Thursday, 5 April 2007

Not so Great Scott

Welcome to Brighton: Britain’s best effort at a city that never sleeps, a colourful metropolis where style and surrealism exist in glorious abundance. A place that boasts the Laines, the Lanes, an incongruous Indian building and a beach. Not to mention having possibly the most weird and wonderful population of any city in the country. When you’re in Brighton, you just know you’re going to have fun: if this city were a drink, I’m pretty sure it would be Lambrini.
It was at the Corn Exchange next to the Pavilion in the heart of Brighton that we found ourselves, our eager little faces full of excitement and anticipation at the musical experience that awaited us. The support was on when we got there, a band called Alberta, but don’t get your hopes up: there was no Eric Clapton tribute happening here. In fact, it was more like a tribute to anyone who’s ever committed suicide, which went some way to explaining why most of the ‘crowd’ were sitting on the floor.

Yes, sitting on the floor. No, really. It was a gig, and people were sitting. On the floor. Never before has a standing ticket been such a misnomer. Having never listened to Matthews’ music before, this didn’t bode well. Nevertheless I’ve heard some pretty crap support at great gigs before (The Pipettes must have woken up having sweaty nightmares about the feather-clad ensemble they chose to precede them for months after their performance last year) so I gave him the benefit of the doubt… more fool me.

Having purchased drinks at a price that gave us some clue as to why Alberta may have been suicidal and why the audience might have needed a sit-down for a while, we shuffled our way through the inert mass by our feet and awaited the great Scott. Eventually he took to the stage amidst subdued, yet reverent, applause. I say took to the stage – it was more like he morphed out of the smoke.

And so began one of the strangest gigs I have ever been to. Standing (yes, eventually) motionless and completely silent, the audience gazed upon Scott Matthews as if he were an angel from heaven, not just a scruffy bloke with a guitar. Crooning into the microphone about something that apparently didn’t warrant pronounceable words, members of the audience actually SHUSHED people around them when they dared to interrupt the heavenly music with so much as a word. Half-way through we attempted to open and eat a packet of crisps… big mistake. These people needed a serious dose of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – this guy was just a singer, not the Messiah of modern-day music. Were they from Brighton but part of a sect, or had they been shipped in from Eastbourne? Who knows. Either way, the music went at the pace of a small hippo drenched in honey attempting to crawl up the Gladiators travelator. On the tracks where drums made a brave appearance and I remembered that you could actually dance to some music, the audience responded by bobbing up and down slightly and in some cases bending a knee or two (I’m surprised they didn’t crack).

By the end of the gig we had given up and were sitting down at the back of the hall, chatting away to the distant sound of the music. And this is what I recommend you do with Scott Matthews. Put him on in the background, but don’t ever give him centre-stage.


Tom said...

ha i think i'd be too shocked to reply to a shush if one were directed at me during a gig! Thou shall not worship pop idols indeed.

Bec said...

Aidan what's happened to that picture? It looks crap.