Live Review: SON Estrella Galicia – Swim Deep x Currls x Projector 

Escape From The Albert with SON Estrella Galicia…

SON Estrella Galicia brings its one-of-a-kind cultural exchange to Brighton’s beloved Prince Albert for the second time this year, welcoming the spring with their latest instalment: ‘Escape From The Albert’. The sold-out micro-festival would see the return of Birmingham indie rock group Swim Deep, with support from Brighton’s own Currls and Projector

Spanish family-owned brewery Estrella Galicia has a longstanding record of curating exciting events to celebrate live music, beer, gastronomy, and positive impact. The unique experience has seen great success at Hackney’s Paper Dress Vintage over the past two years, making it only a matter of time before it would expand further within the UK. 

It’s a warm Wednesday evening at a homely venue only a stone’s throw away from the seaside, and it feels rather idyllic. Mexican street food vendor Carlito Burrito is set up at the entrance, serving a delicious selection of tacos and nachos to pair with a cold bottle of Estrella Galicia lager. DJs Las Titis, Ryan Scott Löehmann and Marcus Harris propel the night between performances with diverse sets. There are few situations where I expect to hear Sister Nancy, Blue Light Orchestra and Amy Winehouse in the same space, but I have no complaints.  

Venturing into one of The Prince Albert’s cosy sitting rooms, Relic Plastic is offering an interactive taster on how they give new life to waste, inviting attendees to make their own products out of 100% recycled plastic. After an informative session on the handmade goods offered by the recycling centre, my attention is drawn to the low hum of sound trickling in from the stage upstairs. 

PROJECTOR is just beginning their set. The Brighton three-piece have been cited as an experimental art-rock band which dabbles in industrial brutalism, rant-pop, darkwave, and shoegaze. A relatively unassuming outfit, I’m intrigued. Surely enough, PROJECTOR is quick to fill the room from floor to ceiling with a piercing wall of sound. Guitarist Edward Ensbury displays an Ian Curtis-esque diction while bassist Lucy Sheehan embraces a punky abrasion with gritty exclamations, fostering an intense landscape as they juggle shattering instrumentation and sporadically airy melodies. They strike a balance with a steady-moving crowd, planting a seed for the energy to grow. 

In a bid to continue rattling the room, Currls picksup where PROJECTOR left off with rugged garage rock stylings. It is thrashing, impassioned and simultaneously socially conscious. Guitarist and vocalist Hannah Websdale and bassist Jack Smith both make a point to express their solidarity with Palestine, touching upon The Great Escape controversy and pledging their support for artists who have chosen to withdraw from the festival due to its partnership with Barclays, as the bank was found to have links with companies that supply arms to Israel. It becomes evident that making noise about injustice is part of the band’s ethos as they perform ‘Family Man’, a song about Sarah Everard which purports a simple yet explosive message by the end of the song – ACAB. 

The room is substantially stirred. There’s excitement, a subtle tension, but ultimately a release. It is an unexpected lead-up to Swim Deep’s jangly overtones, but it is powerful, nonetheless. When Swim Deep emerge front and centre, the energy morphs into something far less assertive. With a solid setlist comprised of songs from their early catalogue and upcoming fourth studio album ‘There’s A Big Star Outside’, there’s a lightness in the air as the tracks simply compel you to have fun and feel good. 

Emerging after seeking a creative redirection, the band takes the audience through their curious musical journey, which sees them revisit early favourites such as the gleaming ‘Honey’ and charmingly sensitive ‘She Changes The Weather’. Embracing their ambitious style changes and boasting far more complexity than just another guitar band, they even include ‘Namaste’ for a fast-paced, synth-heavy groove and acid house-inspired ‘Fueiho Boogie’. Each member of the band appears to be totally entranced by their own sound, beautifully attuned to each change. 

During the set, frontman Austin Williams notes that he and bassist Cavan McCarthy have entered fatherhood, and it is only then that the passage of time becomes realised for Swim Deep as their performance maintains the same sense of summery, bright-eyed liveliness that they debuted with just over ten years ago. As the final notes end, you find yourself exiting the venue with a comforting sense of nostalgia and contentment.

Words: Kayla Sandiford

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