Tiny Magnetic Pets and Tin Gun make welcome Sussex return
TINY MAGNETIC PETS + TIN GUN – KINO-TEATR, ST. LEONARDS-ON-SEA 13.10.22
Tonight was always going to be a slight challenge for me as both tonight’s headliners Tiny Magnetic Pets and support artists Tin Gun had both performed here at Kino-Teatr in St. Leonards-on-Sea back on 26th March this year. I was due to review that night but my partner was very unwell and has sadly since passed away. I was going to get a second bite of the cherry and so tonight I made my way along the coast to this most unusual venue.
The Brighton & Hove News Music Team have previously visited the Kino-Teatr located at 43-49 Norman Rd, St. Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 0EG and it is fair to say it’s a building of great surprise, as from the outside, it gives no indication of the splendour that lies within. Internally it reminds me somewhat of Brighton’s Duke of York’s Picturehouse, but with a more of a bohemian shabby-chic approach. The events are a seating affair, but clearly some of these have been repurposed from other places. I think that this building should be utilised more for gigs, mind you having said that, The Piper is around the corner. Typically I chose to place myself on one of these that was close to the front. I couldn’t have picked a more uncomfortable seat in the whole building, but I was on the edge of the aisle and that is what mattered. However, I should have bagged one of the fancy black armchairs instead on reflection.
I had last witnessed Tiny Magnetic Pets five years ago, when they supported OMD at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in nearby Bexhill – Read the review HERE. I was wondering this evening whether they have changed or not as they had slightly disappeared from my music radar. I will let you know after my account of this evening’s support act – Tin Gun.
Tin Gun are a UK electronic trio featuring Tim Dorney (Republica), Peter Steer (Tenek) and Mark Trueman (Sinestar) and this evening also features Nik Hodges on electronic drums. They produce a variety of edgy alternative electronic music that tells a story within each song about the daily conflicts people face. They opened up their releases account with six mixes of ‘We Are Not Your Enemy’ back in October 2019. Six months later and they dropped ‘Social Revelation’ and then Covid arrived with the lockdowns and so their next release was inevitably over a year later, with the arrival of 4 mixes of ‘Devils & Angels’. Their EP ‘Reanimation‘ is out now and their tune ‘Anthracite Days (Blitzed Edit)’ was released as part of the ‘Generation Blitz 2: Concrete and Chrome’ 36 track compilation album. Check out the track HERE. Bringing us right up to date and looking into the future, Tin Gun are laying down the foundations for the release of their debut album, which hopefully will surface some time next year.
Tonight though, the four chaps take to the stage free space area in front of the red curtain hiding the cinema screen to the rear at 7:49pm. There is no stage area as such, so we are all on the same level playing field at the front, but others rise above the bands. Their performance lasted an enjoyable 37 minutes and consisted of eight electronic music compositions.
They begin with their 2019 ‘We Are Not Your Enemy’ single which as I expected sounded like Midge Ure era Ultravox meets Gary Numan. I must flag up that I usually stand inches away from the speakers at the gigs where possible, with sometimes even holding onto them in order to feel the music, but this evening’s Tin Gun set isn’t loud enough for me. There are four floor speakers facing the band members, plus two standing speakers either side of the stage. I’m not absolutely sure that those located on the walls of the venue were actually working. No doubt the sound is lost when rising into the arched roof above us. There was a whiff on having the Dolby B on, if you catch my drift. This was not the fault of the band though. The cinema style seating allows everyone to see, which is a bonus, and the solid, no changing lighting was good and well lit by two circular blue lights in the roof at the centre, with a same style orange one to our left and a pink one to our right.
There’s a whole host of electronics on offer with this outfit with charismatic frontman Pete on vox and Epiphone Les Paul guitar, seated behind him is Nik on electronic drums, stage left (our right) with Mark there is an M-Audio keyboard plus Apple Laptop and Mark offers up backing vocals as well, and on the opposite side with Tim are two Nektar keyboards, a brand new bass having its debut outing, a vocoder (which I’m a massive fan of) and another laptop affair.
Tin Gun are most certainly for fans of 1980’s electropop, with tune two, the lead track from the ‘Reanimation’ EP reaffirming their position in this market. Song three is their 2020 ‘Social Revelation’ single, which offers up a heavier booming beat. This is swiftly followed by Tin Gun’s only cover version in the form of their interpretation of the early Tubeway Army (Gary Numan) ‘Bombers’ single. Their take is arguably an amalgam of the original 7” single mixed in with nods to the latter live Numan version.
We are now treated to a new track from the forthcoming debut album. This tune is called ‘Lift The Veil’ and sees Mark take the vocal lead. I can report that it has a decent backing beat. If this is a sign of what is to come, then things will be looking very bright for this combo. If they ever decide to bring back the Blitz Club, then Rusty Egan will gush over this number.
Last year’s ‘Anthracite Days’ got an airing next, with Pete back on vocal duty. This has a more relaxing EBM vibe, if there is such a thing? Their penultimate tune was the 2021 single ‘Devils & Angels’ which saw Mark back on lead vocal duty, and allowed Tim to have a go on his brand new bass guitar. This number chugged along, but for me wasn’t the best tune thus far. They closed their set with a second unreleased number in the form of ‘Take Your Time’ which like their two opening tunes sounded like Midge Ure and Ultravox without the exclamation mark. Tim’s bass got a second playing for this one. They were all done at 8:26pm and judging by the punters’ reactions they went down a storm.
Nik Hodges – electronic drums
Mark Trueman – keyboards & vocals
Tim Dorney – keyboards, bass & vocoder
Peter Steer – vocals & guitar
Tin Gun setlist:
‘We Are Not Your Enemy’ (from 2019 ‘We Are Not Your Enemy’ single)
‘Reanimation’ (from 2021 ‘Reanimation’ EP)
‘Social Revelation’ (from 2020 ‘Social Revelation’ single)
‘Bombers’ (from 2021 ‘Reanimation’ EP)
‘Lift The Veil’ (unreleased)
‘Anthracite Days’ (from 2021 ‘Reanimation’ EP)
‘Devils & Angels’ (from 2021 ‘Devils & Angels’ single)
‘Take Your Time’ (unreleased)
Find their other recorded material on their Bandcamp page HERE.
After a 24 minute interval, it was time for Irish new wave synth band Tiny Magnetic Pets to show us what they are all about. They formed in Dublin at least eight years ago and recorded their four song ‘Stalingrad’ EP back in 2014, with their ironically titled debut album ‘Return Of The Tiny Magnetic Pets’ coming out on Ireland’s Psychonavigation label. The album received unanimous critical acclaim at home with the single ‘Girl In A White Dress’ receiving significant airplay and the band playing several sessions for national radio station 2FM. They made their festival debut at ‘Coors Light Peak’ in Dublin’s Docklands and even at this early stage were displaying an aptitude for compelling live performance with the audience singing along to ‘Girl In A White Dress’. Their path had been set.
Tiny Magnetic Pets consists of Paula Gilmer (vocals), Seán Quinn (synth and backing vocals) and Eugene Somers (drums). They are an experienced, energetic touring band, playing over 80 shows throughout Europe supporting the following bands: Midge Ure (2019 & 2020), Wolfgang Flur (ex Kraftwerk), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (2017, 2018 & 2019), Michael Rother (NEU!), and The Killers’ Dave Keuning. They have successfully headlined two UK tours in 2018 and 2019, played W-Festival in Belgium, Electri_City Germany, and have been re-mixed by Vince Clarke. Tiny Magnetic Pets returned to Ireland in early March 2020 just as the Covid pandemic was starting. With all live commitments cancelled and in lockdown, they put the time to good use and ended up recording their ‘Blue Wave’ album. They are now out on tour to promote their 2022 ‘Re-Mix/Re-Model’ album, which is available as a limited edition signed CD in gloss digipak sleeve.
When the Brighton & Hove News Music Team last witnessed the band back in 2017, we reported that they……“sound similar to certain elements of Kylie Minogue, Northern Kind, Austra, Goldfrapp, Poeme Electronique and the silky vocals of Debbie Harry. Also on some of their releases, I can hear certain synth passages similar to Tubeway Army/Gary Numan…..” and indeed based on my notes again this evening, this is still the case, but they have simply got better at it.
Their performance tonight at Kino-Teatr began at 8:50pm with a backing film being screened on the main screen to the rear and the trio then walked down the central aisle between the seated fans. A minute later they were ready to begin their 68 minute set containing 13 choice cutz.
They had less electronic equipment than Tin Gun, but what they did have was rather interesting. For instance, Paula (who was centre stage) had a TC Helicon Perform V Vocal Processor mounted onto her mic stand for quick and easy studio-quality sound with expandable effects. During the set she would often be tapping the different coloured lighted buttons for the desired effect. She also had a red tambourine. Electronic percussionist Eugene (stage left, our right) on the other hand was a modern take on Kraftwerk’s Wolfgang Flür (who incidentally appears on two Tiny Magnetic Pets songs) and Karl Bartos, as well as Hugh Ashton from the criminally underrated hard CORPS. Eugene with his Audio-Technica headphones was standing throughout the set with his two drumsticks waving them above the Roland drum pads to great effect, but I wonder how many punters present spotted what his right foot was up to? On the floor was an electronic kick pedal pushing up against the carpet and this was giving the band their live bass drum sounds – clever stuff! Mid set he also got out his shaker for some extra rhythm. Completing the trio was Seán (stage right, our left) who was in charge of the Novation synth and Roland SH-201 synth as well as assisting on backing vocals. There was also a Roland TM-6 PRO Acoustic Drum Trigger Module.
Prior to this evening’s performance I was sharing some banter with photogenic Paula who informed me that she loves soundchecks, which I suspect is rather unusual in the music world, but this revelation led me to correctly conclude that their sound this evening would be bang on. It was and noticeably louder than Tin Gun’s.
They began with ‘Drowning In Indigo’, two versions of which can be found on the new ‘Re-Mix/Re-Model’ album. This was a pleasant melody and reaffirmed my 2017 review statement above. They followed this with 2016’s ‘Not Giving In’ (found on ‘The NATO Alphabet’ EP), which highlighted those wonderful Irish vocal chords, along with the keys and Kraftwerk style drums working in perfect harmony. This is a very radio friendly number as in fact is all of their material. Surprisingly, they only performed two tunes from their 2020 ‘Blue Wave’ album, the first of which being ‘Testcard Freaks (& Modular Geeks)’ with its terrific swirling synth sound. Their oldest tune came next with the playing of ‘We Shine’ from 2015 ‘Stalingrad’ EP. This has a catchy bouncy beat and as a result the first enthusiastic bout of punter handclapping was the direct result. I strongly suspect that at that moment, that this was the audience’s most preferred song to date this evening.
A new updated version of 2019’s ‘Blitzed’ (from ‘The Politburo Disko’ EP) was delivered next. This too bounces along and the handclapping continues. I would state that it was well worth the trip eastwards solely in order to hear the last two tracks, but better was still to come! The appropriately titled ‘French Cinema’ was tune six. As far as I can tell, this was to appear on ‘The Point Of Collapse’ album, which hasn’t yet seen the light of day, due to lockdowns and so on. Hopefully this will resurface in due course?
I noted that with each song that Paula would be given the chance to throw a few moves which I’m not adverse to. It was at this point that the backing videos on the cinema screen that had been accompanying each number suddenly froze. A problem which the teccies at the rear of the room were unable to fix. Guess we will have to settle with studying each dance move then!
The second of ‘The Politburo Disko’ EP choices was next, ‘No One At The Safe House’. Then came my favourite tune of the whole evening and it was a slowie too! Paula dedicated ‘Spinning’ to ‘Fletch’ aka Andrew Fletcher of Depeche Mode who passed away aged just 60 at home on 26th May 2022, after suffering an aortic dissection. This was a truly lovely gesture. I had met Fletch on two occasions, the first at Jenkinson’s in Brighton on 2nd August 1981 where he, Vince Clark and Gave Gahan signed my Depeche Mode concert ticket.
The second time was more substantial as I was following them and support band hard CORPS (yes them again!) around the country on the ‘Music For The Masses’ 1987/8 tour. After their concert in Bradford on 21st January 1988, we spent a few hours with Fletch and Alan Wilder (who replaced Vince Clark) in their hotel just chillin’ out. There were only about six of us and it was surreal. I can remember us all being really relaxed. We were eventually joined by Dave Gahan and their manager. On both occasions Martin Gore was nowhere to be seen.
Anyway, back to tonight and ‘Spinning’ which was the new updated 2022 version from their latest release. This wonderful song had the relaxing feel of OMD’s ‘(Forever) Live And Die’ with the dramaticness of ‘Stanlow’ (also OMD). There was a section mid tune that said “When my head spins ’round and my world turns upside down” and immediately after that Seán lets loose on the Novation. It was magnificent. When talking with the band after the event when purchasing their latest CD, I was describing the tune and I got goosebumps on my arms!
‘Automation’, a version of which can be found on the new CD, was given an outing next. This to me continued on the OMD theme, sounding a tad like ‘Sister Marie Says’. The main set concluded with ‘Echoes’, which was the second track of the night that hopefully will appear on ‘The Point Of Collapse’ album?. This was another pounding bouncy number with a decent Novation break, and was another chart friendly tune with Numanesque further Novation during the latter parts. It was a great way to end the main set.
They played a three song encore commencing with ‘City Sleeps Tonight’ (from 2020 ‘Blue Wave’ album) with its screaming style Numan keys sound over modern chart friendly vox. Next was ‘Here Comes The Noise II (White)’ (from the 2017 ‘Deluxe/Debris’ album), which had a very retro synth sound. For the final number ‘Semaphore’ from the same album, there was more enthusiastic handclapping which accompanied the decent electronic drumming. It was I think their longest number and was very unifying and a just choice of anthemic number to finish off. They were done with one minute to spare from the 10pm curfew.
In conclusion…..A great night out – well worth the trip and effort!
Tiny Magnetic Pets:
Paula Gilmer – vocals
Seán Quinn – synth and backing vox
Eugene Somers – drums
Tiny Magnetic Pets setlist:
‘Drowning In Indigo’ (from 2022 ‘Re-Mix/Re-Model’ album)
‘Not Giving In’ (from 2016 ‘The NATO Alphabet’ EP)
‘Testcard Freaks (& Modular Geeks)’ (from 2020 ‘Blue Wave’ album)
‘We Shine’ (from 2015 ‘Stalingrad’ EP)
‘Blitzed’ (from 2019 ‘The Politburo Disko’ EP)
‘French Cinema’ (possibly to appear on ‘The Point Of Collapse’ album)
‘No One At The Safe House’ (from 2019 ‘The Politburo Disko’ EP)
‘Spinning 2022’ (from 2022 ‘Re-Mix/Re-Model’ album)
‘Automation’ (from 2022 ‘Re-Mix/Re-Model’ album)
‘Echoes’ (possibly to appear on ‘The Point Of Collapse’ album)
‘City Sleeps Tonight’ (from 2020 ‘Blue Wave’ album)
‘Here Comes The Noise II (White)’ (from 2017 ‘Deluxe/Debris’ album)
‘Semaphore’ (from 2017 ‘Deluxe/Debris’ album)
Check out their YouTube video’s page HERE and purchase their material from their Bandcamp page HERE.
Find out more at www.tinymagneticpets.com.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.
And don't forget to sign up to our email newsletter, bringing you the week's biggest stories every Thursday.