Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Great Escape 2010 - Day 1

When I was told to go and report of the Great Escape festival in Brighton I was left with a feeling of 98% delight and excitement, and the rest, anxiety. The reason behind that 2% was that until now I’d never gone to a festival by myself and although being in a city I have been to on a few wonderful occasions, seeing the excruciating amount of venues on the map it did leave me thinking "how am I gonna find all these places?" But fear not. Through simply walking through the city you manage realise that Brighton isn’t all that big where the majority of venues you’ll be looking for are right there. Even realising I HAD been to a some of these places before. It would ultimately turn out to be fun fuelled weekend of sunshine, bands, seaside drinking and FA Cup final elation.


So the weekend started on Thursday morning. Notes written, bags packed, I was ready for my surprisingly quick train journey from Raynes Park to Brighton. Arriving at the station, my next mission was to find the hostel. 45 minutes or so of taking an extremely longer than necessary route I was finally there, checked in. Now my next task was to go into town and find the delegates area to sort out my press photo and wristband and meet up with some fellow associates, with plenty of time before the evening gigs started. Arriving at the delegate area to a free goody bag and complimentary cans of Red Stripe and Relentless energy drinks, I could see this was going to be a very good weekend!

Despite stumbling across random sound checks and extracts of showcases, my first real gig of the day was delightful Tweak Bird, at the Hope. I had never really listened to them before but was informed that they were like a quirky 2-piece in the vein of Japandroids so I thought I would check them out. Their fusion of progressive, yet psych-infused garage rock turned out to be a worthwhile decision inside a packed venue which gave the place a vibrant atmosphere.

Next, was on to the Freebutt, which looked on the programme map like it was far out of the way, but actually wasn’t. Although in comparison to everywhere else, it was. Anyway, the initial reason to head there was for Still Flyin’ but as they were not due for an hour or so we managed to catch the majority of Silver Columns’ (above) set. A so far recurring theme of duo’s witnessed, but this 2-piece were a brilliant creative fusion of Indie Electro-Pop in a similar vein to Hot Chip and Of Montreal. Their stage persona featured a talented array of instruments performed, including drumming amongst the crowd which was an entertaining sight and a band you must see if you get the chance. Following Silver Columns were the San Franciscan collective Still Flyin’ (below). Having spoken to founding member Sean Rawls earlier that afternoon he seemed genuinely happy to be in the country and at the Great Escape. As were the hardcore following that had come to see their double Thursday showcase, they weren’t to be disappointed as they scrawled through the pop gems from their debut LP ‘Never Gonna Touch the Ground’ with some equally fun new tracks to boot.

Next on the agenda was an alternative escape show from Here We Go Magic at the Loft. A band who id been looking forward too seeing all week and there was certainly no anti-climax. Luke Temple and his band breathtakingly fused a cocktail of both their albums into their set. Opening with the under looked track ‘Moon’ from their new album Pigeons which seemed to have a stronger build up live than on recording. Up and coming single ‘Collecter’ gained the biggest crowd reaction but it wasn’t until they began playing tracks from their debut self titled LP when you noticed the audience being transfixed into their loud, psychedelic drones, climaxing with the epic ‘Tunnelvision’.

As I was feeling a bit gone at this stage I was ready to hit the hay but as I got talking to some people I was encouraged to stay around and catch Wild Palms who were playing their 1.30am slot directly after. So I did, and their synth based Indie rock 'n' roll had people dancing. But it wasn’t until later on that weekend I noticed people saying encouraging things about them, and could see based on that performance that they have a exciting future. So I finally headed back to the hostel and drunkenly bumping into the guys from Still Flyin’ on the walk back, waved goodbye to a very successful day one.

Words and pictures: Freddy Rothman

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