Live review: The Great Escape 2010

I don’t have time to review every show I saw in full this year but there were several acts I want to highly recommend, so here are the top 10 best performances I saw at the festival this year.

1. Hurts
They were the act I was most excited about seeing, and they didn’t disappoint. Now I really can’t wait to get their album as every song they played was fantastic. Even Better Than Love makes sense now I’ve heard it live – I just hope that being ‘a grower’ will not harm its chances of success.

2. Tinashé
I think Tinashé is an act you need to see live to love, because he is so endearing and adorable in person. The best bit of his set was when he came into the crowd to play a really sweet, sad song in a very quiet and intimate setting. He’s not traditionally good-looking but he’s exactly my kind of boy. Marry me, Tinashé?

3. King Charles
I didn’t know much about King Charles before the gig, but I knew he does a cover of We Didn’t Start The Fire, so I had to find out more. He turned out to be one of the most creative and exciting new acts I’ve seen in ages, with every song in his set completely different. My favourite was the one about riding a bike.

4. Alan Pownall
An unexpected festival fave was Alan, who was surprisingly cute and seemed much better live than he had on MySpace. I also like his band who resembled a random bunch of students who’d gotten together to back their mate Alan. His music is a mix of Erik Hassle and Paolo Nutini, and his aceness is halfway between the two too.

5. Fenech-Soler
This trio have to be the best dressed group in indie-electro, with their amazing gold sequinned outfits, and they always put on a good show. Their music always seems better live so I can sort of see why they haven’t done that well so far but I hope they’ll have a hit soon.

6. Basia Bulat
I was obsessed with Basia’s song Snakes and Ladders in the mid-’00s but knew nothing more about her. Recently she’s been playing lots of UK gigs and I finally got to see her at TGE. She has a lovely, unique voice and some very nice songs but none as fantastic as Snakes and Ladders, which she sadly didn’t play (unless I missed it).

7. Wolf Gang
The biggest surprise of the festival were Wolf Gang, a group I only saw because they were on before Hurts. I liked all of their songs and generally thought they were very accomplished and interesting. With a little work (a few better songs) I could definitely see them doing well. Ones to watch for 2011 maybe?

8. The Postelles
I wrote recently about this New York group, who I think have potential to be absolutely huge in the coming months, so I was shocked to arrive at their gig (in the most popular TGE venue, no less) and find only about 20 people there! Their ace songs were still good of course but needed a better atmosphere to really work.

9. Best Coast
Beginning with some technical problems I almost left Best Coast’s gig, but I’m very glad I stayed. They’re a female-fronted indie group from California with a 90s-ish lo-fi sound and some of the best songs of this genre I’ve heard in ages. They’ll never be having no.1s but there’s an audience for this and they’ll love Best Coast.

10. Slow Club
I adored Slow Club when I saw them play acoustically (due to a power cut!) at TGE two years ago, so I’m sad to say I was a bit disappointed this time. I love their energy and personality but only liked a few of the songs they played, and was sad not to hear their best song by far, Me and You.


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