Not often do you get the pleasure of the ultimate synesthesia experience of beautifully crafted sound and visuals in live music these days. Most bands and artists will settle for a mundane backdrop to let the music do the talking. SoundScreen, a night of live music and video art showcases how each can compliment one another by perfectly planned paring and collaboration. As the third and most distinctive show yet, Brighton Dome Studio Theatre welcomed local bands Them The Sky, Phoria and Written in Waters with the visual support of video artists from the UK, to as far as Russia and the US.
The first unique performance of the night came from local collective Them The Sky. The atmospheric timely introduction led by an ambient instrumental, set the scene for a then chaotic journey of music and visuals. With the introduction of more instruments and a faster tempo, elements of post-rock and shoe-gaze established the identity of the dully-clothed figures on stage. Each video selected portrayed the musical structure of each song. The use of flutes and xylophones then created a distinctive futuristic sound, which was reflected by the galaxy, and space shaped visuals. With guitars building and bending, each song became more epic than the last in a style similar to Sigur Ros and Mogwai, while still remaining rare.
After an hour wait, the beautiful genre mixing of Phoria was next on stage. An intense performance of indie, trance, dub step and highly emotional acoustic numbers resulted in a set of constant surprises. It began with a funky up-tempo number accompanied by nautical themed visuals and ended with an aggressive climax of onstage dancers and erratic instrumentation. Each song more different than the last, Phoria’s choice of visuals followed in the same path ranging from stop motion illustration to the questionable narrative of a vulnerable young woman being filmed. The repetition of the final song, dark tone, plus the build up of instruments combined with matching lighting choices meant that the bands performance ended as the most captivating and intense of the night. Their whole performance was sublime in every sense of the word.
Now, headliners Written in Water’s are no strangers to welcoming a jaw dropping audience. The vocals of lead singer Beth are enough to put any reality talent contestant to absolute shame. As one of Brighton’s most exciting, passionate and audacious bands, tonight’s performance was outstanding – particularly with the combination of entrancing visuals. Everything from stage presence to stage outfits was spectacularly unique. The uplifting wall of sound Written in Waters create is almost theatrical and, because of that, is somewhat genre defying. Tonight the operatic vocals and energy of each member of the band bring the venue to life in a virtually bewitching manner and after an 8 minute long finale the night comes to truly epic close.
With the intensity of both the music and visuals, SoundScreen was a surprisingly relaxing and immersive event. The way in which both complimented each other meant that neither was a distraction, instead enhancing the atmosphere and creating a gratifying and delectable experience.