Gorilla On Tour – Brighton

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. 

The Golden Hour: Haggler’s Corner

What a whirlwind of a delight last night’s Golden Hour at Haggler’s Corner was.

After an adventurous day parked out front of the Sheffield City Hall, we meandered over to Haggler’s Corner. Past the garden, and the carpentry work shop, up the stairs and into a lofty upstairs room, Haggle’s Corner was that perfect combination of relaxed over stuffed leather couches, black tudor beams, and the perfect amount of flickering light to inspire all kinds of creative behavior.

Ryan Van Winkle kicked off the night with an obscure reference to his singular pubic hair that he wraps around his ‘carrot’ (why he is storing carrots in his pants was a little bit beyond me, but the audience found it uproariously funny) before introducing us to William Letford. William is a Scottish poet, and his poems were a mixture of fast talking reflections on the myriad of topics that comprise from his daily life, and sex. Lots of very sexy poems. I like poetry, but I like poetry even more when it is about fumbling around in the dark for love, while being spun by a tall man with a thick Scottish accent.

Following Billy, we had the glorious chanteuse Hailey Beavis. Her warbling high notes sent shivers down my spine as she weaved out stories in haunting melody infused acoustics. Singing about love and god, she quite literally entranced us. She ended her set backing the Collisions Dance Company’s Voice of Reason, a perfect amalgamation of movement bring out the best in her vocals.

Anneliese Mackintosh graciously took the microphone and dispelled all the mystery surrounding what is exactly us women are thinking in the mornings, and what we do for hours secretly in the toilet while our lovers sit and wait. Her ever so slightly melancholy musings on love and the mild frustrations of undefined relationships left me thought provoked and a little relieved that at least I wasn’t the only crazy one out there.

Juxaposed to her sweet voice, the rough and energetic vocals of Billy Liar consumed the crowd as he jumped and strummed passionately in his acoustic set. His lyrics were compelling, but left me with the feeling that I never wanted to be one of the inspirations behind one of his songs, as one of his lyrics “there’s a reason I’m not friends with any of my exes” clearly depicted. He ended his set quite gently with a song that quite tenderly explore unrequited love before finishing with a good old-fashioned sing-along (which was simple, thankfully, as the night was creeping towards its end and I am not sure we could have handled anything too complicated)

After a few local poets took the stage, the night ended with the Shaking Whips, what a perfect way to end off any evening, but it was especially perfect in this venues at this exact moment in time. Her undulating vocals paired exquisitely with the simple garage band rhythm and smooth electric vibes. Rapturing.

The whole evening was spell bounding, and an experience not to be missed. If you can make it to any of our upcoming events, I would highly recommend it, these are occasions not to be missed.

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Newcastle to Sheffield

After pulling out of sunny Newcastle, we decided we must see the Angel of the North (superstitious? Not really, curious? Very.) After countless roundabouts we hit the open road, setting down the carriageway. Dusk settled as we approached the massive angel structure, and were suitably impressed  Maybe we could douse it in Furze, making it more heavenly. I didn’t smell it, but I would imagine it smelt like wet metal. Furze would be much better. We darted around, shooting a few pictures, before popping back into the truck to make our way down through Yorkshire into Sheffield.

Night settled in over the dark, rolling hills of the North, our only companions along the road were massive transport trucks, but they weren’t bad company. Ben suggested we start a singing band. It seemed like a good idea until we tried our hand at harmonizing, where it was then quite obvious that the bus’s current occupation as a perfume apothecary gallery was its better suited calling. None the less, we carried on, finally making it to our lovely stop in the heart of Sheffield.

We pulled into the parking lot, where I learned that Ben had skills in thirty eight point turns. Tight parking lot, big van, well past ten at night. Fun times. Ever the champ though, he managed to squeeze our green bus in between to rather normal sized vehicles!

This morning, very early and debatably fresh, we pulled our lovely Gorilla Tour Bus into the pedestrian ground in front of the Sheffield City Hall. We’ve had our coffees, and are now rearing to go, bringing perfume to this lovely corner of the North.

Gorilla Perfumes Bus Tour: Day One

We set off on the road in the green bus at a little past 12 on Monday afternoon. The team at the Lush Design office stood outside the doors eagerly waiting to wave us off. Ben, our blond-haired driver, hopped on up into the van and pulled us into reverse. Jo, with a look of either excitedness or terror (it was hard to tell from my angle) filmed us on her iphone as we pulled out the drive, there was no turning back now, it was Scotland or bust!

Bumbling along on the roads leading north, Ben and I covered all of the topics you are and aren’t supposed to cover. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone in a confined space for ten hours. One thing we definitely agreed on was how bloody exciting this trip was going to be. Oh the eagerness to spend time with artists and perfume, what a delightful adventure was ahead of us!

Things were clipping along fine, until the sat nav stopped working and told us we were currently in the middle of a field. No worries, I’ll just turn it off and on again (I learned this much from the IT Crowd.) Sorted. Then the speedometer stopped working. No clanging or buzzing, it just stopped, its little hand limply hanging below zero. Ben assured me it was ok though, because the bus actually couldn’t go faster then 60mph. Nervousness began creeping on the edges when both the red lights on the dash suddenly started blinking wildly. “Don’t tweet this” Ben said as I laughed anxiously. “If it keeps flashing, we’ll pull over at the next service” I am sure this was supposed to instil confidence, but all I could picture was us sitting at the side of the road somewhere outside of Birmingham, waiting for the AA.

Then, what I can only imagine was the moment the gods of perfume smiled down on our odyssey, the lights stopped flashing. Moments later, the speedometer began rearing its lovely wand pointing north (ok, I understand it is not a compass, but none the less, the imagery is good) and the magic green perfume bus had healed itself!

We clipped along as the sunset over Lake District, and then as dusk consumed Carlisle. In a *short* ten and half hours, we had hit the first stop on the tour; Glasgow.

Now we are here, come find us! This perfume has travelled many roads already to be discovered.