LEGSS + WELLY + OSLO TWINS + PARIS BLUE – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 18.1.23
Wednesday night at The Hope & Ruin saw the first ‘Hidden Herd Presents’ of 2023. This is Brighton’s monthly new music discovery night, which spotlights emerging artists and ones-to-watch. For January it featured four exciting new bands Legss, Welly, Oslo Twins and Paris Blue.
First on stage were Paris Blue, who recently played their biggest show to date supporting Kid Kapichi at The Crypt in Hastings. Paris Blues are a four-piece new post-punk band with a tragic, cinematic and danceable sound. The youthful Hastings quartet mixes introspective lyrics with very tight music and angular guitars.
It was a fresh, varied set from Paris Blue, mixing up the tempo. One of their first two singles ‘A Modern Horror’ brought to mind Bloc Party and ‘Silent Alarm’ album. Another track ‘More’ started with a very heavy bassline.
Speaking of basslines, bass players are often in the shadows off to the side. Not the case with Paris Blue, whose bassist was very animated, often playing theatrically on one knee and sharing centre stage with the singer.
The singer apologised early in the set as he was recovering from a sore throat. I don’t think anybody would’ve noticed, as he gave an assured performance. He managed comfortably with different vocal styles suited to the faster louder songs and also the slower numbers.
The final and longest song of the set ‘Don’t Show My Friends’ had a gentler start, which built up into a heavier rock intro before the vocals came in, showing the different facets to Paris Blue’s sound.
Paris Blue provided a good, lively opening to Wednesday evening’s entertainment.
Leo Nakamura Wear – vocals, guitar
Riley McCarthy – bass
Joe Stephen – guitar
Harry Giles – drums
Second on the bill, playing Brighton for only their second time, were Oslo Twins. They are a five-piece band, not a duet as their name may suggest, from Bristol. Originally the Oslo Twins were a two-piece band formed by vocalist Claudia Vulliamy and guitarist Eric Davies, who met at Bristol University in a philosophy seminar. Other musicians were later added to the line-up. With the band name and numbers clarified, onto the more important music.
Oslo Twins’s dream pop sound includes hints and influences from dance, industrial and lo-fi, making them more than your usual dream pop act. Their set opened with an atmospheric soundscape like a storm breaking.
Lead singer Claudia’s vocals had shades of early Kate Bush on some songs, such as ‘Circe’. On others she switched to a more folk spoken word storytelling style. Her voice has a fan in B C Lightcamp, who referred to Claudia Vulliamy as “Probably my favourite vocalist at the moment”.
While some dream pop and shoegaze live performances can be too quiet, Oslo Twins had a good balanced sound. On the third track of their set, they mixed it up with faster tempo song with dance rhythms and more prominent drums and keyboards. Claudia, who was fairly stationary up to this point, became more animated breaking out into a dance. The following song had a quiet folk feel, while the final song of their set had a more pop feel.
The crowd at The Hope & Ruin were engaged with Oslo Twins’s set clapping along with the music, and gave them a very good reception. I, for one, will be looking out for Oslo Twin’s next performance in Brighton.
Claudia Vulliamy – vocals
Eric Davies – guitar and synths
Luke Brown – drums
Will Snelling – guitar and synths
The next band on stage, Welly, were introduced by their own guitarist. The other members of local favourites Welly then joined their guitarist on stage in their matching PE kits to ‘Our House’ by Madness. A hint of the style and fun to follow.
Welly combine dance music with a sense of fun and flavours of the 1980’s of Madness and Orange Juice. Their first song of Welly’s set was a very lively dance track, similar to Working Men’s Club. Although I doubt Working Men’s Club have ever sampled a lawnmower.
A common feature throughout Welly’s live sets is the banter with the audience. One of the songs in their set was about holidays, and lead singer Welly asked the audience to shout out holiday destinations to weave into their song lyrics. Finding something to rhyme with Ilfracombe or Bognor Regis was a tough one. For another song about shopping, he invited high street shop suggestions. All the band members, and most of the audience, were too young to remember one suggestion, BeJam. Bejam was a British frozen food retailer, which closed in 1989, if you’re wondering.
Welly bassist, Jacob, had a lively evening. He was off into the crowd with his bass in the second song of the set, and randomly shouted out “Give it some welly”. Not that the lively crowd needed much encouragement given the energetic nature of Welly’s set. Jacob’s bass took some “welly” with a string breaking later in the set. Thankfully the next band, Legss, lent Jocob their bass for the last couple of songs of the set.
Welly saved their Blur-esque debut single ‘Me And Your Mates’ for the penultimate song of their set. During their final number, which had a New Order sound, synth player Lois and later one of the guitarists wandered into the audience. Welly are about more than just audience interaction, they produce good synth dance and pop songs.
From the crowd’s reaction, Welly are gaining a strong following in Brighton with great to and fro banter between band and audience. It was another lively fun-packed show from Welly and his band.
Welly – vocals and percussion
Lois – synth and maracas
Joe – guitar
Matt – guitars
Jacob – bass
Fin – egg shaker
Maybe many of the people at The Hope & Ruin on Wednesday night were there mainly for Welly, as the crowd had thinned out by the time Legss came on stage. They did return during the first song of the set.
Legss are a London post-punk experimental four-piece band, who introduced their set with “Who’s ready for a change of vibe?”. Rather fitting, as they followed the fun and humour of Welly’s set, with a far darker intense sound. Legss were formed in 2018 and were bonded by their “shared enthusiasm for wanting to create slightly odd, uneven, and disconcerting music”.
The intensity was a constant throughout Legss’s set, but there was variety in tempo and style between songs. One of their newer songs was relatively quieter, with a monologue narrative.
Towards the end of their performance, there was an angrier guitar sound with feedback effects, matched by the singer Ned Green’s vocals becoming angrier and louder. Not to be left out the drummer Louis Grace screamed rather than sang from behind his drum kit. One of the key features of Legss’s sound was the dynamic, unruly and technically very good sound from Max Oliver’s guitar and Jake Martin’s bass.
Legss rounded off a very good evening of new talent with a great set. From their performance at The Hope & Ruin, I can see why Legss have gained critical acclaim, by being named in Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 2020 Ones To Watch as well as receiving backing from Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music.
Ned Green – vocals and guitar
Louis Grace – drums
Max Oliver – lead guitar
Jake Martin – bass
Four very good individual sets for the first ‘Hidden Herd Presents’ of the new year. I enjoyed seeing each one and would happily go to see them again. What made the evening’s entertainment even better was not just the quality, passion and enthusiasm of all bands, but the overall variety across the bill. Not bad for a Wednesday night out.
Next month’s ‘Hidden Herd Presents’ will be taking place at The Hope & Ruin on Wednesday 22nd February and will feature Rosie Alena, The Leaning, Jelly Cleaver, and Ladylike. You can purchase your tickets HERE. For more about ‘Hidden Herd’ visit HERE.
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