Hot Off The Block – ShameFaced

In the first of a new regular slot, Mick Robinson profiles up and coming new bands who are making a bit of a splash. First up, ShameFaced from, well, just up the road

There’s a huge groundswell of local talent waiting to burst out of their garage, rehearsal , studio space and play live, and when the lockdown is fully lifted this place is gonna see one hell of an explosion of energy & excitement.

Several local bands have caught my eye, and apart from playing on the Monty Platters show on Slack City Radio I’ll try and get some of those artists thoughts into the public arena via this page.  

ShameFaced are a young, raw almost 60’s garage style band from the Crawley/ Horsham area – great guitars, melodies and lyrics with clout & meaning. We talk to Mass, Cian, Chris and Jude about life as a rock band during lockdown.

How did the band form? When and where?

Chris: Mass, Cian and I met in secondary school, we all started learning our instruments at a similar time and started rehearsing together badly, we all chose to go to the same college where we met our rhythm guitarist Jude early on and he came to a rehearsal and since then we have been developing our sound.

What inspires your song writing?

Mass – There’s a lot of different ways it comes about to be honest, a lot of the time it’s a very subconscious thing if I already have a clear idea in my head on what I’m thinking about, it’s often a lot of observational stuff from my perspective. I’m a big fan of Mike Skinner (The Streets) and how he creates a mood with his words so effortlessly, David Bowie, Pixies and The Cure are also big influences on my songwriting. A lot of the time we create a vibe when we’re jammin together which helps me know which direction to go in depending on how I think the sound feels. If it doesn’t feel right then we just start playing something else until I feel like I want to write something.

What bands have influenced you?

Cian – Some of the bands that we all like and have naturally influenced our music are The Libertines, The Stone Roses, The Clash and The Streets and we all have our own personal inspirations.

Any contemporary bands you like?

Mass – Slaves, Flowvers, Fontaines DC, The Chats, Easy life.

How have your live gigs been going, prior to lockdown?

Jude – Really well, we have been enjoying every show we’ve played, Live performances are always fun and we like to see the same faces coming back to see us play.

Is there a good music scene in the Crawley, Horsham area?

Chris – Not particularly, although there is definitely the audience around for one. There’s a few great bands and artists about including Slow Time Mondays who we have played shows with a couple of times now. We have recently been playing shows in London which have all gone well, we definitely want to branch out more in London as well as places like Brighton.

What undercurrent vibes are there amongst your generation about this lockdown?

We got challenging rhymes for challenging times. 

Where do you see the band going given a normal non lockdown situation?

Cian – We have big plans for when things go back to normal, we’re currently working on a studio set up which we will be working on something you should expect to hear later on this year.

How do you feel about the music industry today? Spotify, record labels… Is the ideal these days to get signed still?

Mass – Today’s industry is a blessing and a curse. With platforms like Spotify, it encourages more people to make music and be inventive, so there is a lot of D.I.Y about which we are fans of. It is a lot harder to make a living for smaller artists, but everyone is starting to realise that record labels aren’t a necessity anymore and if you’re smart about it, you’re probably much better off being an independent artist.

Hopes for the band 2021 ?

Jude – By the end of 2021, we hope to have released our first body of work and to have played as many shows as possible, the songs we are set to release will be a serious step up from our previous demo releases.

Will you come play my pub in Brighton?

We’re there, any day of the week mate.

Anything to add feel free

For now if you haven’t heard them, listen to our demo releases over on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/shamefaced

and keep up to date with us on instagram or facebook  @shamefacedd. We hope to see you at a show soon.

Slack City radio takes off

So wide can’t get around it, so low you can’t get under it, Brighton has always been one city under a groove. But in these days of lockdowns and shutdowns, it’s harder than ever for musicians to be seen and heard. Playing “late night radio in the daytime”, Slack City Radio, Brighton’s newest radio station, aims to put that right.

In the first of a new regular column on the Brighton and Hove music scene, Mick Robinson, one of Slack City’s DJs and a man steeped in Brighton and in music, talks about what they’re doing, when they’re doing it and the bands they’re playing.

The UK’s music scene & industry has one big pause button pushed on its sound system at the moment. From the venues, the sound engineers, lighting techs, roadies, merch sellers, ticket collectors, security to the musicians themselves, we probably have the most talented van drivers in the world at the moment.

As long as the venues can survive and as soon as restrictions are lifted, the scene will be reborn again overnight. The passion for the music here is so strong it can’t be suppressed for too long.

The independent radio stations on offer around the country at the moment is off the scale, created and hosted by genuine and knowledgeable lovers of music. No one gets paid and there’s no big sponsorship funding behind them. It’s all just built on love and passion.

Brighton has some excellent stations and excellent shows on them. Radio Reverb, 1BTN are fine examples, and the latest addition is Slack City, brought to you by the people behind Totallyradio and Juice FM before that.

Launched on January 1st this year, a station to reflect the eclectic & mavericks of this fine city, the base that the studio broadcasts live from is the wonderful Presuming Ed’s Café on London Rd.

I’m very honoured to host my own show in this set up. Called “Monty Platters”, it has evolved over the last five years on several local stations. The remit is a mix of old and new, a bit of punk, funk, any era or genre goes, pushing the boundaries a little with no compromise on quality.

A very important part of the weekly show is new Brighton bands, and the last few years the music scene here has never been better with an abundance of young exciting bands, Ditz (see link below), Sons, Rotten Foxes, Skinny Milk, Dirt Royal to name but a few.

Have a listen this Friday where we’ll be previewing some of the above & several other brand new tracks by Brighton’s crop of new talent.

Monty Platters live on Fridays 2pm till 4pm, repeated Sunday mornings 10-12.

https://www.slackcity.org.uk/

Gull About Town – food & drink news: Valentine’s Special

Want to do something lovely for Your Loved One? Want to take them Somewhere Special but can’t because it’s locked down? Well, if you can’t go Somewhere Special… maybe Somewhere Special can come to you….

The Gull has spotted a bit of a trend as she swoops through the leafy streets of West Hill and Seven Dials. It seems its food loving residents have been making the most of the survival instincts of the British hospitality industry and calling in their dinner from all over the land.  This is no Deliveroo, but carriages loaded with catering from Britain’s finest. Café Murano: yours to the door. Simon Rogan? Michelin-starred meals on wheels.

As in the bird world, so as in hospitality. When the going gets tough, the tough have a think about how to get going. And if the food lovers can’t get to you, well, you can always get to them.

London husband and wife team, James and Rebecca are used to reinvention. Way back in 2017 they left their jobs and toured Italy with their six-month-old son to learn the authentic way to make fresh pasta. Now, they’re bringing their Nonna Tonda pasta and high-welfare meat sauces, freshly made every morning, to Brighton in a box.

After years of bin duty The Gull is always afeared of a plastic bag of sauce, but the aroma of their pappardelle with pork shoulder and beef shin ragu wafting on the winds outside the Food Editor’s lair recently was enough to make a bird swoon. 

But The Whistler is all about keeping it local and Tom and Rowan Smedley, the young chef brothers who’ve set up their own pasta home delivery service, Forkful near the station have plenty of beef shin and pappardelle to offer too. The wild duck ragu looks like rich pickings at £10 coupled, perhaps, with the burrata with pickled bulls blood beetroot and kate pesto for £6.  The menu changes every week, according to the availability of seasonal produce which, for a bird who cares about the planet, is worth crowing about.

Over at Regency Square, while those attention-seeking starlings are performing to the crowds, The Gull has been following the hampers heading out the back of The Set. Once one of Brighton’s finest night’s out, The Set at Home is now selling weekly box sets of its locally-sourced super high welfare gastro feast classics for £110 for two on a first come, first served basis. Not a bad shout for Valentine’s Day.

While our own Seven Dials Small Batch café is even boxing up an evening menu – peck at the crab fritters with red chilli,⁠ coriander, lime juice and chopped spring onion⁠ with a soy dipping sauce for a delightful evening feed – Brighton’s king of coffee houses, Redroaster is turning the other cheek.  Those masters of resilience have put their Thai evening eaterie, Lucky Khao out to pasture during Lockdown and resurrected instead the good old British pie in a pre-paid meal drop.  Old Great Grandpa Gull’s tales of crusty crumbs and delicate morsels of Sussex beef dropped outside the old Kemptown Pie Shop which sat on its site more than 50 years ago have been passed down through the generations; he’d be so proud to see the gang of young gulls scrapping about at the back of St James’ Street today.

The Gull has been following the sweet-smelling fortunes of Kitgum Kitchen, Brighton’s favourite East African/West Indian restaurant since its street food days at Upper Gardner Street market. Its customers were so gloriously clumsy, juggling their bric-a-brac with a Zanzibar bhaji and crispy Farsi Poori that this poor gull was exhausted by a Saturday evening. Since then, it’s popped up at The Mesmerist, The Signalman, and The Hare and Hounds before finally settling at Preston Road, and it’s not letting Lockdown spoil the ride. heat@home is its latest iteration, delivering to your own oven on Fridays only.

And if you’re loving the Lockdown opportunity to cook at home, The Gull is happy to report a veritable booty of local goodies heading towards Brighton every Tuesday from the best of our neighbouring farms in the new Chef’s Farm food boxes. 

This week, it was High Weald Dairy halloumi and Brighton Blue, fish pie mix from The Fresh Fish Shop, South Downs butter and Sussex Charmer cheese, Hallgate Farm eggs, Brambletye organic apple juice and Goodwood Estate organic beef. Plus, enough celeriac, mushrooms, apples, onions, leeks, cavolo nero and potatoes, still dusty with Sussex mud and nestled in a bed of hay to question whether there even is a hungry gap at this time of the year. Maybe with so little to waste in that little lot, the hungry gap is just for the gulls.

Gull picture from Scribbler cards.

Fancy a night out at The Dome?

This is what life looks like right now. Sometimes we sit at the dining table. Sometimes we sit on the sofa. Sometimes, because we’re wild and crazy guys, we go from the table to the sofa.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to go out somewhere? To do something other than say “What’s on Netflix?” Well… as chance would have it, those nice folk at The Dome are putting on a series of talks with famous people, writers and TV personalities, people like Mel Giedroyc and Stacey Dooley, Joanna Lumley and Julia Quinn, writer of Bridgerton.

OK. It’s a live stream. You’ll still be on the sofa. But if you put your coat on, it’ll feel like you’re going out – and that’s a start.

NameLive DateTicket PriceBook and Ticket Price
Jacqueline WoodsonThu 28 Jan, 6.30pm£10.00£19.00
Nikesh ShuklaWed 3 Feb, 6.30pm£10.00£15.00
Marian KeyesThu 4 Feb, 6.30pm£10.00£20.00
Julia QuinnSun 7 Feb, 6.30pm£10.00£20.00
Stacey DooleyFri 12 Feb, 6.30pm£10.00£17.00
Gyles Brandreth Meets Joanna LumleySun 14 Feb, 3pm£15.00N/A
Raven SmithWed 17 Feb, 6.30pm£10.00£15.00
Kiley Reid (pic above)Fri 26 Feb, 6.30pm  £10.00£15.00
Mel GiedroycTues 30 & Wed 31 Mar, 6.30pm£10.00£22.00

For more information… https://brightondome.org/whats_on/

Mel Giedroyc credit Laurie Fletcher

Art in public spaces. What do you think? Here’s your chance to say

Morris Singer Art Foundry Ltd|Bruce, Romany Mark; Tay (AIDS Memorial); ; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/tay-aids-memorial-245784

What do you feel when you see a statue to some historical figure you’ve kinda heard of but don’t really know anything about? Do you think… “It’s just there. It’s always been there, so let it be there”? Do you think… “Who is that? I’m going to find out about that right now. Now, where’s my Wikipedia…?” Do you think… “Whoever it is, it means nothing to me. I wish there was something there I could feel something positive about”.

Well… strangely enough now we’ve got a chance to say what we think about public art in our city. We’re not talking about private exhibitions, shows, gigs, festivals, that’s one thing, But what about the art that’s out there in the public spaces. Statues. Outdoor installations. Spaces in parks. How do we, as a city, feel about that stuff? We saw last year, particularly in Bristol, that historic statues can be… problematic. How do we deal with those subjects and feelings? Remember the Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture that was unveiled in London in November?

Brighton’s an arty city, a creative city. It’s one of the reasons we’re here. The public art should reflect that – and now’s a chance to make that happen.

The Brighton based arts charity Lighthouse has launched an online public survey and series of short films under the banner “Let’s Talk Public Art” to encourage us to say what we think about public art in the city.

“Public art can provoke intensely divided public opinion, as we have seen recently with historic statues being removed because of their connections to slavery. These short films feature discussion points such as heritage, inclusion, sustainability and wellbeing so we can delve into how people feel about public art” says Alli Beddoes, Lighthouse CEO & Artistic Director.

Films:

Places & Spaces with Matt Adams – Blast Theory and Atif Choudhury – Diversity & Ability An exploration of what and where the spaces and places can be for public art. It should be more than standalone works in the public realm, they should be integral to the ways in which we experience and understand our city.

A Green City with Ami Rae – Onca Gallery and Claire Potter – Claire Potter Design What doers it mean to be green – and can you green the city through public art. Brighton & Hove aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 – how can public art support this?

Wellbeing with Elsa Monteith – Writer & Artist and Emma Frankland – Artist What does public art mean for our sense of identity and belonging? How can it help us connect and care?

Heritage with Judith Ricketts, Artist and E J Scott, Historian & Curator What is a successful piece of artwork that celebrates heritage in our city? How can public art hold onto the past without erasing it but use it to be informed and carve out a better future for the next generation?

Connectivity & Community with Amartey Golding – Artist and Bobby Brown – Music Producer & Careworker, Hangleton & Knoll A film discussion of the ways commissioning public art can connect to community groups in the city.

There’s an event – online, natch – called Let’s Talk Public Art – Digital Campfire(10am to 12 noon, Fri 5 February) which might be interesting. To join, take part in the survey, watch the films or register for the event visit: lighthouse.org.uk/events/lets-talk-about-public-art