This weekend over 200 arists descend on the most fabulous English town of Brighton (where I happen to live) for the second annual Great Escape Festival. Focussing on new bands and international acts, it’s a great way to discover new music and there’s a huge variety to choose from. I bought a wristband for all 3 days, last night being the first, and so far I’ve seen 5 great acts and one terrible one! Here are my reviews of what I saw on Thursday, to be followed with my Friday and Saturday reports later:
Peter Von Poehl
Kicking off the festival was a cute French guy playing acoustically in a relaxed seafront bar atmosphere. Technical difficulties made his set half an hour late, and he filled gaps while problems were being sorted by telling us very slowly a story about stars dying, which was quite endearing. His music was very nice but I don’t think world domination is in his path.
Four Day Hombre
I wrote about these a few days ago, so it was interesting to see them live. I enjoyed the songs I recognised and the singer was good, but as I said in my review it’s all a bit Coldplay/Keane/Embrace-type music for my liking. Still they were a good band and they have some songs with potential to be very big hits.
This was the band I was most excited about seeing at this festival – an actual Swedish pop band in Brighton! How exciting! They played all the ace tracks like Long Lost Penpal and High School Stalker and a few I didn’t know which were just as good. I was right at the front and got a great view of the band who are all very pretty, especially Annika. I was particularly excited to see that Maia Hirasawa, a Swedish indie-poppet in her own right, was still playing with them despite her new-found solo fame.
I think the word ‘cute’ was invented for Hafdis Huld because she really is so cute and ace and fun and funny that you just want to be her best friend. All her songs are great too (with lyrics like “ice cream is nice, monsters are not” and “I hope you choke on your plastic halo”) and seeing her live convinced me that I must buy her album – I was very annoyed to not have enough cash on me to buy it there and then. Her Icelandic accent has made me want to live in Iceland for a while so I can pick it up and speak like her – there is no acer accent in the world.
We’re Marching On
I saw this Canadian rock band by accident, as they were an hour late, playing when Ghosts were supposed to be on, so we had to wait through them until Ghosts appeared. I have to say it was one of the worst bands I’ve ever seen live and I recommend you avoid them at all costs! I was particularly annoyed that I could have seen Nouvelle Vague or Ali Love while they were on, but I didn’t find out Ghosts were late until I was inside and thinking “Ghosts definitely weren’t Canadian last time I checked!”
The final band of the night are probably the only one most readers will have heard of, since they’ve actually had a hit in the UK, the super-lovely Stay The Night. There were yet more technical issues, but it turned out well as we were treated to I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book and the Neighbours and Home and Away theme tunes! They did all the ace tracks from their MySpace, plus a few more from the forthcoming debut album, and a surprisingly lovely cover of Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls! They were a great finale to a very enjoyable night of new music, and I look forward to buying their CD when it’s released.
Tonight I am planning to see Oh No Ono, Willy Mason, Les Breastfeeders, Pigeon Detectives, The Holloways, Foals and Undercut (only the 1st 3 through my own choice) so I’ll report back and let you know if I’ve turned indie by the end of the night, or just grown to hate indie trendster wannabes even more than I do already…