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Good Shit: The Great Escape 2011

Suffice to say, our plan to bottle it and head back to London with a full day of sobriety in hand yesterday (being the last full day of proper scheduling for The Great Escape 2011) did not work. We had a few jagey-bombs in the early evening. It was unavoidable. Couldn’t be helped. They made us do it. As a brief overview to how the three day conference-turned-new music festival-turned-massive piss up fared, having been for the last 4 years, we can honestly report that this was perhaps the best year the event has had, in terms of musical line up, other daytime/evening activities (the fringe events, panels/speakers, street performances, blahdeblahblah), and general banter. We hung out with some cool people and even met some brand new ones that we’re looking forward to hanging out with in the not-too-distant future. We were also honoured to be the lucky recipients of the highly sought-after Best Shaggy Impression accolade this year, and look forward to returning next year to defend our coveted title.  Band-wise, despite booze-ups meetings and other booze-ups activities laced throughout the course of the three days hither and thither, we actually caught a surprisingly respectable quantity of acts; some of whom who have been featured on this here site before, some of whom are already well-established, and, fortunately for us, others we’ve never come across prior to this weekend. Because we like lists, and also because we’re mentally and physically exhausted (and watching Die Hard 4.0 ), we’ve featured our top 5 band picks from this year’s event below with the vast majority of the descriptive element lifted from the notepad app thingy on our iPhone. We have since had to edit it a little bit because we evidentally have a tendency to make up acute adjectives that aren’t real, mostly a strange sequence of vowels, whilst watching bands live and simultaneously imbibing a criminal amount of Oranjeboom. Here we go, in no particular order…

The Common Tongues – Fishbowl, Saturday 14th May


Got here latelatelate. There are some heavily tattooed men in tight pink shirts heckling these dudes, fair play to them for putting up with it. The set is actually a lot more dynamic than the Mumford-style folk that’s rather popular with new bands at the moment; am getting more of an American sort of vibe from this, think Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Blues Traveller. The music is insidious but in a good way (is that just called “catchy”?), James Drohan is looking mighty, mighty fine too. Want to hear more from these guys.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBCmBH6I134&feature=player_embedded]

Man Without Country – Prince Albert, Friday 13th May

Strong look from these dudes, all broody ‘n shit. That being said I can’t actually see all the band members, am pinned to the bar, which is good in a way I suppose. Loving the whole ambient smokiness of the performance, musically they sound big, a lot bigger than I remember from their previous shows. New songs sound incredible, equally as good as the songs from their demos that did the rounds. That pizza buffet I had with Skies this morning is now acting up. I knew it would be back. They’re playing Closet Addicts Annonymous now, while I am loving this, it is making me feel a bit sick. What the hell is that smell? IT’S ME.

Man Without Country – Closet Addicts Anonymous


Polarsets – The Haunt, Saturday 14th May


The problem with walking into The Haunt is that I can see fuck all having gone from glorious sunshine to an environment that is darker than death. Band have whipped out an alarming number of floor toms which they are walloping the crap out of – not only are they in perfect synchronisation, but so are the nodding heads of everyone in this venue, of which there are a shitload. Loving how they blend songs into one another like a DJ set, so I haven’t kept still throughout this entire show, although I’m sure there’s a bit of dehydration involved, unless their music makes eyeballs throb too. Best time I’ve seen this band. Need a burger.

Polarsets – Leave Argentina

DZ Deathrays – Some pub far away from everything else (Artrocker Stage), Saturday 14th May

Rule number one for future reference is to never listen to Mischa Pearlman re: his drinking in the day policy ever again. On the flip-flap, feel alright now and watching a fucking awesome band called Dee Zee-something. Two dudes, one drummer, one guitarist, and they are blowing my fragile little mind with their hectic DFA/Winnebego Deal rock stylee. Must find out more about them.

DZ Deathrays – Yeah

Walk The Moon – Coalition, Thursday 12th May


Really need to sit down. Somehow have managed to cramp muscles in the back of my legs that I didn’t even know I had before; have been on my feet for a good 10 hours (probably). Been looking forward to these chaps for a bit so might as well give it the last modicum of energy. Worth the effort; WTM give me the musical impression of a mixture between Citadels and Heypenny, quirky yet serious at the same time. Love the singer’s voice. Not sure if I’m feeling the pyjama look from some of the other band members; then again it is well past everyone’s bedtime. Why is a Guinness fucking £4.50 in here?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW7f54tVRmQ&feature=player_embedded]

Other Honourable Mentions

Xcerts – Pav Tav, Friday 13th May

Pope Joan – Artrocker Stage, Saturday 14th May

Chris Bradshaw/Joe Parry – en route to Pav Tav (Best Shaggy Impression Showdown 2011), Saturday 14th May

PS I Love You – Shipwrights Yard, Friday 13th May

Braids – Komedia, Saturday 14th May

Kyla La Grange – The Haunt, Saturday 14th May

Daughter – Fishbowl, Saturday 14th May



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