Matisse @ The Green Door Store, Brighton, UK, November 14, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, December 9th, 2023  


Matisse, Rainy Day Café, Sam Eagle

Matisse @ The Green Door Store, Brighton, UK, November 14, 2023,

Nov 19, 2023 Photography by Nick Roseblade Web Exclusive
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I don’t like seeing the same band back-to-back. Especially if you didn’t really know them going into the first gig. Did you enjoy it because it was all new to you? If you have a preconceived idea of it, could it let it down? These were the feelings I had when walking into Brighton’s The Green Door Store for Matisse’s headline show. Luckily these worries vanished when the band took to the stage.

The first band of the night was Rainy Day Café. This indie slacker quartet have only released two excellent songs so far in “Gone for the Summer” and “Coffee”. These songs feel like they could have come from the early 00s, when home DIY indie was having a boom. You know the stuff. A lone songwriter recording on to a Tascam and playing everything themselves. Live the songs, played with a full band, sounded like Connan Mockasin covering Pavement, or was that the other way round. Either way there was a delightful bounce to the music. “You Might Never Come Home” sounded like Urusei Yatsura covering The White Stripes “Fell in Love with a Girl”, but more chill. Midway through their set the band played a cover of Surf Curse’s “Beach Babe”. Chugging guitars, thumping bass and loads of cymbals exploded from the stage. It was a delight. The star of the show was “Coffee”. Members of the audience sang along “Lazy, hazy, dreaming, Gotta my feet on the ground. Ooohh!” and bopped to the music. Their set was over too soon, but it left the crowd wanting more. Rainy Day Café are my new favourite band, and they should be yours too. Ooohh!

After a brief interval Sam Eagle took to the stage. Has it really been four years since Eagle played The Green Door? Probably, but surely not… In the intervening years Eagle has released two exceptional EP’s. 2020’s Something Out of Nothing, 2021’s She’s So Nice and this year’s incredible debut album Are you Listening?. Live, these new songs took on a totally different vibe. They were looser and more chilled. “Creamy Pasta Water” is a sub two-minute track on the album, but live Eagle elongated it, allowing for drummer Mikey and bassist Jake to have time to shine and solo on sounds that weren’t originally conceived this way. “What Gets in the Way of Love?” was a delight live. Eagle’s lilting lyrics floated above the delicate music he, and the band, created. His final song “Turn Me Over” on record is a gentle ballad, but live it sounded like a mixture of Nick Drake and Kieran Leonard. Not a bad combination! For this the band left the stage and he captivated the audience. At one point someone near me coughed and then apologised because they were breaking the mood of the room. Sam Eagle is a real talent. He is very close to becoming a next level singer songwriter. His live shows are captivating but entertaining. His songs of love, loss and redemption and genuinely touching, he just needs that one big song to break him to a bigger audience. It can’t be long before that happens.

Matisse were the final band of the night. The last time I’d seen Matisse they were the opening act. I had been impressed by their brand of catchy dreampop. I had an idea of what to expect, and to look forward for, but I was not expecting what they presented to the full, dare I saw sold out, crowd. The band opened with a short instrumental track. The synth, which was largely hidden in guitars the week before was crisp and glacial. Around this the guitars and bass created an air of anticipation. After this frontman, and songwriter, Matisse Moretti took to the stage. The first full song was “Heavy Petting”. Huge melodies exploded from the speakers. As the song progresses the collective audience swayed, danced and had a blast. The band did the same. “Get on it” was a new song. Here Moretti played an acoustic. It was slower and slightly more tender than the previous songs. It showed another side to Moretti’s song writing. “Say No More” was part cover, part rework. Originally conceived for his previous band FLOWVERS, but never recorded, it was catchy and featured an acoustic guitar. This changed the sound slightly and gave a nice bit of texture to Moretti’s vocals. As with the previous gig they saved the best till last. “Better than Ever” is their strongest song. Catchy lyrics, “Feels like we’re sticking together. It’s going better than ever”, and guitars and synth to match it was a fitting end to another fun, but different, performance. In Moretti Matisse have a charismatic frontman. At one point he said to the crowd “Can everybody move up a bit so the people at the back can get in”. This was a clever thing to do. Firstly, it stopped people pushing their weigh in at the back of the crowd, but it also meant that more people were at the front, engaging with him, the band and the music. Matisse have the kind of sound that with bit of luck, and a few more well-crafted songs, could see them 6music playlisted or soundtracking an episode of Made in Chelsea.

And that was it. The gig was over, the house lights came up and we shuffled out into the dark and cold night. I contemplated about the bands, and their possible fates, on my way home. It’s sad to think that Eagle might not be playing intimate venues like this in the not-too-distant future. Rainy Day Café are a lot of fun and are my new favourite band. What would their album sound, and feel like? Hopefully just as fun and playful, but full of well-crafted songs. Matisse have yet to record anything and the prospect of that gave me a warm feeling that the chilling November wind couldn’t cut through.


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