Brighton Noise are extremely proud to present the winners of our release of the year in 2014, Esben and The Witch, playing their first Brighton show since moving to Berlin in early 2015.
Post-punk, post-rock originalists Esben and The Witch are one of the most restlessly creative bands around. Continually looking to tread new ground, their last record A New Nature saw the band leave label Matador and crowd fund a new album recorded by Steve Albini. We said “it feels like a long time since a Brighton band released a record this essential.” We stick by that. They are also an amazing live act; expect tinges of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Swans, The Jesus Lizard and PJ Harvey. Right now feels like a special time for Esben, you can feel in them the confidence that they’ve derived from removing themselves from record company expectations and embracing the control that being a more D.I.Y band offers.
Abi Wade is one of the most singular talents produced round these parts in recent times and it defies our belief that she remains a ‘best kept secret’ when she is deserving of a far more wide reaching acclaim. Using a cello as for both percussion and melody she creates fully formed songs with the aid of her magnificent vocals. It’s bold and imaginative, without being off-putingly avant garde. This is her first Brighton gig for over a year, with the time in between mostly spent recording her new album, meaning we strongly suspect there will be plenty of new things for us to enjoy.
Opening the show are Merlin Tonto. They are the kind of band you could listen to for hours, days even without needing a break. The building blocks are relatively simple: bass and drums effortlessly lock into a steady, funky groove that mutates through the course of their songs. The solid foundations should be no surprise; the two players anchored the much-missed Cinemascopes. Owen, the keys supremo of Speak Galactic and Japanese Sweets, liberally applies his magic on top of these jams leading to an experience that is uplifiting, entrancing and danceable. Their debut mini-album Tano Dragon, which snuck out at the beginning of last year, sounds like someone smuggled some outstanding Es into early seventies Cologne. Currently recording the follow up, we should expect some surprises compared to the riotous set they played for us a few months ago at Day One.
Three great acts in one night.