Posts Tagged ‘Great Escape



As bad as hangovers are, and they only get worse as you age, they somehow don’t seem to hold us back when you wake up in a good mood, at a festival, with a day of exciting treats ahead.  The same thing happens when you’re on holiday.  Those hangover blues seem to wash away that bit faster.  The glorious sunshine we had helped too, but as we stepped out for day 2 of our mammoth new music festival we noticed the buzz around Brighton was palpable, as the swarm of industry and fans alike we swimming in the streets of our seaside city.



EXPERIENCE – We saw this Brighton four piece the previous night, but that was our Recommender vs Source after party, which, although an awesome show, became a far more drunken and raucous affair.  This time we fancied catching them in an altogether different situation, with it’s own challenges for the band.  We now found ourselves at 15:00, in broad daylight, in a tucked away courtyard in the centre of our city’s maze-like South Lanes area.  It was delightful to catch a breeze as we watched this OMD-saturated electro pop as part of the festivals many daytime shows.  These afternoon open air performances were to throw us some of the weekend’s biggest highlights, but more on that in the next post.  We chatted with Mirrors frontman James as he was setting up and he suggested that they wanted to play during the daytime in preparation for festival shows, to see how it went down.  This time the band were in Skint Records open garage, which couldn’t be less matched with Mirrors dark, clean, synthetic music, but they turned out yet another thrilling performance.  The unrelated sign on the wall read ‘Massive Masters’, which although is not quite how we would describe them, is perhaps the kind of adjectives they should get used to if they fulfill the promise on display, daylight or otherwise.


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EXPERIENCE – A couple of beachfront beers in this sunshine were quickly scoffed, before we headed off to The Foundry pub to catch this Welsh five piece. Although their Idolise LP is out, this group is unsigned and roaming up and down the country, as part of Dead Young Records mini UK showcase, where a collection of bands are playing their home towns together. This tour takes in Leeds, Bangor and this show in Brighton, before heading up to Liverpool. We chatted with Dead Young Records at the bar, who were indeed very young, but ultimately enthusiastic and refreshing with their many plans, setting their base in Leeds and aiming their sights on bringing fresh music to the UK. The band jammed through their garage rock sound, which seemed backwards when you consider that I’d just come from a performance that was inside an actual garage, but this was just as enjoyable. Powerful riffs and punched beats crunch out, with just enough keys to lift it, while the vocals garner the focus, sung with guts, style and gravel in equal parts. We spoke with the frontman, (who’s name we think is Cynyr), after the performance and he confirmed that they’d only been together since December, which is remarkable considering they’ve already churned out an album. You might be able to catch them at the Radio One showcase in their hometown of Bangor this summer.


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EXPERIENCE – It was a relief to move back out into the fresh air once more, having seen a sweaty show in the tiny backstreet Foundry Pub and the next daytime performance on show was Ghost Poet. We can’t write too much about this as we only stopped for half of their set as we walked past. We also simply don’t know much about them either, short of researching. It’s worth giving them a mention as this is precisely the kind of unknown show (it wasn’t even on any listings) that crops up between your plans. We turned a corner on our way to meet friends at another bar and came across this lyricist chucking out his poetry. Simple, lowered beats with minimal basslines and keys stay in the background while his expressive vocals are delivered in his lazy haze style. Having subsequently checked out the Myspace, he rolls out an interesting, dark urban set of lo-fi tunes that are well worth your investigation. He’s clearly linked one of the tracks up with Micachu too, so with a bit of luck he’s perhaps around the (more important) metaphorical corner of the public’s wider conscience.

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EXPERIENCE – Starting our first shows of the evening, we had planned to catch 1,2,3, but it was a waste of time as once down in the basement, it was so rammed we couldn’t even see the stage. We decided to leave and had a choice between seeing Warpaint and Darwin Deez. It turned out Darwin was also rammed and the queue was suffering from the common one-in-one-out policy that you sadly get at many of the tiny venues around The Great Escape. It’s even worse if you only have a standard ticket. Thankfully Jonny Cassell, this venue’s Promotions Manager, was outside and kindly allowed us indoors, but we knew he couldn’t do this all weekend as it’s simply unfair. Inside Darwin was halfway through his set, which didn’t particularly concern us, as we had seen him at the NME Radar Tour the previous week. We had urgently tried to book him when Velo pulled out of our Recommender party at the last minute, but their agent informed us that he planned to stick to just his scheduled Great Escape shows, as the NME Tour had knackered him out. This isn’t surprising considering how active they are onstage, with their busy dance routines, to tracks such as Walk Like An Egyptian, that are squeezed inbetween their own works. The crowd loved it, particularly the killer single, Radar Detector, which we’re glad we witnessed, even if it was from the back of the room.


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EXPERIENCE – The great thing about being at the back of a crowd is that you’re able to leave first, which we happily did at the end of Darwin Deez’s show. Virtually next door is another large, decent, beach-fronted club, Coalition, where Wolf Gang (The Recommender’s booking for our end of June party) was due to play. It was still busy but the dancefloor area is broader and stepped so you can’t fail to get a good view. We headed to the photographer’s pit between the crowd and the stage so were in great position to watch him close up. Max McElligott is a talented music machine, with many singles in the bag, such The King And All Of His Men, or Pieces Of You, but watching the rest of his catalogue on show today, he isn’t relying entirely on them. Don’t get us wrong, they are the stand out tracks on this performance, but there’s a clever craft on display. Comparisons to David Byrne, Bowie and Duran Duran are a little over-bearing on anyone, but they also hint that this is a broad, but inventive musician at work, who’s aiming for the charts.

BEST TRACK – PIECES OF YOU (Remix listed below…)

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EXPERIENCE – We’ve written up plenty on HURTS before now and discussed them on other forums, as they are fast becoming a bit of a marmite band. In a nutshell their problem is that they’re easy to hate, but that misses their talent and abilities to pen a tight, timeless pop tune. Randomly bumping into The Recommender’s partners in crime, Matt Allfrey and George Nunn, always helps lift our mood, only for HURTS to come onstage and do their very best to lower it. Their songs soar and their show is tighter than an Olympic swimsuit, complete with that silly, out of place opera singer at the back of the stage. We had seen them headline the NME Radar Tour where the room continued to empty the more they played, which seemed a little harsh, but thankfully that wasn’t the case here. So planned out and so delicately constructed is every tiny detail of their set that you get a carbon copy of the NME show. One hand is placed in the pocket. Out comes the comb which he never actually uses. Even the frowns seem deliberate during what should be a genuinely emotional section. Herein lies the issues. With so many excellent, moody, emotive, often dark, but often equally uplifting tunes, they seem to have removed the integrity. Emotion cannot be this contrived and work for long. The fear is that with all their shunning of the blogs and the kind of planned control more common with the US President or Royalty, this spin will lose momentum. Good songs will get you far, but the really successful bands, who they constantly compare themselves to in interviews also have character and a humanity to them.


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EXPERIENCE – This was our last showcase of the day and was to be found at one of Brigthon’s largest venues, the Brighton Dome. We arrived, half cut by this point, but buzzing like a power station, to a find another massive queue. We approached the front to see if our press passes were able to jump the queue when we noticed another, even longer queue, snaking away in the other direction. Turns out that was the non-press pass queue! Fortunately we secured photo passes too, so the doorman let us in. Anyway, once inside we witnessed an enormous climax to the day, with a show so spectacular and special that we will never forget it. Delphic are going to be massive and ruled the stage from the outset. We would even go so far as to state they are the new Bloc Party, with the their emotional, thumping set. The strip lights created a gorgeous look as their thundering indie dance tunes spun the crowd into a jerking frenzy. Their album takes a step up, no make that one giant leap, to a whole new level when played live. The drums punch right through, even breaking off for a monster drum roll for periods, like some kind of 70s drummer, but the real trick is their ability to properly jam. The songs are extended into seven or eight minute leviathans that build and build to a close. If that’s not a metaphor for our perfect Friday at The Great Escape then we don’t know what is!





It’s just impossible to catch each and every band that’s on the lengthy schedule. Sadly, there are plenty of great acts that have times that clash and even working out the logistics of getting between all the venues is a task in itself. Still, yet another mind-numbingly exciting day was had by us all for day two…


IMG_2536.jpg We Were Promised Jetpacks picture by odelaybradford

Experience– And so we begin again at The Honey Club for today and immediately the phrase “start as you mean to go on” comes to mind, but frankly it would be nigh on impossible for us to maintain the standards we witnessed with this band’s performance! This Scottish 4-piece blew away any cobwebs gathered by the previous nights partying. My expectations were high having heard the handful of tracks available from them, but they surpassed them with ease. The raw energy that chimes out from their outstanding power-Indie is exceptional. Particularly impressive was the voice of frontman, Adam Thompson , especially on Ships With Holes Will Sink. Stunning.



IMG_2599.jpg Temper Trap picture by odelaybradford

Experience– Possibly having travelled the farthest of all the acts on show this weekend, the Melbourne 4-piece were deserving of our attention. Playing straight after the energetic We Were Promised Jetpacks at the same venue, they had a task on their hands, but they burst straight into it. Playing live they had a thunderous beat and a louder sound than expected, particularly from what we’ve previously heard on their Myspace. The trademark sailing, whirlwind of echoing guitars soared high and the confident vocals from frontman Dougy tied up an entertaining set. The clear highlight was their best track to date, Sweet Disposition, as it’s U2-like riffs had us all hypnotized.



IMG_2655-1.jpg Chew Lips picture by odelaybradford

– Having missed them at The Hope the previous evening our appetite for this Camden 3-piece was even greater. We braved the pouring rain and driving coastal winds to race over to the Audio venue to catch them. We were to witness two examples of true star quality in the bands tonight and frontwoman, Tiggs, was the first of these. Climbing the amps, posing for the cameras and bouncing around the stage, in way not seen since Lovefoxxx, she stole the show. Closing on the excellent tune, Solo, this was a performance that left everyone in the venue with a positive, broad smile on their faces. Contagiously brilliant.



IMG_2750.jpg Master Shortie picture by odelaybradford

Experience– Lesson number two in star quality was immediately upon us around the corner as this South London MC launched himself onstage. What a talent this fella proved to be. He’s got the image, the energy, bags of confidence and perhaps most importantly true crossover appeal. Indie kids will love the guitars and hooks and singalong chorus’ and fans of Hip Hop will enjoy the rapid-fire lyrical assault that he spits out so well. His energy and enthusiasm was infectious. There was plenty of engaging the audience between songs, showing us a young man truly at ease on stage. He even got warm up act, RIZ MC, back on stage to improvise some lyrics, providing us with a genuinely special touch. Electric.



IMG_2850.jpg Metronomy picture by odelaybradford

Experience– We’ve never caught the Brighton adoptees live before. There’s always been something that’s got in the way, so it was with relief and marked delight that we finally had a chance to see their famous show tonight. In the weekend’s biggest venue so far, at the Corn Exchange, we witnessed them blast out their inventive pop to a packed house. Following the recent departure of bassist Gabriel Stebbing to the band Your Twenties, we met with with the new bassist and female drummer. The dance moves they’re famous for were absent, so perhaps they need to rehearse some more before they work new ones out. Otherwise, the songs still stood tall and the crowd’s love affair was still very much in evidence.


We watched the second half of Metronomy, alongside Neil from the band Club Smith, who explained how he once supported them way back when they were brand new. It brought into perspective how bands can grow from the tiny beginnings we are witnessing all over town this weekend to the heavy hitters that we saw in Metronomy tonight. On our way home we bumped into Tim, lead singer for the Brighton band Maths Class, who informed us that they’re playing a secret gig at The Hope pub at 1pm Saturday and so we depart from tonight in the knowledge that the next day already guarantees more exciting entertainment.

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