Review: Wildbirds & Peacedrums at The Prince Albert, Brighton

Here is a recap of my trip to Brighton to see my favourite live band. So on Tuesday I was listening to Wildbirds & Peacedrums and literally could not wait until next week to see them. I decided to venture waaaay out of the tube zone (about 50 miles out!) and head down to Brighton to see them. It wasn’t the train fare that worried me, just the money. But it was worth every single penny.

I asked to leave work at 4 so I wouldn’t have to face a rush hour London Bridge station, but it was busy anyway and still horrible. I really dislike that station alot, I don’t know why but I find it so much worse than Charing Cross or even Victoria. After tubes and tickets and the journey I got in to Brighton at 6. I went on an epic 40 minute zig-zag walk in search of food but it was a mission to get something for my change. I didn’t want to get a note out of the bank. I got some cheap, not-so-nice food and then went and sat on the beach for half an hour. It was a really beautiful day. I sat and watched the sun go all the way down and it was most pleasant. London needs to get a beach. Stoney beaches are my favourite. I headed up to The Prince Albert which is a medium sized pub literally about 2 minutes (or less!) from the station.

I sat downstairs for a bit, but I literally had 40p left so I couldn’t afford anything. I always feel a bit rude sitting in pubs/cafes and not buying anything. I went upstairs and it was a small room with chairs and tables scattered about. I’m bad with sizes but I would guess capacity was bout 100. I got a table at the front right side and did some drawing and waited for the first band. I saw people pulling up seats and sitting on the floor, I was hoping they’d stand up for W&P.

The first band were called Grasscut. They used lots of samples from old speeches and added beeps and blips. They had a cool electronic double bass which sounded nice too. It wasn’t really my thing but it was still fun to watch. They had a projector beaming weird things like creepy baby doll heads and Princess Leia from Star Wars at that ‘help me Obi Wan Kenobi’ part. Considering how little I actually wanted to see any support band (I just wanted to get straight to W&P) they did a good job of entertaining me. If it was a boring band I would have been so restless and impatient.

Then it was the change over. I was so excited! I stood up because I really didn’t want to be sitting down for W&P. There was another photographer by me standing up too, so it wasn’t so bad. Most people stayed seated, I wanted to pull them up and say ‘Come on! You can’t sit down for this!’. I was standing by the stage and Mariam and Andreas were bringing their stuff to the stage. As Mariam walked past she said hi to me, which surprised me and made me wonder if she remembered me from last month. The stage took a little while to set up and they started off a bit late.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

The band took to the stage and started off with the opener from The Snake, Island. Instantly I thought ‘wow wow wow this is so good’. It really was. Something about Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ live show really captivates me. The drums started picking up and picking up, faster and faster, then POW! We were into There Is No Light. The band are so passionate! It’s such a joy to see. They did a couple from The Snake, first Liar Lion then So Soft, So Pink. They did The Window from Heartcore, then Places and Chain of Steel. Chain of Steel was one of the set highlights, it’s such a fun song. I wanted to sing along. This was one of those shows where I couldn’t help but smile throughout most of the set. I looked at the lady next to me, and she was the same, smiling too. There were a few people behind me that were really into it as well, but alot of the audience were being really passive and just sitting still. Boo! How can you not shake and tap your feet to these songs!? 

They did Doubt/Hope which is such an energetic song and brilliant live. Finally, it came time for My Heart. I have so much love for that song. The pause and then the steel drums and drum part at the end kills me. I could watch them do that song over and over and over and not be bored. They left the stage. We kept clapping and I was really hoping they’d come back. They had no other songs left on the setlist but they didn’t play Today/Tomorrow so I was hoping for that. They came back and seemed so happy and grateful that the audience wanted more. They played I Can’t Tell In His Eyes. It was beautiful and I love that song, so I didn’t mind so much about Today/Tomorrow. They thanked us all then left the stage.

The thing about this band is: they’ve got everything. They have great songs. Their lyrics are interesting and have me listening intently. Andreas is a hugely talented drummer and Mariam has excellent control over her voice. They play with so much passion and intensity that it’s hard not to feel connected to the music when they’re playing it right there in front of you. I really can’t think of a single negative thing to write about them. They’re both endearing on stage and are cheerful and gracious. They clearly love performing very much and we’re so lucky for them to share it with us.

After the show I went over to the merch table to look at all the stuff I can’t afford. I wanted it all, and I would buy it all, but alas, I had 40p. I said hi to Andreas and he said he remembered me and my interview questions. He was so lovely and friendly and we talked about the shows next week and how excited I am for them. He asked if I got any good photos, I said yes but not many of him because he was on the other side. He laughed and said it was OK. While we were talking someone came to buy a CD but only had £8 and asked if it was enough. Andreas was like ‘ohh’ and then the guy said ‘well it’s either that or I get it online for free’. Andreas laughed and gave him the CD. I said bye then saw Mariam and went to speak to her. I said hi and introduced myself and she said she yes she knew who I am and asked ‘what are you doing here!?’. I told her about how I literally couldn’t wait for next week so got the train down and she thanked me for coming and said it was nice to see a familiar face. We talked about Pure Groove and SXSW and some other stuff and I showed her my comic of them and she wanted me to send her a copy. It was approaching 11′o’clock so I said bye and headed off to the station. Mariam was really lovely too and it was good to chat with her.

So, to conclude: Wildbirds & Peacedrums are my favourite live band. Move over of Montreal (!). Mariam said they are playing in Norwich tonight. I wish I could go. I’ve already checked, Norwich, Bristol, Manchester… I would go to all of them but the last train back is at 10pm or earlier for all of them. Darn. Wildbirds & Peacedrums have great songs, are brilliant live and are both super lovely people and I can’t wait to see them again next Tuesday. 

If you have somehow remained impervious to my raving about this band and still not listened to them, here is their Myspace and here is Mariam’s interview. Come see them next week, you don’t want to miss it.


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2 Responses to Review: Wildbirds & Peacedrums at The Prince Albert, Brighton

  1. Samantha April 2, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    Great review! What do they have with them merch-wise? And how much are they selling things for?

  2. anikainlondon April 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks Samantha! They had the usual stuff… Heartcore vinyl was £12. It was all between £10 and £12.

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