Last weekend, music fans and music industry professionals ascended upon the South East Coast for Brighton’s Great Escape Festival for the sixth time since it started in 2006. Here’s a day by day review of the bands that I saw:
Band: Splashh Venue: Blind Tiger
London grunge poppers , Splashh, played The Blind Tiger for a packed out, slightly sweaty show. The pub venue suited their harmonious indie jams. Although they are nothing to set the world on fire in term of individuality, they are very good at what they do. Expect to hear more from Splashh very soon.
Band: Lapalux Venue: Audio
I’ve been digging both of Lapalux’s EPs a lot at the moment yet was quite disappointed by his live show; it needs a lot of work. Yes, he is very talented and everything was pretty smooth but nothing seemed to really be done on his behalf to draw people into his live show. The audience was just left there watching a stationary man click things on a laptop and twiddle a few knobs.
Band: Mystery Jets Venue: The Corn Exchange
Having just released their Texas written album, Radlands, Mystery Jets were on fine form, with the new songs already going down well with the audience. They also played songs from their previous three albums as well which went down a storm and provoked a mass sing along. The boys pulled a near perfect set out of the bag once more. If there was anything that I didn’t enjoy bout the set, it was the multitude of revolting snogging couples present, other than that, I had a bloody wonderful time.
Band: Swim Deep Venue: Beyond Retro
I was lucky enough to catch the Swim Deep boys play a set in Beyond Retro suitably. Yet again (I’ve seen them a few times now), they proved that they definitely have soon brilliant indie pop songs under their belts already. Check out the interview I did with them at a karaoke night here.
Band: Nils Frahm Venue: St. Mary’s Church
After being found alone on a park bench stabbing away at a Pesto salad by two friends, I got taken to the very beautiful, St. Mary’s Church, to see Nils Frahm. I’d never heard of him before but I’m so glad that I stumbled upon his set. His piano orientated masterpieces suited the venue beautifully.
Band: Friends Venue: The Haunt
With having their forthcoming debut album Manifest! on repeat and having interviewed Samantha on the phone a few days prior, I was really excited to catch Friends live. They lived up to my expectations with their energetic live performance. Sam had feathers attached to her head and the whole band were dancing suitably in time to their own electro pop numbers.
Band: Doldrums Venue: The Haunt
I was really intrigued to see what Canadian producer, Doldrums, would be like live after hearing a few of his own songs as well as his work with Grimes. I expected him to be good but NOT THAT GOOD. He exceeded all of my expectations and ended up being my favourite act of the weekend. I’ve not danced like I did at The Haunt for a long time. I was alone as everyone else was busy seeing other acts but I was really going for it. Doldrums makes extremely good, unique dance music which is pretty tough not to dance to. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from him soon. We also have an interview scheduled with him for next month. Watch this space!
Band: AlunaGeorge Venue: Coalition
Having seen AlunaGeorge develop from something of an unfinished project to crafters of superb garage inspired electronic pop music, I was looking forward to seeing AlunaGeorge once more. Straight from supporting Friends, the London duo were on top form. Their songs were songs fresh, polished and pretty much perfect. I’m looking forward to hearing more material from them soon.
Band: St. Lucia Venue: Audio
After trying to decide who to see between Seams and Koreless, I somehow ended up seeing neither of them and went to White Heat at Audio and saw Neon Gold signed band, St. Lucia. This was not a bad decision as the band put on a really fun show, whilst proving that they do have a back catalogue of really catchy pop songs. This show was made even more fun and interesting by the dude that was standing by the barrier with his top off rubbing himself up against his equally drunk male friend, who genuinely didn’t seem to mind his friend’s actions .
Band: Mmoths Venue: The Prince Albert
Having missed his set the day before and with his self-titled EP being one of my most listened to this year, I got up bright and early, with a hangover, to watch Mmoths play at 12:20pm in The Prince Albert. His music was definitely what I wanted to hear in my condition as it proved to be very soothing. His live show could do with being made a bit more interesting but it is early days yet and his set did show that he has a decent lot of songs up the sleeve of his vintage shirt.
Band: O’ Children Venue: Urban Outfitters
In the past, I’ve admittedly never really been blown away by O’Children but this said, I’d never seen them play live. Their live performance was tight and their set of songs made me realise that I have been wrong about them; they can write decent dark indie pop songs after all. The new album was sounding really great.
Band: Karin Park Venue: Urban Outfitters
Hailing from a small town in some Swedish woodland, Karin Park brought her atmospheric yet totally contagious electronic music to Urban Outfitters. Click here for the footage of it a quick interview with her.
Band: Regal Safari Venue: Above Audio
Regal Safari are a band that I’ve always wanted to see but have always ended up missing for one reason or another when they’ve played in London. I did manage to catch them at Above Audio at The Great Escape. Their entrancing, ambient electronic ditties were sounding superb, however, their was no ambience present in the room because The Great Escape had decided to put them on in Above Audio in the middle of the afternoon with the sun shining through the windowpane. I lasted for two songs before deciding that it was pointless watching them in these conditions.
Band: Drop Out Venus Venue: Horatio’s
Deptford group, Drop Out Venus, were the band that I was most blown away by other than Doldrums. They create enticing, grungy art rock that draws the listener in even more when performed live. Check out the interview I did with them here.
Band: Haim Venue: Audio
Trio of American sisters, Haim, presented their extreme talents to Audio, not only of their catchy traditional songwriting skills but also of their musical talents as all of them appeared to be pretty great musicians, particularly the guitarist who was busting out cracking solo after solo. However, despite being great, they should probably refrain from talking as their constant annoying audience banter on the subject of much they “love to party” and how “rock n roll” made me genuinely angry. Not cool girls, just irritating. I pray to God (not that I believe in God #hypocrite) that they do not continue to ruin their shows by vomiting such bullshit out of their mouths as they are genuinely really talented and have the potential to get really far.
Band: Perfume Genius Venue: St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church was the perfect venue to watch Perfume Genius whack out his beautiful, gentle piano based songs. It’s just a shame that I only managed to catch the end of his set but it was gorgeous non the less.
Band: Doldrums Venue: The Green Door Store
Yes, I saw him again because I love him so much. The only thing that hindered this show was the lack of dancing from the audience in comparison to his first show.
Band: Halls Venue: The Green Door Store
London based producer, Halls was the last act that I saw at The Great Escape and what a lovely act he was to finish with. The grimy brick walls of Green Door Store suited his lo-fi, airy electronic jams wonderfully. It was a mellow way to end a tiring but fun Great Escape Festival.
On the whole, I had a lovely time at The Great Escape this year. I will certainly be returning next year as I’m sure that the line-up will be just as impressive as this year. I look forward to my return!
Words: Katie Wilkinson