JUST MUSTARD + WHITE FLOWERS – PATTERNS, BRIGHTON 15.9.22
Following a worldwide tour earlier this year supporting labelmates Fontaines D.C., Dundalk based Irish 5-piece Just Mustard have dropped into Patterns in Brighton on date four of their 11-date jaunt around the country. We last encountered them a year ago on 3rd September at ‘The End Of The Road Festival’ we were stated “Just Mustard from Dundalk in Ireland, rather slay us with their gothic psychedelic mix, and are definitely worthy of further investigation”. Tonight, will be that further investigation.
Their heady blend of noise, trip hop, and influenced music has helped them build a reputation as one of Ireland’s most thrilling new bands. Their 2018 debut ‘Wednesday’ earned acclaim at home and abroad – most notably capturing a Choice Music Prize nomination for ‘Irish Album of the Year’.
The outfit recently announced details of a special deluxe edition of their new album: ‘Heart Under‘. which is to drop on 4th November. It will consist of a double LP housed in a gatefold jacket and obi strip, a booklet with exclusive in-studio photos and handwritten lyrics from singer Katie Ball, as well as an art print of English artist Graham Dean’s ‘In The Water Waiting’ painting that features on the ‘Heart Under’ album cover.
‘Heart Under’ has been one of the most acclaimed rock records of 2022 so far, landing No.1 on the Independent Album Chart in Ireland, and No.4 spot in the Metacritic Best Albums of 2022 Chart with an impressive score of 89. It’s an album that asks you to forget what you know – at every turn, reconfiguring and stretching the ideas and ambition of a rock band, and turns a year of lockdown and personal struggles into a breathtaking artistic statement.
‘Heart Under’ was primarily recorded at Attica Studios in rural Donegal (Ireland) with additional recording and post-production then completed at home. The album was produced by the band and mixed by David Wrench, whose previous collaborators include Frank Ocean, Let’s Eat Grandma, Jamie xx, FKA twigs and beyond. The title, ‘Heart Under’, comes from the lyric “the heart under its foot” from album track ‘Sore’, and throughout recording the band discussed the idea of wanting the listener to feel like they’re on a train going through a tunnel.
Just Mustard earned an opening slot on the John Peel stage at Glastonbury, with NME describing it as “one of the best sets of the weekend”. The band also stopped by KEXP studios in Seattle for a scorching four song performance, watch that HERE.
The Brighton & Hove News Music Team first encountered Just Mustard on 18th April 2019, when they were supporting Fontaines D.C. at The Haunt (now Chalk) – Read our review HERE.
This evening at Patterns, Just Mustard were to enthral the sold out (mixed aged) crowd for 70 minutes with no less than 14 compositions. Eight of these were culled from the latest ‘Heart Under’ platter and the remaining six were selected from their material since 2018.
Frontwoman Katie ‘KT’ Ball was as always on vocals and tambourine, Shane was on drums, Robert was on the bass with no less than 8 foot pedals on the floor to play with, however, he was outdone by his two guitarist chums Mete and David. Mete having 10 foot pedals to go with his Fender guitar, and David going one better (11) for his Fender Jaguar guitar. David also did a spot of occasional vocal work when called upon.
Katie offers us silky smooth higher pitched vocals, which sit atop the rumbling (often moody) compositions. The full capacity house stood agog as their set was played out. None of the quintet would ever burst out in a sweat during the performance, it’s just not their style, motionless is the order of the day. Only Mete on stage left (our right) moved around a little. Thus, there was a 100% chance of no mosh pits developing tonight.
Katie’s transfixing vocal delivery is arguably melodic, rhythmic and when needed roaring and it is often at odds with the music being played by the four lads and this is deliberately so. The swirling echoey guitars and pounding drum sounds with the Celtic voice, somehow brought back memories of when I first saw the Cocteau Twins performing live 40 years ago.
Just Mustard’s (guitars) shriek and wail music is the sound that it really is OK to close your eyes and let the notes and vibrations wash over your body as your mind drifts off elsewhere. There was no “Oh it’s truly lovely to be here in Brighton, we really love Brighton, we think Patterns is the best club ever” drivel. They let their music do all the talking, thus Katie is absorbed in her job which offers distant stares and sideways glances, with almost no acknowledgement that us punters are even present. It’s early days New Order all over again. So don’t even think that you’re gonna get an encore, ‘cos it’s not happening!
So the tunes came and went and the clients for the night enthusiastically applauded with a few offering the occasional whoop. Before we knew it, they were on their final number ‘Seed’, which is found on the new platter. Mete didn’t even bother playing his guitar during this epic number, preferring to station himself on the floor with his 10 foot pedals, which would control the whole sound. It was the perfect number to leave us with. It had a swirling chugging demon beat that got ingrained into the punters minds and forced them to build a reasonably long queue at the merch stall after the quintet had vacated the stage at 9:56pm. For Just Mustard it was job done!
Just Mustard are:
KT Ball – vocals
David Noonan – guitar/bv’s
Mete Kalyon – guitar
Robert Hodgers Clarke – bass
Shane Maguire – drums
Just Mustard setlist:
‘23’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘I Am You’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Seven’ (from 2020 ‘Seven’ single)
‘In Shade’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Pigs’ (from 2018 ‘Wednesday’ album)
‘Early’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Mirrors’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Sore’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Deaf’ (from 2018 ‘Wednesday’ album)
‘Frank’ (from 2019 ‘Frank’/’October’ single)
‘Blue Chalk’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘Still’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
‘October’ (from 2019 ‘Frank’/’October’ single)
‘Seed’ (from 2022 ‘Heart Under’ album)
For more information, visit justmustard.ie
Support this evening came from Preston based dark-hued dreampoppers Joey Cobb and Katie Drew aka White Flowers with the assistance of Adam Darwen on the stix. White Flowers make a welcome return to Patterns having played here last year for the ‘Mutations Festival’. Back then, on 4th November 2021, we reported thus:
“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 tinged 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.”
Thus this evening my wish was delivered when the trio performed a 26 minute set consisting of a half a dozen tunes. But before we get into that, let’s give you the rundown on this outfit….
Isolated from any kind of music scene and enveloped by the cold Brutalism of Preston, White Flowers are a young, enigmatic band developing their own eccentricities away from the influence of big cities. Latest EP ‘Are You’ is a sonic and aesthetic collage drawing deeply from their environmental and social surroundings. The songs on the EP may at first seem delicate and beautiful, but closer listening reveals dark undertones and dry humour fuelled by the frustration of feeling trapped with no way out. Driven by this sense of claustrophobia, the duo have sought to create a form of escapism outside of their physical and geographical limitations.
Recorded late 2021 between Preston and Bristol, ‘Are You’ weaves together a mixture of intuitive home recordings and refined studio production aided by producer Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Portishead, Perfume Genius). The four songs on the EP are an intentional collection of contrasts and paradoxes – beauty and repulsion, calmness and mania, anxiety and stasis – all combined to form a balanced whole.
Whilst influenced in part by the writings of the late Mark Fisher and his idea that we are haunted by futures that failed to happen, that what might have been may yet be the dream that saves us, White Flowers have also found inspiration in the Brutalist architecture that adorns their hometown – futuristic yet dated buildings that serve as an appropriate visual metaphor for Fisher’s theories. Bleakly imposing yet comfortingly familiar, the monochromatic starkness of these structures has fed into the imagery for the record, as well as the sounds found within. Not intending to wallow in cynicism, however, White Flowers’ art ultimately aims to provide a way out of these dystopian fever dreams and spiralling thoughts into a forward facing place.
The young White Flowers trio took to the Patterns stage this evening at 7:55pm and their intro played out and they were away two minutes later. Welcome to the ethereal world of ‘WF’!
Unlike our last meeting here during the ‘Mutations Festival’, tonight’s lighting was ideal for all to see, unlike last time’s almost total brutalist darkness. Therefore, I could easily pick out that Katie was on vocals and keyboards, Joey was on Fender Stratocaster and pre-sets from a magic box on the floor, which included the bass, electronic drums and other parts, and Adam was on drums.
Just like the headliners later, White Flowers were too motionless and wouldn’t be breaking out in a sweat for us. Their music began with ‘Portra’ from 2021 ‘Day By Day’ album. You immediately pick up the sense of dreamy summer breeze vibes which makes one rather mesmeric. Think The Sundays ‘Here’s Where the Story Ends’ meets the Cocteau Twins with a tinge of the legendary Broadcast.
As they make their way through their enjoyable set, I very much get the sense that this too is very much music to drift off into a multicoloured dreamworld. There’s something almost Scandinavian about their sound as well. Katie doesn’t have the strongest voice in the world, but this music honestly doesn’t require it. It’s as though they are almost embarrassed to be playing live in front of us! Bless them…..don’t they know how good they are?
They certainly knew how to bow out with their final number, ‘Night Drive’, which can be found on the ‘Day By Day’ album. Joey traded in his Fender Stratocaster for a Squier Jazzmaster and Adam certainly let us know exactly what he is capable of getting out of his drum kit. They had saved the best for last for us and this drumming led tune was my pick of their set. At 8:21pm they left us…..applauding and wanting more. And so to Wild Flowers I say…A6. M6, M40, M25, and A23 please!
Joey Cobb – guitar
Katie Drew – vocals/keyboards
Adam Darwen – drums
White Flowers setlist:
‘Portra’ (from 2021 ‘Day By Day’ album)
‘Are You’ (from 2022 ‘Are You’ EP)
‘This Is Not’ (from 2022 ‘Are You’ EP)
‘Help Me Help Myself’ (from 2021 ‘Day By Day’ album)
‘Night Drive’ (from 2021 ‘Day By Day’ album)
Leave a Reply