THE STRANGE DEATH OF LIBERAL ENGLAND / SHAPES / SILENT FRONT / A GENUINE FREAKSHOW / ORDERS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE / MONSTERS BUILD MEAN ROBOTS / NORDIC GIANTS / EVI VINE / JUFFAGE / CROOKED MOUNTAIN, CROOKED SEA / THEO / SLEEP CENTRE / STUART WARWICK / DELTA SLEEP / CROWNS ON THE RATS ORCHESTRA / THE SLOW REVOLT / SPEAK GALACTIC / DARK DARK HORSE / KARHIDE / SOREBONES / LAISH / KARL-JOHAN NILSON
“The first day of the free Nice Weather for Air strikes Festival was a synthesis of sweat, angst and noise, but this audience of post-rockers at The Druids Arms over last May bank holiday weekend wouldn’t have had it any other way. The Druids Arms’ modest capacity offers an intimacy that is often missing in larger venues. And with plenty of local bands playing across the weekend, the close quarters setting ensured there was sufficient banter between artists and audience throughout the evening.
Crooked Mountain Crooked Sea set the tone for the night, and indeed the festival; playing each song as if it were their last. In fact there are rumours of the band splitting up despite the release of their new album, ‘What’s There To Write About?’. But there was no time for discussion as the four-piece bounced in and out of songs with fluidity and conviction. The opening song, ‘Drawing Details’ prompted a flurry of people towards the entrance and by their last, ‘Johnny Forger’, there was a respectable crowd to give the band a hearty reception.
As Orders of the British Empire took the stage, the sun was retreating and the bar overflowing. The fusion of sinister guitar effects and vaporous backing tracks was rewarded with the first signs of head banging from sections of the crowd. Their style of instrumental post-rock has been trialed and tested by many, notably 65 Days of Static, but it is difficult to match the zeal that OBE bring to their live performances. Tonight was no exception, and in the absence of a stand out front-man, the band put on a united front and unified the crowd in the process.
Silent Front took the support slot a little after 10pm, upping the intensity and sweat levels with a ferocious set. The band have a bunch of UK shows lined up over the next few weeks, and set a high precedent for themselves to live up to. With eyes rolled back and feet turned inwards, lead singer Phil Mann was mesmerizing and to some extent stole the show. The band stormed through their set with gusto, and were subsequently rewarded with the loudest cheer of the night so far.
The headline act, Shapes, had their work cut out following such an energetic set, but after the briefest of breathers, the crowd had piled back inside to close the night with a bang. And Shapes didn’t disappoint. Drawing in the largest crowd of the night, The Druid Arms was bursting at the seams until close. With their raw progressive post-rock mash up of a set, Shapes proved why they were headliners. The crowd were evidently grateful the band made Brighton their last stop before a European tour.
Unassuming as it may be, The Druid Arms is slowly becoming an important asset to Brighton’s live music scene.”
WORDS BY STUART MATSON for BRIGHTON SOURCE