The Hope in Brighton is a great little venue, intimate with a clear, punchy sound system. Last year I’d seen Tom Williams And The Boat play there with support from Binko Swink, tonight I was there to see WALL Featuring Lyla and Dan from Binko Swink (joined by Bear Driver’s Oli) supporting Saint Saviour
A friend had turned me on to Saint Saviour after he linked a track on her Soundcloud account to me, I liked it, and further investigations through her tracks led me to believe that here we had a true eclectic artist, who had many styles- but all her own. What nailed it for me though was her cover of Siouxsie And The Banshee’s Happy House. Saint Saviour also made an appearance on the excellent documentary about an independent record shop called Sound It Out Records in her hometown of Stockton-On-Tees, recently shown on BBC4, catch it if you can, if not you can buy it here.
WALL I had been following for some time- their ‘Black cab Session’ spawned the first single from both the Black Cab Session project and WALL,’Magazine’. So when a notification came through from Lyla that said WALL Would be supporting Saint Saviour, well, I got meself a ticket immediately.
Tonight started off with a Brighton/London combo called Uber=Tone- their singer, Dobi, informed us we would be hearing a set of their version of House Music, and what a version it was, uplifting and inspiring- the grin never left Dobi’s face, her vocals were soulful, catchy and never cheesy- her synth and the ubiquitous apple mac, were backed up with live bass and drums which gave energy and warmth- if this is the sound of UK house then I, for one, am encouraged. Check them out at their site here.
WALL Were on next with their understated songs of heart break- fittingly underpinned with the rhythm of a heartbeat. With Lyla’s sweet voice, this could be like any other angsty, lofi pop- but, WALL are a bit darker than that, underneath all of this, the soundscapes are more a-kin to industrial music, stripped back to reveal the underlying beauty, the harsh beats and noises of the genre are there- but muffled or merely hinted at, and the live tweeking of sound Lyla does on her synth is both simple and effective. Amongst their half hour set, they played two tracks I knew-‘No Secrets’,set finisher, their single ‘Magazine’. We were introduced to a new track called ‘Shoestring’- homage to early 80’s Radio Private Eye Eddie Shoestring? Probably not.
The general sound of WALL couldn’t help me think that an ideal producer for them would be Ex-Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde (listen to Piano Magic). Please go ahead and listen to this band (and, indeed Bear Driver and Binko Swink) as there’s a delightful unconventional-ness about their seemingly straight forward approach.
Full Set List
Left To Wonder
Place Too Low
Now it was Saint Saviour‘s turn. Dressed in trenchcoat, Becky Jones (for she IS Saint Saviour) set her stage just so- LED light strips and light bulbs placed on the floor, laptops set at the back and her keyboard on a very impressive thick, white stand- which wouldn’t look out of place on the Death Star.
The lights provided a different feel to the stage, being uplit rather than spot-lighted from above and gave the stage an intriguing ambiance. The futuristic LED’s mixed with the old school familiar white lightbulbs provided a brilliant(!) luminance metaphor of the sound- piano and cello of yesteryear augmented with contemporary and futuristic beats.
The parallels between Saint Saviour with artists like Tori Amos and Kate Bush is all too obvious. Quirky Red Head, skipping through genres without a sweat, fantastic voice and a sure confidence in what she is doing- sometimes sitting behind the keyboard, often bopping and pogoing up and down very much like a 21st Century Siouxsie Sioux, her time with Groove Armada has certainly taught Saint Saviour the art of stage presence and many of the songs played felt restrained in the way that at any time they could explode into dance floor filling crazyness, but they just held back at the right time, leaving you wanting more- but not disappointed in what you had experienced.
I’m fairly new to Saint Saviour, so I’m not too familiar with the song names, it wouldn’t matter though- I was so taken by the sound and vision that details became blurred. Latest single ‘Tightrope’ sounded majestic, her vocals are astounding, chilling at times but always with a heart warming beauty- the line ‘You acted like you knew me’, falling away with a pregnant pause no man (or woman) could respond to…
The set finished by two solo(ish) pieces the first, ‘Reasons’ had a wonderfully somnolent Cello accompaniment and this was followed by a very popular (well the lass next to me was bellowing out the title, and Becky was merely feet away!) ‘Horse’, and what a beautiful tune that is.
That old walk off stage and come back on chestnut couldn’t happen- in a venue so small with the band having to walk through the crowd, Becky just said “Where would I go?”, so the evening was bought to an end with one of the reasons I was here in the first place, my original introduction to the band- a rousing cover of The Banshees ‘Happy House’- and it was, grins everywhere, me and the lass next to me having a boogie and at last the floor filling sounds the set had promised.