Thursday, 31 December 2009

Celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks at the beach, or at the Freebutt's Free Bar (and party).

Right, New Year's Eve. Whilst I, like many will be getting drunk with friends and perhaps wandering to the beach to see inevitable fireworks, there are slightly more interesting going-ons in Brighton. Whilst there's lots of traditional expensive club nights, we're fond of The Freebutt, home of many a good live gig this year.

Tonight sees musical delights of 'big party tunes' aka silly things to cruise your way into 2010 to DJd by Smack That and Dark Party, who unfortunately I know little about. But tunes are tunes, and heralded DJs are always so for a reason. This is all upstairs in up-marketly-named 'The Penthouse', whilst downstairs Hip Hop Karaoke will be occurring which sounds horrendous and a must-do.

Quite importantly, sorry if this isn't your thing, but there's a free bar from 8pm until midnight when we hit 2010. And this we feel, ladies and gentlemen, is a fine way to celebrate.

Get tickets from Seetickets or Wegottickets, and unsurprisingly this is for over 18s.

Alternatively, Audio's got "a killer line-up" and the Riki Tik's promoting its New Year's Eve DJ night, promising audio and visual delights.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Find some kids and go to see Penguin, the puppet show

I was considering if writing a kids-related event was a bad idea, but I'm excited about this one as opposed to disinteresting kids' nonsense, although I feel I'm too old to attend. 'Penguin' is a lovely puppet show that's come to Brighton and become immediately sold out.

I saw the book 'Penguin' on which the show's based (I imagine it doesn't stray far from the plot line) in the Tate Modern bookshop during summer and got very excited. Kindly someone bought me the book for Christmas which whilst this may be going a tad too far, it's very nice and I'm not-so-secretly thrilled it's come to Brighton.

"Long Nose Puppets are proud to present their spectacular new show Penguin, adapted from the award winning book by Polly Dunbar. Ben is delighted when he rips open his present and finds a penguin inside. "Hello, Penguin!" says Ben. Penguin says nothing. What can Ben do to make Penguin speak? Follow the twists and turns of this wonderful tale, in which a silent Penguin turns marvelously eloquent and a little boy finally gets his heart's desire."

Twists and turns there are, and today is a good day to see it since it's one of the few that isn't sold out. Today you can see it at 11am and 2pm, and if you have kids they'll love it - get babysitting for the excuse to go. It's very cute and adorable, there's a lion involved, and you might like it too.

"Penguin is a perfect peach." Write Away

"Hilarious and really rather cute" Bookseller

Buy tickets online from Komedia.

If you're looking to go another day, a list of available dates can be found on the Komedia website.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Visit Yum Yum's (possibly my favourite Brighton restaurant)

I should correct this. I've been calling this place Yum Yum's restaurant for ages (and will continue to do so) although it's officially above the Yum Yum's store and officially called E Kagen Sushi & Noodle Bar.

With tomorrow not being a bank holiday there's surprisingly little to do in Brighton (if you know better do let us know), so we're going to recommend a restaurant to visit. However, this is hardly a desperation suggestion - it's my favourite restaurant in Brighton, and it's great to have a break from all the goings-on to finally be able to suggest this!

Yum Yum's to my knowledge, and to most of Qype's, the internet's, and all of my Japanese-hungry friends' knowledge, is fantastic. It serves reasonably priced authentic Japanese food cooked in an unpretentious open kitchen. The food is amazing, with a great selection of Sushi and Sashimi (two Sushi-obsessed friends can most definitely vouch for this) - and it's not just fish products that make it great.

My personal favourites are vegetable Gyozas I could eat all day (and have had valiant attempts to re-create with a Wagamamas Cookbook at home to some success), and a lovely rustic vegetarian Soba Noodle dish, and with an extensive menu it's to die for - although the photos on it don't do it justice. Dine for starter and main around £10 depending on what you pick, it's brilliant for lunch and dinner - although shut between 4pm and 6pm. If you're going for lunch they do a fantastically cheap (hello students) set menu, which my friends leap on.

Photo via here.

Find the restaurant above the Yum Yum oriental shop in the North Laines on Sydney Street (a brilliant source of Japanese cookery type things - the source of Gyoza skins, which made me very very happy), via the door to the right of the shop. It's an overlooked place that whilst not short of business is rarely crowded. It's cosy (but not too small - actually the inside is surprising and not what you expect from looking from outside), fantastic, and somewhere I keep meaning to take my parents to introduce them to Japanese food. It's a good place to investigate it, and won't let you down. I'll no doubt recommend this in a fit of excitement again at some point.

The above pictures are the Yaki Soba which I usually have (photo via here), second is what I had last time - Sansai Soba - and third is the Tempura, Prawn and Vegetable Soba.

I suppose you could say I like it just a little bit. A hidden gem, no doubt. If you go, let us know what you think!

The Map link is here, via Qype.

Don't let the outside put you off, the inside is lovely:

E-Kagen Sushi & Noodle Cafe

Monday, 28 December 2009

Moonlighting Photography Exhibition and drinks

Today we're advising a pub not only for drinking but also under the guise of something vaguely arty. The Eagle in the North Laines has an exhibition on called 'Moonlighting' currently on display with a collection organised by Alex Bamford of moonlit photos taken in and around Brighton. Do pop in if you're around.

Not only the exhibition, but if you fancy a drink or such to accompany your eye-fest, the pub's a laid back sort of place with good food that's most definitely above average (meaty and vegetarian) and is tucked away just off Sydney Street in the heart of the North Laines. It's just off the main road so not the most obvious, but enough people know about it for it to be kept busy. A good crowd and decent music we're assured=, although perhaps a little pricey.

Investigate art with a drink - something we're always keen on.

Find a map here (it's not hard to find). The show's running until the 31st of December.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Brighton Marina Vintage Boot Market

Brighton Marina car-park might not sound like the most exotic place to find a vintage boot market, but we reckon this one's worth a nose at. A boot sale, vintage and antique market that's 27 years old, it's hardly insignificant. With "tastes and cultures that reflect the population of Brighton and Hove" the market includes fashion, antiques, art, jewelry, and 'other bargains' we think this bohemian adventure might be quite interesting. Head down to see 200 stalls to browse around. It sounds quite a serious affair.

From photos we've gathered from here, it all looks rather fab, and whilst it's moved location recently nothing much has changed.

Mosey to Brighton Marina car park to level 9. It does sound rather interesting, or perhaps we're just too easily intrigued by anything called vintage or bohemian. A bit of both, we suspect.

It's open from 7am to 1pm - if you find anything exciting do let us know. We're quite intrigued and curious about this one!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A Boxing Day stomp/walk around Devil's Dyke

As it's Boxing Day and you, as are we, are either stuffed full of food or in the company of relatives - or both. In both situations a good stiff walk always seems in order (or so I gather from the parties of people stomping past the front of my house every boxing day).

If you're into beautiful and interesting walks, we recommend a walk from Devil's Dyke to Brighton, getting there first by bus (yes, they run on as regularly on Boxing Day as the DFS adverts do). Alternatively if you're understandably feeling a little lazier, hop in the car and have a stroll around the area before hopping back in and driving home. You'll get the same views but won't have to find the required pair of "strong walking legs" that mysteriously disappear around Christmas time.

With spectacular views of the South Downs, the bus takes you down some lovely lanes before terminating at Devil's Dyke. The Bus Timetable can be downloaded from the Brighton and Hove Website. The pub at Devil's Dyke also does great pub lunches.

We're taking some of our information from this reliable source, although the photos we've used from here are summer rather than winter so you'll have to imagine a wintery version before you set off.

(There's more of their well-written report about the area here if you wish. It's got some fab photos. There's also more info on the Rural Ways website.)

You can find a map of where you'll be headed here and have a lovely day out if you're doing the whole walk, or just a stroll around the downs. Both will look beautiful, and make you feel less like a bloated sausage (in my case).

Friday, 25 December 2009

The always-insanely-cold Brighton Sea Dash

Happy Christmas boys and girls!

Today will see about 1,000 people rush down to the seaside to watch the Brighton Sea Swimming club, as their name suggests, leap into the sea with wild abandon in a Christmas Day Swim. The club's the oldest in the UK and today traditionally sees hundreds (genuinely hundreds, no hyperbole) of hardcore swimmers fueled by promises of post-swimming brandy dash into the sea in a mix of madness and charity fundraising. Some people wear costumes, others don't. It sounds cold, and jolly, and something to wrap up warm for.

Adam Trimingham, sourced via the BBC website, says: "I like the fact there's no reason for doing it. It's cold and completely bananas, but a very Brighton kind of activity."

Starts at 11am at Brighton Pier, so unwrap those presents and get to the seaside. There's nothing like the sight of half naked people leaping into freezing waters to make you feel cold, so we advise wearing all the winter soft and cosy things you own.

Have a lovely day.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Visit one of the nicest pubs in Brighton - the Earth & Stars

A pub recommendation today. We aren't sure if they're doing anything Christmassy, although we didn't choose it for that reason. It's simply a very nice pub, especially if you're looking for somewhere cosy to park up for Christmas Eve.

Mostly recognisable for sentient chalk boards outside with messages saying hello or complaining about the life of the chalk board (the above photo not doing justice to this in any way), it's full of chatty happy types generally and has nice food, and importantly nice drink; organic beers (the only place we're currently aware of offering this) and wine, as well as the normal pubby stuff.

One Qype review describes it as "perfect" and interestingly says: "ever been wandering around Brighton looking for a pub to have a Sunday lunch that isn't full of cheap ass students?" Which is true, although I'm a student (perhaps not shouting 'cheap' and 'ass' everywhere I go) and felt right at home.

We hear only good things about the roast - with locally sources veg, which is good if you like your food with moral conscience - although we suspect lunchtime rather than dinnertime would be the best time to investigate this today.

Undoubtedly one of my favourite pubs, and not just because my friend fancies the bar maid. It's a lovely little place and it's one you take your friends to, and so we advise you to do so too. If you're going there tonight we also advise getting a table early.

A map can be found here

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Hornblower Bros at the Freebutt

A horribly late one today, apologies. We aren't doing a massive write-up for this one because we've been distracted by holiday cheer. However, a great gig to get yourselves to today is The Hornblower Bros at the Freebutt. You can find their myspace here.

Lots of nice things from good people:

"Put a smile on your face ...very uplifting"
Steve Lamacq

"Completely irresistible!"
Marc Riley

"Charmingly shambolic"
The Guardian

"They occupy a genre that is entirely their own"

Doors at 7:30 with a smile. £4 advance so we reckon £6ish on the door.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Visit the Hove Beach Hut live advent calendar

For the second time in their lives, this month Hove Beach Huts have been turned into to live advent calenders on the seafront. With local artists and a theatre company involved, the calender's been gaining more and more interest each day. Each day calendars feature art displays, performances or decorations based on a Christmas theme inside. Whilst it's designed to promote the celebration of Chrtistmas (makes sense) I think this might be a thing for lurking atheists - with only three days to Christmas, we like festive events lit by festive lights and so we recommend this feel good visit.

Minced pies and mulled wine will be served (horray) and those attending also have the chance to win a special prize at the end of the month of a dinner, bed & breakfast stay at Brighton's boutique Hotel du Vin.

Today's beach hut is number 428 and is located near to the exotic sounding Hove Lagoon (must find out how exotic this really is). Head to the beach for 5:30pm-6:30pm today.

Organised by Beyond, you can find their blog here and their site with not entirely helpful directions here. You can find them slightly more easily on Google Maps.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Burning Clocks and Fireworks at the Beach

With 20,000 people attending this event every year it would be impossible not to write about it. I've never witnessed a 'Burning the Clocks' event which, having lived in Brighton for two years is terrible since the event is absolutely massive. It sees about one thousand people gather with a giant number of paper and willow lanterns (there were a few flying about on Fireworks Night) parade through Brighton towards the Beach at which point they're burnt and a nice big fireworks display takes place.

The premise is thus:

"Burning the Clocks is an antidote to the excesses of the commercial Christmas. People gather to make paper and willow lanterns to carry through their city and burn on the beach as a token for the end of the year. No lantern is better for its purpose than any other, all are unique to the maker and precious, but all are given up to be burnt to greet the lengthening days. The lantern makers invest their lanterns with their wishes, hopes, and fears and then pass them into the fire."

The parade assembles in New Road (avoid this spot if you're not a participant) and travels down from North Street to Bartholomews, East Street and Madeira Drive. If you don't fancy being sharing small roads with a mass of people on the route down then Madeira Drive is the best place to locate yourself.

There's a wonderful video of Indonesia breaking the sky lantern record from the BBC - watch it here.

Burning the Clocks starts at 6:30pm and it's free, so come.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas ice skating and fair-ing at the Brighton Centre

Between 10 and 4 today the Brighton Centre becomes infinitely more exciting as it turns into a giant ice rink. We haven't seen this before and aren't sure if this involves pouring water on the floor and opening the doors to the cold, or whether it's a bit more orchestrated. Either way, we're pleased to have our own massive Brighton ice rink, even if it isn't surrounded by fir trees and set in the 1800s (as all Christmas cards illustrate is the right way to go about it).

Opening today and running until the 2nd of January 2010, we advocate the ice rink. Meanwhile, today's a bit special as some sort of mighty Christmas fair is being held there too. Held in the same place, the Christmas Market's press release describes a glowing mass of cheese, champagne, jewelery, art, ceramics, 1950s prom dresses, flowers and floral things, confectionery (we hope this means cake), books, puppets and toys and 'nostalgia'. A busy sort of venture then. On the other hand, the only reference to a men's section of the fair describes a "shiny array of German watches for men", although we're hoping there's a bit more than gold wrist gizmos out there. Most importantly, there's face painting and a Santa's Grotto - neither of which you're ever too old for. Well.. perhaps.

We'd head there for the skating, but if you're so inclined (and it sounds hard to miss it), investigate the fair too.

Skating costs £9, and the fair is free. Christmas away!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Go to the Christmas Fair Trade Market

Today, what is normally the Friends meeting house in the South Lanes is being opened out into a giant craft fair. An eclectic mix 30 local artists and crafty-types bring jewellery, textiles, hand dyed knitted clothes, mixed media, photography, silk scarves, painting and ceramics to this "extremely popular" event (in which case we advise getting there earlier to grab the best bits). We don't know too much about this, but in the last week before Christmas it sounds like a damn good place to find bits and bobs, and presents for Mothers. If you want a present that represents Brighton, this sounds like a good place to investigate - and it's also fairtrade, which we like.

Entry is free, and there's a Christmassy cafe for Dads, boyfriends, and people that don't like shopping perhaps as much as you do. Find the meeting house on Ship Street in the South Lanes - with a map here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Besot yourself with Jedward at Revenge

Img via: flickr

With most of the country apparently besotted with X-Factor, it seems necessary to shout about this event. Jedward, of the tall hair and strange leather outfit type, are having a noisy little party at Revenge tonight. In today's Christmas Special (accompanied by real snow, horray!) the gay-orientated club will no doubt be over-run by more excitable straight girls than normal. You'd have thought that everyone would be screamed-out after X-Factor, but it seems not.

Catch an autograph and dance like a ninny, with two floors of music - the first with Pop (with Gaydar Radios Alex baker and Stewart T) and the second with 90s anthems. We all secretly love them.

Grab tickets from for £5 or £7.50 and it's unsurprisingly for over 18s. Find a map here.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

See the Paddingtons live at The Freebutt

Img via flickr

I have to admit before writing this that my forays with The Paddingtons come mostly from what's playing via their myspace at the moment, but it seems most necessary to prescribe this gig out of their history and fan base (and also the fact that what myspace is playing me is pretty good).

With an astounding amount of live shows under their belt including Reading and Leeds, they're famous by wikipedia standards for energetic live gigs and a willingness to play anywhere - which includes the Freebutt today. In the same league as The Cribs and Dirty Pretty things, having played with both, and Pete Doherty also rates them. I'm not sure if that last one helps, hinders, or matters at all though.

You can find them over on Twitter where they describe themselves as "Sex, drugs and Oakenfold". The current tour is promoting second album 'No Mundane Options' and if you're lucky they'll do a live cover of a Clash song.

If you like your good old noisy, somewhat traditional indie music then catch it at the Freebutt tonight. Arrive at 7:30pm and bring £7 with yourself for entry.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Lunch, Brunch or Snack at Iydea

Today's recommendation is a cafe restaurant - more of a good quality cafe, I suppose - but either way, it's lovely. Whilst made for vegetarians, this is pretty much the closest source to home cooked just-how-your-mother-made-it food (if not better) for something even students can afford. If you fancy a taste of non-commercial yummy Brighton life I recommend Iydea for warm tummy type food.

Whilst it's vegetarian based (which can, on occasion taste good!*), there's a great array of food and the serving format is genius. Simply ask for a small portion and pick two veg, or ask for a large and pick however many you like (although this was enough to confuse my dear Mother upon visitation). The menu continuously changes and costs £4.70 to £7.70 which provides you with as much food as humanly fits on a plate. Foody examples include regular Lasagna, Tortilla, and Chilli style things, and occasionally a Gypsy stew, although we aren't quite sure what this is (Seasonal veg with a paprika sauce and basmati rice & salad, we found, after short investigation).

*as a reformed vegetarian, there's a lot of tosh out there but this is genuinely nommish. And as someone who now eats meat, it's so good you won't miss it (for one meal).

Iydea is open from 9:30-5:30 weekdays (10am-5:30am at weekends) and if you head there towards closing time you can pick up a food box on the cheap, which we like.

Located in the North Laines at 17 Kensington Gardens, here is a map for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

See a special Final Cut at Komedia

Every Final Cut held at the lovely Komedia plays host to a monthly film-roundup of short films from 'Brighton, Britain and around the world.' Today's show sees a massive round-up of films in a dramatically titled 'Film of the Year Show'. If ever there was a time to have a break from Hollywood and put some faith in Final Cut's choice in short-films, this would probably be it.

Unsurprisingly Final Cut reckons it's been dealt some "absolute gems this year and picking the creme de la creme from 12 months of superb shorts has been particularly difficult." As the biggest screening event of its kind and one of the most sucessful in the UK, we suspect they know what they're talking about when they say this.

In a mix of desperate assassination plots, romance and autopsy, experiments, illustration, beards, and shark obsessions, there's a serious mix of genres. I quite like the sound of the un-categorisable 'The Impossibility of Being an Apple.' Films vary from 4 minutes to 18 minutes and there's eleven for your viewing pleasure. You can locate a full viewing list on the Final Cut site here and we really quite recommend this one.

They also advise the wearing of Santa hats, although we aren't sure how metaphorical this is.

Final Cut is on at Komedia tonight only, and tickets are £4 available only at the door. You can find directions to Komedia on Gardner Street here.

Monday, 14 December 2009

See Bust

"Probably one of the last chances to buy a wholesome Christmas present for people worth forking out for."

For casual gallery types like me, or for people who like art that comes at fifty pounds, Bust is an exhibition to investigate. Old smoke illustrator of the Old Street variety, Jack Mitchell, comes from The Big Orange Studio collective, Glasgow School of Art, and the Stella Door gallery (not necessarily in that order).

The host, Artist Residence, is a strange creative-styled hotel with rooms designed by artists. The gallery often plays host to upcoming artists and have an interesting mix of past shows.

Mitchell produces a mix of own-style portraits, privately commissioned work, and published illustrations. We think he's rather good.

You can find his work here and if you're Facebook orientated, you can find the event page here.

Bust is free, and runs at Artist Resident in Regency Square until the 4th January 2010.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Investigate the Artists Open Houses.

This weekend houses are opening up and converting into galleries for a weekend. This is the last weekend of the open houses and sees artists and crafty types display a big mix of original art from painting and sculptures, to ceramics, jewelery, textiles and lighting. They're clustered fairly close to each other so they're good to pop into for a casual stroll about town. Since they operate under a vague premise that people may buy some of these (perhaps they will, but it's not a necessity), they also have cards and hand-made Christmas decorations. The style and prices vary, so it's worth trying different places as they're all different.

The artists will also be around the chat to (Note: this does not translate to 'breathing heavily over your shoulder as you look at their pieces - the open houses have a much more laid back feel).

Many offer mulled wine and 'Christmas fare', although I'm not entirely sure what the latter is - I believe it might mean cake. Print a map and go for a nose around the houses.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Peruse the Guerrilla Art Market.

We like the Guerrilla Art Market for more than its name. Not only does it sound immediately more interesting than the Christmas huts lurking outside Churchill Shopping Centre, but instead of serving up bags of space-shuttle shaped sweets and mulled drinks, it focuses on the unique hand-made crafty side of Christmas. (That said, I'm a big fan of sweets and mulled products too).

Continuing on from last year's success, the premise is that the market allows artists to trial new works directly to the public - and before this puts you straight off, artists' clients include famous names Liberty, and Topshop, down to local musicians Peggy Sue and the Pirates. "It is a rare opportunity to purchase original artworks from the artists themselves, allowing you to discover more about the artists and their work."

It all sounds quite intriguing, and the sound of handmade books lures me in, so today we reckon that 'the best creative bargain hunt available in Brighton' is worth a potter, regardless of whether you're planning to buy.

They have a blog that's worth a peek here with a big mix of works. I'm drawn to a number of things, inexplicably one of which is a set of Brighton-made fabric bows which are lovely but made of pink so as to ward away auburn-haired people.

We are also pleased to note that there will be music, mulled wine and refreshments, which I am a consistent fan of.

The Art Market lasts for opens today from 11am-6pm and finishes on Sunday. Directions to The Brighton Media Centre on Middle Street, can be found: here.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Eine and Zeus' 'Crimes and Punishments' exhibition.

Today the Ink_d gallery plays host to "Crimes and Punishments" by two urban artists, Eine and Zeus. "Both are prolific street artists and innovators in typography and both have pushed the boundaries in a way that has redefined how we see graffiti as an art form."

The prolific mural painters have made a change from their traditional spray cans for the exhibition. The show, based around representations of the alphabet, sees the artists put down their spray cans in a move to typography and illustration in an experimental display more than traditional illustrations.

"The final outcomes were occasionally compositionally awkward, although this did add to their authenticity and was justified since the process was based on the children’s game consequences, with the results birthing from accident."

A lovely premise and well worth a look (and free, horray).

Upstairs there's a Christ shop for 'stockings and eyes' - and a book and artzine section that requires a good browse from a comfy place.
Crime and Punishments runs today from 10am-6pm until the 2\4th December at the Ink_d gallery. Directions to Ink_d on North Road: here.

img via: cybersexism

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Melting Vinyl Xmas Party!

Close watchers of the Brighton music scene will know that a reliable badge of quality is an association with the marvelous, loosely-affiliated collection of musicians who go under the name the Willkommen Collective; a mutually supportive and fiercely independent group of creative types who are represented in The Leisure Society, Shoreline and the bewitching Sons of Noel and Adrian - as well as two bands (Curly Hair and The Miserable Rich) playing at the Melting Vinyl Xmas show at St. George's Church in Kemptown tonight.

You don't have to a genius, either, to know that when Melting Vinyl put on a party, it's inevitably a good one; tonight's event will boast three stages and promises to be a Jools Holland style hootenanny (without any boogie woogie piano, hopefully), with appearances also promised from Melodica Melody and Me, Fretful Federation and Jo Burke + friends. There's even going to be a Santa's Grotto provided by The Half Sisters.

The spirit of Christmas is gripping stray, frazzled corners of Brighton - take the plunge and join in; tickets are £7 adv. / £8 on the door; easily picked up at Rounder.

Here's a swooning, festive sampler of The Miserable Rich. Note the line that references The Basketmakers... And for another game, why not try to create a melody in your head that is more irritating than the 'Balcony TV' jingle at the start. Monstrous.

And here are Curly Hair:

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

See Slaraffenland play at the Freebutt

At the risk of being repetitive, today's recommendation (like yesterday's) is another gig at Brighton's excellent Freebutt venue, where another excellent Brighton band support a highly rated Scandinavian act. This time both are well worthy of your attention.

Denmark's Slaraffenland, who headline, play an uplifting brand of intriguing, delicately nuanced indie-rock with nods to prog, folk and jazz, using chamber instruments as well as the more usual guitar, bass and drums. Their songs have a lovely, wintery, hypnotic quality which marks them out as a perfect fit for this time of year. Do the Freebutt serve mulled wine? They should do.

Their support act, Crowns On The Rats Orchestra, share an affection for orchestral compositions and imaginative time-signatures. Rather less accessible - their virtuosity means they can rarely resist an opportunity to spin a song into a new direction - they are one of Brighton's best and most consistent live acts, on the occasions where they can find a venue with a big enough stage to fit them all on. Here's a sample.

Freebutt, doors open at 7.30. No info on pricing, I'm afraid, but I'd expect it to be around £5-7.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Catch Guided By Lights play live at the Freebutt

Brighton's live music scene may attract a steady stream of international talents, but it's propped up on a network of local bands who, occasionally, are more than capable of outshining the bands they invariably end up supporting. One such giant-killing may be on the cards tonight, where Brighton's excellent Guided By Lights support Thomas Dybdahl at The Freebutt.

Up in Norway Thomas Dybdahl is one of the country's biggest pop stars, attracting huge affection for his warm-hearted but gentle folk-pop, which draws evenly from the likes of Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake. His broad-appeal is understandable: Dybdahl is as relentlessly melodic and soppy as the anodyne likes of Damien Rice or David Gray, but manages to combine his low-key classicism with rather more charm. Today's gig at the Freebutt, if Dybdahl's previous UK shows is anything to go by, will have the same celebratory warmth, for his UK fans seem to replicate his countryman's enthusiasm.

Guided By Lights aren't dramatically dissimilar in terms of their musical palette - here too we find acoustic guitars, violins and delicate folk-pop. But there's something more ambitious and unconventional going on here - there's a hint of The Cure's Robert Smith in Adam Bones's hiccupy, skittering vocals, and the juxtaposition of his odd, appealing vocals with the clever, Pogues-tinged arrangements are really pleasing. They sound, unlike Thomas Dybdahl, like they've been through the wringer a few times, and have come out tuneful, rich, but somehow wonky. In short, I think they're worth a look.

Here's a sample:
This time next year by guidedbylights

Guided By Lights - and Thomas Dybahl - play The Freebutt tonight. Tickets are £7 and doors open at 7.30pm.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Visit Resident for an exclusive Vampire Weekend's airing and Mince Pies.

Dear old Vampire Weekend have an album on the horizon due out on 11th January. It's very good and the debut single video is great - it features bright colours, glitter cannons, bells and is all very jolly and fun (we are big fans). Today Resident will be hosting an exclusive playback of the full album, 'Contra' between 6pm & 8pm today.

Importantly, there will be beer, mulled wine & mice pies* which is a good premise to potter in store over latest releases and Christmas presents - lots of good things down to £4.99 from the Volcano Choir (Justin Vernon of Bon Iver's side project), Royksopp, Reverend & The Makers, Metric, Toumani Diabate, Kitty Daisy & Lewis & more. Most importantly it's a good time to eat tasty things, feel warm and Christmassy, and get a free hearing of some lovely tunes.

Bring some I.D and have fun.

*whilst they last.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Catch the last day of the Cinecity Festival

The Cinecity festival has been taking place at art houses, theatres and film bars since November and today sees its last day. The festival's full of documentaries and world film, (some amateur and some not) which I'd be a bit wary of recommending without having seen. Perhaps I just have a fear of amateur documentaries.

Anyway, one film stands out quite a bit and plays today at The Duke of York picturehouse. 'Prophet' comes from Cannes Film Festival with ravings, a shiny award called the Grand Prize, and it's been likened to Scarface and The Godfather. So if like me, you're an unadventurous film buff this may be your thing. If you're already into Artsy Worldly cinema, then it may be of some use to mention that it comes from the Director of 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped', Jacques Audiard, and ex-convicts were brought in for choreography.

"Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, blistering crime drama A Prophet demonstrates Audiard's (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) ability to rise beyond a genre to exceptional heights of emotional intensity. Malik (Tarik Rahim) lands himself in jail at 19. After a violent crash course in the ways of the ruling gang, he slowly begins, through his self-education, to challenge the prison power structures. And as the long years of his sentence roll on, he uses his ruthless cunning to establish himself as a major new player. A Prophet moves fluidly from art-house subtlety to genre pyrotechnics in an endlessly powerful and absorbing tapestry of criminal life, which has all the epic human drama of such classics as Scarface and The Godfather."

It shows at 6:39pm with adult tickets costing £7.20 and students at £6.20. The Duke of York serves alcohol (which may or may not influence your decision).

You can find the trailer here.