Hidden Herd have been putting on monthly new music nights in the south for the last two and a half years, but tonight will go down as one of this blog’s biggest moments yet: a sold-out charity fundraiser gig at Brighton’s Patterns headlined by Mercury Prize-nominated rock band British Sea Power, which has raised £3,428 for The Clock Tower Sanctuary and Mind. This evening’s show, a collaboration with local healthcare communications agency Pegasus, shapes up to be a scintillating one and the 320-capacity room packs out fast for an exhilarating night of live music.
Hypnotic openers Heirloom only formed at the back end of last year, but their signature brand of noirish garage-pop has quickly established them as Hidden Herd favourites. This evening, the Brighton five-piece get things off to a spellbinding start, filling the dimly-lit basement with 50s-aping guitars, ghoulish carnival organs and fuzz-drenched bass riffs. Recent double A-side tracks ‘Come On Down’ and ‘Bunny’ are the magical set highpoints, both powered by the distinctive contrast of Jade Taaffe’s rip-roaring voice and Sam Rivers’ half-growled baritone.
Continuing the dreamy vibes, Underwater Boys are next, serving up a beautiful barrage of blissed out guitar-pop that transports Patterns to warmer climes. The four friends and brothers based between the south coast and the capital have a woozy slew of sun-bleached singles to their name (‘Everyone You Know’, ‘Bye & Bye’) and each proves to be effortlessly evocative tonight. Laced with a dash of psychedelia in the vein of Tame Impala, their falsetto-led and harmony-cloaked sound puts the multiplying mass of onlookers on a floaty high from the get-go.
Then it’s over to dark synth-poppers Yumi And The Weather, who are a very different proposition but a no less enticing one. The artful quartet, spearheaded by dynamic frontwoman Ruby Taylor and her enviable guitar prowess, cruise through sleek cuts from their eponymous debut album, with dazzling LP finale ‘Without You’ wowing the bustling venue thanks to its fluorescent fretwork and delicately-cooed refrain. A band undoubtedly going from strength to strength, tonight’s set is a kaleidoscopic sonic experience that indicates a rosy-red future.
For the majority of the brimful basement, tonight is all about British Sea Power though. Playing in their adopted hometown for the second time this year, after selling out the vastly bigger Concorde 2 back in February, this evening’s show is an intimate affair for their hardcore throng and they proceed to fly through a 60-minute greatest hits set that serves as a blistering reminder of their unique brilliance. The highlights are numerous: the sighing strings and bittersweet textures of ‘Machineries of Joy’ make for a shiver-inducing start, the floor-shuddering riff at the top of ‘Remember Me’ ignites a collective rush of elation and the utter euphoria of ‘Waving Flags’ finds fans in full voice. Throughout, the band’s white polar mascot dances in the crowd, his eight-foot partner in crime Ursine Ultra unable to participate in the revelry due to the club’s low ceiling. The giant black bear’s absence takes none of the sheen off a magnificent British Sea Power stint though, and the set culminates in emphatic fashion with the slow-building grandiosity of closer ‘The Great Skua’ – a curtain call that gives Arcade Fire a run for their money in terms of epicness as piercing white light illuminates the venue. It’s a flawless conclusion to a joyous night in aid of two great causes.
Join us for our next Brighton shows: