REVIEW: The Great Escape 2012

REVIEW: The Great Escape 2012

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The Great Escape is Europe’s biggest showcase festival and music industry convention. 300 bands from all over globe descend on Brighton to play in venues scattered across the city. The purpose of the festival is to introduce people to as many new bands as possible over three days. Most of the bands on the line up are just starting out, and many have not yet put out an EP. This is also a festival that industry suits attend in their masses (no camping involved so their shirts will escape creases) to network, to scout for the “next big thing” and to have a booze-up by the sea.

The queues for venues this year have become even more ridiculous. There are a lot of irate customers reciting to bouncers the price they’ve paid for a festival ticket. The line: “at this rate I’ll only catch the last song of the set” is a favourite. On the positive side, if you find that two bands you want to see are playing at the same time, your decision is made easy-peasy by a quick glance at queue lengths.

The key venue, Brighton Dome, seems to miss out on the madness. This is probably because a top-up ticket is needed (at added expense) to access these gigs. Novella, a London four-piece are the first of the elite to play the Dome. The pressure of playing such a prestigious venue seems to have turned them into four Pinocchio’s, the girls are strangely wooden. Although the girls all share the same style, from their long flaxen hair to their summer dresses (that wouldn’t be out of place in Warpaint’s wardrobe); they don’t seem to gel as a band on stage. The stage is far too big for them, and each member politely stays rooted on her own little patch.

Despite their awkward appearance, the songs still manage to come out all nonchalant and cool. Their emphasis has obviously been on getting the sound right rather than developing a stage presence There are long instrumental intros and even longer instrumental endings, all very pleasing. The melodies and lyrics of He’s My Morning and You’re Not That Cool seem to have a touch of Hole to them. It’s quite surprising that the band hail from London because the songs ooze American teen angst.

Heading over to Horatio’s, a dreamy venue on Brighton pier, Friends bring a colourful breed of retro-pop to the festival. Their brazen singer Samantha Urbani reddens a few cheeks as she repeatedly slinks off stage and rubs up against unlikely members of the audience. The Brooklyn posse transform the beer-stained seaside dive into a hipster paradise with their sassy assault of I’m His Girl.

Grimes is the word of the day on Friday. People congregate outside Digital, the venue Claire Boucher is set to grace, hours ahead of the show. Needless to say, there are a lot of disappointed faces outside

the venue when the show starts and it becomes clear that the one-in, one-out policy is strictly rigid. The fan-girls/boys who turned up at stupid o’clock to queue as well as those who were nimble enough to squeeze under the railings, enjoy a high energy bass-and-beats show. Grimes whips the crowd into a sweaty mess with the help of her high powered ghoul-like dancers but soon leaves them high and dry after a quick announcement that her time has run out.

Milk Music try their luck at Horatio’s on the last night. The Olympia guitar-band manage to thrash out a sound which can’t safely be pinned down to any one genre but is played with the aggressive spirit of punk rock. Sadly Alex Coxen’s microphone is turned down low, and despite shouted pleas from a male-dominated crowd, he insists that there is nothing he can do about it. Despite the vocals being drowned out by a volume of guitars. the band still manage to satisfy. They leave the crowd excitedly chatting about how the last 30 minutes have enriched their lives.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.