With a name like Ballet School I already had a feeling that I’d like this band before I even heard a note of their music. They formed in Berlin a little over a year ago and consist of Rosie Blair on vocals alongside Michel Jun Collet on guitar and Louis McGuire on drums. As their name suggests they have one foot steeped in tradition as you can hear the influence of 1980s dream-pop bands such as The Cocteau Twins as well as other artists from that era such as The Cure and Kate Bush. They are however not all about nostalgia as their sound still comes across as current and fresh. Having recently released debut album The Dew Lasts An Hour on Bella Union the set list contained the majority of that album.
Support came from local band Troves who have an experimental pop sound that references Solange and Blood Orange. They are definitely ones to watch out for it catchy songs such as debut single Youth In Decay are signs of things to come.
Ballet School began the set with a shout out to Brighton as they had fond memories of playing here during the Great Escape in May. The luscious sounds created by Michel and Louis sit perfectly with singer Rosie’s hypnotic voice, who is also a bundle of energy during each song. Refreshingly they did not choose to just play songs note for note as they appear on record and changed some songs for the better in their live incarnation. Live, they sound a bit harder and faster than on record and sound more expansive and a lot more confident than when I saw them six months ago.
Halfway through the set Rosie announced they were ‘going to try something a bit different’. This turned out to be a brilliant version of Madonna’s Justify My Love which they completely made their own. Stand out song of the night had to be Crush, which is a gem of a song that would sit perfectly on a soundtrack to a 1980s teen flick. They closed the set with recent single Cherish that is more evocative of their dream-pop roots. That wasn’t quite the end as they played another couple of songs including a stripped back version of Heartbeat Overdrive that they had played earlier in the set.
Although one of the more compact venues in Brighton, The Hope is a great place to witness bands on the way up such as Ballet School and the next time they play Brighton I expect it to be in a much larger venue.
For more on the band visit the Ballet School website.
By Simon England.