The Great Escape 2013 – The Lowdown
Photo credit: toriclarkson.com
Whack London on the boil and simmer off the shit bits (15 tube stops home/endless charity muggers/the familiar smell of piss etc) and you’re left a quaint little city next to the water called Brighton. A city so full of charm you’ll jolly well find yourself handing in your notice on your London pad and heading south.
A colder, smaller, less American SXSW (there were no free tacos), The Great Escape is The Place To Find Your New Favourite Band in the UK. With over 350 acts across 30 venues you’d find it hard not to fall in love like a teenager 10 times over.
Dan Croll stole my heart this weekend. And unfortunately his manager stole my dreams when she said there was no time for an interview. On stage, Dan is a gentlemen. He regularly addresses the crowd, and talks often about cups of tea; he is the boy your mum wishes you would date. Him and his band mates played a killer set while I shuffled my feet and nodded my head with a massive grin on my face. A few glances to my left and right and I realised EVERYONE was smiling – 400 beaming faces. That’s the kind of power Dan Croll’s music has. Bad moods, hangovers, arguments, illness all pushed aside while this Buddy Holly look-a-like does his thang on stage.
Catfish and the Bottleman also blew me away – see the interview we did. Their label mates Deap Vally are a no bull-shit tangle of hair, tits, legs and sequins to be reckoned with; and that’s even before you hear them play. A lesbian/school boy’s wet dream. I was stood right next to drummer, Julie Edwards and spent pretty much the whole gig with my mouth open in wonder with thoughts of Meg White. She thrashed at those things like a child having a monumental tantrum; a very well timed, rhythmic tantrum. Meanwhile guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Troy spoke in snippets to the crowd in a voice suitable for those sexlines you see advertised at the back of mags. I’ve never seen attitude quite like it.
Thanks to bumping into the lovely Mike from The Recommender (a long running and well respected British blog) I tagged along and saw the brilliant On an On. They played a late night show to a crowd suitably sozzled after a day of drinking in the English sunshine. So popular, there was no floor space so I cheekily wedged myself on the sound guy’s ledge. He didn’t look too happy, but a winning smile goes a long way. If you don’t spill your drink. You most definitely need their album.
MØ, of course smashed it. She’s a vocal boxer; and she moves like one too. You wouldn’t be able to stand too close for fear of losing an eye.
I stumbled into street stage hosting Brighton’s AK/DK .Woooaaahh! Two human, two drum kits, two synths and whole lotta noise had a crowd of people jumping around like a bunch of crazies on day release.
I caught IYES at Blog Up; they had a pretty epic electronics fail and had to play without their backing tracks. If you’ve heard them before, you’ll understand what a struggle this was for them. They bravely powered on regardless, flinging each other glances that made my cheeks flush pink – I felt both embarrassed and bizarrely proud of them. Their talent still shone through in what I imagine was their shittest gig ever.
As expected, I missed shit loads of acts on my to-do list. Particularly gutted we missed Kodaline, London Grammar and Crystal Fighters. Shouldn’t have bothered with Deep Sea Arcade who I have always considered the poppier, younger brother of Tame Impala. I loved their album Outlands, but alas, seeing them live left me feeling a little bit, well, meh to be honest. Front man Nic Mckenzie seemed uncomfortable on stage,uncomfortable in his own skin, and made out with the mic a little too much. Maybe they were just having a bad day. We’re all human.
If festivals and new music are your thing, but you think muddy fields are no fun, then I suggest you leave 8-10th May free in your diary next year. This is your festival.