Salter Cane/The Hornblower Brothers – Joogleberry Playhouse, Brighton (25 February 2007)

So, you’re in Brighton on a wet Sunday in February. The Amen gig (that anyone with any sense would be heading to) has sold out. Despite your best efforts you’ve only spotted one local gig that looks like it might be of interest. The gig is labeled ‘alt.county‘ which gives you a deep sense of trepidation. What do you do? Do you go along? OF COURSE YOU DO! Remember: any gig is better than none. And, you never know what might happen.

So, nestled just back from the front in among the myriad gay clubs we find the Joogleberry Playhouse, a smashing wee venue. The ground floor is type of cafe-bar set up that will be recognisable to anyone who ever visited the CCA before they took it’s soul (but left the poseurs). Or, many other places. what I mean is that it felt familiar. Comfortable. In fact I was all for settling down up there for the night. But, then the doors to the basement performance area were opened.

Again there’s a familiarity about this space. I could name numerous places that I frequent(ed). I dunno what this means, but there’s something nice about the familiarity. One big difference, of course. In here they have table service and serve huge piles of tapas style food. Now, there’s something we could do with a lot more of.

The Hornblower Brothers make me feel old. The fact that only one of them appears to be shaving (and, he doesn’t really seem to have got to grips with it) yet, could explain it. Perky poppy tunes with a stripped back arrangement are the order of the day. Dual vocals up front with that oh-so-now ‘proper’ accent thing going on. (This is something I really approve of. We’ve been to afeared of our true voice for too long.) About three lines into the first song there’s a line about smashing yourself across the face with a baseball bat. From that point on, I’m theirs. The rest of the set is a brilliant collection of wistful tunes about the general snarling nastiness of reality. Just how they should be, too. Shit hot bass player, too.

Both Half Man Half Biscuit and The Magnetic Fields cross my mind at points tonight. Even lanarkshire’s finest The Just Joans. Excellent.

Y’know what? I don’t think they were really brothers.

Well, we can pack up and go home now, IMO. We’ve won. Came up smelling of roses. Etc, etc. There’s no way we can pull this off twice. Or can we…

The posters for Salter Cane have them being positioned somewhere between Johnny Cash and Joy Division. I can see where whoever wrote that was coming from. What they serve up is a marvelous brooding countrified rock that knows when to soar and ain’t afraid to rock out.

Kick ass drummer, chick on bass – normally enough to guarantee that the band will be pretty good. But, there’s a bloke up there playing slide bazouki!! Now, there’s something you don’t see every day. And, it sounds fantastic. All in very reminiscent of 16 Horsepower. Only good.

Oh, and I liked the venue a lot.


Written by Tony Kiernan

28 February 2007 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Gigs

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