Mutations Festival day one opens up at CHALK, Latest Music Bar and Patterns
‘MUTATIONS FESTIVAL’ (DAY 1) – PATTERNS + LATEST MUSIC BAR + CHALK 4.11.21
The Brighton music venues for day one of the Mutations Festival were CHALK, Latest Music Bar and Patterns. Thankfully these are within easy walking distance of one another, being located on opposite sides of the Old Steine.
Now I’m not say that the Brighton & Hove News Music Team were rather excited about the festival, but after collecting our daily wristbands and the Mutations Festival programme from the pick up point on East Street, we immediately made our way over to where the opening concert was taking place, which was Patterns and we were the very first in the queue at 4:20pm! Keen or what!
Here are our reviews of day one of Mutations Festival and they are shown in earliest to latest order. Enjoy………
THURSDAY – 4TH NOVEMBER 2021:
WHITE FLOWERS – 4:40pm to 5:10pm at Patterns
CLARA MANN – 5:20pm to 5:40pm at Latest Music Bar
AK PATTERSON – 5:40pm to 6:10pm at Patterns
HOLLY MACVE – 6:10pm to 6:40pm at Latest Music Bar
JACKO HOOPER – 6:10pm to 6:40pm at Chalk
HOLIDAY GHOSTS – 6:40pm to 7:10pm at Patterns
ROZI PLAIN – 7:00pm to 7:30pm at Chalk
SOMEONE – 7:10pm to 7:40pm at Latest Music Bar
WILLY MASON – 7:40pm to 8:20pm at Patterns
BILL RYDER-JONES – 7:50pm to 8:30pm at Chalk
THIS IS THE KIT – 9:00pm to 10:30pm at Chalk
The opening act for the Mutations Festival surprisingly turned out to be my favourite performance of the day. They were called White Flowers and their performance began at 4:41pm. This was the final of 12 concerts that they had been playing since the end of September. Songwriting duo Joey Cobb and Katie Drew make up the band and this afternoon they were joined by a chum and together they were a vocals with keyboards, plus guitar and drums format. Katie informed the crowd that they were from Preston and have “been to Brighton once before, it’s very lovely”. Patterns is famed for its neon tubing backlights, but for this performance the trio entertained us in virtual darkness. I was wondering how they could see in order to play. I was at the front and could barely make them out, until my camera flashed. White Flowers gave us ethereal sounds akin to the Cocteau Twins twinged with The Cure meets Broadcast, which was a wonderful combination. They are most certainly on Simon Raymonde’s radar and he likes them! Their 25 minute set got more powerful from the third number and I would most definitely see them perform live again. At 5:06pm they left us and I wanted more.
Check out their music on their Bandcamp page HERE.
Clara Mann is the first of three acts playing at Brighton’s Latest Music Bar today as part of the Mutations Festival. Clara is only nineteen years old, but her material sounds like the work of somebody much older. Apparently she usually plays with a full band, but tonight is playing on her ownsome. This matters not however as her delicate fingerpicking and crystal clear voice has the audience entranced from the outset. The confidence she exudes is stunning. She is a startlingly individual artist whose material and performance is mature beyond her years. Definitely one to watch.
Find Clara’s music on her Bandcamp page.
I had strolled across from Patterns in order to catch Jacko Hooper (of The Folklore Rooms fame) who was slotted to take to the stage at 5:20pm. Whilst I was enjoying White Flowers at Patterns, Jacko had been doing his soundcheck. He came on stage at 5:29pm to check his guitar and walked off again. I was a little bemused. Sadly, I wasn’t aware of Hamish Hawk’s Facebook post from 10:38am this morning stating that due to illness in the band, they would unfortunately now be unable to perform at Mutations Festival. More about Hamish Hawk HERE.
Jacko then took Hamish’s slot, which clashed with Holly Macve performing at the Latest Music Bar. Find out about Jacko Hooper at www.jackohooper.com
Bewildered, I returned to Patterns to catch the next act.
The next act being AK Patterson who graced the Patterns stage at 5:42pm. As a unit consisting of vocalist AK and her bandmates multi-instrumentalists Nat Reading on cello and Alfie Weedon, they got it together musically in Brighton six years ago. Alfie was seated whilst playing his Fender and AK with her crying Pierrot blue tears face paint stood and played her violin (moving on to her Korg) and Nat started with a hand held device of metal strips that were flicked to play, before reverting to his usual double bass, which he taps as well as plays. Their eclectic music, driven by dynamic passionate vocals is melancholic, haunting and emotional with strong Gaelic overtones and it takes you on a veritable journey to another world. The third number started with the taped sound of a cat purring, which made good use of Patterns speakers. There were some hits and some misses, but judge for yourself as you can catch them live in Brighton at the Komedia on Sunday 6th February 2022. Purchase your tickets HERE. Visit akpatterson.com or go to their Bandcamp page HERE.
I then had the option of strolling over the road to try and catch Jacko Hooper performing at CHALK or walking around the corner to the Latest Music Bar in order to see what all the buzz is about with Holly Macve. I opted for the latter and clearly I wasn’t the only person thinking this as the downstairs venue was packed. Although to be totally honest, Holly’s downbeat melodic country style tunes aren’t my usual cup of tea, but I can totally see why many are getting on board with her as she appears very self-assured and treats us to some very impressive vocal gymnastics whilst seemingly losing herself in the songs. It goes without saying, but there are several hints of Stevie Nicks with Holly’s very pleasant voice and vocal range. She moved between her Fender guitar and Nord synth and was accompanied by three guys who were on bass, guitar and drum duties. I would suggest that many in the crowd would flag up her new tune about San Francisco as one of the performances highlights. Find Holly on Bandcamp HERE.
A one minute walk saw me tracing my steps back to Patterns in order to catch the rather decent Holiday Ghosts who have made their way from living in Falmouth to here in Brighton. They operate a slightly unusual vocals and drums, plus two guitars and bass format. The venue was busier than earlier on and the punters set about rocking to the sound of their swinging, shuffling rockabilly style drum tapping surf beats. They performed the title track of the new forthcoming album which could have easily been in a spaghetti western. These katz are purveyors of twangy guitar pop can certainly swing. There were to me elements of ‘Good Vibrations Records’ post punk sounds with the addition of a tiny smidge of The Undertones meets The Shadows played at 78rpm (ask yer grannie). You can next check them out in Brighton when they appear at the ever popular Concorde 2 in support of the rather wonderful Penelope Isles. Purchase your tickets HERE. Check out Holiday Ghosts Bandcamp page HERE.
Something had to give due to performance time clashes, so Rozi Plain was sadly not witnessed by myself, but my photographer friend Mike Burnell aka iso400.com was in attendance. He managed to grab a few shots of Rozi, who incidentally is also a band member of tonight’s headline act This Is The Kit. According to the official programme, “Rozi’s solo project brings jazz and blues together in a comforting dream-like aura”. Her new single is titled ‘Silent Fan’ and has been played on BBC 6 Music by Lauren Laverne. Check out her work on her Bandcamp page.
Someone at the Latest Music Bar was up next. This is Someone’s first gig as a trio, not that you’d know it. Someone is singer/songwriter Tessa Rose Jackson, and the rest of her trio are Aysha de Groot on backing vocals and Darius Timmer on Wurlitzer electric piano. However, usually the band is a six-piece. They are Amsterdam based and the reason that they’re playing as a trio is that the rest of the band couldn’t get customs documentation in time to play the gig. As Tessa succinctly put it: “because of Brexit”. All of the songs played tonight are from a new album called ‘Shapeshifter’, including ‘Strange World’. The music is what used to be called soft rock, and tonight it is acoustic guitar and electric piano-driven. The songs have rich harmonies and seductively catchy melodies, together with sixties overtones which bring to mind The Mamas And The Papas and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Honestly – these people should be rich!!! Maybe they will be. Find out more at www.someoneswebsite.com
Having walked from Patterns to the Latest Music Bar to meet up with Mark Kelly for the Someone performance (see above), I returned to Patterns for the Willy Mason set. I was informed that Mason was born in White Plains, New York and sometimes he plays gigs as a solo artist and at times with a band on other occasions. Tonight he was joined by a drummer and a bass player. They performed some country-tinged folk bluesy numbers that the audience enjoyed. These were no doubt lifted from his August 2021 album ‘Already Dead’ and possibly his latest ‘Bok Bok Hill’ 5-track EP. He was not for me, but if this is your thing, then head on over to his website www.willymasonmusic.com and Bandcamp page.
Bill Ryder-Jones is completely solo tonight at CHALK, just him and his acoustic guitar. However, it rapidly becomes clear that all is not well with our Bill. He is surprisingly vocal, telling us all about his ‘ex’, who it appears may have recently left him. He relates this with considerable dark humour, but we’ve come along to hear some music. On his day, Bill is a bit of a genius, in my humble opinion, and though he may be in a state of some inebriation, his playing and singing remain unaffected. It is, however, clear that his mind is elsewhere. He brings on a guest, Bessie Turner, to sing on the last two songs of his set. Tonight may not necessarily have been Bill’s finest hour, but there were two specific highlights: ‘Put It Down Before You Break It’ and ‘Wild Roses’, which were both sublime. (Mark Kelly)
I remain at CHALK for tonight’s headliners This Is The Kit who grace the stage at 9:05pm. They are a vehicle for singer/songwriter Kate Stables. Kate following Bill Ryder-Jones is very much a case of us going from one genius to another. Kate is a highly talented musician who as well as making music, teaches music too. I’d never seen This Is The Kit before, and hadn’t realised what an incredibly emotive singer Kate is. This is frequently quiet music which needs to be listened to carefully. Unfortunately many of tonight’s audience don’t appreciate this. However, some of the material is surprisingly danceable. This Is The Kit are very much a ‘songs’ band. Everything that they do serves the song. There are no egos at play, notwithstanding the calibre of the musicians in the band. Bassist Rozi Plain as we saw earlier is a solo artist in her own right, and guitarist Neil Smith is particularly impressive. This Is The Kit are a superb live band, and if you haven’t seen them then you really should.
Find out more at thisisthekit.co.uk.
This concludes the acts for tonight. Tomorrow on day two of the Mutations Festival, we will be right across town as we will be based in Hove with a whole load of new up-and-coming acts to report on…………….
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