Posts Tagged ‘The Phenomenal Handclap Band



We are pleased to inform you that we’ve relocated our monthly parties to a new home in Brighton; the larger capacity and better established venue, Audio, with its fantastic view of Brighton’s pier and beach.  We launch here on Saturday 31st July and we’ve pulled out all the stops to book a selection of truly awesome bands and DJs to kick things off in style.

In a change to the original format we’ve now split the evening in two.  Firstly, we have our Recommender Live section, which showcases two or three cutting edge bands from around the world.  From 11pm we step in to the Recommender Late, which is more of club night, bringing an awesome headline DJ to town, alongside our resident Recommender DJs – consisting of Matt Allfrey, from Battery Powered DJs and Jonny Cassell, from the established Blah Blah Blah DJ crew.

Of course our familiar and totally brilliant photobooth will return, (see previous results of that here), and we will be giving away a free mixtape CD to the first 50 people through the door. The mixtape from our last show can be heard and downloaded below. It’s a little bit good…


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

YOUNG EMPIRES – First featured on The Recommender here, we are pleased to be bringing this Canadian three piece to Brighton for the first time ever.  They arrive with a tidal wave of hype and hungry A&R men, alongside their original, percussive, indie pop magic.  The new Friendly Fires anyone?


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

DAVID E. SUGAR – This will be a live set with a band behind this pioneering DJ.  Famous for doing extraordinary things with a Speak & Spell, you may well have come across this underground sensation on Kitsune compilations.  Most recently he’s signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label, which will surely push this artist well and truly overground.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – There’s honestly no superlatives or twisted adjectives that could describe just how good this eight piece New York band are.  They have absolutely every ingredient to make our party go off.  Impossibly entertaining disco, funk, pop and groove are all thumped out by the sexiest band alive today.  Prepare to be hypnotized!


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


RECOMMENDER DJs – We bring to Audio our regular partner in beats, the Brighton hipster Matt Allfrey, from Battery Powered DJs, but standing alongside will now be the head of the Blah Blah Blah DJ crew, Jonny Cassell.  If you’ve been to any killer parties in the city of Brighton in recent years the chances are one of these two were involved.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

RORY PHILLIPS – Topping our club night is this extraordinary DJ.  He’s the protegé to none other than the DJ overlord, Erol Alkan, having had a residency at London’s Trash night and its modern version, Durr.   With a truckload of seemingly perfect remixes under his belt, expect a set of the unexpected – of course played using his signature phone set instead of a pair of headphones.  As Brighton’s going out bible, The Source Magazine, put it: “Rory Phillips should be fanfared into town like a god“.  Well, we are that very fanfare.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

Tickets are available online here, as well as in the Ape, Resident and Rounder Records stores. It’s only £8 advance, so grab yourself a ticket and get your best photobooth face ready…



Two down, one more day to go.  So with the ringing tinnitus killing my poor little ears, a hangover that only two long days of boozing can bring on, a sever lack of sleep impossible to hide from showing in my eyes and a voice that is fading to a kind Jack Palance husk, we head out for one last sunny day in Brighton.  Another stack of excellent shows awaits and by the end of the day we will be worn, but high on the knowledge that this weekend will forever hang long in the memory.



EXPERIENCE – If you sign up to the festival’s text services you get informed about the (immediately not-) secret shows that crop up.  The festival itself is mainly an indoor evening affair, but the officially established Alternative Escape throws up plenty before and after the main performances.  We awoke, having partied the previous night at the Moshi Moshi Records party at the New Hero venue, to the text service informing us that Fenech Soler were going to be playing outdoors at 13:00 next to the train station.  We headed down to a large, backstreet area, which is normally just a, well,  backstreet area, to find a crowd starting to form.  Amul, Fenech’s manager was there, (we had spent some time together at the Moshi Moshi party the previous night), so I said hello to him and the band as they waited to go on.  This was the band’s fourth set of the weekend, with at least one other to do this evening, so not only did they seem the hardest working group of the weekend, but the buzz around town was that they were totally ace awesome live.  They duly blasted through a fantastic set, to a packed courtyard, looking as fresh as their first performance.  The only distraction from a memorable, engaging show was the arrival of a flash mob.  A large group of people had gathered within the crowd and started dancing in a rehearsed routine.  We’d never experienced a flash mob first hand and we have to say it was totally fucking awesome!  All gigs should hire one!  They even froze to the chorus for Stop And Stare.  As if that wasn’t enough, they then let off an explosion of confetti.  Are you able to imagine how totally brilliant this looked?!  And we hadn’t even had lunch yet.  We love the Great Escape.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This brother/sister duo was the first of two artists that we would see today that are due to play the Recommender’s next party.  Another afternoon show, this time down at the beach-front club, Life.  Walking around the club’s warren of tunnels to find them seemed somewhat appropriate, as their music is one long attempt to transport you to some sort of cute nether-world of magic and coy mystery.  We found them to be as sweet and tidy as their videos and songs had always suggested, converting the productions well into a live set.  George hit the keys and lined up the samples, whilst Milky sang as if not a care in the world.  Were the room not busy she would surely have produced exactly the same dream-like performance.  It was mesmerising, a little fantastical and ended with Milky throwing a handful of glitter into the air towards the audience as the last song hit it’s final note, (played on a triangle of course!).  Once it was over we waited for them to pack up so we could go and say hello and introduce ourselves.  It’s worth noting just how young they became once we engaged them in conversation off stage.  It was like talking to two little children.  OK, so their tiny reserved voices, reticent natures and modest confidence will never win over Wembley stadium, but it gave a context to their sound that we never had before.  They’d never been to Brighton, but already Milky said she wanted to live here.  Thinking about it, this place is perfect for her.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – We enjoyed lunch on the beach and a few beers at the Oh So Social beach-fronted bar, prior to the second of today’s enjoyable street gigs.  This time the temporary stage was knocked up on a groynes that jutted down the beach, giving the band the backdrop of both the sea and our famous pier.  From a photography perspective it really couldn’t get more Brighton.  As we sipped our pints we heard the first few bars of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s set kick off, so we raced straight over.  The Groynes filled rapidly, being set in such a busy area and with these street gigs not requiring a Great Escape wristband, it was free and open to all.  It’s a great way to show those people who didn’t obtain a ticket the type and quality of acts that are on show all weekend.  Two fellas jammed on their synths and twiddled their knobs at the back of the stage and two fellas prance enthusiastically up front.  It worked well and we should point out how hard it must be to generate energy during a daytime gig, with no lights, no smoke, broad daylight and a sea breeze on this occasion.  However they had the crowd singing along, particularly to their strongest single to date, Dance The Way I Feel, and a broad smile was found on the vocalists face as he spotted a lively bunch of young teens bouncing like mad at the front of the audience.  The smiles was contagious and set us up well for the oncoming evening.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was the second of today’s artists that are booked for the next Recommender show, which they headline, so we were obviously keen to see them.  We went straight backstage at Audio to say hello to frontwoman and main songwriter, Sarah McIntosh.  She sat there alone and looked nervous.  “Look at me…” she suggested as she held up her hand, which was shaking like a tambourine.  With her young face, her asymmetric haircut and designed eyeliner, this was an artist that had put some effort in, but it reminded us of a student about to sit her exams.  Perhaps the promise of label bosses and A&R in a lot of the crowds at The Great Escape can do this to the performers?  Perhaps Sarah’s like this every time?  Either way, this was going to be interesting.  The set began as most of her songs do, with a piano refrain and her Kate Nash-sounding vocals, but the microphone stand was too far away, causing her to stretch over the keyboards.  Poor thing. If she was nervous before, then now she had a real battle on.  She adjusted the stand for the second song, explaining it all rather engagingly to the audience.  Sadly the stand kept slipping down as she sang, so she gave up on it and snatched the mic from it’s holder.  At this point the show shifted.  It forced her to leave the comfort of the piano’s position and come centre stage, dancing, twisting and posing as she sang.  It became a dramatic performance, where you couldn’t take your eyes off her.  During one heartfelt moment, she put her hand on the chest of a boy stood at the front, as if hypnotising him, accepting the crowd’s existence.  It reminded us of Marina Diamondis and proved we have booked ourselves someone who not only has the tune-bag packed full, but someone who also has an enchanting charm when performing.  This is definitely a chart-bound star of the future. Look out.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was always going to be a set cut short as Theophilus London was due onstage within the next half hour, so we had to leave with enough time to catch him.  No matter as half of this band’s set is enough to make you smile and besides we had caught them live back in March of this year, so we were well aware of how incredible they are.  We’d shared a few laughs with their lead guitarist Luke on that previous occasion, so it was nice that he recognised us as we waited stage right.  As they set up we also took the chance to chat with Tinashe, another exciting act that had been playing various shows at the Great Escape this year.  We confirmed our interest in booking him for a future Recommender show and he agreed that it would be a great idea, so we will let you know in due course with that one.  As we looked backstage it was nice to watch all seven members of The Phenomenal Handclap Band get in a little pre-game huddle.  It says something for their closeness and focus, which translates directly into their engaging performance.  They did their usual magic of starting the show by jamming for several minutes before hitting their stride with You’ll Disappear, a song we didn’t want to miss, so we were pleased they played so early in their set.  The packed, sweaty crowd in this dark basement suited this hardworking band perfectly.  They have a fantastic bond with each other and that infects the crowd.  We left the room noticing that every single person within it was smiling broadly.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was possibly the one artist that we were most excited about seeing out of the dozens on show this weekend.  Why?  Well, firstly, his blend of crossover hiphop is totally fucking ace, and secondly his performances comes with a warning sticker that says ‘look out’, in bright neon pink!  Additionally, his fashion is so fly and so fresh that he was always going to shine in a room full of drunk youngsters.  So we arrived at this venue, which is situated at the end of the pier, which adds in it’s own sense of exciting magic, a few minutes early with our man Mark Stafford, a music lawyer and good friend, who was enjoying his seaside jaunt away from London.  As we stood in the bar we spotted two of the boys from Mirrors, so we chatted over a couple of rounds of beers and thanked them for a good set of performances this weekend (see previous Great Escape posts).  They agreed to join us in watching Theophilus do his thing.  Standing alone on stage and working the samples and pre-recorded beats himself he fearlessly launched into his set.  The amount of energy and enthusiasm this guy protrudes is exceptional.  It’s like he’s possessed by his music.  Jerking and posing, knocking his cap, tipping his shades, flirting with the girls and dominating the space, this was a totally perfect boozy peak to the evening.  He ended by letting the last song blast out over and over, whilst he jumped off stage, selecting to dance with the crowd until it’s close.  To say they wanted more was an understatement.  We quickly met with his agent to try to secure a future Recommender show.  It’s worth noting that as we left the venue we bumped into Jamie Klaxon.  With our best journalistic hat on we asked him when the new Klaxons album might be ready and his uninhibited and certainly inebriated self informed us that they’re aiming for August 21st.  Drunken exclusive.  Nice.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – Having quickly darted into Audio one more time for a knockout cocktail on the busy evening terrace, we duly wandered down to Concorde 2, just in time for the last tune of Chatau Marmont‘s set.  In a way this kind of points out the scale of The Great Escape, as this is a band we planned to watch and would love to see live, but because we were at the end of a mammoth three day festival, missing them in place for a Mojito somehow didn’t seem so bad.  Nevermind, as we were really there to catch Sleigh Bells, the band arriving from New York with the most buzz.  We darted straight backstage to say hello and met with their manager.  Being over-confident on booze it’s possible that we tried to book them for a future Recommender show.  Not totally sure though.  Anyway, we were introduced to the New York duo.  We enjoyed a funny moment when Derek Miller and I shook hands, before Alexis stepped forward and said “Hi, nice to meet you. My name’s Alexis…”.  As if I didn’t recognise precisely who she was.  We knew she was gorgeous, but in person she’s knock out.  Totally knock out.  We wished them lots of luck, but tonight they weren’t going to need it.  Much in the same way Crystal Castles only played with a strobe light, the lighting for this show made it virtually impossible to photograph.  We tried it from the photographer’s pit below, then from the stage entrance steps and finally by actually sneaking onstage with them, hiding behind the sampler desk.  Lights or no lights, Alexis runs around the stage like a woman possessed, her hair moshing to the music.  They’re unstoppable.  The crowd got over-excited during Crown On The Ground and invaded the stage, which is not that easy when you consider there’s a barrier, a broad gap and quite a big step up, but the frenzy was simply too exciting for them.  They were all quickly cleared offstage and Sleigh Bells completed the set that completed this years festival for us.  It was glorious.  The perfect storm.  We love Brighton.  It seems that there’s really no better place to escape to than your own home.




If you love The Phenomenal Handclap Band and Clock Opera as much as we do, then hold onto your chair…

24hours after posting our exclusive interview, (see the below post), with the delectable Clock Opera, his remix of another Recommender favourite, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, arrived in our inbox.  How could we not post it!?  It’s fucking awesome!

Check out Clock Opera.  Check out The Phenomenal Handclap Band.  Then check this out!


To add to the lovely awesomeness, here’s a collection of TPHCB’s videos, because, well, they’re all so amazing…




You swan in here without even a remote glance at our yearning eyes, taking our word for it and pinching our mp3s, without so much as a ‘by your leave’. Well we won’t stand for it anymore. What’s that you say? Oh OK, go on then. We’re such push overs. Love you really…

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


They may have themselves a large band, with up to eight members involved. They may well use plenty of tidy handclaps alongside their addictive beats. But are they phenomenal? A confident declaration indeed, no doubt with all eight tongues firmly in all eight cheeks, but it’s undoubtedly a signal of their brimming confidence at the very least.  What we do know is that we are slowly getting pulled into their shoreline. They have received a fair bit of love from the blogs of recent, but what we have also read is that they firmly hook you with their live shows. They enjoyed a very positive SXSW experience and all New York affiliations state they are “ones to watch”. We have them touring the UK in September and The Recommender for one is going to try and lure them down to Brighton for a night.  The band was started by a pair of DJ’s, but although there’s plenty to dance to, with their 70s disco beats and 80s New York rap basslines, there’s the occasional and wonderful foggy, dreamy, 60s vocal provided over the top. In fact there’s something from almost every decade wrapped up in them somewhere – perhaps inevitable with this many members involved! Their musical tardis makes sure it brings nothing but all the best bits home though. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – 15 TO 20 (David E Sugar remix) (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


They’ve been bubbling away for some time in the blog circles, with releases coming out of the trendy French record and fashion label Kitsune. They release their second single, This Momentary, at the end of August. We attach it below with the wonderful video directed by Dave Ma. It seems to have been beautifully shot, like a series of William Eggleston photos, in a derelict, Chernobyl-like Russian town. The tune builds and builds like a Crystal Fighters construction, were they fronted by the vocal members of We Have Band and backed by the drummer out of Friendly Fires. It’s strong, addictive and is perfect to get lost in, like those summer clubbing experiences when your dancing with your eyes closed in the throng. The Manchester three piece throw out sounds that hark back to a time when Manchester blended rock sensibilities with dance music and filled warehouses, clubs and venues alike. In this sense they seem a distant child of New Order, yet are fantastically contemporary, like the half-brothers of Bloc Party. It’s music made for popping pills, but in a good, hazy way that’s not been seen since that period when Manchester ruled our modern culture.    (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       DELPHIC – THIS MOMENTARY (ysi)
Hear them here:       DELPHIC – COUNTERPOINT (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


Johnny Jewel has been rather busy of recent. He is the man behind the recent big electro disco push, producing bands such as Chromatics and Glasss Candy, but it’s with this new incarnation, (a project that finds him pairing up with Montreal resident Megan Louise), that we find ourselves finally seduced. There’s something beautifully minimal about them, with the simplest of beats and tiny, delicate, soft keys. The vocals often drift around and are full or echo, repeating sounds and mantras, but they are never pointlessly supplied. There’s also an enchanting draw with Megan’s sexy female voice, “Lets go out tonight…”, as their songs of love and lust slowly lure you in. It’s the same Italo disco you get from the equally attractive Fan Death, who The Recommender’s been in love with for a while now. If you can find the more enjoyable, upbeat, cleaner tracks, away from their slower and slightly more self-indulgent ones, then you will reveal them at their best. Releases are coming from the Italians Do It Better record label and a tour that encompasses parts of Europe before hitting a few spots around the UK during November.     (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:         DESIRE – DON’T CALL (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

Spring and Autumn are notoriously busy periods for any town’s live music scenes, as the students flood back to venues and spend their parent’s hard earned money. Brighton is no different, so we are looking forward to seeing lots of juicy live acts in the coming weeks. Any outstanding finds will obviously be reported back here immediately.

The Recommender's Flickr Photos

July 2020



The Hype Machine




Part of Vice blogging network




Add to Technorati Favorites


mp3 blogs


Loaded Web - Global Blog & Business Directory








CLUB SMITH (Previously known as THE HAIR)


Mike Bradford (MB) - Creator and Contributor (UK)

Olivia Gable (OG) - Contributor (Austin, USA)

Matt Allfrey (MA) - Contributor (UK)

Natasha Ryan - Photographer (New York, USA)