Ferris & Sylvester, August And After & Lozt – Cambridge Boat House – February 23rd 2018

As my plans to move to Spain edge ever closer, I’m keen that Sonic Breakfast will still host gig reviews from the UK. My good friend, Paul Champion, has covered a couple in Leicester and now the lovely Katy Adkins reports from Cambridge after a happy Friday night. 


Sonic Breakfast introduced me to Ferris and Sylvester with its blog (here) about their newly released EP, Made In Streatham (Jan 31st 2018) and it was a love-at-first-listen affair. Over the last month this has been my go-to music and I’ve felt that inquisitive longing to get to know their work more extensively. Last night’s gig in Cambridge has left me temporarily sated. 

After a drive of just over an hour, with my +1 sidekick in tow we arrived at The Boathouse, Cambridge, to find just a single parking space available and it was directly outside the venue – joy!  This adventure was going very smoothly so far and there was a growing sense of excited anticipation for what was to come. 

The Boathouse is part of a popular chain of gastro-pubs and seemed an unlikely venue: we found that we were not the only people to find themselves questioning the bar staff about whether we were in fact in the correct place.  We were directed through a small door, upstairs to the intimate function room, where seats were set out in front of a small, warmly-lit stage area.  Whilst waiting for the acts to prepare and as people arrived I learned that this was one of a number of warm-up gigs being hosted around Cambridge by the organisers of The Den Stage as part of The Cambridge Folk Festival set to take place in August 2018.  They whet the appetite of potential crowds with up and coming acts whom have already graced The Den stage or those who are expecting to later this year. 

 (To read about the support acts, click on page 2)

Louis Brennan – Airport Hotel

It felt somewhat neat and a little appropriate on Valentine’s Day to receive the new song and video from Louis Brennan, Airport Hotel.


Sending brightly-coloured cards with glossy emotions does little more than sabotage and sanitise the complicated feelings we all experience around ‘love’ and it’s perhaps this that turns many off from celebrating with flowers, chocolate and poor poetry on St. Valentine’s Day.

In Airport Hotel, the emotions are real and raw; let yourself get carried away with Brennan’s expressive, baritone voice as it gradually reveals the story of ‘forbidden’ love that permeates throughout the song. The string arrangements rise and fall as Louis ponders how he might explain to his wife (and kids) that he has fallen for another. It’s stark, dark and yet beautiful storytelling that’ll surely tug on the most emotionally detached. 

The release of ‘Airport Hotel’ comes slightly in advance of Louis’ album ‘Dead Capital’ which is scheduled to drop on February 23rd. It’s an album that Sonic Breakfast is quite excited to hear. Back in 2017, Louis released another track from it, ‘Bit Part Actor’. Brooding, dark and melancholic with the poetry taking centre-stage, the video stars one of Sonic Breakfast’s favourite comedians, Ed Aczel. 

In despondency, it’s entirely possible to find lovely art.





Todd and Jingyu – Find Me Find You – A Story

As this week builds towards the corporate schmalz of Valentines Day, Sonic Breakfast has unearthed a delightful record about love for your listening pleasure. 

Find Me Find You: A Story by Todd and Jingyu is quite an album. We’re suckers for stories here at Sonic Breakfast and this one beautifully documents the relationship of our leading characters. The first half of the record takes us from the pain of previous friendships that weren’t quite right through to the initial connection and meeting between Todd and Jingyu. The second half shows how, despite some cultural differences (Todd is American and Jingyu Chinese), the love that develops continues to grow. 

One suspects that this is still a couple who hold hands when they walk in the park. You get the sense that Todd and Jingyu wake every morning with that secure knowledge of being able to share the wonders and curiosities of the world together. 

Musically, the story of Find Me:Find You also touches on many of Sonic Breakfast’s pinch points. There are counterpoints a-plenty within the sweet, observational duets that make up much of the record. You can easily imagine that you’re listening to the soundtrack from a stage musical here; a simpler Sondheim shall we say?

Do listen to the record from start to finish if this has piqued your interest – it’s freely available on line and well worthy of digging into. For now, Sonic Breakfast wants to share two songs with you . 

‘Find You’ is set before Todd and Jingyu meet. Both are establishing their online dating profiles, boiling their wants and desires down into a simplified cliched language that might appeal to their dream partner. And wrestling with themselves over the apparent stupidity of it all.

‘Boy And Girl’ is the album’s central stone. It’s the thoughts of Todd and Jingyu when they first meet; the initial rush of excitement when they realise there’s a connection; the nervous energy that’s expended when you babble on about the first thing that comes to mind in those moments when any silence might be considered awkward rather than perfectly natural.

These are happy romantic tunes, awash with the sweetest of uncorrupted innocence. It almost feels like Spring is in the air.


Jonny & The Baptists – Leicester Cookie – Wednesday 7th February 2018

February – a month in which the beers are flowing in Leicester. Comedians head to the city to check if their half-baked ideas might have any mileage before launching them onto Edinburgh in August. It’s not all work in progress at the Comedy festival though and for the last few years I’ve seen some great acts whilst reviewing for the local daily paper, the Mercury. 


I think this review of mine from the Jonny & The Baptists show I saw on Wednesday night was in Friday’s printed paper. But I can’t find it online anywhere so I’ll publish here…

 (Click on page 2 to read the review)

Sophia Marshall – Fire

Part of my reason for wanting to see Blue Rose Code at Leicester’s Cookie last week was that the support acts were so top-notch. 

I forgot that gigs start (and finish) a tad earlier at the Cookie than they do at other venues in town (step forward The Musician) so managed to miss half of the set from Sophia Marshall. But in the four tunes that I did see I knew that a Sonic Breakfast post was long overdue. 

Back in the days when I first moved to Leicester, The HaveNots were the talk of the town. Liam and Sophie were Leicester’s great Americana hope. Friends and I listened avidly to Bob Harris’ Radio 2 show in the hope that their classy cuts of love-swept Alt-country got an airing. It was hard to miss them around the city, especially if, like me, you were a regular gig goer down at the Musician.

I saw the HaveNots play outside of Leicester as well. Ollie, my son, was seven when we headed down to Larmer Tree in North Dorset for his first ever festival. We both watched, sat in a packed-out tent, as Liam and Sophie charmed all gathered. Liam made reference to Ollie from the stage, how it was his first festival and how exciting it must have been for a young lad of seven. Ollie’s now touching twenty-one. The years have flown. 

(Click on page 2 to be bought bang up to date)

Ladies – Trigger For Love

Cast your mind back to the distant past of 2016. I declared a love for Ladies back then (here), so much so that the trio from Liverpool prominently featured in my top ten of the year (here).

I’ve exchanged messages with lead singer, Chas, a fair bit since. When I’ve been up in Liverpool visiting my parents or heading out to a festival, we’ve made every effort to catch up over a beer or two. It’s always been interesting to hear about the plans for Ladies. Getting yourself heard when in a young band is fraught with challenges and frustrations but Chas’s determination that they’re going to ‘make it’ shines on through. You get a sense that the lucky break is coming; that their music is going to imminently be heard by a mover or shaker with the influence to help them realise their dreams.

They’ve just released a new video for their most recent single ‘Trigger For Love’. A word of warning – searching the Internet for ‘Ladies Trigger For Love video’ brings back all sorts of inappropriate oddness that a band with their healthy political outlook would be sure not to approve of. But it’s OK because you can link to the actual video from here.

The song itself is riddled with melody, completely characteristic of the band’s style. The Liverpool influence is pushed to the fore; it’s a tune that wouldn’t be out of place on The La’s classic album which is the highest of praise. 

Mersey-beat is alive and well and the scene is set for another iteration. Ladies are doing what they can to place themselves at the fore of that movement.






Pale Grey – Late Night

It’s hard to believe it was just two weeks ago that I was in Groningen; it feels longer. I’m sure that as 2018 progresses I’ll continue to curse myself for the bands I missed whilst at Eurosonic. There was so much going on though so I do have an excuse.

One such band that I missed was Pale Grey. This was despite some lovely communication with Max from their record label/booking agency, JauneOrange, heartily encouraging me to head along to the Huize Maas on Thursday.

It appears that ‘Pale’ is this year’s prefix for a cool band name (taking the place of ‘Crystal’ perhaps?). Despite coming from quite different genres, there were three ‘Pale’ bands at Eurosonic. To a casual outsider, it might prove challenging to distinguish between Pale Grey, Pale Honey and Pale Waves. 

The confusion gets even more complex when you consider that Pale Grey’s latest album, which has a Europe-wide release in March, is called ‘Waves’. And when you receive a press release saying ‘some acts are impossible to categorise. Pale Grey are one of those bands‘, the temptation is to throw your hands up in the air with despair. 

But that’d be foolish. You’d miss out on the music of Pale Grey which very much speaks for itself. “Through the lyrics and the melody, Pale Grey works to reconcile the air with the ground, the aerial with the carnal“, says the slightly pompous PR statement surrounding the band. It’s all about combinations and fusions apparently. Let’s listen. 

Latest single, Late Night, is compelling. Pale Grey’s songs don’t typically feature rap but this one’s got Serengeti involved. We descend with the band into an alcohol-infused stupor, a drunken stumble home from an excessive night out. 

My favourite of their single releases from the upcoming album, Seasons, is a short and stunning consideration of how life passes all of us by so quickly. It’s quite different to ‘Late Night’ and you begin to see the complexities of a band refusing to be pigeon-holed. 

The album has had a release in their native Belgium. I’m looking forward to hearing more when it’s released here.