Electric Soft Parade / The Tenderfoot / The Actress Hands
Brighton Pressure Point 7/7/5

Ten of us descended on the tiny 140 capacity upstairs venue for my number *cough* birthday gig-out.

First up agreeable but unsurprising guitar band The Actress Hands. They seemed 'nice', but did nothing much to prevent me concentrating on my beer. Sorry guys, you can't have been too mad if you managed to pass me by so successfully.
I've seen Brighton's own The Tenderfoot supporting Brighton's own Electric Soft Parade before (probably as both have members in indie supergroup The Brakes). They sound very similar to, and just as good as, Elbow. Lovely, lovely mellow atmospheric music you can let wash over you and let yourself get lost in. They reproduce their on-record sound live well, and in time will surely push on to make it sound even better. Worth catching live, and picking up a copy of their superb debut full album (they modestly say tonight "which nobody liked"), 'Save The Year', if you like what you hear.

pic nicked from Richard Branson

ESP have released two fantastic albums before they were cruelly dropped by the evil fat cats at BMG, despite a Mercury Music Prize nomination for their debut. After a period of confusion they now have eighty (yes, eighty!) new songs in the bag and are pushing to find a record deal (the only upshot of which is, tickets tonight were only £4.50). They shouldn't really be having so much of a struggle. A classic indie band if even I heard one, with great pop singles such as 'Empty At The End' and 'Silent To The Dark' that you can sing to and mosh to at the same time. They are exciting, engaging with the crowd, joking and with plenty of banter between the two (brother) frontmen. Their new songs sound fantastically catchy, despite me not knowing them. They have fun on stage tonight (Tom going as far as to admit "I don't believe it, we are actually playing a good gig!") and backed by a session bassist and drummer (Formally of dodgy! But now rather podgy!) they create an amazing sound that deafened me for the next day or two. My particular highlights included 'Things I've Done Before' and 'Headacheville'. A happy, enjoyable gig for all who went, with smiles on the faces of the entire crowd. The place was packed out with enthusiastic fans. They MUST be offered a deal before I go mad waiting for their certain-to-be-awesome third album. Amazing stuff.

Alan Smith

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