Dead Blood Cells/Brutalist Architecture In The Sun

SAKS, Southend -  4 August 2018

"A great show in spite of suffering sound issues"

Cult 13 is a monthly club night for alternative music in Southend. It is held in the downstairs (underground) bar of SAKS near to Southend Station. The bar itself is large and airy, as is the stage. Although if you are six foot plus tall you might not want to pogo or jump to much as the ceiling is very low.

Tonight, the venue is hosting two bands from south of the river (Kent) Brutalist Architecture in the Sun and Dead Blood Cells. Not sure if it was because it was one of the hottest days in the year (even I had resorted to shorts) with a Mute T-Shirt, but the audience numbers were not great - probably about fifteen people.

Which was a shame because, as ever, Dean from Brutalist Architecture In The Sun put on a great show armed with an iBook (running Ableton Live) a Korg MS 20, Behringer Deep Mind 12, Novation Bass Station 2 and a Waldorf Striechfett (String Machine). Obviously Waldorf have great ESP as they sent me an email about this device the day before.

He was ably supported but the wonderful vocals of Mr Cye Thomas, who gave another engaging performance and spent as much time in the audience performing as on the stage. He also expertly managed to get the sound guys to adjust his vocals in the mix (again by coming out front to get them changed). This was a clever thing to do as the sound was being run from the side and not the front of the stage - and initially the vocals were totally overpowering and distorting, then too low, and then just right.

This was achieved within the first song which meant we could just sit and listen / dance to the music. Sadly, only one member of the audience was from Basildon but I think he got a kick out of the track Basildon being dedicated to him. As always, a great set and the club's odd videos playing in the background seemed to fit very well - as did the brickwork showing through the edge of the stage wall - all very Brutalist Architecture.

Setlist: Humanise, Peepshow, Malevolent, Oblivion, 2Horses, Basildon, Something New, Running on Empty/Popular Lies Encore: Love & Science

Brutalist Architecture In The Sun Southend 2018
     Brutalist Architecture In The Sun Southend 2018    Brutalist Architecture In The Sun Southend 2018

Photos [L-R]: Brutalist Architecture in the Sun x3

There was then a short break with some odd remixes and covers, including I believe it was Cradle of Filth's cover of Heaven 17's Temptation. Anyway, back to the live performances and next up were Dead Blood Cells (Jason and Tamara), sadly they too suffered from the mix not being quiet right between vocals and instruments, which did detract from the overall effect. But both the power of the music and Tamara's singing ability managed to shine through at times and certainly the experience improved as the set progressed.

When they performed a very different cover of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now (I did point out to Jason referring to the track as a Lena Lovech cover might give higher credibility!) - the slightly more minimalist backing track certainly enabled Tamara's vocal to take centre stage. This was followed by We are Total Alien and Anti Love Song (encore) which were equally powerful.

Setlist Minator, Digital Freak, I Will Only Break Your Heart, The Candles They Flicker, Sometimes Not At All, I Think We're Alone Now, We Are Total Alien, Encore: Anti-Love Song

Dead Blood Cells Southend 2018    Dead Blood Cells Southend 2018    Dead Blood Cells Southend 2018

Photos [L-R]: Dead Blood Cells

The evening was rounded off by some more traditional alternative music including Killing Joke's Love Like Blood and Virgin Prunes' Baby Turns Blue. All in all, a very enjoyable and unexpected evening in the downstairs bar of a club in Southend. Both acts gave great performances and I will definitely try to see both acts again; and hope to see Tamara in a setting when the full strength of her vocals can be appreciated.

8/10 for the performances 6/10 for sound quality especially for Dead Blood Cells.

Review + Photos: Mark Smith