Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Continuing the vidclips of local gigs I failed to attend, taking us back from 2009 to 1974!

The Slits
10th Sept 2009, Brighton Concorde

In a similar story to Thee Silver Mount Zion, I had seen the reconstituted Slits at an earlier gig at the Pressure Point but was out of town for their return. From watching clips I’d reckon the set I saw to be better. (I posted my review of it in tribute after Ari Up’s untimely death.) But then a lot of the live experience comes from Ari’s arresting personality, which isn’t going to transmit to video the same way. This version of ‘Heard It Through the Grapevine’ can’t be faulted, though.

Fever Ray
Loop Festival, May 2009

Despite attending this very festival, and despite a friend’s protestations, I insisted on watching Squarepusher on the other stage. (Who admittedly was great!) Shortly after I read a Guardian review of this set, which prompted me to listen to the album again on Spotify - which prompted me to kick myself very hard indeed! Unfortunately this vid kicks out mid-track, but it’s surprising how well such spooky spacey music works live. (Her videos are worth watching too, in a strange and unsettling way that leaves you wondering if you’ve inadvertently strayed across some black magic ritual.)

PJ Harvey & John Parrish
15th April 2009, Corn Exchange

Beyond watching some of an early mid-afternoon set at Glastonbury, many moons ago, I have never actually succeeded in seeing PJ Harvey. This was another one I didn’t make this one through an unindulgent response from my bank manager. I guess I will never see her like this now because she isn’t like this any more. (Tho’ of course it’s cool the way she won’t rest on her laurels but is forever breaking into something new.)

The Vitamin B12
15th Nov 2008, Komediai

I don’t always make it to Brighton’s resident purveyors of Dadaist shock-tactics anti-music, but then I saw them fairly often when they used to rehearse in the front room of my old house. (I’d come home from work and they’d be squarking on saxes and hitting household items.) Believe it or not, this banging-against-the-bourgeoisie session is pretty ‘regular’ for them.

I obviously managed to make everything in 2007, because coming up next we have...

Polly Shang Kuan Band
11th Nov, 2006, Old Market

Not one for the fainthearted! Brighton’s finest in full frenzied flow, from the first ever Colour Out Of Space – which I inexplicably missed! (Alas only a short clip.)

Sonic Youth
Sometime in 1985, Brighton beach

“Anyone for a swim?”

There’s a story to missing this one, which may set the scene for what Brighton was like in the Eighties. I’d turned up in town for a seafront rally, especially early as rumours were flying that the fascists were going to try and disrupt it. (I remember this as a May Day event, and while the video claims August the weather looks more May-like.) A few bonehead twats actually did show up for once, and stood around in small clumps, occasionally shouting “seig heil” and generally behaving like the master race. Psychic TV (then Brighton residents) were supposed to play the beach, but had cancelled. The support act were still playing but, never having heard of Sonic Youth, we took them to be a reggae band (in the style of Big Youth?) and headed home. Ironically, only a few years later I’d have stayed for a reggae band!

Sonic Youth
11th August 1985, Zap Club

...and this is them at the old Zap Club, later that night. (Or back later that year, if my memory’s correct.) In fine ‘early’ mode, recited vocals, detuning as the new tuning, detached cool shook up in the same bottle as total derangement, coming at song structure like it’s an enemy stronghold that needs to be sacked! To this day I have never seen them, and most likely now never will, though I have seen both Kim and Thursten play solo.

Brighton Dome, 1974

Okay this one’s a bit of a cheat! The odds were against me seeing this gig, principally because i) I wouldn’t move to Brighton for another decade and ii) I was eight at the time. But it was on the stage of Brighton Dome that Abba launched their career by winning Eurovision! And any excuse to play the track is a good one, as I think you will agree...

Coming Soon as I get the chance!: Something on this year’s Colour Out of Space...


  1. I think the PTV show was the following year to this Sonic Youth one. I do have some recollection of Sonic Youth playing two open air shows in Brighton and remember going to see PTV play, but beyond this first one - which was definitely a daytime/night-time show that a friend bootlegged to firm up my memory I'm not sure of any details. At All.

  2. Maybe they played the following May Day to make up for cancelling that one. Who knows? Like you say, it was a long time ago. And like they say, if you can remember the Eighties there is probably treatment available.

    As a Brighton citizen, you've already heard about this? I'll be there!

  3. That had passed me by, I will have to try and make it down.
    Thanks for the tip.