The London leg of the Star Shaped Festival in 2017 was an absolutely joyous experience. The line up was amazing and Sleeper’s return to a London stage for the first time in nineteen years almost took the roof off. In under an hour, My Life Story’s Jake Shillingford turned an almost full venue from casual indifference to a feeling of unity; Space’s Tommy Scott and The Bluetones’ Mark Morriss were on form with great humour. Yes, that was a day to be treasured forever.
2018 has really been a fantastic year for The Fierce And The Dead. Their third full length release ‘The Euphoric’ has received great reviews across the internet, been championed by Prog magazine and has led to the band playing higher profile gigs. In the previous six months they’ve played their biggest ever headline show and shared a bill with System 7 and Hawkwind. By now, they’ve earned the right to be genuinely considered a cult band.
Hawkwind invited the band as support for a second time in the summer. While Hawkwind fans, on the surface, seem to be the kind of people who know what they like, the band obviously feel The Fierce And The Dead are interesting enough to appeal to their loyal audience. While – as is so often the case – the venue isn’t exactly packed by the time Matt Stevens and company get ready to play, those in attendance know the next half an hour will be…interesting.
In April 2018, Ramsgate Music Hall played host to Japanese indie/punk legends Shonen Knife. It was one of the greatest nights the venue had seen to date. Making what had already promised to be a fun night even better, the night’s support received a rapturous response. That band, KOLARS – a garage rock/retro duo from the US – impressed almost everyone with their display of sweat, sparkle and a tap dancing drummer. Within two weeks, the band had been confirmed to return for their own headline show and on July 16th, they took the stage at Music Hall once more.
It’s the first of July. The British summer time has truly grabbed a hold. In the middle of the unexpected heatwave, the intimate Ramsgate Music Hall is hot. Very hot. The sweaty atmosphere isn’t about to dampen anyone’s spirits, though, especially as tonight’s sell out crowd are in the presence of a true cult legend. This is Kristin Hersh’s second appearance at Music Hall – the first being forty eight hours earlier – and it’s the last night of her successful UK tour. Everyone’s up for it.
Since the second re-opening of the Dreamland complex in Margate in 2017, the theme park has gone from strength to strength. While the big draw for many visitors has been the selection of nostalgic fairground rides, others have applauded the decision to use the Hall By The Sea as a legitimate venue for live gigs. Dreamland has played host to shows by Gorillaz (a sell out in minutes), Bat For Lashes, psych band Snapped Ankles (with some memorable visuals), Super Furry Animals and more besides. In February 2018, a double headliner between ska legends The Selecter and The Beat (featuring Ranking Roger) resulted in a classic night at the seaside. The Hall By The Sea has provided a brilliant and cool alternative to the frankly past-it Winter Gardens – a venue that still thinks that The Stylistics, the racism of Jim Davidson and a carpet from 1983 is what people really want.
Tonight, Brighton’s favourite sons, Levellers are the visiting dignitaries. They’d previously visited Margate in 2001 and 2004 for shows at the aforementioned Winter Gardens, but this is their first visit since the slow rejuvenation of the town slowly began not long after. The Hall By The Sea is, naturally, a far better fit for them – the spacious area is perfect for dancing, bouncing – and sweating – and the sound quality is amazing. The crowd are naturally well up for a good night and especially so considering this show has already been postponed. …But what will they play tonight? Since the setlists from Utrecht on June 15th and Boston on June 18th differed greatly, seemingly, the gloves are off…