Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Great Escape 2017 :: Day Two

Credit: Linn Branson

Live Review

The Great Escape, Brighton (Day 2)

Thursday May 18 - Saturday May 20 2017

Various venues

Reporting team: Linn Branson, Ellie Ward, Steve Willcox, Neil Cole

The second day of The Great Escape in Brighton begins on a bright note - literally, as well as musically. As the rain clouds depart in the sky to be replaced much-welcomed sun, Swiss three-piece Baba Shrimps inject some bright European power-pop into Komedia Studio at lunchtime. Having been around a few years now, they played a set encompassing tracks from their 2014 debut ('I Don't Wanna Hide' being the highlight) as well as new stuff from their forthcoming album ('Road To Rome').

Rosie Carney
Credit: Ellie Ward

For those still suffering from too much of the previous night's late Escape, Irish acoustic singer/songwriter Rosie Carney takes the pace down with her dulcet voice and gentle guitar playing on the outside BBC Music Stage in Jubilee Square.

Paris Youth Foundation (Patterns)
Credit: Chris Marsh

If one band proved to be a hit with several members of Little Indie's team, it was on-the-rise Liverpool five-piece Paris Youth Foundation. Something of a Little Indie first, in that for both this and their later set at the East Wing they drew a total of four different LI writers in to see them! In our interview with the band before the festival we had been told frontman Kev Potter's dance moves were a set highlight - and they were. A tall guy with a mass of curls on his head - which was shaken frequently - under a baseball hat, joined expressive hand gestures and moves that were hard not to fall in love with. He also won favour with the early Patterns crowd (who were literally spilling out of the door midway through) for saying Brighton was a great place and unassumingly thanking them for coming to see them. With soaring riffs and thumping basslines, they played an accomplished set, from debut single 'Losing Your Love', a powerful track with Foals-like guitars but laid-back vocals, to 'If You Wanna' and newest single 'Lost Cause'. If they'd played a third set during the festival we would probably have been there for that too, and that says it all.

Paris Youth Foundation (East Wing)
Credit: Linn Branson

Mid-afternoon, while Welsh power punks Estrons take over Bleach and punch out some alt-rock to a full room of drinkers and swayers, Northern lads Vito play their second set of the festival at East Street Tap as part of the Alternative Escape. The extraordinary decibel level of their first time must have got around as it's a full house for this appearance and unlucky punters are forced to listen out on the pavement.

Credit: Linn Branson

The Latest Bar is packed to the rafters for Welsh rock trio The Sandinistas. Frontman Dan Hagerty was confident in both the band's music, and his interaction with the crowd bordered on becoming a stand-up show at times. The set was packed with short, fast-paced, catchy rock tunes, and despite being only a few months into their career there was a mini sing-along in the crowd for 'Ready To Blow' and 'Down On The Street Today'.

The Sandinistas
Credit: Steve Willcox

The by now nicely warmed up Brighton with sun shining overhead brings an outside crowd to Shipwrights Yard to catch the semi-open air sets of Cardiff-based space poppers Gulp, followed by big draw home boys, The Magic Gang. Both get feet moving in a good-natured crowd. The Magic Gang going on to repeat the process later in the evening at Horatio's at the end of Brighton pier. Their catchy pop rock vibes showing why they have become such a live favourite.

The Magic Gang (Horatio's)
Credit: Steve Willcox

Beyond Retro hosted more of The Alternative Escape with Scotland’s Indigo Velvet bringing some Caribbean funk rock in the shape of 'Sunrise' and more in their tight set that left the crowd well pleased.

Indigo Velvet
Credit: Steve Willcox

Sigrid draws lengthy queues for her Wagner Hall afternoon set, both for delegates and wristbands, and close to stage time neither is moving any nearer even reaching the entrance. For those who made it in they saw the 20-year-old Norwegian vocalist - already hyped her reputation with just released debut EP ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ - storm through an animated set with a four-piece band behind her.


BlackWaters play to a one-out-one-in rammed basement room at the Queens Hotel. Fierce as fuck and flying in your face, the rising Guildford punk dynamos - none yet out of their teens - are dominated by unrestrained loose cannon frontman Max Tanner, whose energy and forays into the crowd may be met with glee or perturbation, depending on your anxiety level. It's The Clash meets LIFE, crossed with Palma Violets and Loom.

Due to one of those inevitable problems that occasionally befall festivals, there's no Pip Hall at East Street Tap; her place taken instead by young Essex band Blush. At least they get John Kennedy (Radio X) in, plus three dancing and dewy-eyed Japanese girls who seem clearly enamoured of floppy blond-haired frontman Ben Rotherham, as they gazed upon him avidly while the band hammered their way through a blistering indie rock set.

Credit: Linn Branson

Dead Pretties at The Haunt caught many unawares. Only releasing their debut single 'Social Experiment' a few months ago, the London-based grunge trio are still veritable unknowns, but slicing their way through a set of jagged guitar rock 'n' roll with frontman Jacob Slater snarling his way around the stage, left many in no doubt that they were a band we'd be hearing more of.

Ten Tonnes
Credit: Steve Willcox

Ten Tonnes, aka Ethan Barnett, turns out a neat line in confident presence and adept lyrics in his evening slot at the Prince Albert. Sharp and upbeat tunes like his impressive debut single ‘Silver Heat', and more from his upcoming new EP 'Born To Lose' find favour with the crowd.

The East Wing saw the return of Childhood who are back making new music for the first time since acclaimed 2014 debut album 'Lacuna'. With eight musicians on stage, the songs were often a complex mix of different styles, and at times the set seemed perhaps overly ambitious. However, the change in direction from the dreamy pop of 'Lacuna' will no doubt be developed over the coming months and the forthcoming second album should be interesting to hear.

Credit: Neil Cole

RAYE is the 18-year-old, ex-Brit School London phenomenon whose soulful voice with a heavy dollop of synth pop hooks has steered her to prominence. She plays a late night full set at Wagner Hall with her band where she oozes confidence as she bounces around the stage to 'I,U,Us' and 'You Don’t Know Me', her curly blonde mop of hair and large hoop ear-rings bouncing with her.

Pip Blom
Credit: Ellie Ward

Pip Blom repped the Netherlands at the Brighthelm Centre with a lively set of jagged guitars and indie pop crossed with grunge that kept her swinging ponytail busy, while Spilt Milk Society, the five-piece Birmingham indie rockers have Steve Lamacq checking them out as they fill the Paganini Ballroom. Great guys with a bunch of tunes we should be hearing more of.

Spilt Milk Society
Credit: Steve Willcox

Ider who play their second, and full, set of the festival at Wagner Hall late into the evening, appear to attract a crowd that is 99% industry, which bodes well for the commercial future of the London two girl RnB/pop duo. However, it didn't make for much of an atmosphere as the performance was greeted with almost total silence - both during and after each song. The vocals and harmonies were impressive, but the music itself was rather bland, and gave the impression they have found a formula which they believe will be commercially successful and have every intention of sticking to it.

Credit: Neil Cole

Later at the same venue, Rat Boy brings an exuberance that outdid most of the rest when he owned the stage in the early hours of Saturday morning, combining indie and hip hop to help shore up the energy levels of those starting to feel a need for their beds.

Though the Escape party continued till daylight, the high points of Day Two had come and satiated the throngs - with closing Day Three still to come.


The Great Escape 2017 :: Day One

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