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Sounds Phenomenal Recordings

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Sounds Phenomenal - A History

In The Beginning 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Credits

The Sound Of The City 2002

Brochure welcome

Latest Homes article

Line-up for the week

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Event photos

Badger review (Friday night)

The live showcase event that had been started to be put into place in 2000 and developed in 2001, was built on and consolidated by 2002 into a streamlined and sponsored package. With Sounds Phenomenal having cemented a good working relationship with Sussex University by this point, it became possible to expand the showcase and integrate it more fully into the University's Freshers Week celebrations. Sponsors were sought and found, in the shape of Jägermeister , Latest Homes and Sol Beer, and with considerable support from the University's Students Union.

A broader range of music, more representative of the scale on offer in Brighton, was promoted. A new lunchtime programme, experimented with in the previous year, was integrated into the event. Greater concentration was also made on the marketing and branding of the event. Partnerships were created with sponsors and campus media.

Students who had begun their academic careers in 2000 could now see the development of the showcase to the stage it had reached in their final year. Those who were coming to Brighton for the first time were attracted by the scale of the welcome offered by their University, and the breadth of live music available in their new home town - a place often better known for it's club scene. Local artists had become keen to play the event, realising that it would give them great exposure to brand new audiences and a perfect opportunity to promote themselves outside of town. Many of them would end up with further campus bookings as a result of having played at the Sounds Phenomenal showcase.

The welcome note inside the event brochure read thus:

"My goodness, is it that time of year already? It doesn't half come around quickly! Well, here we go again…

There will be some of you who remember last year - seeing British Sea Power at East Slope and then tracing their rise as they went on to support Pulp at the Eden Project, watching Speedboat split up on stage and managing to evacuate over half the bar in the process, the sheer volume of They Came Down From The Trees, and many other special memories of the Sounds Phenomenal Freshers Week Showcase of 2001. 

But for most of you, a very warm welcome to Brighton (in general) and Sussex University (in particular). You've made the right decision and come to a great place.

'The Sound Of The City' is intended as a 'sampler of the scene', a chance for you to find out about and see many of the great live, unsigned acts that come from and play in Brighton & Hove. Now in our third year of producing the showcase, Sounds Phenomenal has really upped the ante for 2002. It is our first time working with sponsors (and we thank them for their support). We've also made sure that the music comes from a much more diverse pool of styles and players, from the live loops of Phloot Groove and the girl on girl hip-hop action of Plan B to Jah Love's reggae system and the open scapes of local alt. country types, JP Delph & The Mighty Fine, along with sets from Sounds Phenomenal guitar based favourites such as Shark, Liquid Laugh and the Radio 1 playlisted Agent J, who will be both opening and closing the week's proceedings. 

Last year, we experimented with the concept of lunchtime shows to add to the fun that we were bringing you in the evenings at East Slope. This year, Falmer Bar becomes our second venue at 'Sound Of The City' with a full program of live music to enhance your dining pleasures.

There's a lot of great live music to see over the course of the week. And you can never tell where these acts will ultimately end up. Radiohead once appeared at East Slope. Even Jimi Hendrix played Sussex University before anyone had really heard of him. 

So…enjoy the week, find yourself a new favourite band, and remember where you saw them first!"

The following article appeared in Latest Homes to promote the event:

The Sound Of The City

This fair city of ours has itself many reputations. They stretch from the seaside Victoriana of the naughty weekend and the coastal escape from the demands of modern Metropolitan living, to a political test bed for Government policy initiatives or the ‘British San Francisco’ of its large gay community. The Brighton (and Hove) of the imagination is thus a multi-faceted creature. It is, however, as the cultural epicentre of the South Coast that Brighton embeds itself most strongly in the minds of its residents and visitors. Witness the quarter of a million people who turned up when Fatboy Slim announced his free party on the beach this summer. It is ‘the place to be’ to have a good time.

Although there is a common complaint that Brighton is more of a club town and that it doesn’t do enough to support live music, the evidence would often appear to contradict that. The Concorde 2 succeeds in putting on a huge range of live music and most medium size touring bands fit in an appearance there. Promoters like Melting Vinyl ensure such treats as The Strokes coming here before they appeared anywhere else in the UK and Lee Hazlewood’s only 2002 concert outside London. The Essential Festival has brought such musical titans as James Brown, Public Enemy and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry here. And then there are the Universities.

Lord Dearing, one of the government’s key advisors on higher education, was recently reported as saying that Universities should become ‘giants’ in their regions, boosting the local area with ideas and highly skilled people, and promoting the regional economy and culture in addition to their more traditional academic roles.

Sounds Phenomenal has been helping Sussex University with this aim since 2000, having brought live music back on to campus after an absence of some years, and are now in their third year of providing the Freshers Week showcase of the best of the City’s unsigned live acts.

Having started life as a community arts project that provided access to music making and training for young people in the area, SP has a pedigree of supporting music at its grassroots. We are therefore proud to present ‘The Sound Of The City 2002’, in association with Jagermeister, The Latest/Latest Homes, USSU and Sol Beer, as a sampler or ‘live flyer’ of the best of Brighton’s live, unsigned acts.

This year’s line-up offers a greater diversity than in previous years, running from the live loops of Phloot Groove and the girl on girl hip-hop action of Plan B to Jah Love’s reggae system and the open scapes of local alt. country types, JP Delph & The Mighty Fine. It also includes sets from SP guitar based favourites such as Shark, Liquid Laugh and the Radio 1 playlisted Agent J, who will be both opening and closing the week’s proceedings.

Brighton is not only a place for a great time, but it also produces some extraordinary talent from its artists and players. Sample ‘The Sound Of The City’ and find out for yourself.

Below is the line-up for the week. Click on an artist to find out more about them:

Monday 7th Tuesday 8th Wednesday 9th Thursday 10th Friday 11th
East Slope Bar
Shark Everise Liquid Laugh Mama Joseph Agent J
Jah Love Breather Waxed Apple Morphic Ocean Icarus Sister
Up Holster The Great Mistakes Dr Pussy JP Delph & The Mighty Fine
Falmer Bar
Agent J Plan B Phloot Groove Zac Hooper Bare Skin Rugs



Falmer Bar

Agent J

‘The best thing to come out of Brighton since Bobby Zamora and the 7.12 to Victoria’, Mark & Lard featured singer-songwriter Agent J is a difficult man to pigeonhole. With a wildly versatile voice and material that's stuffed full of diversity - breakbeats, slide guitars and lyrics that leave you reflective, J will be starting off proceedings for the week with a solo acoustic set

East Slope Bar

Up Holster

Guitar and keyboard-based sound with strong backbeat, providing a danceable, yet intelligent, sound. Ginge, Vikster, Jimmy Fingers & Friendly Mark ride headlong into the realms of fantastical encounters and everyday occurrences, with great depth of feeling and sensitivity. Their influences inculude B&Q crisps, Crunchy Rolos (RIP) and alcohol. 

Jah Love

Jah Love Promotions, The Future Of Kulcha, span street wear, club promotion, graphic design and the finest Caribbean cuisine in town. They also promote other Reggae artists and make music themselves, and at East Slope will be playing a DJ set with a live MC.   


A two year roller coaster as 5 Amp Fuse grounded our boys in the groove. Tank tops and Sly (stone + iggy) Pop was the speaker-shagged movement that happened inside so many heads. And that’s where it could’ve stayed too - if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids. So here are yr (English) guitar & stick-skinwielding beat-heads. 

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Falmer Bar

Plan B

PLAN B is a hip hop collective led by female MC MOLLY MALONE working with singers Xan and Elysha West. 
PLAN B is jazzy-folk-hip hop on a female tip....Live show includes beat box, accapellas, singing, rappin and girl on girl live hip hop action....  

East Slope Bar

The Great Mistakes

The Great Mistakes are a Brighton-based ska-rock band incorporating African rhythms. The band has played throughout Brighton and London for the past two years and has recently started an eponymous monthly event at The Pressure Point to showcase both new and experienced Brighton bands. 


Described as ‘an NME writer’s wet dream’ and as a merger between ‘what's good about Britpop with the visceral impact and aural explosion that was My Bloody Valentine’, Breather are influenced by Sonic Youth and Slowdive and have been to the best aftershow party in the history of rock'n'roll. 


Everise are a 5-piece who have established a reputation for increasingly raucous live shows in the London and Brighton areas, they possess a sound that demands your attention, with slabs of guitar, keyboards and sublime vocal harmonies combining to create sonic landscapes that gnaw at your brain. 

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Falmer Bar

Phloot Groove

With Jim Black on vocals, guitar and electronics and Kirsten Elliott on vocals, flute and electronics, this duo blends a unique mix of styles - from a bluesy jump tune to abstract sounds swimming through a deep house groove. All loops are created from their instruments and manipulated live, a postmodern approach grew out of the late night cafe scene in their hometown of Vancouver, Canada. 

East Slope Bar

Waxed Apple

Fusing elements of dub, hip-hop, electronica and acoustic wierdness, Waxed Apple are one of Brightons' most innovative and exciting bands. ‘No guitars, and no sequencers’ was the driving philosophy behind the group who were "pissed-off with guitar bands looking miserable on stage, or live electronica acts who twiddle knobs behind mixing desks". They use an assortment of electronic (samplers / effects / drum machines) and organic tools (violin / cello / soulful vocals) to create epic songs. 

Liquid Laugh

Liquid Laugh, a five piece Brighton band, combine traditional and electronic instruments to provide their own uniquely powerful and dirty style of fierce funk known as ‘Breakno’. Drawing in influences from techno, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, metal, radio jingles, P-funk, electro and old skool hardcore, the music of Liquid Laugh is a glorious mash up of stlyes with nowhere to go but out there. 

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Falmer Bar

Zac Hooper

Zac is a local guitar tutor and teaches at the Evolution Arts and Health Centre. He will be playing a selection of flamenco, jazz and blues pieces at Falmer Bar. Zac has been playing for 14 years and comes from a family of musicians. He also has a degree in jazz guitar.
Evolution Centre: (01273) 204204  

East Slope Bar

Dr Pussy

The heaviest four piece metal outfit ever...Blends metal with funk, hip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass - very bouncy vibes.

Morphic Ocean

Voted the loudest band in Birmingham, Morphic Ocean are now Brighton's very own fusion of Goth & Punk. Preparing to blow away the cobwebs after a long break (they've been around since Moses), they'll take the stage, mash it up and hand it back in a small box marked 'ouch'. Pretty it ain't. 

Mama Joseph

‘The Best Original Rock Band in the South’. Formerly known as Stonewall Jackson, this band delivers high class Skater-Surf-Rock-Funk. Having worked with the likes of Tony Clark, producer for The Moody Blues, they are on the verge of making it big, so watch this space… 
Check out 

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Falmer Bar

Bare Skin Rugs

Melodic two piece, with harmonies and great songs. Aside from their forlorn guitar and soulful vocal style, they now have among others, a sensationally good drummer.

East Slope Bar

JP Delph & The Mighty Fine

Formed in 2000 as an outlet for the songwriting exploits of its leader Jean-Paul Delph and currently consisting of Jean-Paul (Lead Guitar, Vox), Alain (Drums), Orlando (Double Bass), and Dee (Violin; ex touring member of Chumbawamba), they build on Brighton's fledgling interest in all things Alt.Country/Americana, and have been likened to Leonard Cohen fronting The Violent Femmes.

Icarus Sister

Four adrenalin, gusto and passion driven musicians from Brighton, all under the age of 22, who have played with The Electric Soft Parade, Proud Mary and The Turin Brakes and had their debut single ‘Ghost’ played on 21 regional radio stations throughout the UK - ‘rousing blend of stirring melodies and strong rhythms’ Time Out. 

Agent J

The best thing to come out of Brighton since Bobby Zamora and the 7.12 to Victoria’, Mark & Lard featured singer-songwriter Agent J is a difficult man to pigeonhole. If you absolutely must classify Agent J think passion, think black comedy, think...Tom Waits meets Damon Albarn in a parka. J will be ending the week with a full band.

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Live at 'The Sound Of The City 2002'

Agent J Up Holster Jah Love Shark Plan B
Breather Phloot Groove Zac Hooper Bare Skin Rugs Agent J

This review appeared in The Badger (student newspaper) the following week:

First week of term and East Slope Bar is full to bursting. Everyone's heard about the series of new and unsigned Brighton acts strutting their stuff as part of the Jagermeister-sponsored Sounds Phenomenal event. From acoustic sets comprising of a bloke on a stool in Falmer Bar to full-on rock mayhem in the Slope, Brighton music is at its peak right now, and Badgermusic was there.

The term 'seasoned professionals' sprung to mind as JP Delph and The Mighty Fine took the stage on Friday night. Fronted by, dare I say, a greying Jean Paul Delph, the youthful eye of East Slope bar looked on with intrigue.

Performed by a songwriter involved in the current trend in Brighton, this was rock with a twist. Despite a formidable Weller-style voice, Delph was almost upstaged by the violin player who resisted playing harmonies in the background and gained a few proper rays of limelight. The Mighty Fine are welcome proof that being 23 and sultry are not the essential criteria to grab an audiences attention and they went down well.

Icarus Sister were under 23 and as aloof as they come, but they carried it off. Having supported Turin Brakes and Electric Soft Parade, this foursome look the part and sound it too. With their differing images they mesh together well. As the guitarist's dreads fly around the stage, the singer moves with a contrasting sexiness which makes them an interesting bunch to watch.

A pretty hard, guitar-driven set intermingled with some unpredictable melodies, but the combination of the bass played with the precision of lead guitar and a dynamic absorption in their music kept attention piqued. With more gigs planned, look out for them on the circuit.

But it was Agent J and his band that the crowds had assembled for. Mark and Lard have picked up on the uplifting track, 'Big Blue Sky', and since June, J's sound has been propelled across the country, and rightly so. The track opened the set and oozes a feel good factor that Toploader will only ever dream of. This is because Agent J's radiant smile implies that he might actually be sincere.

With a mixture of breakbeats, catchy melodies and some quirky yet heartfelt lyrics, this man radiates energy to a room full of people. With some cheeky synth sounds and a fantastic sitar tune entitled, 'Still Feel Life...', he closed the 'Sound Of The City 2002' to rapturous applause. There's an album in distribution and I suggest you get your hands on one. Let's just hope that in 2003 Agent J will be creeping in to living rooms nation wide to charm audiences with his warm charisma and inspiring talent.

Ana Smith

All photography by Dom Pates, except Phloot Groove pictures by Kevin Dugdale

'Sound Of The City' artwork by D1 Designs -

© Sounds Phenomenal, 2003