Hove’s live music scene is one of the city’s great success stories, and prior to lockdown had generated an estimated £112m per year for the local economy, whilst playing a key role in its position as a creative, cultural and tourist destination.
Luckily for us then, our local music venues have now joined forces in order to present a series of four consecutive Saturday live gigs to support and protect Brighton and Hove’s vibrant music scene. These have been branded as ‘Live Is Alive!’ and the Brighton Dome is the chosen venue for these happenings, with the first of these having taken place last night, Saturday 17th October 2020. Each event will feature local emerging artists and bands, programmed and presented in collaboration with grassroots music venues.
The Live Is Alive! collective of partners have stated that:
“Live Is Alive is what happens when a city comes together in a crisis – a unified force pulling each other forward towards awareness and survival. It is the joining of Brighton’s live music venues under the beacon that is Brighton Dome. We want these events to represent hope and resilience and to reignite our cherished music industry for the venues, the staff and freelancers, as well as the up and coming artists, musicians, bands, the gig-goers and music lovers.”
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome had added:
“We are delighted to be able to work together with the city’s grassroots music venues, to offer a place for emerging artists to play, and support the venues that aren’t able to open at this stage. These events will be our first step towards bringing live performances back in a safe format and we hope audiences will feel confident and excited about returning to one of the city’s most treasured spaces.”
There clearly has been an enormous amount of organisation in order to bring live music to a mere 250 keen music punters permitted to attend at each event. But those who were unlucky not to grab the gold dust tickets for last night’s show were not left in the dark, as they could purchase tickets to watch the event via a livestream.
The Brighton Dome received the ‘Good to Go’ mark to support a socially distanced audience. There were certainly enhanced safety measures in place throughout the building last night. The many attentive staff were very well drilled and clearly very happy to be back at work.
We were given an arrival window, in our case 7:15pm to 7:30pm, and formed an orderly small distanced queue outside the venue, with our tickets on our phones. Immediately on entering the building, our temperatures were taken by a decent looking bit of freestanding electronic kit that measured the results from our faces as far as I could tell. We then reported to a desk to have our tickets checked and then escorted through a one-way system into the venue. There was no merchandise for sale, which was a shame for the artists participating this evening, but clearly public safety was the order of the day.
Our socially distanced seats were indicated by a member of staff and we set up shop in the stalls for the evening. Others were situated around distanced tables of up to four persons in a cabaret style vibe in front of the main stage. Upstairs was also open with socially distanced seating. All tickets had been sold, but the concert goers were quite a way apart, thus eliminating contact, which is a shame, but now obviously a necessary precaution. I saw many people that I know, but wasn’t really able to interact with them in the building.
There was an app which allowed drinks to be pre-ordered prior to the show and indeed also purchased during the evening, which arrived in a takeaway bag style delivery by a masked member of staff.
Although tonight was a sanitised version of how concerts were prior to lockdown, all of the punters were clearly very happy to just be out at a gig again.
The evening was held together by “stand up comedian, writer, dickhead” Jen Brister, who certainly livened up the place with her witty banter. She likened the layout as either a speed dating event or a school exam hall. Jen is clearly a person who says it as it is, and this is more than likely the case in her debut book ‘The Other Mother’, which is described as “A wickedly honest parenting tale for every kind of family”. It is available on Amazon, Waterstones and all local book shops.
There were four vastly different music acts of offer this evening: The Bar Stool Preachers, Bakk Lamp Fall, Yumi And The Weather and Immersion. Each would be performing a relatively compact showcase of their material for about 20 minutes, but I wasn’t counting.
I haven’t seen Immersion live since 20th September 2019, but I was hoping that they would be as good as they were last time – I wasn’t disappointed!
Immersion are a husband and wife duo made up of Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel, and none other than Colin Newman, the legendary frontman and founder of art punk band Wire. Who incidentally I was fortunate to have seen live pre-lockdown at CHALK on 1st February – review HERE.
Tonight, there were video’s projected on the wall behind the duo for that all immersive (or should that read ‘Immersion’) experience. The electronic instrumental music ranged from glorious soundscapes right through to a pumping number (‘Defiance’) that could have easily fitted in on an Orbital or Kraftwerk set.
The performance was just 4 combined pieces – ‘Microclimate’ then ‘Off Grid’ (both culled from their 2018 album ‘Sleepless’), then ‘Change Of Use’ and finally ‘Defiance’ which are both new. Incidentally, the drums on ‘Defiance’ are by Matt Schulz from Holy F*ck.
You can discover the Immersion releases HERE.
Ruby Taylor is actually Yumi And The Weather and this vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer was this evening on vocals and played guitar, which at times sounded akin to The Edge of U2. Ruby was ably assisted by her male chums – William Woodfine (drums) and Anthony Keegan (bass). They were slightly rockier than I had imagined they would be, as based on hearing the uplifting chart-friendly and enjoyable 2018 self-titled album.
The stage trio went down rather well with the happy punters and the evening was shaping up rather nicely. The Yumi And The Weather setlist tonight was: ‘What Will Become Of The Wishing Well’, ‘The More I Hear The Less I Believe’, ‘Just This One Thing’, ‘I Will Never Know’ and ‘No More’.
Discover the Yumi And The Weather releases HERE.
The outfit consists of Khadim Sarr (vocals), Seneke Sillah (percussion), Richie Sweet (drums), James Morpeth (guitar), Joe Suddel (keys) and Paul Sanders (bass).
Bakk Lamp Fall translates as ‘light into darkness’ in Senegalese language Wolof. Their music is a contemporary fusion with strong roots in the Baye Fall tradition from Touba, Senegal. I would certainly say that if the wonderful John Peel was still with us today, he would most certainly be playing Bakk Lamp Fall tracks.
Tonight the sextet performed four tunes for us – ‘Mairiama’, ‘Khalle’, ‘Yalla Mamela’ and the almost ska-like ‘Ndouma’, which I noted caused a large number of the audience to rock around in their seats. They would have no doubt been up and dancing if they were allowed to.
You can listen to/purchase their album titled ‘Xibar’ which features ‘Ndouma’ and ‘Khalle’ HERE.
This evening the band were a six-piece outfit with the inclusion of TJ McFaull (vocals/guitar), Bungle (bass), Tom Gibbs (guitar), Karl Smith (guitar), Alex D. Hay (keys) and Alex Whibley-Conway (drums). Thus we had no less than three guitars on stage which were offering up a perfect blend of intelligent punk anthems and poignant, unsentimental love songs, both combined with the most infectious music. Think along the lines of The Clash, The Alarm, Stiff Little Fingers and Green Day all rolled into one and there you have it. The BSP’s performed a couple of new tracks too, which kept the punk stalwarts in the audience eager for further releases.
We were treated to a handful of BSP compositions, which were ‘8.6 Days (All The Broken Hearts)’, ‘Lighthouse Keeper’, ‘Love The Love’, ‘Trickledown’ and ‘One Fool Down’. They certainly had an energy vibe and were the perfect choice to round off a long overdue fab night out.
So tonight there were no bouncers, no crowd barrier, no moshing, but no matter! Well done to all concerned including staff and the bands. Roll on next week!