Tag Archives: The Great Escape Festival

Live Review – Fatherson @ Dome Studio Theatre and the Prince Albert

IMG_1024Glad to have caught Fatherson at TGE. Saw them at the Dome Theatre in the afternoon and then the more intimate Prince Albert at night. Different size venues can affect the power and effect of a song meaning that some bands are often only suited to one type/size of venue. However, no such problems for Fatherson. The smaller venue adds more intensity to their songs whilst the larger venue allows more space to appreciate the dynamics and the emotional impact of their set. Their power and intensity remind me of the wonderful Swervedriver and lyrically I’m reminded of the writing of Iain Banks.

Django Django, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton.

Django Django formed in Edinburgh in 2009 after meeting at Art College. We caught them at Brighton’s Pavilion Theatre, the huge queue outside a fair indication of how the band’s following has built up over the last couple of years although  undoubtedly the crowd is swelled further by the fact that they have been on Jools Holland’s TV show the night before.

On their eponymous album, released earlier this year, there are definite whiffs of the shambolic charm of the Beta Band but live I am surprised to find they have a pristine sound and incisiveness  which adds an epic quality that I wasn’t expecting. There is actually a Beta Band connection though as it turns out as drummer David Maclean’s big brother was a member of the much missed outfit.

Like the Beta Band Django Django understand how to mix their musical influences together in intoxicating ways: The keys cut through the mix  aggressively, threatening to turn the gig into a nineties style rave, the vocals float above the rest of the music with spacious psychedelic harmonies and the cowbell clanks as if your head is in a metal waste paper bin and Mr T is on the outside hitting the bin with a gold drumstick. At one point  the keyboards cut out, just as Grimes’ sequencers will do the following night but nothing can stop the Django feel good funnel for long and the ivories kick back in after a couple of minutes, albeit in mono.

From where we were standing, which was admittedly fairly near the back,  the pleasingly surreal impression I got of the band visually was that the group was made up of New Order’s Bernard Sumner on vocals, Jimmy Carr, the unnaturally huge headed joke jockey, on guitar and playwright Dennis Potter on keys.  On later reflection having seen their video appearance on BBC iplayer I realise this impression was possibly, arguably, slightly wide of the mark.  Either way Django Django are one of the best bands to emerge in the UK in a long time and live manage to be charming, exciting and original all in one accessible, love-able package and there just aren’t too many new bands around just now that you can say that about.

The Great Escape Festival – Juveniles at Komedia, Brighton

The French electronic/indie label Kitsune has been releasing good new music recently, especially the Citizens! debut album produced by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and a couple of EP’s by three musicians from Rennes who call themselves Juveniles.

Juveniles are the first band Feast see today – a busy lunchtime show downstairs at Komedia and they turn out to be a brilliant start to the day. This French trio were a real find and I suppose this is what makes The Great Escape so alluring as a festival. I knew nothing about them except that they had recently signed to Kitsune. They announce that their next EP “One O Six” is due to be released in June.

Their sound combines guitars, drums, synths and programming which is inventive and energetic mixing electronica, punk rock and pop into an eclectic genre of music.
They stand apart in terms of electronic music the way that Daft Punk and Air did on their initial releases and are just as enthralling. The festival only schedules thirty minute live sets but Juveniles could have happily flexed and spread their sounds for a lot longer given the reception and encouragement they received from the crowd.

The Great Escape Festival – Holland at Mrs Fitzherberts, Brighton

The Great Escape is a new music festival and convention held over three days every May in Brighton. Being a fledgling blog who have also started a record label and soon to release our debut single by Maydays , we were really interested in attending the DIY panel discussions on how to develop and promote a record label in a rapidly changing music industry environment.

The other reason to attend was to see some great new bands that we could champion in an unlikely ploy to help attract these bands to come and play in Edinburgh. I do hope The Great Escape sticks to focussing on new bands and stays well clear of putting on a headline act to generate publicity which sadly Edinburgh’s own Haddow Fest did last year by booking Razorlight – paying a band who have no interest in the longevity of the festival a massive fee, which is perhaps one of the reasons the Festival has yet to appear this year, and in the process potentially depriving local bands of the experience of performing in a festival setting.

We arrive on the Wednesday evening which is when the Alternative Escape begins. This is a platform for bands who are not on the official festival playlist. We decide to go to the ‘Made In Cornwall’ night upstairs at Mrs Fitzherberts pub, but as we are pretty late in arriving only manage to see the last band of the evening called Holland.

Decked out in Cornish flags, upstairs at Mrs Fitzherberts is so small that getting thirty people in is pretty much a sell-out show. On first appearances it looks as if the band members are four feet tall, however the ‘stage’ is actually a two-foot drop from where the audience stands and a wide pillar which blocks the view of the band pretty much means that the singer is facing a wall for most of the set – a bizarrely intimate venue.

Holland are not influenced by The Beach Boys despite their name being the title of one of the bands’ great early ‘70’s records. Their music is fast and frenetic combined with dream-like vocals, but clearly they know how to create a dynamic within a song which keeps their slightly shoegaze approach appealing. They are incredibly tight and have a good sense of how to pace their set with current single “Lovely Bones” being a standout track which keeps this small but highly enthusiastic crowd jumping in admiration.

Holland – Lovely Bones 7″ by destinationmoon

The Great Escape Festival – Grimes at Digital, Brighton

There is a real sense of anticipation amongst the packed audience as Montreal electro-pop artist Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) sound-checks her own equipment. However, as the show starts, Boucher signals to the mixing engineer that there’s no sound emanating from her keyboard before realizing she hasn’t turned the volume up on it. An apologetic cry of “oops” only serves to endear her to the audience even more.

In between playing keyboards, sometimes two at the same time, Boucher howls and yelps into her microphone whilst doing some live looping, dancing and bouncing to the beat. She plays “Vanessa” which brings a huge cheer followed shortly afterwards by “Oblivion” and “Genesis” from her recent 4AD album “Visions”.

Boucher sports an ‘Anarchy’ t-shirt which is apt given the cacophony of sound she has mutated into what can only be termed wondrous and beguiling songs. She is joined on stage by two dancers decked out in all black clothing, sporting chalked faces weaving shapes to exemplify the twists and turns of Grimes’ musical vision. A great album…a brilliant performance.