Josh McGovern + Support- A Review

On Thursday 30th March BOAB was delighted to review more of Brighton’s ever diverse music scene.  This time I had the pleasure of reviewing a Josh McGovern + Support gig presented by Redwing Events at The Hope & Ruin on Queen’s Road. Accompanying me, as guest reviewer and evening chum, was actor and children’s entertainer Mr Jonathan Craze.

Hope & Ruin’s upstairs venue space proved to be an excellent arena for this 4 act gig and although proceedings started with a smaller audience than expected it soon became rammed with music lovers of every kind listening hypnotised to each performance or moving their feet pint o’ lager in hand.

fileWe thoroughly recommend you check out all the links to these brilliantly talented musicians. but let’s begin with Lec, a young Brighton based songwriter and guitarist with a melodic alternative folk feel to his sound.

This young man had a wonderful voice which bordered on the angelic when often hitting an impressive falsetto.

His guitar work was superb and clean cut making him a very talented solo artist, who offered up an array of soporific and mesmerising original material. If I had one ‘fault’ it was that perhaps he could have done with a band or another instrument to add further depth to a clearly beautiful sound. Lec kicked things off with confidence and true skill.

file1Up next was a band that blew the audience away- 80s pop and soul inspired 4 piece, Burnz. They had a marvellous rapport with the audience and each other, offering a relaxed yet professional set of original songs that gave you the tingles. Their sound was predominantly punchy, loud, cleverly crafted and well-executed as each band member added another layer to a rich hubbub.

Although an original sound, in as much one can create these days, there was a charming almost nostalgic feel to Burnz that had hints of the Stone Roses, Mike & The Mechanics and The Darkness. They managed to build an enjoyable suspense and anticipation leaving all of us wanting more. These guys are special and stood out in Mr Craze’s mind especially.

file2Charlie and the Villas created a dream like ambience that we could only describe as the humid calm before a storm. Clearly lead singer Charlie and the band are talented and very able but there was a slightly disinterested feel to them that the audience couldn’t shake.

They are certainly a good, even great, band and took clear inspiration from Sampha, City and Colour, The Beatles and The Style Council.

Sadly though the increased volume of the band and an eventual decision to lower the harmonies volume meant that poor Charlie’s subtle, yet beautiful voice and original lyrics were sometimes lost to its instrumental counterparts.  I would very much like to see these guys again as they’re clearly onto something and their recorded sessions are very impressive. I believe they will be ones to watch as their confidence increases.

file3Now where does one begin when speaking about Josh McGovern? This young man who is soon to release his debut EP commanded the stage with the support of an awe-inspiring 6 piece band. Each part of the original music and lyrics was carefully crafted and designed to produce this raw, powerful, sexy and deep sound that reminded us of Hozier or Rag’n’Boneman. You can see why Josh and his band were headlining!

Of course, everyone who performed was worth watching in many respects, but something about the the confident feel of this band and their passionate, skillful delivery of a heavy, day-dreaming Americana, filtered through a distinctly English folk sensibility was sublime.

The earthy voice of McGovern mixed with haunting female and male backing vocals (pleased to see the lead singer of Burnz reappear to pick up that mantle), amazing guitar riffs and some essential drumming support culminated in a show stopping, otherworldly feel that transcended the venue itself.

I cannot speak highly enough about Josh and the band, they filled the room with a palpable buzz and tied all the musical elements of the evening together. If you get the chance to see this lot live don’t hesitate for a second as you will regret not being able to say ‘I watched those guys for a fiver in the Hope & Ruin before they were ridiculously famous and went platinum and now all their tickets for the O2 have sold out…” 

It was a smashing evening that bought together a mix of musical talents, styles and people of all ages.

As always BOAB readers keep checking out this fair cities musical delights, as lots of these musicians will be performing in a variety of venues either for free or at very reasonable prices over the coming weeks.

Huge thanks to Mr Craze, Tiggy Saucell, Redwing and The Hope & Ruin.

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