With 20 things already learnt about 2013’s Great Escape in Brighton, (see review’s here and here) Saturday found Breaking More Waves dodging the drunk hen and stag parties, townie clubbers and Morris Men (!) to find more new live music.
10 Facts We Learnt About Great Escape 2013 (Saturday).
1. Discovery at Great Escape isn’t what it used to be.
Great Escape is partly seen as a festival of discovery of new music. One of the concepts of the event is to stumble randomly over tomorrow’s unknown stars in tiny venues playing to small audiences. However, in our wireless web world this idea is probably a little far from the truth. The success of The Great Escape means that nearly every venue is packed (the days of watching Adele playing in a less than 100 capacity coffee shop third out of four on the bill as we did in 2007 are probably long gone) and with the continual development and expansion of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify and online press including new music blogs, most of the ‘discovery’ for many punters is complete before they’ve stepped out the door at home -even the festival's website had links to every bands music and a complete Spotify playlist. Yet most people are still not prepared to wager £5 to go and see three bands they’ve never heard of on a whim on a rainy Monday night in a pub in their hometown - they prefer the greater 'experience' of an event rather than a solitary gig. Great Escape packages the concept of ‘discovery’ into something different and judging by the rammed venues, people like it.
2. Chvrches may be a ‘buzz band’ but they are such because they have A.M.A.Z.I.N.G songs.
As we predicted yesterday their set at seafront club Digital was massively over-subscribed. Those who did get in witnessed a band taking a myriad of classic influences (Prince, Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk) and turning them into a glossy synth dream fit for 2013 fully justifying their position as our no.1 one to watch for 2013. With a bandaged hand Lauren providing the sweetest of vocal melodies on future pop classics like Now Is Not The Time and Science & Vision, Chvrches put an electronic bullet to the slogan ‘don’t believe the hype.’
3. Girls Aloud are now cool and kitsch enough for a Brighton club DJ to drop Sound of the Underground into a mainly hip hop and r’n’b influenced set.
This actually happened. We danced a lot.
4. The UK has its own very accessible version of Arcade Fire.
Eliza & The Bear’s afternoon set at the cave like Haunt was another packed out show, the band showing a dynamic stomping enthusiasm with their joyously uplifting set. Guitars, trumpet, keyboards, mass chants and big sing-a-long tunes that bind so tightly together that it makes you wonder why they’re not already playing arenas, alongside Embers they’re one of the best new guitar based bands we see all weekend. Euphoric is an understatement.
5. The Great Escape has many imitators but it’s still the most impressive.
With pretty much every large city in the UK now having its own multi-venue festival, the Great Escape still leads by a country mile. One of the reasons for this is that its still one of the best managed. With so many venues running its critical for stages to run to time in order for punters to be able to see what they’ve chosen to see and with very few exceptions every venue at Great Escape runs bang on, with impressively quick set up times by the artists themselves.
6. It was a good night for Denmark.
Around the same time that Emmelie de Forest was winning Eurovision for Denmark with Only Teardrops, another Danish chanteuse was pulling musical blows with punchy youthful attitude and winning Brighton over at Great Escape. Sassy pony-tailed singer Karen Marie Ørsted, performed as if she was dancing on hot coals and her life depended on it. Pilgrim glistened with sweaty, brassy, electronic grooves and whilst MØ’s tunes may not have quite enough pop hookiness to take her into the mainstream, those who like their electronic music that little bit edgier will find a lot to love about MØ.
7. Lulu James has good shoes (and an incredible set of pipes)
The award for best costume of the festival has to go to rising 21 year old Geordie soul-pop star Lulu James. With a pair of shoes that were covered in paper flowers and a combination of leotard and webbed effect prince charming pantomime jacket James looked stunning. Despite suffering technical problems on stage her club bound soul grooves sounded perfect out front. Britain’s answer to Beyonce? Well maybe not quite, but certainly she might be giving Katy B and Jessie Ware a run for their money by the time the year’s out.
8. There’s still a problem with free gigs.
Running alongside the Great Escape is the Alt. Escape, a series of free gigs, showcases and parties that anyone can attend irrespective of if they have a Great Escape ticket or not. In some respects this is a brilliant opportunity for bands and those who want to put on a show; with Brighton being so busy over Great Escape weekend it virtually guarantees a decent sized crowd. Yet as folk singer Rhodes discovered on Saturday afternoon at The Mesmerist, a large audience who haven’t paid to get in doesn’t equate to silent attentive listeners. The levels of chat in the room were almost unbearable – maybe he would have been better playing to a small crowd of paying customers who were actually interested?
9. In real life Moko dances just like she does in THAT video.
She really does. (Hear her below)
10. The Great Escape is still great.
The Great Escape unquestionably remains the biggest and the best new music multi-venue urban festival in the UK. Go there and fall in love with live new music all over again.
Moko - Homesick