Review: The Great Escape (Saturday)

The Mono LPs
This band has to be my least favourite of the festival. Despite playing in a laid-back pub on the edge of town, they asked the sound guy (a friend of mine) to make the music loud. I could barely hear myself think, let alone talk, and I ended up with a headache even though they played quite a short set. Definitely not recommended!

Polly Mackey
After a successful set at SXSW in March, there was lots of industry buzz about unsigned 17-year-old Polly, who usually plays with her band, The Pleasure Principle. She has some really good songs and could do very well, particularly with fans of Laura Marling and Emmy the Great. Her gig during TGE was put on especially so that some record label types could come and see her play live, and the reaction from them seemed pretty positive so hopefully she’ll be signed to a major label very soon. I think she’s going to do very well in the future so definitely one to keep an eye on.

Deer Tracks
This may be the first Swedish band I’ve seen live that I actively disliked. Their music was just one long drone, even though they looked like they would be much better. Of all the Swedish acts that coould have come over for TGE, we had to have this lot? I’m not impressed!

Sad Day For Puppets
Another Swedish band and a big improvement on the previous group, although not a patch on Lush, who the programme compared them to. The female singer seemed sweet and the times when they spoke to each other (and the crowd) in Swedish contented me. I must go back to Sweden soon, I miss it!

Marina & the Diamonds
I was very impressed with Marina’s performance. She was one of my top tips in my Next Big Thing posts back in January, and although I don’t see her becoming a huge star I think she could at least do as well as Bat For Lashes did on her first album and then have more success with her second on the back of that critical acclaim. If people are buying La Roux’s singles, why not Marina’s? La Roux have one good song, while all of Marina’s are ace. She was wearing a leotard with sequins on it and sparkly tights, and performed as much like a popstar as she looked. She did What You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani, a cover she previously did on Radio 1 Live Lounge, and I thought she was brilliant at it but the crowd didn’t seem to be that interested as no-one was dancing. Still, I enjoyed it, so she’s got at least one fan!

Patrick Wolf
I was torn between this and Little Boots’ gig at Komedia, but in the end decided to stay with Patrick, although I’ve seen him before and never seen Little Boots, because he was in the same venue as Marina. I was glad I stayed in the end because he put on a great show, and although I don’t like the new songs as much as those from the Magic Position album, it was great to see up close (I was in the 2nd row) an act I was once quite obsessed with. He had some great costumes (there was a funny moment at the end when his long necklace got caught in a microphone cord and he couldn’t leave the stage!) and when he did his best songs, Tristan and The Magic Position, it was the highlight of the weekend for me. I’d forgotten how much fun Patrick gigs can be, although also how squishy it gets down the front. I also had the great honour (not) of having Patrick throw his drink on my head, so I think that’ll be both the first and last gig of his where I stand quite so near the front!

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