The Sounds - The Great Escape - Prince Albert Brighton

Swedish New Wave Rockers The Sounds delivered one of the best performances of 2011's Great Escape Festival on it's third and final day. The five piece band squeezed their way onto the intimate stage of the Prince Albert pub to the delight of a horde of ecstatic fans down the front and several casual observers, making up the rest of the (almost) capacity crowd.

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I've caught the band live on numerous occasions since the release of their album Dying To Say This To You back in 2006, most recently checking them out at Austin's SXSW, viewing a pair of shows in March, as they're one of my favourite live acts, so their "Escape" set was a "must see" for me! I expected the gig to be a real draw so ended up heading along to the venue to wait in line about six for a seven pm start but found myself ridiculously early, standing on my own for a large part of the hour ahead! It wasn't a real problem as I was able to work on some pictures I'd taken earlier on my laptop and eventually other faithful fans began to show up.

There was a huge line waiting to get in by the times the door opened but although the venue was probably at capacity there was quite a large gap between the front of the stage and the majority of the audience. I was quite happy with the situation as it gave me a bit of room to move around as a photographer and I could also see a handful of fans just as pleased down the front as they had loads of room to dance about the minute The Sounds unleashed set opener "It's so easy", the first track on the band's current album Something To Die For.

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I can understand why some audience members might have been reticent about coming forward as lead singer Maja Ivarsson can be quite an intimidating front woman, delivering a highly charged performance throughout the gig., so many stayed in their original spots, even though the band were delivering one of the best shows I've seen them play, with enormous versions of the likes of "Tony the beat", "Living in America" and "Painted by numbers" all performed. Even newcomer "Something to die for" sounded like an old classic on the Albert stage.

Although a large part of the audience were a bit quiet the punters down the front, including myself were having the time of our lives, with the band bouncing off the crowd's reaction. Maja was happy to pose for pictures with fans mid song and played with piece of fruit (or ball?!) that had been thrown around earlier in the evening. Towards the end of the set she even spent a lengthy time watching the rest of the band play from the front row while flouting the smoking ban.

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The band ended their set with "Hope your happy now" and departed to roars from the crowd having won over even the shy ones towards the back! It was a shame no encore was forthcoming but you generally never get bands playing them in these sort of events. I couldn't complain though as I'd witnessed my favourite performance of this year's Great Escape anyway.

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