Review: The Great Escape (Friday)

Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees
From this band’s name and the look of the lead singer, you’d expect them to be rather ace, but in fact I didn’t like their music very much at all. It’s very rare for me to actively dislike female electro-pop singers but I didn’t hear anything I’d want to listen to again from these guys.

Charlie Ash
I was looking forward to seeing this Australian band, who I first dscovered through their cover of I Wanna Sex You Up for Buffet Libre’s ace compilation album, Rewind 2. I liked their songs on MySpace but was a bit disappointed with them live. The songs were alright but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected and found myself wishing they’d hurry up so Lights would be on.

Although I wasn’t that keen on her when I first wrote about her here a few months ago, Lights was one of the acts I was most excited to see at TGE, mainly because of a new song she recently released called Ice. It’s by far her best song, but in fact I enjoyed the other songs more than I expected to as well. I’m a convert, so well done Lights! She’s an interesting one, as she does electro-pop music but has connections to the emo scene (has been on the Give it a Name tour) so the end result is something a bit like The Veronicas, or a mid-point between Avril Lavigne and Little Boots.

Polly Scattergood
I like Polly because she’s got this cutesy diy style which isn’t seen so much these days, but I’m not sure how well it works at a gig. She’s more the kind of act you want to see in intimate setting, and perhaps acoustic, because her band drowned out her vocals quite a lot. I couldn’t often make out the words she was singing, which is obviously a problem with an act such as Polly where the lyrics are a big part of her charm. I still like her but I’m not sure anyone would have been particularly impressed if they’d not heard her before this performance.

80s Kids
I hadn’t heard of this Japanese electro-pop group before but one of my friends was going and they were on at the same venue as Ou Est and Dan Black, so I decided to join her. I enjoyed the performance, particularly cos I was seeing them completely at random so didn’t have high expectations, but other people I spoke to were less positive, complaining particularly because the female singer was miming. I don’t care about such things, and it made sense in this case as they were using a sample vocal – perhaps she’d have been better off not to pretend she was singing it.

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
These guys seem to be building up quite a strong following, and it’s an interesting demographic that they’re tapping into. Their music is quite blokey in the way of Hard-Fi or The Streets, but they have two songs which are supremely poptastic, called The Key and Dance the Way I Feel. I think, thanks to those two songs, Ou Est could become really successful, but because of their blokey appeal they will be subject to a lot of hate and the brilliance of these songs will be ignored by pop fans who run away at any sign of testosterone. But in fact they’re just like a boyband who look and act like normal young men and make music they’d actually buy themselves. They deserve a fair appraisal.

Dan Black
Having been a fan of Dan since he was in The Servant about 5 years ago, I couldn’t miss my chance to see him live, even if I could barely feel my feet by the time he got on stage at about 2.30am! It was worth the wait and the pain, however, as he was one of the best acts I saw all weekend. I didn’t think I liked his new music as much as The Servant’s brilliant self-titled album, but in fact he put on a great show, sang really well, and all his songs sounded good. I might even buy his album!

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