THE GREAT ESCAPE – REVIEW – DAY 3
This last post on one of the best festivals we’ve ever experienced is dedicated to Derek Davies and the whole Neon Gold crew – the American label, blog and all round kings of cutting edge Indie cool. Following the last day’s mammoth gig-hopping we ended up at their after party at The Ocean Rooms. It was one thing seeing Yes Giantess play us a great after-hours set, meeting the band alongside the label owner and taking photo’s, but that was nothing compared to meeting up with this blog’s current favourite artist, Marina (& The Diamonds). She posed for photo’s and knew our blog. We really couldn’t have topped off the weekend in more style. Perfection.
Experience –We were here to see The Joy Formidable in reality, but whilst leaning against the bar our ears attention was eventually dragged towards this cute 6-piece. As we looked over we found one of the guitarists on his knees banging the floor with sticks as if playing an invisible drum kit. It was an image that flew in the face of a very introverted sounding Indie band. Although the vocals were a little bland, with some pretty basic lyrics, it was still a mesmerising performance with many strengths. We caught them occasionally eye rolling, as in Robert Smith from The Cure, which is always annoying, but the arrangements were clever and never tied down for long. Songs built from delicate, chiming ditty’s to then crescendo in an energetic burst. There were definite signs of life here.
Experience –As lead singer, Ritzy, stepped onto the stage to tune her instruments and sound test it became immediately apparent that she is absolutely fucking tiny! Barely a minuscule 5ft I’m guessing. Pretty and sporting a cuter-than-cute dress and killer blonde bob haircut, they then kicked into gear. My ears may never recover from the atomic sized sound that this little figure produced. Clearly the energetic star of the show and centre of attention, it mustn’t go unnoticed that she both sings and plays lead, proving to also be the big talent in the 3-piece. Smashing her guitar against the amps at the end of the wonderful show-closing song, Cradle, it was confirmed that Kurt Cobain has been reincarnated as a tiny woman! Stunning.
Experience – As we waited in the packed crowd the time ticked by and Marina didn’t show, so we duly panicked. Had we incorrectly read the schedule and gone to the wrong venue!? We checked the schedule, then double checked it. We definitely had the right place, it’s just that it’s running behind – phew! We didn’t want to miss the hottest new female Pop sensation around. A few minutes later our patience was rewarded – on a massive scale! She bowled onto the stage wearing a striking combination of a glittering leotard, complete with love heart over the crutch, killer heels and a leather corset. The shoes were immediately kicked off and she struck the first pose of many, as she gave us the opening track, ‘Girls‘ (which she’s subsequently released for free download today). Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, was in the crowd next to me and must have wondered how she could possibly compete, with her own set due in an hour or so. The performance here was knockout as she moved from covering Gwen Stafani‘s ‘What You Waiting For’, to the excellent ‘Obsessions‘ and outstanding show-closer ‘Mowgli’s Road’. Best performance of the festival so far.
4.) THOMAS TANTRUM
Experience – Due to Marina & The Diamond’s set running late we found ourselves running around the corner to catch Little Boots, but the crowd’s queueing had swelled, as expected. Even the delegates queue was going to be impossible, so we had to cut our losses and make a detour to Thomas Tantrum. We found a packed out and sweaty Hector’s House venue and this meant getting vitually on stage as we took our photo’s with this Rock Pop 4-piece, fronted by Megan’s twee voice. With upbeat tunes full of catchy hooks and witty lyrics, this was decent stuff, but perhaps in reality it felt a little like a time-filler between other bands. Suffice to say we got in the mood by the time they finished with the excellent track ‘Shake It, Shake It’, which indeed we did just before heading onto the Neon Gold after-party.
Experience –You couldn’t imagine a better closing ceremony for our amazing festival than that provided tonight by the world’s hottest talent-spotting Indie record label and blog, Neon Gold. On show tonight were debutant’s Wolf Gang, who were excellent, but it was Yes Giantess that stole our hearts. The label had previously released tracks by the brilliant Passion Pit and so it seems a most natural evolution for them to now have Yes Giantess on their books. With their party-Indie-Pop, they charmed the crowd. We had the chance to meet with the label’s boss, Derek, who in turn introduced us to tonight’s bands, and perhaps more impressively still, Marina (& The Diamonds)! Cue impromptu photoshoots and plenty of back slapping. Perhaps most surprising was that they ALL knew of The Recommender blog, proving that even the New York scenester fraternity cannot escape this Brighton blog’s reach. Nice.
OK, to wrap up our monster coverage we will give you our TOP 3 performances of the weekend. If you were there then we’re sure you will understand our choices. Some bands let the music speak for itself and others show off with a lightning bolt of star quality, but for me it’s the variety and fantastic standards that have been most astonishing…
DAY 1 – MIRRORS
DAY 2 – CHEW LIPS
DAY 3 – MARINA & THE DIAMONDS
We really hope you’ve enjoyed this spell of festival highlights and our photo’s. If you have any thoughts on it, or obviously if you were there and want to share some of your experiences, then please add a comment.