on Thursday May 14th i headed down to Brighton for this year's Great Escape Festival. expanding over 36 venues and playing host to more than 300 bands, there was plenty of choice for things to see. because of the insane amount of bands playing it was inevitable that clashes would occur, and alcohol would spoil many a plan. some of the bands i really wanted to see but didn't manage to catch were: Apples, Micachu & The Shapes, The Invisible, Trailer Trash Traceys, Times New Viking and KASMS.
i did manage to catch the following bands however! keeping it short so i don't bore you all to death. i have managed to resist just going "good/bad" though.
Kap Bamino - well, i say catch but i mean i saw singer/screamer Caroline Martial's head bouncing all over the shop every now and then from the bar. they are a very entertaining live band, even if the words 'Crystal Castles' do come to mind when you hear their brand of electropunk.
Chew Lips - big things were expected, and unfortunately i didn't think they managed to pull it off. they are a tight band and everything sounded okay, but it was just a bit boring.
Mirrors - absolutely fantastic. atmospheric. epic. all that good stuff. angular doom pop meets Kraftwerk. really enjoyed the projection they had up behind them too.
We Have Band - such a great sound onstage! was expecting them to be slightly flat and uninspiring, however they were the complete opposite. had me dancing from the very get-go. an excellent party band.
Datarock - these guys are always brilliant live. their infectious energy totally swamps a room. i don't think anybody can resist moving to their funky post-punk dance.
Dinosaur Pile Up - not sure i could love this band any more! they're really good live, and despite the grunge-pop sound not being completely danceable they can work a room and get people jumping about.
My Tiger My Timing - zzzzzzzzzzzzzz..
We Are Wolves - only managed to catch two songs unfortunately but they seemed to be well into performing from the very first second. loud, scuzzy, DFA79-esque songs sliced up with some epic synthing (i know that isn't a word shhh).
Abe Vigoda - definitely one of my weekend highlights. onstage banter was flowing readily in between the band enthusiastically thrashing out their incredible tropical infused, lo-fi noise rock songs. plus there was a stage invasion that involved things being broken. some mayhem is always good for the soul.
Slow Club - i was at the bar for most of this performance, predominantly because i'm not a Slow Club fan. unfortunately the band didn't win me over, not even with their rendition of The Mae Shi's 'Run To Your Grave', as it all sounded a bit.. rubbish.
Teeth!!! - so much fun! cue another stage invasion. loud, noisy, totally ferocious lo-fi dance-punk that would have shaken the ceiling and the floor had the PA been turned up properly.
Battletorn - not really my cup of tea! they definitely weren't boring though. shouty thrash metal for your pleasure.
Throats - boy do this band know how to inject the spark of life into a room. throwing themselves just about everywhere, Throats carried off their hardcore punk fantastically. not a show for the fainthearted.
Youves - completely brilliant. these guys had so much energy and vigour they made some of the other bands that night look and sound incredibly boring. cowbells never sounded so good.
Little Comets - i was really looking forward to seeing this band, and after sprinting to the venue and securing a spot in the heaving crowd, i was left slightly disappointed at the end of the band's set. the songs were great, but there seemed to be a certain 'oomph' lacking from the actual performance. perhaps it was just in comparison to the bands i'd already seen, but i wanted a lot more and didn't get it.
Gang Of Four - another of my weekend highlights, and quite predictably so. my favourite band doing some of my favourite songs with enough energy and compassion to outmatch all of the young, contemporary bands who take direct influence from them. old men making young men look lazy. the fervour Jon King smacks that microwave with during 'He'd Send In The Army' was enough to wow me completely despite having seen it done before.
Yes Giantess - whilst some of their cheesiness didn't transpire onstage, i was still left with a slightly awkward feeling about YG. they have a couple of killer tracks but the rest is a lot more forgettable. that coupled with their average performance only had me mildly satisfied with their set.
Wolf Gang - a very very good way to round up my bands experience at TGE. wasn't completely convinced by the tracks up on the band's myspace page, however they completely blew me away live. it's pop how pop should always be.
overall i was incredibly lucky with queues and only had to wait 5 minutes for GO4 during the entire weekend. the booze was cheap as chips, the chips were bloody tasty, the weather was horrendous, all bouncers i encountered were friendly and Brighton is a very cool city. i had an absolute blast and met some awesome people too. 100% going back next year!
Wolf Gang - Lions In Cages
Gang Of Four - Ether
Abe Vigoda - Don't Lie
Great Escape website.