Here we go again. Just a few days after the NME Radar tour hit Portsmouth (reviewed here ) we are experiencing a palpable sense of deja vu at Brighton Concorde. Same bands, same tour, same corporate branding. Tonight though there is an overall younger audience, stage invasions a plenty, some rather large London formed hangovers from the previous night and a no longer sick Marina from Marina and the Diamonds.
For Yes Giantess (pictured) this gig represents things coming full circle, their first two UK shows being in Brighton (reviewed here ). The band is quick to acknowledge this from stage, saying that the town is special to them. For most of the audience Yes Giantess are a new band, but for Breaking More Waves they are no longer the new kids on the block, their cogent synth grooves combined with punch hard live drumming has been hanging tough around our ears since the back end of last year. However even in the few months since the group last played Brighton, Yes Giantess show that they have grown in confidence, coaxing the crowd to the front barrier. Despite the early door time a heady first fifteen minutes of their set gets the three rows at the front bouncing. Jan Rosenfeld in particular is becoming quite the front man, strutting feverish funky moves during the hard hitting Demons before finally jumping off stage to high five the audience on closer Tuff N Stuff. Who said synth bands couldn’t rock?
Fellow American five piece Local Natives describe this last show as bittersweet, having made many friends with the other bands on the tour. We suspect they’ve also found a large number of new fans for their tribally rhythmic blend of smoke signal indie folk rock. Forthcoming album opener Wide Eyes and Breaking More Waves favourite Airplanes with its lyrical call to the heavens have a warm vibrant immediacy, the songs shifting in tempo without ever losing a well thought out structure. Sun Hands finishes the set in much the same way it did at Portsmouth, Yes Giantess piling back on stage to whack drums hard with involved grins on their faces. The two bands may be musically very different from each other but there is a sense of respect and camaraderie that emanates from the stage.
The venue fills up significantly before Marina and the Diamonds arrive. Marina is sheepish tonight in several respects. First she is dressed in a strange ovine cloak complete with lambs head hoody. Second she announces “I thought it was a great idea to wear a cat-suit, now I’m shy,” as the sheep garment is removed and she covers her exposed flesh with her hands. Yet despite this shyness, Marina still prances theatrically around, pulling shapes and eyeing the crowd in a way that make you think she’s staring directly at you. Her strong vocal provides a pic and mix of everything from Toyah, Bat for Lashes, Lene Lovich, Siouxsie Sioux to Regina Spektor over her power pop romps and subtler ballads. The cuckoo call at the start of Mowgli’s Road could soon become the new catchphrase for a certain type of indie pop girl, whilst the stomping eighties Euro poprock of Shampain still sounds to our ears like a hit single in waiting. “You sound like you’re doing great,” Marina says to the crowd. Likewise gal, likewise.
It’s left to Golden Silvers to finish things off. In Portsmouth we found the band to be a little flat, but tonight they are triptasticly more enjoyable. Their wash of sixties psychedelic sounds and eighties camp is much more effective second time round, the set slowly manoeuvring itself into a position where feet begin to twitch, heads nod and then shake. New song Bone Breaker has a shimmering groove that is easy to pick up on, whilst True Romance with its elongated almost rave like intro and deadpan vocal works wonders on the hips. All credit to a band who still use the triangle as an integral part of one of their songs, and a lead singer who wears a top so hideous (a mix of clashing orange, black and white zebra crossing patterns, and pictures of Buckingham Palace guards) that you have to accept that they are pretty unique. As Golden Silvers bliss out at the end with Arrows of Eros, there is a further stage invasion by various group members and crew, one last hurrah as such. It’s a celebratory end and leaves a smile on the face. The tour is over - bittersweet symphony for all the bands involved.
Here's a couple of short interviews with Yes Giantess and Marina from the tour.