Ryan Van Winkle, Brighton Rock in hand, starts the night at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar (which by the way, was actually rather sticky) with some meandering prose before introducing the poet SJ Fowler. His twenty-one original meditations inspired by the topic of scent flit between dark humour, delightfully light observations and sad snapshots memories.
Following his poetry, the accordionist fresh from France, Garance Louis, stole the stage with jokes and charmed us with her splendidly sexy and playful songs. Her set took a deeper, more romantic tone when Hannah from the Moulettes, joined her on stage with her cello. Garance finished with a happy peppy little ditty, which suited Brighton perfectly as it lilted like a carousel that one could imagine would have sat at the end of the pier in some hundred years ago. Collision’s Dance Company seized the floor, giving one of the best performances of the tour. Verity, Sol and Bianca looked amazing under the glowing red and blue lights, the accordion/cello backing as they performed “The Voice of Reason”.
On stage, Ryan Van Winkle dips his Brighton Rock into his wine, and assures us it makes it better. Well, it certainly could not make it worse (I tried some, it was decidedly too sticky and a bit gross). It’s an easy transition to Deborah Pearson’s piece about a very likely future. Sentimental yet slightly downbeat, she recollects things yet to happen, in an altogether relevant fashion. It left me with feeling like I could have been characters in her story, or that maybe we had been in the situation before.
Robin and Candy then swept over with a gentle set of duets. Candy’s melodic floating vocals complimenting and contrasting well with Robin’s fine cords. Robin was soft and sweet and disarmingly sure of himself. His songs were redolent of 1970’s folk, rather romantically winsome. The song about the London Riots had a pacifying lullaby-like quality, while covering his perspectives on the current shifts in society.
Last to take the stage was The Moulettes. Although they are normally a much larger band, we were treated to the original trio, Hannah, Ollie and Ruth. There are so many adjectives I could use to describe them! Overall, they could not have been more perfect for this time of year, they weaved into songs the feeling of autumn, the cadence of Ruth and Hannah’s vocals are warm in tone with an underlying electrical charge, one moment smooth and cool, the next hard and brisk. Absolutely enchanting. Then we danced to the end of the set, finishing with a track that literally rocked the floor boards.
The night was a delight, and as it dawned on me that we are drawing to the end of this wonderful tour, I must urge you to make it to the Bristol for the last Golden Hour night event! Thursday, starting at 7pm.