The Big Moon shine bright at Concorde 2 even without their missing instruments
THE BIG MOON + GENTLY TENDER + CLT DRP – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 20.9.22
This week The Big Moon finally got to start their much postponed UK tour in Sheffield with the second date on Tuesday at Concorde 2 in Brighton. So delayed it could be said they were touring two albums: ‘Walking Like We Do’, which was released in January 2020, just before the Covid lockdown, and ‘Here Is Everything’, their third album, which is due to be released in October. After such a long wait, a small matter of missing instruments from their concerts the previous weekend in Spain wasn’t going to stop them. More on that later.
The Big Moon are an indie rock band formed by lead singer and songwriter Juliette Jackson back in 2014. I first saw them at The Haunt in April 2017, when they toured their debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’. That album was shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2017. Since then, they‘ve played on Marika Hackman’s second album, ‘I’m Not Your Man’, and supported The Pixies on their 2019 UK and European tour.
But back to the present. The Big Moon’s set on Tuesday started very low key with just a lone drummer, Fern Ford, on stage and playing to the backing intro track. Fellow band members guitarists Soph Nathan and Celia Archer were next up followed by lead singer Juliette Jackson. The rest of their set was far from low key.
Although pigeon-holed as an indie rock band, in their set there were some pop songs alongside tracks you could dance to. Notably amongst the dancier part of the set was a cover of ‘Praise You’ by Norman Cook, (who incidentally was in town on the same evening at a Resident Records in store – Read our review HERE).
A constant across the whole of the varied set was the brilliant guitar sound between Juliette, Soph and Celia. What is also impressive was the vocal harmonies between these three. This was especially evident when they sang the start of ‘Formidable’ acapella. They jokingly announced this as “We’re getting in a huddle for the next song and pretending to be Atomic Kitten”.
Their vocal talents were put to the test, when they sang the parts normally played on their missing instruments. Although new guitars were easy to come by, flutes are obviously more difficult to acquire at short notice. Undeterred, Juliette and Celia sang the flute parts at the start of ‘Barcelona’, before the giggles took over, and they carried on with the rest of the song. (Ironic that the song ‘Barcelona’ has the parts played on instruments lost in Spain.) We were asked to imagine the trumpet on the opening track ‘It’s Easy Then’.
Judging by their performance at Concorde 2, the tracks from the new album, ‘Here Is Everything’ are equally as good as those on their first two albums. Juliette introduced the new material as “For the Mums” explaining that it was written about her recent pregnancy and birth of her child. ‘2 Lines’ includes the lyric, “… nothing feels the same…” while ‘Daydreaming’ is about breastfeeding.
The main set ended with the track ‘Trouble’ from the forthcoming album. Returning to the stage for an encore, which they mentioned they’d never done on a previous tour, saw Juliette sitting at the front of the stage accompanied just by keyboards and backing vocals for ‘Waves’. Their final number ‘Your Light’ was an up-tempo track from their second album, and finished a very impressive set on high.
I hadn’t seen The Big Moon live since 2017, and I was pleasantly reminded just how good they are live. There’s a real chemistry and sense of fun playing live between the four band members, that was obvious in their performance. The reaction and reception of the sold-out crowd was one of the best for a band I’ve seen for a while.
The Big Moon are:
Juliette (Jules) Jackson – vocals and guitar
Soph Nathan – guitar and vocals
Celia Archer – bass, keyboards and vocals
Fern Ford – drums
The Big Moon setlist:
‘It’s Easy Then’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Take A Piece’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Don’t Think’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Barcelona’ (sung flute parts as their flutes were lost in Spain) (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Cupid’ (from the 2017 album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’)
‘2 Lines’ (from the forthcoming 2022 album ‘Here Is Everything’)
‘Wide Eyes’ (from the 2022 single and the forthcoming 2022 album ‘Here Is Everything’)
‘Daydreaming’ (from the forthcoming 2022 album ‘Here Is Everything’)
‘Formidable’ (acapella start) (from the 2017 album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’)
‘Sucker’ (from the 2017 album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’)
‘Why’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Praise You’ (Fatboy Slim cover)
‘Bonfire’ (from the 2017 album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’)
‘Trouble’ (from the 2022 single and the forthcoming 2022 album ‘Here Is Everything’)
‘Waves’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
‘Your Light’ (from the 2020 album ‘Walking Like We Do’)
It was a busy night for The Big Moon’s bassist and keyboard player, Celia Archer, as she also appeared in her other band, Gently Tender, who were the middle band of three on the bill at Concorde 2.
Gently Tender formed from Palma Violets following their split in 2016, with former members Sam Fryer, Will Doyle and Peter Mayhew, joined by The Big Moon’s Celia Archer and guitarist Adam Brown. They released their debut album!’ Take Hold Of Your Promise’ in August.
Their soft rock mixed with a country sound went down well with the audience. While not really my taste, they did grow on me as their set progressed. I especially enjoyed the vocals between Celia and Sam Fryer, which worked well together.
Before the last song they announced they’d be back in Brighton at The Green Door Store in the new year, on 16th February, to be precise. Purchase your tickets HERE.
Local feminist electro punk band, CLT DRP, were first up. The sound checks must have started late or overrun, as CTL DRP started almost immediately after the sound checks ended, and the big curtain at the back of the main hall was drawn back.
Their sound is quite unique. Similarities have been drawn with Peaches and The Prodigy, which are understandable.
Front and centre is Annie Dorrett with her lyrics of female empowerment and a vocal style that can’t be ignored. I’d seen Annie provide backing vocals for O Hell at The Hope & Ruin earlier this year. Obviously fronting her own band, she could impose her own style on the performance. It wasn’t all loud angry delivery, with a softer track ‘Aftermath’, their next single due in October, fitting easily alongside more in-your-face tracks.
On drums, Daphne Koskeridou, delivered one of the standout performances of the night, while Scott Reynolds was kept busy as he performed both synth and guitar.
I liked what I heard in their 6 song set, and can see why CLT DRP are one of the most talked about and hyped (deservedly so) new Brighton bands.
Their debut album ‘Without the Eyes’ was released in August.
CLT DRP are:
Annie Dorrett – vocals
Scott Reynolds – guitar, synth
Daphne Koskeridou – drums
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