Live: The Great Escape 2012
Friends at Great Escape. Clearly, she had just consumed a blue Slush Puppy.
So, as promised, here’s the full, official-like, far-more-professional-than-the-ramblings-we-noted-down review from Killing Moon’s Georgina Langford. Quite frankly, we’re amazed at the attention to detail Georgina’s managed to bundle in to this bad boy, especially as we have it on good authority (i.e. from her) that she pretty much partied at least as hard as we did whilst marauding a far greater range of venues than we did. In fact, she’s only bloody gone and seen the bands that truly we intended to, as we so often do, but got sidetracked on several occasions. We’re just going to go ahead and blame time for this one. We wish we could account for every antic, every amazing live act, every mental music industry figure, and every bar receipt that we appropriated over those three fateful days but we just can’t. The fact is, this is one of those festivals where there is just so much cool shit to do, and as a result the ironic temptation is to simply park yourself in one or two locations on any given day and, y’know, just sit there. AND DRINK. But not Georgie. No, not her. She took one for the team. She was mobile. She was nimble. She was keen. She took coherent notes. It goes a little something like this…
[Live: TGE12 – The good, the bad and the just plain fucking loud]
Episode 1: The Thursday
So this is meant to be the professional, accurate and critical review of all the bands at The Great Escape 2012 which the rest of the Killing Moon crew were too busy/drunk/busy and drunk to go and see. Yeah, here goes…
College @ Prince Albert
Everyone knows College right? Or at least, we all know A Real Hero, the insanely good track he created for the Drive soundtrack. Which everyone also knows is the greatest movie soundtrack of all time (fight it out amongst yourselves, alright.) It seems the entire festival contingent decided it would be a great way to start proceedings by cramming into the Prince Albert pub to witness David Grellier’s unique brand of electronica including his signature song. We were essentially attempting to rave at 3pm in the afternoon, in the upstairs room of a pub with the curtains half drawn. After the set, which was unfortunately lacking any visuals (Grellier apologised in a very humble, very French way for this [Ed: Pardonez-moi, innit. Jeah] then proceeded to DJ about seventeen times across the festival to make up for it) It was going to be a very good Great Escape.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DSVDcw6iW8]
Pond @ Fitzherberts
Thursday at Fitzherberts was a joy and delight. One Inch Badge were staging an Alternative Escape showcase, including the raucous, pysch-pop-rock sensation that is Pond. Apparently, they are just about to release an EP called Hobo Racket, which judging by the enjoyable noise they were making, sounds about spot on.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cA9N579K3LE]
White Arrows @ Moshi Moshi
Time to confess…this particular reviewer had been headed straight for the Lower than Atlantis show at the Loft when it was cancelled, leaving a gap in the schedule. Such is the beauty of TGE, by simply following the sound of some nearby live music, I stumbled across White Arrows. These American boys were not impressed by having to play in a freezing cold courtyard, but despite not being able to feel their fingers, they particularly impressed an ever-growing crowd with a final song, aptly titled Fireworks By The Sea. The gorgeous sound of their surfy/lo-fi electronic psychedelia echoing through the streets was enough to make us feel like the sun was shining, even if it really, really was not. Ugh.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abdgolHZRBc]
Violet @ The Haunt
This was always going to be an interesting one. Violet might be a new-ish band, but lead singer Pixie Geldof has already got a loyal band of both lovers and haters. I attempted to chat to the girl herself beforehand, to get her take on what it’s like to be a frontwoman in an industry crying out for the next Shirley Manson, but I got an ice cold Geldof brush-off. Nice. Purely on the basis of the set, it’s obvious that Pixie has a great voice; it’s stronger, huskier and more interesting live than on record, complimenting her romantic, emotional lyrics. ‘Put your hands on my ribs/Under my shirt/Put your hands where my heart is/Because that’s where it hurts’. Not bad. The music was good it’s just a shame Ms Geldof can’t be a little more real.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpy1Tv-E1jg&list=PLCA705943C189CDEB&index=3&feature=plpp_video]
Peace @ Horatios
Peace frontman Harrison Koisser was clearly, clearly having something of a Marc Bolan day, swaggering and swaying in a fur trimmed suede coat as they played the NME Radar stage. They’ve certainly got the whole ‘rockstar’ thing down in between the songs, which are a mixture of amazingly varied drum beats, droney/melodic vocals and unnervingly frequent uses of the word ‘float’ – honest to God, it’s in every song, unless that’s just the Tuaca talking – the banter went along the lines of “well, that was deep as shit.” They are either going to be heroes or the next Viva Brother: let’s hope it’s the former.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35x3W4G0n50]
Episode 2: The Friday
Day two and most of Brighton was starting the day with a light breakfast of approximately six Nurofen. We know how to party hard in this town. But despite our bleary eyes, there was more important band watching to be done…after we had managed to crawl out from beneath the security of our duvets. The Friday of Great Escape 2012 was all about the strategic queue, and that strategic queue was for one act and one act only, and that act was Grimes.
Grimes @ Digital
The Canadian wunderkind rocked up to the stage looking like Marilyn Manson’s niece all white face paint, goofy smile and an anarchy t-shirt. Despite having just about every industry exec in the room while she played, Grimes seemed to be having even more fun than we were; the girl sure knows how to bust some moves, if those moves are those of a malcoordinated whelk. Bless. In all seriousness, she opened with Genesis to adoring cheers, bounced through the brilliant Be A Body and finished her 25 minute set with a big, big version of Oblivion. Very few people left that show not enraptured by her nerdy goodness. Come back soon Grimes, Brighton wants to be friends.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtH68PJIQLE&feature=youtu.be]
Doldrums @ The Haunt
It was a bit of a Canada-fest on Friday, and Grimes‘ musical peers Doldrums shook things up at The Haunt with a crazy party set featuring samba beats, samples galore and some kind of shouty, experimental singing. It kind of worked![youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I63riFOGqPw]
Rolo Tomassi @ The Haunt
Oh Eva Spence, what planet are you from and where did you learn to do that? The girl who can scream just as well as the rest of the hardcore boys was on fire on Friday, for their second show of the day (their earlier secret headline set at The Loft was really not very secret. At all.) Their schizophrenic musical styles and Eva’s interchangable scream/sweet singing voice was just what the doctor ordered for a bunch of Brightonites needing to wake up fast.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoOzpM-yPUA]
Dry The River @ The Corn Exchange
This band, previously reviewed here on KM, are usually epic. They have a violin on stage, ffs. The Corn Exchange was surprisingly packed out for a band still on the rise, but whether or not it was due to festival fatigue, Dry The River couldn’t quite hold the crowd’s attention. Something was missing and it meant their set didn’t really happen the way it should have done. Let’s hope they sort themselves out fast because this is a band with a lot of talent and potential.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iUHfAChgBA]
Can We Just Go Home Please The Saturday
Woah. Day 3. We might have had two hours sleep (after the sun had already come up) but it was time for a final fling.
Karin Park @ Urban Outfitters
Fact: gigs in shops are always weird. When a band is setting up in the shoe department of UO it’s hard to know what the protocol is – everyone is trying very hard to ignore the customers who are wandering through the crowd clutching new purchases and wondering what the hell is going on. Especially when what’s going on is the startling, statuesque Norwegian goddess, Karin Park. One of the absolute gems of Great Escape 2012, Karin was hotly tipped by Dan le Sac and most certainly lived up to the hype. Her powerful, crystal clear voice sounds both supernatural and strong, while her brother David puts his rock background to good use with some heavy drumming (as well as playing all sorts of synths etc using his other limbs. As you do) While she sings, plays keytar and a mini electric piano, Karin is all black lines and long limbs, her angular movements contributing to the all round inspirational experience. There have already been comparisons drawn to Bjork and they are completely justified – speaking to Karin after the show, she’s a fascinating human being, hyper intelligent with the belief that imperfection is beautiful and that sometimes we have to expose the most ugly sides of ourselves in order to be honest with what we create. Look this woman up.
Aiden Grimshaw @ Coalition
Yes, the very same. Aiden ‘X Factor boy’ Grimshaw has been causing music journalists quite the hassle, by defying the classic talent show mold to come out with some pretty decent songs. He was obviously determined to impress, with eyes wide and fists clenched as he showed off an impressive vocal range on a series of Hurts-esque contemporary, dancey, synthy songs. There was definitely a little Patrick Wolf melodrama thrown in for good measure – but while his voice was both impressive and the music world’s away from the usual X Factor crap, there is always going to be the faint linger of the Cowell spectre. Is Grimshaw for real? It’s hard to tell – but try telling that to his already massive army of fans. He’s going to be all over the place by the end of the year.
Eagulls @ Horatios
Onto something a little more straight up with the best-named band at the festival. These five Leeds boys make the kind of gutteral garage punk that gives you faith in guitar music – they’ve got the requisite ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude too, but one that seems genuine. Not many bands finish their set by telling the crowd they have pouches of tobacco to sell. “We ain’t got no merch, so have that instead.”
Milk Music @ Horatios
Things got a little less shambolic but still pretty raw with the arrival of Milk Music. Big riffs and some INSANE drumming meant this grunge rock outfit made a very good impression. The vocals are a little…but y’know, no-one really needs to be able to sing to be in a band.
DZ Deathrays @ Horatios
Now this is how you do it. Australian duo DZ Deathrays grabbed the NME crowd by the neck and caused as close as we were going to get to a full on riot – the noise the pair of them make is the closest any of us are going to get to seeing The White Stripes ever again. Thrash pop? Maybe. The biggest riffs of TGE12? For sure. DZ Deathrays should be huge, but they are probably partying too hard to either notice or care – GO AND SEE THIS BAND LIVE.
That’ll be all until next year Brighton. We might just have recovered by then. JEAH!
Words: Georgina Langford
Pictures: We can’t remember. Honestly, we can’t. If you took the photo and you want appropriate props, give us a yell and we’ll get on it.
Thanks to: All the Louises at Mark Borkowski PR