Live@ Patterns: MarthaGunn

MarthaGunn’s set at Brighton’s Patterns provided the laid back tunes and catchy guitar grooves that makes their debut album so enticing


Image: Bethany-Jo O’Neill

An exciting band who released their debut album, Something Good Will Happen, this September, MarthaGunn filled the house then bought it down at Brighton’s Patterns on Monday night, a city ‘where it all started’ for the group.

MarthaGunn filled the house then bought it down at Brighton’s Patterns on Monday Night

The audience were thoroughly warmed up by the pulsating drum beats and harmonic vocals of the excellent Nierra Creek who quipped, “Holy shit you all turned up … probably because Instagram died.” One of the highlights of the duo’s set was ‘Daisy,’ which they explained has previously taken many different forms. Although currently unreleased, this track will be one to look out for in the future because when a song is consistently refined in performance, it tends to become a masterpiece in recording.

Nierra Creek insisted that this gig was one of the best they had played and the supportive atmosphere they had emanated from the crowd remained to welcome the main act.

Taking to the stage in an incredible patterned suit, MarthaGunn’s lead vocalist Abi Woodman opened the show with an infectious energy which was reciprocated throughout the room. The obvious joy the quintet amass from performing together live was heart-warmingly beautiful to witness after so long without live music.

‘Undone’ portrayed one of the best examples of light and shade in a song that I have heard in a long time. The verses were soft but built in intensity as the song progressed. The subsequent crescendos within the chorus paired with the propelling drum beat and guitar groove rendered it impossible to stand still. One of the biggest crowd pleasers of the night was Woodman’s tambourine which garnered a rapturous reaction whenever it made an appearance.

Woodman worked hard to build a connection with the audience throughout the night by continually making eye contact during the performance. Alongside this, the singer bravely shared personal anecdotes which sit behind the meaning of tracks such as ‘See You Again.’ Bringing this raw emotion to the fore worked in MarthaGunn’s favour as it allowed the audience to successfully connect with the song as well as the band.

The strongest and most popular track from the band’s debut album, ‘Caught Up and Confused,’ did not disappoint in performance. The way the song’s guitar riffs and drum grooves expertly punctuated Woodman’s vocals delivered a phenomenal impact; especially when these vocals become momentarily isolated in the penultimate chorus. Although a tiny snippet of the set, this detail was easily my favourite of the night.

The way the song’s guitar riffs and drum grooves expertly punctuated Woodman’s vocals delivered a phenomenal impact

Before performing ‘Ohio,’ Woodman explained how the band’s sound has evolved since the writing of this track. Despite this, the band keep the song in their set because it represents a time when they needed to find themselves again and someone special helped them to do so. It must be applauded when a band is able to acknowledge and appreciate their roots, even when they are so different to their current output. Although an anomaly within the set, ‘Ohio’ worked perfectly to demonstrate the band’s versatility. Seeing drummer, Frankie Sparrowhawk, venture to the front of the stage to contribute vocals alongside the rest of the band was particularly powerful. Woodman implored the audience to just listen to this track, however, I think this response would have occurred without instruction; the vocal harmonies were astounding and received the loudest cheer of the evening upon conclusion.

One of the final songs performed on the night was the aptly named ‘Lost in the Moment.’ Woodman’s flawless vocals captivated the audience to ensure the entire room was lost in a collective moment for the whole of the set.

You can always tell the measure of a band by what happens after the show. MarthaGunn came and worked the merch stand where Woodman asked every person their name and thanked them for coming which says it all. Look out for MarthaGunn, they are a band not to be missed.

Something Good Will Happen is available now via Communion Group Ltd

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