Posts Tagged ‘Day 3



Two down, one more day to go.  So with the ringing tinnitus killing my poor little ears, a hangover that only two long days of boozing can bring on, a sever lack of sleep impossible to hide from showing in my eyes and a voice that is fading to a kind Jack Palance husk, we head out for one last sunny day in Brighton.  Another stack of excellent shows awaits and by the end of the day we will be worn, but high on the knowledge that this weekend will forever hang long in the memory.



EXPERIENCE – If you sign up to the festival’s text services you get informed about the (immediately not-) secret shows that crop up.  The festival itself is mainly an indoor evening affair, but the officially established Alternative Escape throws up plenty before and after the main performances.  We awoke, having partied the previous night at the Moshi Moshi Records party at the New Hero venue, to the text service informing us that Fenech Soler were going to be playing outdoors at 13:00 next to the train station.  We headed down to a large, backstreet area, which is normally just a, well,  backstreet area, to find a crowd starting to form.  Amul, Fenech’s manager was there, (we had spent some time together at the Moshi Moshi party the previous night), so I said hello to him and the band as they waited to go on.  This was the band’s fourth set of the weekend, with at least one other to do this evening, so not only did they seem the hardest working group of the weekend, but the buzz around town was that they were totally ace awesome live.  They duly blasted through a fantastic set, to a packed courtyard, looking as fresh as their first performance.  The only distraction from a memorable, engaging show was the arrival of a flash mob.  A large group of people had gathered within the crowd and started dancing in a rehearsed routine.  We’d never experienced a flash mob first hand and we have to say it was totally fucking awesome!  All gigs should hire one!  They even froze to the chorus for Stop And Stare.  As if that wasn’t enough, they then let off an explosion of confetti.  Are you able to imagine how totally brilliant this looked?!  And we hadn’t even had lunch yet.  We love the Great Escape.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This brother/sister duo was the first of two artists that we would see today that are due to play the Recommender’s next party.  Another afternoon show, this time down at the beach-front club, Life.  Walking around the club’s warren of tunnels to find them seemed somewhat appropriate, as their music is one long attempt to transport you to some sort of cute nether-world of magic and coy mystery.  We found them to be as sweet and tidy as their videos and songs had always suggested, converting the productions well into a live set.  George hit the keys and lined up the samples, whilst Milky sang as if not a care in the world.  Were the room not busy she would surely have produced exactly the same dream-like performance.  It was mesmerising, a little fantastical and ended with Milky throwing a handful of glitter into the air towards the audience as the last song hit it’s final note, (played on a triangle of course!).  Once it was over we waited for them to pack up so we could go and say hello and introduce ourselves.  It’s worth noting just how young they became once we engaged them in conversation off stage.  It was like talking to two little children.  OK, so their tiny reserved voices, reticent natures and modest confidence will never win over Wembley stadium, but it gave a context to their sound that we never had before.  They’d never been to Brighton, but already Milky said she wanted to live here.  Thinking about it, this place is perfect for her.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – We enjoyed lunch on the beach and a few beers at the Oh So Social beach-fronted bar, prior to the second of today’s enjoyable street gigs.  This time the temporary stage was knocked up on a groynes that jutted down the beach, giving the band the backdrop of both the sea and our famous pier.  From a photography perspective it really couldn’t get more Brighton.  As we sipped our pints we heard the first few bars of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s set kick off, so we raced straight over.  The Groynes filled rapidly, being set in such a busy area and with these street gigs not requiring a Great Escape wristband, it was free and open to all.  It’s a great way to show those people who didn’t obtain a ticket the type and quality of acts that are on show all weekend.  Two fellas jammed on their synths and twiddled their knobs at the back of the stage and two fellas prance enthusiastically up front.  It worked well and we should point out how hard it must be to generate energy during a daytime gig, with no lights, no smoke, broad daylight and a sea breeze on this occasion.  However they had the crowd singing along, particularly to their strongest single to date, Dance The Way I Feel, and a broad smile was found on the vocalists face as he spotted a lively bunch of young teens bouncing like mad at the front of the audience.  The smiles was contagious and set us up well for the oncoming evening.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was the second of today’s artists that are booked for the next Recommender show, which they headline, so we were obviously keen to see them.  We went straight backstage at Audio to say hello to frontwoman and main songwriter, Sarah McIntosh.  She sat there alone and looked nervous.  “Look at me…” she suggested as she held up her hand, which was shaking like a tambourine.  With her young face, her asymmetric haircut and designed eyeliner, this was an artist that had put some effort in, but it reminded us of a student about to sit her exams.  Perhaps the promise of label bosses and A&R in a lot of the crowds at The Great Escape can do this to the performers?  Perhaps Sarah’s like this every time?  Either way, this was going to be interesting.  The set began as most of her songs do, with a piano refrain and her Kate Nash-sounding vocals, but the microphone stand was too far away, causing her to stretch over the keyboards.  Poor thing. If she was nervous before, then now she had a real battle on.  She adjusted the stand for the second song, explaining it all rather engagingly to the audience.  Sadly the stand kept slipping down as she sang, so she gave up on it and snatched the mic from it’s holder.  At this point the show shifted.  It forced her to leave the comfort of the piano’s position and come centre stage, dancing, twisting and posing as she sang.  It became a dramatic performance, where you couldn’t take your eyes off her.  During one heartfelt moment, she put her hand on the chest of a boy stood at the front, as if hypnotising him, accepting the crowd’s existence.  It reminded us of Marina Diamondis and proved we have booked ourselves someone who not only has the tune-bag packed full, but someone who also has an enchanting charm when performing.  This is definitely a chart-bound star of the future. Look out.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was always going to be a set cut short as Theophilus London was due onstage within the next half hour, so we had to leave with enough time to catch him.  No matter as half of this band’s set is enough to make you smile and besides we had caught them live back in March of this year, so we were well aware of how incredible they are.  We’d shared a few laughs with their lead guitarist Luke on that previous occasion, so it was nice that he recognised us as we waited stage right.  As they set up we also took the chance to chat with Tinashe, another exciting act that had been playing various shows at the Great Escape this year.  We confirmed our interest in booking him for a future Recommender show and he agreed that it would be a great idea, so we will let you know in due course with that one.  As we looked backstage it was nice to watch all seven members of The Phenomenal Handclap Band get in a little pre-game huddle.  It says something for their closeness and focus, which translates directly into their engaging performance.  They did their usual magic of starting the show by jamming for several minutes before hitting their stride with You’ll Disappear, a song we didn’t want to miss, so we were pleased they played so early in their set.  The packed, sweaty crowd in this dark basement suited this hardworking band perfectly.  They have a fantastic bond with each other and that infects the crowd.  We left the room noticing that every single person within it was smiling broadly.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was possibly the one artist that we were most excited about seeing out of the dozens on show this weekend.  Why?  Well, firstly, his blend of crossover hiphop is totally fucking ace, and secondly his performances comes with a warning sticker that says ‘look out’, in bright neon pink!  Additionally, his fashion is so fly and so fresh that he was always going to shine in a room full of drunk youngsters.  So we arrived at this venue, which is situated at the end of the pier, which adds in it’s own sense of exciting magic, a few minutes early with our man Mark Stafford, a music lawyer and good friend, who was enjoying his seaside jaunt away from London.  As we stood in the bar we spotted two of the boys from Mirrors, so we chatted over a couple of rounds of beers and thanked them for a good set of performances this weekend (see previous Great Escape posts).  They agreed to join us in watching Theophilus do his thing.  Standing alone on stage and working the samples and pre-recorded beats himself he fearlessly launched into his set.  The amount of energy and enthusiasm this guy protrudes is exceptional.  It’s like he’s possessed by his music.  Jerking and posing, knocking his cap, tipping his shades, flirting with the girls and dominating the space, this was a totally perfect boozy peak to the evening.  He ended by letting the last song blast out over and over, whilst he jumped off stage, selecting to dance with the crowd until it’s close.  To say they wanted more was an understatement.  We quickly met with his agent to try to secure a future Recommender show.  It’s worth noting that as we left the venue we bumped into Jamie Klaxon.  With our best journalistic hat on we asked him when the new Klaxons album might be ready and his uninhibited and certainly inebriated self informed us that they’re aiming for August 21st.  Drunken exclusive.  Nice.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – Having quickly darted into Audio one more time for a knockout cocktail on the busy evening terrace, we duly wandered down to Concorde 2, just in time for the last tune of Chatau Marmont‘s set.  In a way this kind of points out the scale of The Great Escape, as this is a band we planned to watch and would love to see live, but because we were at the end of a mammoth three day festival, missing them in place for a Mojito somehow didn’t seem so bad.  Nevermind, as we were really there to catch Sleigh Bells, the band arriving from New York with the most buzz.  We darted straight backstage to say hello and met with their manager.  Being over-confident on booze it’s possible that we tried to book them for a future Recommender show.  Not totally sure though.  Anyway, we were introduced to the New York duo.  We enjoyed a funny moment when Derek Miller and I shook hands, before Alexis stepped forward and said “Hi, nice to meet you. My name’s Alexis…”.  As if I didn’t recognise precisely who she was.  We knew she was gorgeous, but in person she’s knock out.  Totally knock out.  We wished them lots of luck, but tonight they weren’t going to need it.  Much in the same way Crystal Castles only played with a strobe light, the lighting for this show made it virtually impossible to photograph.  We tried it from the photographer’s pit below, then from the stage entrance steps and finally by actually sneaking onstage with them, hiding behind the sampler desk.  Lights or no lights, Alexis runs around the stage like a woman possessed, her hair moshing to the music.  They’re unstoppable.  The crowd got over-excited during Crown On The Ground and invaded the stage, which is not that easy when you consider there’s a barrier, a broad gap and quite a big step up, but the frenzy was simply too exciting for them.  They were all quickly cleared offstage and Sleigh Bells completed the set that completed this years festival for us.  It was glorious.  The perfect storm.  We love Brighton.  It seems that there’s really no better place to escape to than your own home.





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.


IMG_2886.jpg Tin Can Telephone picture by odelaybradford

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.



IMG_2991.jpg The Joy Formidable picture by odelaybradford

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.



IMG_3071.jpg Marina & The Diamonds picture by odelaybradford IMG_3150.jpg Marina & The Diamonds picture by odelaybradford IMG_3147.jpg Marina & The Diamonds picture by odelaybradford IMG_3124.jpg picture by odelaybradford IMG_3152.jpg picture by odelaybradford IMG_3146.jpg picture by odelaybradford
IMG_3107.jpg Marina & The Diamonds picture by odelaybradford IMG_3105.jpg picture by odelaybradford IMG_3103.jpg picture by odelaybradford

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.



IMG_3231.jpg Thomas Tantrum picture by odelaybradford

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.



IMG_3333.jpg Yes Giantess picture by odelaybradford IMG_3359.jpg Yes Giantess picture by odelaybradford

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…


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.

IMG_3340.jpg Marina & The Diamonds picture by odelaybradford

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