Magic Castles and support – Live – The Prince Albert, 21/9/2015

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Now that it’s all over, I guess the time is right to talk about what we’ve seen and what you might have missed. What I’ve almost missed, actually. I was helping out at the studio that day, on a session with a very ill drummer, then I got caught in the rain on my way back and decided to have an early-evening nap, which never helped with anything in my life, ever. When I woke up, I wasn’t sure if I could actually do this. Go to a gig. I just wanted to sleep for at least a couple of days. You know what made me get up and go? Well, first of all, you can’t ignore music and then have internal monologues about how shit it is, that’s not fair. Second, I figured this might be the right mood to be in. And it was.

Super Lungs

People have definitely been talking about this band, because I think I knew the name before I even heard anything. The surfing cowboy twang is a pretty good sound and it deserved to be featured that night. Super Lungs are one of those bands that give the Brighton music scene a good name. While they might not have been the most impressive act of the evening, that’s more of a compliment to the others than some offhand criticism. If Super Lungs are in that incredibly broad category of this city’s above average bands, we must have a very decent average, which is part of the appeal of local gigs.

O. Chapman

In the preview, I called O. Chapman an intimate band. Looking back, that might seem a little bit strange, given how many people move about on the stage. But luckily for my sense of integrity, I don’t have to take any of it back. I also mentioned Mac DeMarco and Kurt Vile there, but it’s more like Mac DeMarco and My Bloody Valentine, where one band gets to write the verse and the other one gets the chorus. I know shoegaze can be a loud genre and we generally associate deeply personal acts with fingerpicking acoustics and whispering, but come on. Shoegaze is introverted as hell.

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Mile me deaf

Mile me deaf were a really pleasant band to watch. They had visuals controlled live on an iPad by a man standing on a wobbly chair but that’s not it, even though they worked great. It was mainly their approach to songwriting that intrigued me. Their personalities are very apparent onstage and they come across as genuine, which is good – unless you insist on being sold some version of pre-made rock’n’roll. Mile me deaf are not that and they can seem quite adventurous at times, a little risky in the experimental approach, but through all the searching they never seem to lose sight of the song. I feel like that’s quite important.

Magic Castles

I don’t know what the deal is with drunk guys that are obviously not fans of the music and American psychedelic rock bands. The Warlocks played – drunk guy in the front making me anxious. Magic Castles – more drunk guys, more anxiety. Nothing bad happened. The band got through their set, no technical difficulties, nothing. Even the sound was good, the songs weren’t boring, but I still felt like something was lacking. I know there’s quite a tradition of overlaying classical songwriting (about girls and love and how fucking great they are) on top of overtly psychedelic sounds and textures as an effective reminder that we’re not just crazy, this is how we really feel, but at times it maybe seemed a little too stripped down, a bit barren. Still fun, still good rock, but I’d say those smaller bands excited me more. Maybe that was just the sleepiness wearing off.

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