The music scene in Hastings isn’t hanging around when it comes to getting 2016 going.
Fat Tuesday is the first official date in the calendar, but for those unable to wait, a taste of things to come was provided when local heroes Dorey the Wise played a warm-up gig on Saturday at the newly refurbished Albion in George Street, whose renovation has seen the addition of a fully fitted stage and sound system.
The band was playing on the last date of a mini-tour that took in Leeds and Edinburgh as part of the Off Axis initiative, whereby young, unsigned artists swap and share support slots at each others’ concerts, giving themselves a chance to play to audiences across the UK. Thus Dorey the Wise was supported by Ded Rabbit from Edinburgh and Young Jack from Hull - and the combination of the three formed the basis of a show that was bursting with sheer talent, enthusiasm and originality.
But first a word about the venue. The Albion has been transformed into a spacious and highly viable music venue thanks to its state-of-the-art PA system, small enough not to be obtrusive but delivering a clean, crisp sound, not overly loud but amply beefed up by sub-woofers secreted under the stage. There was plenty of room for a reasonably large audience without the space feeling cramped, and - best of all - quick, friendly and efficient bar staff meant that no one was waiting too long to buy drinks.
All of this helped build a great feeling of congeniality and a crowd that was ready to give every bit of support to the hosts as well as their traveling support acts. Ded Rabbit won over the crowd straight away with a huge amount of warmth, originality, twisted humour and some genuinely catchy tunes. Young Jack were more serious, bringing a genre-busting blend of dirty funk and indie rock to the table. Then Dorey the Wise stepped up and gave a powerful set, delivered with supreme confidence and buoyed up by a loyal home crowd. The Dorey faithful were rewarded with a performance that included four or five new numbers as well as the older favourites, and a distinct impression that the band is maturing and producing more complex, deeper material.
The three bands combined to give a clear reminder that there is a huge amount of unsigned talent out there, producing excellent, genuinely original material that doesn’t simply pastiche established styles but is pushing music in a new, exciting direction. Let’s hope Fat Tuesday keeps that ball rolling. Bring it on.
Words by Barry Ashley, picture: www.patpope.com