Surrounded by an audience perched imperiously above and around him, Lawry Tilbury, aka Birdengine, looked strangely vulnerable as he waited to perform.

Hunched over his nylon-strung acoustic guitar, he immediately proved otherwise with a confident and discomfiting set.

Tilbury’s unusual voice, vaguely reminiscent of Antony Hegarty, is a thing of wonder, swooping freely between guttural lows and eerie highs. The guitar, picked and twanged sparingly, worked perfectly as an accompaniment, accenting the vocals without ever overpowering them.

But it is the often-bewildering lyrical menace of the material that makes Birdengine such a fascinating proposition. Many of the songs operate in a world where the boundaries between life and death are blurred, where confessions to canine decapitation are darkly funny, but a threat to “sew your eyelids shut” was capable of sending a shiver down the spine, even in the increasingly hot venue.

A mix of deadpan remarks, random low vowel sounds and even some mildly sarcastic beatboxing between songs only added to the bizarre, yet deeply likeable, tone of the performance.

A reminder that, for all the talented acts sourced for this festival from across the UK and around the world, Brighton is home to some of the most compelling.