Lucky Soul, Chew Lips + More! - The Great Escape Brighton - Friday - A Review In Pictures
Brighton's Great Escape is Europe's leading Festival for new music with over 300 bands playing at 30 venues over a three day period.
I last attended the event in 2007 so felt a trip to the seaside was long overdue. I was unable to head along on the Thursday due to other commitments so started my Great Escape adventure Friday afternoon. I scanned the Festival's website a few days earlier, seeing if any shows took my fancy, noticing a Friday clash from the off. London trio Chew Lips were scheduled against Retro Poppers Lucky Soul so I wasn't sure which band to catch. As luck would have it I noticed that Chew Lips had added an afternoon set so popped down to Shipwright's Yard to see them play.
I've seen the trio on numerous occasions in recent months but I'm still enjoying each set I view as the band's 2010 debut album Unicorn is a firm favorite and the band excel in the live arena, with singer Tigs always putting on a great performance that leaves me with a grin on my face. The Electro Pop trio suffered a few technical issues throughout the show but it didn't mar the gig in any way, with the band really coming into their own from "Salt air" onwards, ending with the always fantastic "Gold key".
I hung around at the venue for a bit to see what US singer songwriter Jesca Hoop was up to. she sounded on good form and spent a few minutes dicing with death due to a dodgy microphone! Hopefully she didn't come a cropper during the performance. She was still in one piece anyway when I took my leave during the song that followed, heading to the Dome to watch my next band.
Brighton's Dome is the main focus point for Escape delegates as several industry panels take place throughout the weekend. There's also live music to be found in the venue, with acts playing full showcases in the Concert Hall and performing short sessions in places like the hotel foyer. I stumbled upon French band Coming Soon in this part of the venue and really enjoyed their performance. The young group were playing an acoustic stint, with numerous band members singing vocals, producing a fun set that really won me over.
I've checked the band's My Space since the event and there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between their acoustic gig and their recorded output, with their fairly laid back take on a US Indie sound meriting further attention. i'll probably check them out again if they come back to London anyway.
As one showcase ended another began, with the Brown Ale and Scrumpy session taking place in the next room.
This was more of a socialising event and the two acts that played seemed to battle with crowd noise.
Staffordshire's Jackie Oates was first up, with the BBC award winning folk singer managing to hold the attention of several people down the front and rightly so!
Northen lass Nadine Shah was second in the firing line. I'd seen Nadine play recently supporting Fyfe Dangerfield. Her musical output was a bit too serious for my liking but I really warmed to her endearing personality between songs. Sadly there was no time for between song chat at the Dome and the words "Thank God that's over" couldn't be far from her mind when she walked through the swing doors back to the foyer! That being said, I really think Nadine's going to do well in the next year or so as she's got a certain something about her.
I was planning on starting the main part of my evening at Concorde 2 but I ended up chatting to people in the bar, meaning I couldn't get to the venue in time to see what I had planned to view. I was extremely unsure what to watch at this point as nothing took my fancy so I went with the laziest option in the World, heading to the venue Lucky Soul would be playing a couple of hours later.
I found myself standing with a horde of Australians, waiting for the appearance of Melbourne based Paul Dempsey. I had no idea who the chap was but there was certainly several people in the room anticipating his arrival!
It didn't take me long to find out that Paul's the lead singer of Something For Kate and has just released his debut solo album Everything Is True. I imagine his set was pulled from this collection with the odd Kate track thrown in as there were moments when the crowd went a bit wilder, though I may be completely wrong! Paul's set didn't have me wanting to rush out and purchase his album but it was enjoyable enough and I'm always curious watching solo performers as I'm a musician myself.
Eskimo Joe are another Australian band that have never appeared on my rader. They were a good way to kill some time anyway as they rocked the house with their down and dirty Rock!
After my taste of music down under it was time for London's Lucky Soul to take to the stage.
I've been a fan of the band for a few years now and I believe they are the most underrated act in the UK as far as the general public are concerned. Their two albums have been critically acclaimed, with the recently released A Coming Of Age taking the band slightly away from their 60's Retro Pop roots, throwing in bits of Glam, Country and Disco into the mix!
The band's set wasn't as stunning as their recent album launch at Cargo but it was still extremely entertaining with single "Woah Billy", "A coming of age" and my current Soul fave "Up in flames" set highlights.
My first day at 2010's Great Escape was a success but I was a bit of a lazy bugger so vowed to make more of an effort to watch new bands on day two...