Live Review – Orchards @ The Sunflower Lounge


The Sunflower Lounge

Review by SdM


Ever since the Greeks invented the weekend a huge problem has existed: Monday morning. The sense of dread as the hours and minutes tick by on Sunday evening – as sure as hangover follows beer – it’s on its way. Whether it be school, college, work or the gallows, the thought of Monday morning is always suffused with a sense of dread. Praise be to The Sunflower Lounge then for it just might have found a cure – well, a distraction at least – in the shape of Brighton band, Orchards.

From start to finish Orchards sparkled and entertained with a collection of catchy songs infused with colourful riffs, bright and enchanting harmonies, hooks and beats. A rousing and engaging 40 minutes of jingle-jangle pop-rock of the highest calibre allied to a sense of fun, letting go and having a blast of a good time.

Guitarist Sam jumped around the stage whilst playing a multi-effects laden sound of echoing, phasing, flanging, tea-making (possibly) and generally sounding like a one man orchestra. Odd notes and musical phrasing is thrown in to nudge you off course and grab you back again into the melody driven groove of each tune. His impressively long curly hair swayed about under a green woolly hat and didn’t budge even when he fell off the bass-drum at the height of his exuberance. Bass player Dan appeared to be rocking the 70’s young offender look complete with nascent moustache, white socks and cropped hair. He even made a decent stab at topping it all off with a Liverpool accent. Well done lad. His tuneful bass playing and harmony backing vocals impressed and were the bedrock of the Orchards sound. All the pace and scale you could wish for from a rhythm section was topped with some excellent drumming from his partner-in-rhythm, Will.

As ever a bands’ vocalist is the focus and Lucy takes to the task with a wonderful sense of irreverent fun. Often seen crossing her eyes, shaking her head and dancing like loon, it was all done with a endearingly kooky and engaging style. Rather like Sam, barely a note is dropped during the fun; and the energy and enthusiasm remain undimmed for the duration. From the first song Lucy could not resist jumping into the audience; back on stage she addresses the front row, “sorry I’m invading your space.” Then after gathering her thoughts, “I’m probably going to do it again.” Later she climbs the stair balcony and sings from there. Song over, “er… how do I get down?” You don’t Lucy, you and the guys have to stay here and do this every Sunday night. Sorted. Cheers!

Musically, whilst very different to Orchards, support act Soeur were no less entertaining. Power riffs from the twin guitars of Tina and Anya reverberated around The Sunflower Lounge with an authentic heavy spine trembling rock.

The two 6-string magicians conjured up some dark mystical rock with deliciously heavy shades of nu-metal, classic rock and blues. The vocals impress throughout the set – an astonishing interplay of soft and sweet harmonies at one moment break into a ferocious fury that bulldozes you with sheer dynamism the next. Tina and Anya head-banged like an early angry Metallica in a short set that both captivated and charmed. Their sound is unique and compelling and seems to be winning new friends wherever they play.

Tina makes a living as a professional busker. So whilst Karma Chameleon and Baker Street might pay the rent it also pays for Soeur to tour and make records. There is little doubt that with the sheer force of will and ever-growing musical talent, that will change very soon.

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