This weekend’s tasty music offering doesn’t come in the form of a delicious dance podcast, but as a gourmet introduction to one of the UK’s most exciting electro-pop artists, Bright Light Bright Light.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to see him play live at the legendary Water Rats in London’s Camden. He’s toured with Scissor Sisters, supported Ellie Goulding, is openly gay, and as far as I know, single. I’ve been a fan for over a year and if you haven’t heard of him, it’s about time you did.
Bright Light Bright Light, aka Rod Thomas, is from a small Welsh mining village not far from where I grew up. His gig last weekend attracted an eclectic, up-for-it crowd, with a very generous helping of trendy East London beardy gay boys.
Bright Light Bright Light has some of the catchiest electro-pop tunes you’re likely to come across. My flatmate, who hadn’t heard any of Rod’s music before, was singing along with everyone by the second chorus of ‘Love Part II.’ These songs feel like timeless retro classics while at the same time feeling modern, fresh and relevant to any 21st guy or girl who’s travelling along the bumpy road of love.
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His debut album, ‘Make Me Believe In Hope,’ was my soundtrack for last summer, and it’s never really dropped off my mental playlist. My favourite track is the anthemic ‘Waiting For The Feeling.’ The catchy piano chords and upbeat vocals will have you energized, with your spirits truly lifted by the chorus. I listened to it on repeat for weeks last summer!
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Bright Light Bright Light is great live too – at Water Rats his warm, powerful, passionate, vocals filled the room. He’s also one of the most down-to-earth guys you’re likely to come across.
He’s spent much of 2013 gigging and recording in New York – he’s only back in London for a few weeks, so the Water Rats gig was a rare chance to see him live before he heads back west. I spoke to him about the draw of the USA and New York. He said:
“I always think it’s a good idea to get out of your comfort zone, especially when you’re trying to think of new ideas for work. Moving from the last album I thought a change of scene would be good to get ideas for the next, and it was.
“There’s something quite infectious about the more optimistic language of America, where even doing mundane chores, you’re greeted with a smile – genuine or not.
“It makes your days more pleasant from the start. That’s had a big influence on the records I’ve been writing. It’s a great place to meet people, and people who work and play hard, making the most of their time. That’s very inspiring to me.”
Last weekend’s gig was also a chance to hear some of Bright Light Bright Light’s new material. His closing track, ‘An Open Heart’ was finished less than 24 hours before – the first time he’d performed it in public. It was amazing to hear something so raw and heartfelt. I asked him what it was all about:
“It’s about how people won’t let themselves be open to all the amazing things that happen all around them. It’s quite easy to miss the fine details when you’re looking for the bigger picture, or to over-think and over-complicate situations and miss out on a lot of what’s great about your life. So the song is about trying to see past this and enjoy your life. Nothing’s perfect, but many things are quite wonderful.”