Half Crown / Hatton Manor / Jack Williams [Live Review – Sofar Sounds, Brighton, 26/11/14]
Sofar Sounds are the most fascinating live music promoters you’ve never heard of. A global collective of music fans, Sofar tap into humanity’s need for community, connection, and intimacy by hosting secret small-scale shows showcasing the talents of a diverse range of artists. This evening’s event took place in an endearingly arty Brighton basement – an appropriate location for what was to come.
Although train issues held me back from catching Jack Williams‘ set, my irritation was quickly soothed by Hatton Manor – a pair of local sophisticates whose songs shift between graceful and quirky folk (think John Butler jamming with Eva Cassidy) and tunes that sound like acoustic covers of classic rock songs which have never existed before. Hatton Manor’s diverse range of influences enable an engaging range of expressive options, all of which are used to tasteful and powerful effect. From elegance and dignity to torment and turbulence, Hatton Manor have everything you could want from an acoustic duo.
While Hatton Manor currently occupy the more laid-back end of the acoustic spectrum, Half Crown hit the opposite end hard with punchy full-band hip hop blended with poppy hooks and disarming humour. Half Crown are a band built for festivals – and seeing them jam in someone’s living room so close you could see the veins in their vocalist’s neck pop out as he unleashed a torrent of dissertation-a-minute raps (dragging the night’s lone heckler into the act in the process) was a spectacular experience. It’s little wonder that Half Crown have already earned support slots for the likes of Rizzle Kicks – this was a stunning way to end the night.
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