KM Green Room at the Alternative Escape: Day 2
Day 2 of KM-LAB’s Alternative Escape: Green Room pre-show coverage, and we’re more amped than ever. We can practically hear the rumble of subs, the rattling of snares, and the “tsk tsk”s of overbearing sound engineers. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Rather, let’s dive into the vibrant, frank, sunshine of today’s Green Room, and continue stuffing our bags with Kodak disposables and two week’s worth of outfits, grooving along to today’s hot mix of Marsicans, Annabel Allum, and Vistas. Best prepare yourselves for this whopping gig.
MARSICANS – ENERGETIC, COLOURFUL, IN-YO-FACE
As a small-minded American, of course I had to ask about the locales about which I know only wives tales but by which I am insatiably intrigued…and it’s safe to say that Leeds is at the top of my list. With its stories of raunchy underground shows and full-speed-ahead music scene, I started off this Leeds-based band with some questions about their über-intriguing hometown.
Says Marsicans, “Leeds is great because it has so many different scenes which people are quite protective over. We run our monthly night School Night where we have other bands on and DJ ourselves after. It’s a great way to meet new bands and keep in touch with some of our dear old friends. For example, at our last night, we had L.A. Peach and The Golden Age Of TV on and they hit it off. Two days later and they were at our Leeds show together having a social. The power of music, eh?”
Moving to the tunes that line these School Nights and beyond, I tapped into the band’s dirty pop, stumbling upon buried treasure of wacky time signatures, striking chords, all wrapped together by good-n-dirty guitar music. With James’ “songwrite every day” exceptional lyricism, Rob’s love for path-diverting song structures and smack-you-in-the-face-with-how-clean-it-is production, Oli’s steel and slide-tinged pop-fanaticism, and Cale’s devotion to “heavy nature, heavy music,” we’ve got the long-tailed reverbed, toe-tapping melodied worlds of Marsicans.
Shooting off of this teeming ground fostered by tourside Pringle fandangos and bubbling seas of happy fans, Marsicans hit us with a high-spirited Tour Diary from their recent UK spree. Complemented by knocked-down Airbnb walls and “inadvertently trying to break into our friend’s neighbour’s house,” the band had one heck of a national tour. But that’s not all! In addition to the Great Escape gamut, the band has nestled a BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading and Leeds under their belt, soaring through gleaming stage lights along with some of their favourite bands.
Swing along with Marsicans at 1:45pm this Friday at The Alternative Escape, and you might just catch one of their latest unreleased tracks amidst their fantastically invigorating live set.
ANNABEL ALLUM – FUN, DARK, REAL
Punk fiend Annabel Allum has been hitting us with some pretty meaty tracks this year. We simply had to know more behind what spurred these thick, crunchy tracks. Shifting from primarily writing solo to composing along with the band, the newfound army force behind her tracks rings true in the slamming noise of ‘Beat the Birds’ and layered bliss of em(ily). “Laying down an idea and allowing them to have some influence in what they play. I don’t pretend I know their instruments better than they do. It keeps things real that way,” says Annabel.
Soaring to Number 4 on the Dutch indie charts has been just one of Annabel’s 2018 trophies. Hearkening in the European crowds with last fall, Annabel’s tour with Beth Ditto “completely changed [her] as a performer.” Stepping out solo in front of over 2000 people every night holding nothing but a guitar, and soon after popping into Germany with the full band undoubtedly imbued Annabel with evermore angst and fortitude.
But that’s not to say that Annabel’s “realness” has ceased from seeping into the dark days. Gripping thoughtful somberness and holding it close, Annabel’s RASCAL video unearthed a beautiful collaboration with improvisational modern dancer Yaz Abreu. Speaking of the stripped-back stage and earnest display of emotion, Annabel states “It was important to me that [Abreu] just felt the music and moved with it. She couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Cruising fast from her latest single release ‘em(ily),’ Annabel is jazzing up for her upcoming EP, hitting our ears in its full totality this coming week. “It’s been a great campaign and I’m really happy with how it’s all turned out.” …And so are the people! Annabel’s gotten scooped up by Reading & Leeds, BBC Radio 1 Biggest weekend, Leefest, Boardmasters, Siren Festival in Italy… “Yeah, it’s going to pop off. We can’t wait.”
We’re incredibly excited to experience Annabel’s snowball of a live performance at this year’s Great Escape, and she couldn’t be more amped about the gig… “I love TGE! Like a mini SXSW. So much going on, and Brighton is a magical place to be. A load of friends are playing this year so I’m excited to catch and support them. Jack Vallier, Me and the Moon, Sophie and the Giants…”
Catch Annabel this Friday at 3:15pm at our Alternative Escape stage, and keep your hand on the dial for the chock-full slew of raunchy-real goodness that is more to come from Annabel Allum…
VISTAS – HIGH ENERGY, BRIGHT, SUMMERY
Powerful vocals, kickin’ guitar melodies, four-on-the-floor smashes… where does this sound come from? Who inspires the band, and who in the band is in the music school posse? High school favorites like Two Door Cinema Club and The Strokes seeped their way into the boys’ bones, driving them to pick up some guitars and get cracking. Match this with Graham’s (drums) Led Zepp affinity, Jamie’s (bass) Chicago punk infatuation, Prentice and Dylan’s Beatles obsession as well as some contemporary faves such as Wolf Alice and Circa Waves and you have Vistas Fuel©. And Prentice himself, the music school posse-er of the group, gives the band that extra edge undoubtedly provided by endless hours of Bach transcriptions.
Diving into their latest release, we pop into the inner-workings of the cool-cat track that is ‘Calm.’ Vistas spoke to KM about their latest single ‘Calm,’ and what brought about those mellow drumpadded grooves.
“As it is with all our songs, there is never a conscious decision to say “let’s try write a slow song” or “let’s try write a song with keyboard in it” it always just happens naturally and if it sounds good we run with it. As ‘Calm’ came about I think we were all just excited about having this song with these more minimal elements which extended over to our artwork for this track and all our subsequent releases for this year. The song itself was inspired by the word ‘Calm’ which has become a kind of motto for the band. When one of us is getting stressed out or worried one of the other band members reminds us to keep calm and just take some time to re-adjust. I guess the song is about someone in your life who keeps you calm.”
“Our next release is on the 25th of May and it’s called ‘Tigerblood’. We probably say this before every release but I don’t think we’ve ever been more excited for a track to come out, we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
Running hot off of shows up and down the UK (Circa Waves in Newcastle, Live at Leeds, Liverpool Sound City and a headline Scottish tour), the band is “really buzzing” for Great Escape. Newbies to the festival but with the punch of pro rockers, the band is siced for the vibing atmosphere, the incredible artists, and of course the beach…albeit the less than optimal British weather. “Great Escape is amazing and so needed because it supports new music and supports creativity and expression. We’re really jazzed to be part of such an amazing festival with such a class line up. Really hoping to catch Boy Azooga, The Orielles, Sports Team and Kawala while we’re there.” But we can’t forget the fans, spread far as the sea itself! Says Prentice, “We find it genuinely staggering playing in places which feel like a million miles away from home and people know the words to our songs and it grows every time we come back. It’s amazing going to all these places across the country and having people engage with your music so we couldn’t be more grateful for that. That probably influences our sound most in the sense that we want to keep making music that means something to people.”
Catch Vistas’ sauntering grooves at 4:00pm at the Alternative Escape, and stay tuned for more festival dates, oh-so-clean self-designed album artwork, and of course, forthcoming releases.