This was the second gig I’ve seen, that was hosted by The Moonlight Gathering, and they seem to be pretty good at giving new bands a chance to play with Brighton’s top or top-er dogs. On the last night of May, they brought together four bands to perform live at The Prince Albert. It’s a sweet little venue, friendly to young bands without much of a following, as it never feels as empty as… I don’t know… Bleach does.
Soul Of A Leader
Prince Albert, the friendly venue (and apparently also a form of male genital piercing), looked packed beyond the powers of an architectural illusion. The band’s self-description is pretty spot on and their sound seemed like a combination of psych-rock and 90’s brit pop if you replaced the 60’s-top-40 influence with a malevolent douse of underground inspirations and more recent developments in the genre. Soul Of A Leader have written some energetic songs and even though their vocal arrangements seem unfocused at times, the quality peeks through. These guys should have no trouble filling rooms in the future.
Tokyo Tea Room
Bands with female singers have an unfair advantage, usually. The higher register of a female voice can pierce through a loud performance without necessarily sounding like screaming, which allows Tokyo Tea Room to achieve a powerful dynamic between their grungy, at times almost aggressive instrumental backing and the calmly musing vocals at the top. Despite musical prowess, audiences usually look to vocals for a human connection to anything that might be happening instrumentally, which is arguably Tokyo Tea Room’s biggest strength. In case you missed the gig, watch their latest video and you’ll know what I mean.
First of all, what a name. I thought I was the last person on earth to still use the word ‘rad’ and when I was 7 I had an Adidas backpack, so for all we know I could have invented that name, not them. However, if you like two-pieces and vocals with reverb louder than a fighter jet, RADIDAS is the band for you. The unique selling point of this dreamy duo is their combination of loud and almost noisy rock, shoe-gaze sensibilities; and a little bit of sampling and other inspirations from electronic music. Although the instrumental background sometimes lost sight of the line between effect and substance, it was still a pretty unusual sound to hear from a two-piece and I’d like to see where it’s going.
This was quite obviously the most experienced band of the night. Their music attempts to evoke the same sort of uneasiness and emotional discomfort that you’d expect from classics in the post-rock genre. Not quite Slint but not quite Tortoise either, Burning House teeter on the edge between no-future noisy angst and near-silent droning melancholy, losing balance every now and then, as the night progresses. Apart from all of this (most of which had been said before anyway), I also heard some heavy borrowing from mid-2000’s emo (so not emo’s proudest moment). I’m not sure if my ears are ready to incorporate that era into today’s musical intertextuality, but I like how daring it is of Burning House to try. Listen to the song and hear for yourselves!