123 Views

James Blackshaw, Hamilton Yarns, Will René: The Joker, Brighton, 12 June 2015

Having opened for the likes of Swans, Earth and Stars of the Lid, seeing James Blackshaw is invariably an evening of surprises and contrasts.

By comparison, the skull shaped glitterball at the Joker and the hum of London Road on a Friday night seems strangely pedestrian.

Will René

First up is singer/songwriter Will René with friendly acoustic numbers about the sea, sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms and EastEnders’ Ian Beale. You can probably guess what this sounds like already.

This is ostensibly your conventional capoed folk and blues strumming but with some flourishing, lucid arpeggios.

René takes a scatter gun approach to songwriting. There’s some jolly potential, but it’s hard to gauge where he’s going with it all. But in a crowded market, that need not be a bad thing. This ambiguity is clearly his main USP.

Next comes a project led by The Sticks’ Iain Paxton. Hamilton Yarns’ music is soft mellotron-led magic. Where scrapers are percussion instruments and empty space is as important as pace.

This is subtle stuff where accordion, guitar and keyboards gently build and try to maintain their quiet dignity against revving motorbikes outside.

Resembling an abstract version of Boduf Songs and Palomica, theirs is a mildly haunting but strangely fulfilling sound.

Watching James Blackshaw humbly take to the stage in such a small venue gives you no sense of what is about to happen.

Opening with heavy transcendental harmonics of ‘Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death’ you’re not so much hearing music, but going on a journey.

His fingers meander across the guitar’s fretboard and strings like a river in through valley. Gentle from above, but powerful up close. The repeating patterns ‘We Who Sold the Dream’ are bursting with a Mediterranean hypnosis of a long summer’s day.

James Blackshaw

With his 13th album, Summoning Suns, Blackshaw takes the microphone and starts singing on two new pieces, ‘Confetti’ and ‘Nothing Ever After’.

Remarkably, his voice is an extra overtone on top of those he creates with a guitar. It’s a welcome addition and brings home the realisation that listening to James Blackshaw is like staring at a classic landscape painting.

What initially seems overwhelmingly beautiful contains a wealth of history and meaning within each brush stroke and splash of colour.

In the wake of Mark Kozelek’s recent onstage controversy and with indie-pop’s dominance of underground music, James Blackshaw shows there’s still life in the solo guitar.

Julian Paszkiewicz

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
252 views1
Campus News
252 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
58 views
Artist Focus
58 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
38 views
Interview
38 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
84 views
Arts
84 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
76 views
Arts
76 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
92 views
Arts
92 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
83 views
Artist Focus
83 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
71 views
Books
71 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
104 views
Science
104 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
145 views
News
145 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS
Comment
144 views
Comment
144 views

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS

Sarah McIntosh - May 2, 2018

The idea of a land where my religious identity is welcomed and where I feel safe to be myself and live in peace is a beautiful idea…

Student research happening at Sussex
Features
128 views
Features
128 views

Student research happening at Sussex

Nikolaos Manesis - May 1, 2018

(Image source: Flickr, Pixabay, Wikipedia) Another academic year is coming to a close and with it, the last edition of The Badger. To celebrate our last science…

Sussex Festival cancelled
Campus News
178 views
Campus News
178 views

Sussex Festival cancelled

Jordan Wright - April 30, 2018

The Students’ Union have cancelled their highly anticipated end-of-term event Sussex Festival: Desert Island Disco, which was due to begin on Saturday May 12th. The Students’ Union…

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event
Comment
198 views
Comment
198 views

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

These comment pieces represent the opinions of both the Students' Union and Liberate the Debate with regards to the  recent cancellation of the Society's freedom of speech…

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
132 views
Artist Focus
132 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018

Rory Hinshelwood studies Zoology with Spanish at Sussex. His brand is called Poplar St., at the moment the brand sell embroidered high-quality t-shirts. Rory works mostly in graphics…

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
97 views
Artist Focus
97 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018

The Badger spoke with Sussex University’s Maayan Cohen about her creative workshop, ‘Bits and Pieces.’ Can you tell us a bit about Bits and Pieces- what’s the…

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
107 views
Arts
107 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

As part of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Undisciplined, Voodoo comes to being as a collaboration between South East Dance and Project O. Project O brings artists Alexandrina…

Arts
110 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

For the concluding show of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Double Bill brings two short performances to The Old Market’s stage: Comebacks I thought of later by Eleanor…

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review
Arts
168 views
Arts
168 views

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review

Georgia Grace - April 24, 2018

Last week at the Attenborough Centre, the phenomenally unique and refreshing dance company Candoco brought to the stage a double bill of performances exploring identity, community and…

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
164 views
Arts
164 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…