Keith Christmas, Sophie & The Giants and Flight Brigade were the acts chosen by Rockshot Mag for their night of music at #blogtober held at The Finsbury Pub in north London. This was the second #blogtober Festival, a different online blog or magazine curates a night of live music in association with Lost In The Manor and Dice FM. Thirty one different online tastemakers, including Clash, Louder Than War and Gig Slutz got to take over the venue in October to “show off” new, unsigned acts and some real discoveries.
Keith Christmas falls into that last category. He played acoustic guitar on David Bowie’s first solo album in 1969, later reissued as a Space Oddity, was un-billed at the first every Glastonbury festival ending up on stage with the likes of Al Stewart and was signed to RCA records for five albums in the early 1970’s. His music his often described as prog-folk and once your hear his mix of storytelling and guitar playing you can see why.
In recent times this troubadour, in a real sense, has been travelling around with his “pod” on the back of his car doing festivals and one off gigs and we were so please to get him to open our night of live music. It is safe to say he blew the room away! In words it is not easy to capture his style but if you were to mix the love child of Ray Davies, for storytelling, and Richard Thompson, for guitar playing, the resulting Christmas would not be far off the mark..add in some Billy Bragg for his newer political songs.
His latest album recorded last year Crazy Dancing Days is a brilliant introduction to how he sounds and performs live now, just him and his guitar. Songs in this live set included Crazy Dancing Days, Cross The Water, Flow Through Me, Welcome to the End of the World (One More Time), Sail With The Sun, Talking To The Dead (Again), When the New Man Comes To Power & King Of The Ruined Castle all taken from that new collection.
Hoops and hollers from the crowd accompanied his guitar playing which is simply mesmerising. You might think he must be using endless loops and effects but he is not! What he does do is to use a range of different tunings which help give that impression…and of course his own great virtuosity.
In total contrast Sophie & The Giants are new band perhaps in the style of The Sundays, Blondie and Dream Wife. The only way to tell for sure is to go and see one of their live gigs. The are an extremely tight four piece band with guitar, bass, drums and brilliantly charsmatic singer Sophie. The band are vocals & guitar, Sophie Scott, on lead guitar is Toby Holmes on bass is Bailey Stapledon and on drums is Chris Hill.
Their mix of indie pop, bubblegum rock and solid pop songs is totally infectious and Sophie dances up a storm on stage and off it mingling in with everyone and singing away at the same time. Their set includes Waste My Air, Black Dress, Hey Now What You Could’ve Been, For You, Monsters & The Light.
We have been told new music may be coming next Easter 2018, so we wait eagerly for them to emerge from record hibernation and dust themselves off with some new tunes.
Flight Brigade are a band we have admired for a long time. We interviewed them last year before their first album came out and now they are in the studio again putting the finishing touches to some new music. As a special treat for us they showcased some of their new songs including Chased By Wolves and Stranger Things when they performed their headline set at #blogtober Festival.
As well as being a very big band with seven playing on stage, they are also slightly an enigma. So ultra talented with absolutely brilliant songs but have not quite yet made the leap to larger venues or following. On the hearing of those new tunes, we think the so called difficult second album could be their breakthrough.
Flight Brigade have had the chance to record their new album live at the Visconti Studio they told us more about it: “This is a studio set up by Tony Visconti at Kingston University. It’s an absolutely enormous space so we could set up live and track all of us playing at the same time. We were lucky to do this with producer Chris Porter, who first worked with Tony Visconti “on” David Bowie and other music legends, so we were in excellent hands! Chris is such a great guy and it is a huge privilege to work with him- a dream come true!”
Other songs in the set included Hurricane, You Kill Me, Tearaway, Tinderbox, Brainwave and Where Eagles Dare and two more brand new songs Fury Road and Heartbreaker. Get ready for takeoff everyone!
Live Review & Photography by Simon Jay Price
Simon has his own website here: simonjayprice.com