Faced with a choice between hip electro-poppers Hot Chip and Brighton-based fledgling post-rockers My Little Problem last night, I decided it would be preferable to witness a relatively obscure band on its way up than a mainstream one on the way down. I'd been disappointed with Hot Chip's latest album (see my review here) and although I've heard that they do put on a decent live show, the idea of mingling with the inevitable throng of smug Brighton trendies in their 'so retro it hurts' pointy shoes was enough to convince me to brave seedy student haunt Hector's House to catch the latter, more low-key option. I was glad I did. The first (apparently nameless) support act was distinctly average, but the bar was soon raised by newly-formed experimental folk-rockers Man Ray Sky, who despite some sound issues, delivered an impressive set, especially considering it was only their second ever gig together. Next up was Belinda Gillet, whose beautifully soaring Sandy Denny-esque vocals and soft acoustic balladry was largely wasted on the noisy student crowd. The place was heaving by this point, a real buzz in the air about the immiment appearance of the headline act. An unconventional-looking multi-instrumental eight-piece, My Little Problem's hypnotic shoe-gazing epics have all the sprawling post-rock elegance of Explosions in the Sky, with a dash of Sigur Rós-style minimalist melancholy. Apparently MLP are off to the reverred South by Southwest festival this summer, a sure sign that they are destined for bigger things than Hector's House, and rightly so. It was worth putting up with the faint smell of wee and sticky floors to catch these guys in an intimate setting, at the start of what looks set to be a promising career. It turned out I wasn't the only one to choose MLP over Hot Chip - several people had even bailed half way through the gig across the road at the Corn Exchange to be there, which makes me think I made the right choice in the first place.
My Little Problem, Belinda Gillet and Man Ray Sky