Monday, May 30, 2016

The Great Escape 2016 :: Day Two

Live Review

The Great Escape, Brighton (Day 2)

Thursday May 19 - Saturday May 21 2016

Various venues

Reporting team: LB, Kenny Davies, Alison Mack

Day Two of the big Brighton Escape starts off with a fine morning, and whilst most of the local inhabitants are off to their day jobs, Escapers settle in to planning their must-see-sets itineraries.

Blossoms - who can't seem to tear themselves away - fit in an acoustic sun-kissed set in the Wagner Hall garden, their second of three appearances at the festival. It's great to hear songs like 'Charlemagne' and 'Getaway' stripped back where Tom Odgen's vocals can really shine and also show what great musicians they are. Contender for highlight of the day already.

It's all things Scottish at the Brighthelm Centre with BBC Radio Scotland's Vic Galloway hosting a showcase of talent. Edinburgh duo Man Of Moon - Chris Bainbridge (vocals/ guitar) and Mikey Reid (drums/backing vocals) - command an early afternoon slot and an already full room as they deliver some kraut-psych inspired drones and receive as good a reception as if they'd just headlined an evening set.

WHITE up next on the same stage couldn't be more different. The Glasgow electro-pop five-piece get those still nursing hangovers from the night before right behind their razor-sharp guitar tunes - and even sharper fashion attire. Kirstin Lynn on drums, is resplendent in silver sequinned top, while enigmatic frontman Leo Condie, decked out in tie-fronted open shirt and silver boots, whips his black locks back and forth as they kick out enough bangers in the set, from 'Touch Yourself', debut single 'Future Pleasures' to 'Living Fiction', to start a sweaty fire amongst the dancing crowd.

Back out in daylight, the New Road stage sees Aussie Brit Emmi - a cross between Lorde and Sia - with her band entertaining tourists, shoppers, and curious onlookers with some soulful pop, including last year's debut 'My Kinda Swag'. The Dunwells sort themselves out after a delay and play to a ten-row deep crowd, with Joe Dunwell belting out each number as if playing to a 100-row Glastonbury throng.

Back at East Street Tap, we have newly signed (to Fierce Panda) band Coquin Migale. They've had a few issues recently but that doesn't stop them putting in an excellent set that catches Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq's attention. Full of driving choppy guitars and dreamy vocals the packed pub and neighbouring streets are awash with a loud and commanding performance that highlights why they're picking up fans very fast.

Also at the Tap, an Alternative Escape venue (yet another in the sterling showcase put on by End Of The Trail Records), Northern 'mysteries' Eat Fast not only play fast, but play bloody well and get the punters pouring in through the door. The likes of ‘Fenham Dread(Lock)’, ‘Byker Drone’ and 'Byker Lime Slicer' are played with all the Northern grit and insouciance they can muster, demonstrating why they have been placed in this year's veritably small and exclusive 'band to watch' group.

Sheffield threesome Baba Naga are an interesting one, filling out the Shipwright's Yard venue with a mix of psychedelic, doom and cosmic vibes. They only manage about three songs, 10 minutes being the longest number, but capture the attention of the crowd with electric guitar solos, pounding drums and haunting vocals. At The Arch, five-piece London lads The Bulletproof Bomb - think Jamie T, but with more attitude and aggression - play a set of fast, catchy songs about everyday life that get the crowd going and mini mosh pits emerge which the band feed off and deliver a fine set in the now hot and sweaty venue.

Playing just their second live gig, Brighton locals Lunar Quiet are a band to keep an eye on. In the unassuming subterranean room of The Globe, the space may be minuscule and this quartet may be less than six months old, but debut track 'Endless Migraine' is enough to see why they are destined to hit tastemaker radars: reverbed distortion, scorching fretwork that dips and dives on a rollercoaster of fiercely constructed soundwaves, make for an intriguing opening shot.

Diet Cig bring energy and expectation to the Green Door Store, and succeed in fulfilling on both counts. The New York duo send out vibes of jumping and raucous pop aplomb tray sweeps up the room to the delight of all.

Essex lads Blush pitch up at the Tap with some swagger and a bunch of jangly good songs with infectious rhythms, which includes new single 'WRNG', that belie the fact that they have still to reach their twenties. They sign out on a Pete Townshend finale as guitar is crashed into the drum kit and they exit stage right. London quintet Swimming Tapes play the charmingly named Mucky Duck. A band who have recently emerged to good notice, their jangly dreampop hitting just the right note.

The queues are long for LOYAL at Wagner Hall, where the Annie Mac championed, electro-pop-house artist and her band of musicians offer a genre-warping set of richly atmospheric dance numbers and engaging spacey instrumentals.

Black Honey take to the end of the pier to play a late set at Horatio's in front of their hometown fans. While back at The Globe where the Alternative Escape again does itself proud, another new local B-town act, the lo-fi grunge four-piece Beachtape are followed at the witching hour by the bewitching Ulrika Spacek. Despite the late hour, events still continue well into Saturday morning, with Aaron Maine, aka Porches, weaving dreamy instrumentation over metronomic drums, and the Finnish genre-blending View being two who keep the Escape buzz going at The Haunt and Sticky Mike's respectively.

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