Club Kuru, Ttrruuces and The Rodeo – Hackney Oslo – May 15th 2019

The Great Escape down in Brighton the weekend before last was an absolute blast. I’ve cobbled together my review for eFestivals and it’s now been published here

It didn’t temper my enthusiasm for going out to gigs last week whilst in London though. Bands that travelled far distances to get to The Great Escape extended their holidays by gigging in London. Nice Biscuit, the Aussie theatrical and futuristic psych-pop band, were great at the Sebright on Monday and the Chilean Music party, packed out with ex-pats, was every bit the experience it sounds at Paper Dress Vintage on Tuesday. 

It was nice to get out to Hackney’s Oslo on Wednesday for a good, old-fashioned album launch. Club Kuru were the act. I didn’t know much about them but the press release sounded like it’d be right up my street. 

I’ve been to Oslo once before (here). Somewhat strangely, it’s yet to feature on my 2019 gig travels. I like it though. The beer options are decent and the atmosphere generally friendly. 

I arrived just in time for The Rodeo who travelled all the way from Paris for this show. Initially, I wondered if their take on Britpop might need a bit of work but it’d be uncharitable to describe the whole negatively. A bit Echobelly, a tad Catalonia and a whole lot of The Cardigans is what you get here. And I’ve found another French act in 2019 to find out more about. 

Main support Ttrruuces were my act of the night. I chat to a chap at the bar before they take to the stage who gives me the lowdown. This is the new vehicle of Natalie Findlay (aka Findlay), an act that’s had a fair smattering of success as a solo artist. But now she’s in a band with a Phil Lynott lookalike. It might only be their second show (their first being at The Great Escape apparently) but this psychedelic folk-rock is pretty polished. Surrounded by fiddle and keyboards, beret-wielding Findlay plays the tambourine and dips into kazoo solos. When they move away from the rockier stuff, it’s as if Sandie Shaw is on a comeback trail and has employed The Go Team to help her. The shoe fits and the sensation you get from Ttrruuces is s cool one. 

I wanted to like Club Kuru more than I did. Perhaps I should write this one off as gig fatigue on my part. The songs are clearly well put together; a mix of west coast Americana and stoner funk. The heavy bass drills into my eardrums in the initial numbers and I beat a retreat to stand further back in the hall. I look around and people are chattering, catching up with mates and barely listening to what’s going on. New stuff is announced and it’s a bit like the Flaming Lips without any sense of live show.This should be my thing but I’m getting little out of standing here, it’s just not connecting and so I leave for my train back to Walthamstow. 

I resolve to listen to Club Kuru’s record in my own space. I suspect I’ll get more from that. 

The Van Susans – Seagulls

Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that i’m a sucker for tunes that invoke memories. It’s all the better when they focus upon loss in a romantic, reminiscent, sort of way.

Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will also know that I open posts with the words ‘regular readers of Sonic Breakfast’ when I can think of no other way to start a piece. But’s that’s irrelevant right now.

 

A couple of days ago, I was sent the video to a new track by The Van Susans. It came my way via one of the best PR people I know. Julia at EvansAbove takes time to get to know the sort of stuff I’m likely to appreciate and, as a result, I’ll always open mail that she sends even when there is inevitably a backlog elsewhere.

This Van Susans track, Seagulls, is no exception to the general strike rate. After last year’s escapades in Brighton for The Great Escape festival (review here), I’ve grown quite partial to the place. And so, any video that features shots, old and new, of the town and the beach is great in my book. In this pretty emotive video, an urn containing ashes is carried around the town as memories of the past are drawn upon; happier times of childhood and adolescence extracted from a collection of old home movies. As the track builds, we realise that the ashes are about to be released to their final resting place – thrown into the sea in cathartic conclusion. 

Loss is inevitably distressing. The way it’s dealt with can also be uplifting. Forgive The Van Susans that the vocal delivery in this powerful track veers a little too close to Frank Turner for comfort (I jest – I hear he’s quite popular) and allow yourself to get carried away in the windswept woe of it all. You’ll be all the happier for it. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie Ford – July

Cast your mind back to July. In many ways, four months is not that long ago but for me it feels like an age. The summer was ending before it had even begun. The days were already getting shorter and darkness was beginning to creep into our humid evenings. 

I wasn’t a happy chap then. Dreams of a delightful year that had seemed like an optimistic wish in Springtime lay shattered by June. My eventful and largely destructive trip to Brighton for the Great Escape in May had perhaps been an indication of what was around the corner. 

But it wasn’t all bad. There were still the festivals. At Beat Herder in the Ribble Valley, I experienced new things. By the end of July, I was pretty much smiling again for the chug to the coast of Cornwall for the charming Port Eliot festival

All of our July’s were different. I bet we can all remember moments of joy and moments of happiness that occurred back then. I bet we can remember the new things we tried, the things we were losing and the things that were just beginning. 

I’ve been sent this new video from Ellie Ford. 

She’s from Brighton but I don’t remember seeing her on that lost weekend in May. The song is called ‘July’. Ellie’s experiences of calendar month number seven are different to mine. But, this remains a song that fluctuates between highs and lows, peaks and troughs. Centred around a harp, new instruments are added and then removed. Orchestration comes and goes. Ellie’s voice flutters.

July is the first song from Ellie’s album ‘The Other Sun’ that’s not out until Spring 2016. July suggests that things are just beginning for Ellie Ford. 

 

Brian Lopez – Static Noise

Festival season is starting in earnest with The Great Escape down in Brighton from this Thursday. To say that I’m a little bit excited is a mild understatement. I’ve never been before but with so much new, live music to discover in a town that I don’t know that well… I’ll be that kid in a sweet shop again. 

 In truth, I’ve already sucked my first and second festival gobstopper of the year. Perhaps the Rock and Blues festival at Butlins Skegness in January doesn’t properly count but the wonderfully compact Handmade festival in Leicester was a fine way to spend much of the May bank holiday weekend. My eFestivals review has now been posted here.

 I really should be voraciously poring over the schedules for The Great Escape. I sense that my plans should be meticulous if I want to see the custard cream of what’s on offer.. But instead, contrary to the end, I’ve been diverted by the latest video from Brian Lopez. To the best of my knowledge, Brian is not playing at The Great Escape. Indeed, he’s probably still at home over in the USA, packing his suitcase before heading across to Europe in a couple of days. He reaches England in June when he tours with Howe Gelb and Giant Sand. Those could be cool shows. 

 The video to Modern Man, a fine shimmer of a track taken from Brian’s Static Noise album, is something of a juxtaposition. A floral shirt frenzy, the suggestion is that the three characters within are far from the modern men being sung about by Brian. And when the might of the Samurai sword is released, I think we might all be aspiring elsewhere. The photography enthralls though and the scenery stuns. It’s a fine watch and a fab tune.

 

 

 This isn’t the first video from Static Noise that has captured my attention either. A couple of months ago, I was going to write about the track, Crossfire Cries. It’s a tune that’ll get into your head. The accompanying video will appeal to those of us who still play with Lego when we’re supposed to be working. 

 

 

It all brings me back to the video for Brian’s song ‘Persephone’. If you watch one video today, then watch this. A charming animation, it surely won’t fail to pluck at your heartstrings. I guess we all have secrets that we’ll take to our graves.

 

 

Mostly, I’d suggest that these three very different videos work because of the quality of the songs. Perfectly showcasing the talents of  Brian Lopez, I’m off to listen to the complete album. And then, I’ll pack my suitcase for Brighton.