The Great Escape 2011 - Day Three - A Review In Pictures - Brighton

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.

My third and final day at the Festival commenced with a trip to Above Audio to view a brief set from singer / songwriter Megan Goodwin. The singers' material sounded pleasant enough but nothing really stuck in my head on first listen. She did throw a Kylie cover into to her set to liven thing things up though.

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I hung around for Australian band All Mankind but they weren't doing much for me either so I left after one song!

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I wandered the streets of Brighton for a bit, eventually making my way to vintage clothes store - Beyond Retro, as Guillemots were playing a "secret" show there. The band were billed as playing at three and I turned up around two, expecting the place to be already mobbed. There was only a handful of gig goers in the store when I arrived and we hung around looking a bit awkward while customers made their purchases. Luckily the shop is huge so we weren't getting in the way but it was a relief when another band appeared to play a few songs.

The shop had an odd set up for instores as performers played on a high balcony above the tills. I cursed myself when I arrived and saw the performance space as I'd carried a long zoom lens with me for two previous days, leaving it at home as I hadn't used it. I knew it would have come in extremely handy but I managed to make do with what I had, testing it out on the "support" band. I've no idea who they were as they were a replacement for someone else and I wasn't paying much attention to them as I was chatting to a couple of photographers through a lot of their set.

Eventually Guillemots took to the stage at the back of three, delivering a short but sweet show to a much larger crowd, consisting of tracks from their exceptional new album Walk The River, with a couple of oldies thrown in for good measure in the shape off "Made up love song #43" and "Trains to Brazil".

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It was too late after the band's gig to really head off and find one of the afternoon shows I was thinking off catching so I grabbed some food and had a seat for a while, eventually making my way to the train station end of town as I was heading to a venue in that direction a bit later.

I had decided to pop into the station to "make use of their facilities" and was just about to put my 20p in the slot when I heard Guillemots blasting out "Made up love song #43". It was a real WTF? moment as I had no idea where it was coming from! I left the loo and walked to the end of the platform to see if the band were playing in a nearby car park, eventally realising they were performing somewhere underneath the station so legged it in that direction , eventually coming across the band playing a Relentless street gig. It seemed to be a similar set to their earlier one so I was able to take in my fave track from the band - "Trains to Brazil" twice in one afternoon.

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The band played their set directly across from the Prince Albert pub which was good news for me as that was my next destination as I was off to catch a very intimate set from Swedish Electro Rockers - The Sounds. The venue they were playing was about the size of a large front room so i was a bit worried about getting in. The official program had them playing at around 10 but they were actually scheduled online to appear just after 7 so I thought that might have led a few fans to show up later. I was still really surprised though when there was no one else hanging around waiting to get in. The venue's was at the top of the pub's stairs so I just dumped my stuff and worked on my laptop until the band's fans started trickling in, eventually leading to a huge crowd wanting admission.

The venue was pretty packed for the band but there was strangely a huge gap front of stage, giving the ten or so fans down the front loads of space to dance about! I've seen The Sounds on countless occasions over the years, most recently catching two great shows at Austin's SXSW in March but the Brighton set was even better as it was just full on fun, with Maja and the boys blasting their way through tracks pulled from all their albums.

(check out a separate review of this show with additional photographs at TMF very soon!)

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I decided to spend the rest of my Festival at Horatio's as there were a couple of acts I'd been meaning to check out, with US singer EMA taking the stage first. I'd been listening to debut album Past Life for a few weeks so was curious to see her live, enjoying the nosiy renditions of the album tracks she performed, especially "California".

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I went to the bar after EMA's set and proceeded to miss the majority of the following act - London based Shoegazing types 2:54 due to someone having a big argument over payment with the guy tending the bar at my side. I eventually got served and headed back into the pit after downing my pint just in time for the last couple of songs.

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Yuck's track "Get away" has been a firm favourite over at BBC 6 Music for the last few months and I've always enjoyed hearing it as it's like a lost single from the late 80's / early 90's with it's Dinosaur Jr meets The Pixies vibe making it one of the best tracks of the year. I sadly couldn't stay for long once they took to the stage as I had to grab a train to London so missed their live rendition on the single (I'm sure they would have played it) but I did appreciate what I caught and I'm sure I'll make an effort to check them out again sometime down the line. They were certainly a very good choice to end my 2011 Great Escape on anway.

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