26 June 2013

THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL 2013: ROUND-UP PART 3


As promised we will give you a succinct round-up of all the bands and artists we managed to see and a brief descriptive review of each gig so that we can share with you the plethora of acts and types of music we saw at The Great Escape Festival.


SAY YES DOG, (ALTERNATIVE POP, LUXEMBOURG)

When you read the biographical description on Say Yes Dog's Facebook page it is clear that they know their sound; indeed the vast use of figurative vocabulary makes us and our fanciful words look tame and so the seeds of intrigue were sown and encouraged us to check out their evening gig at The Queens Hotel. Based between The Hague and Berlin the trio of Aaron, Pascal and Paul provided a mystical extravaganza of sounds entrenched in pulsating Teutonic verve and determination. Subverting instrumental normalities was clearly something that came as being very natural to the Say Yes Dog vision as keys grated across swooning guitar riffs whilst strained synth voids resonated heavily with drum-like rhythm and obedience. The less than spectacular turnout didn't do the three-piece band's gig any true justice, although it did enhance the intimacy of the performance and made us appreciate witnessing exceptional musicians with a talent for producing moody electro-pop laced with surprising compositions a whole lot more. A great gig indeed.


Say Yes Dog: Facebook


KID KARATE, (ALTERNATIVE ROCK, IRELAND)

Whilst waiting for the next scheduled band in our daily planner we found ourselves with a precious half an hour to spare. Thus, the most logical thing to do was to have a little peak at what the Dublin duo who go by the name of Kid Karate had to offer. Kevin Breen; a silken haired gentile Irish lad one minute, then a frenetic explosion of movement and screeching vocal empowerment the next, channelled his and Steven Gannon's music perfectly within the murky confines of club Audio. Their skittish body mannerisms epitomised how gritty pop-rock should be as the twosome played with animalistic fire; bounding around and performing a selection of fantastically sweaty alt-rock tracks that really energised the crowd and made the entire ensemble feel interactive as well as visually captivating. Foots stamped and shoulders swayed. Amidst the gleamed Irish charm of Breen it was clear that Kid Karate were special; this set was professional yet fun, which is always going to be a winning combination. Indeed the two from Dublin were a huge surprise of the weekend for all the right reasons.

Kid Karate: Facebook


THE FAMILY RAIN, (INDIE, UK)

As part of the title to the band might suggest, The Family Rain are indeed a family, a humbling trio of musically astute young brothers who play with a genetic precision and unspoken understanding of the other brothers' sound. Seeing the three-piece from Bath play was another little highlight amongst our day simply because these siblings produce a smoothed out style of indie that is sun-kissed, melodic and gently rousing to the ear. We managed to grab a spot right at the front of the crowd and when we turned around to see a completely packed out Above Audio it confirmed the overheard rumours and tittle-tattle whispers that The Family Rain were one of the bands to watch during the festival. Their stage persona was calm, collected and low-key and perfectly mirrored their shimmering guitar riffs and earthen vocal tones. Whilst it felt a wee bit tame in places the crowd were enthusiastic and responsive to such succulent harmonies and instrumental prowess. A fine performance for the afternoon.

Check out the video via Youtube after the hyper-link jump.


The Family Rain: Facebook


SUSANNE SUNDFØR, (ELECTRONIC POP, NORWAY)

We first heard Susanne Sundfør over a year ago and instantly fell in love with her typically Nordic charms and ability to create glacial melodies and stark pop contrasts. The moment we saw she was playing an intimate gig at The Courtyard we were there in a flash. Amidst the cans of Red Stripe and the obnoxious nattering between scene-kids there stood the Norwegian electronic princess inside an open garage, accompanied by several musicians. Her vocals were what sealed the deal here; absolutely pitch perfect, icily precise and haunting, yet still you felt hope and warmth. It is a strange contradiction but amongst the brief woos and stupendous harmonies there was a veiled lightness which trickled through. Her performance was simplistic and there was no avant-garde behaviour or crowd-pleasing so as not to deter from the music, which worked out perfectly well. Add in an array of experimental electro warbles, clicks and tectonic bass shivers and the gig was made. Solid Scandi-pop from a brilliant artist.


Susanne Sundfør: Facebook


TEMPLES, (PSYCHEDELIC, UK)

All the right bloggers and educated music journalists out there are raving about Temples and rightly so. The references, plaudits and similarities could easily overwhelm and drown you in a sea of ushered pleasantries and throwback comparisons; The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Flaming lips, Tame Impala. The list could literally be endless, so we thought it wise to check out the group from Kettering who describe their sound as 'neo-psych' to see if such commentaries stood correct. They were correct. It could be said that Temples are reviving the bygone era of musical psychedelia but then it never really left, it just remained quietly patient until a purveyor of such a genre arose once more. Luckily we were witness to such a kaleidoscopic renaissance courtesy of Temples. Salamandrine guitar riffs reverberated around The Courtyard's enclosed walls to generate a sense of coppery warmth amidst intermittent drum beats and intoxicated musical arrangements seeped in a noxiously woozy vocal coating. And breath. It was, to simply put it, a joy to behold and presented the crowd with a picture frame image of both the past and the future of the psychedelic genre. An excellent little gig by a band who should hit the big time soon enough we hope.

Temples: Facebook


NINA NESBITT, (POP, UK)

We first blogged about Nina Nesbitt last year after noticing the huge online furore the Edinburgh based starlet was causing thanks in part to her springy folk nuances and refreshing pop simplicities. Her Youtube and Facebook accounts have amassed a spectacular amount of hits and 'likes' so it was unthinkable to not see the lass play at The Warren on Friday. At a festival such as The Great Escape we were a little worried that the twee, commercially-savvy and mainstream appeal of Nina Nesbitt may be ridiculed amongst the more vociferous and snub-nosed revellers out there but thankfully she was embraced by the Brighton crowd. Hushing any possible critics Nesbitt showcased a gusto streak of musical assertiveness; zealous guitar tweaks, plodding drums and cutesy pop inferences were lavished over her performance. To top it off she delivered an impeccable acoustic arrangement with pristine vocal sincerity that earned her a rapturous applause and cheeky set of heckles from some intoxicated festival-goers. A happy performance that made us smile and feel all warm and fuzzy. Thank you Nina.

Follow the hyper-link below and watch the video via Youtube.


Nina Nesbitt: Facebook


IGGY AZALEA. (HIP-HOP, AUSTRALIA / USA)

One of the biggest acts on this year's Great Escape bill was Iggy Azalea and we think it was quite a fair coup that promoters managed to bag the Australian-born rap artist. Along with fellow cannons Azealia Banks and Angel Haze the hyped bravado and provocative lyrical onslaughts that the US-based siren constructs have won her a vast wealth of fans on a global scale. It still seems surreal that Iggy Azalea performed in what is essentially an out-dated sports hall behind a shopping centre but there we go, it can't always be 'street' or glamourous, needless to say, the extensive queues suggested this was a gig not to be missed. With a dazzling backdrop of pulsating bright lights, a hype-DJ and two fabulously erotic backing dancers the visual aesthetic was easily the highlight of the festival. Azalea enhanced her set with a feisty, extroverted persona that engaged with the crowd on numerous occasions and even taught people how to 'twerk-it' in between crunked-up bass lines, mountainous alley beats and ghettoised hip-hop thrashment. Her performance generated an infectious surge of energy that resonated around the venue and created a sizzling atmosphere. The young artist was a welcome addition to the festival line-up and her set delivered a brilliantly diverse style of music that is often neglected at such an event. To those who left it too late in that queue, you well and truly missed out.

Follow the link below and watch the video to "Bounce" exclusively from The Great Escape via Youtube.

Iggy Azalea: Facebook


Owl By Night: Facebook

Owl By Night: Twitter

07 June 2013

THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL 2013: ROUND-UP PART 2


As promised we will give you a succinct round-up of all the bands and artists we managed to see and a brief descriptive review of each gig so that we can share with you the plethora of acts and types of music we saw at The Great Escape Festival.


US BABY BEAR BONES, (ALTERNATIVE POP, UK)

We were very pleased to see one of Brighton's best bands of recent years performing outdoors in Jubilee Square at The Great Escape this year; Us Baby Bears Bones, the cohesive trio of Elizabeth, Daisy and Luke popped up onto the daily schedule to deliver a short set of sublime and ethereal glow-pop burners. The purveyors of multi-instrumentalism fused jaded synth gusts to twinkling guitar pangs and rumbling drum throws to create a docile, yet assured performance. The humble gathering who turned out to see the local three-piece seemed to appreciate the consolidating nature of Us Baby Bear Bones' lead vocalist; her gentile and enchanting coos lapped nicely against the instrumental backdrop and ensured the message of each song was sung with verve and precise tonal expressionism. A fantastic little set list that showed how Brightonians make true dream-pop. Check out their eagerly anticipated debut EP 'What Starts With A 'U', Ends With An 'I'' that is released on June 10th.



Us Baby Bear Bones: Facebook 


ONLY REAL, (ALTERNATIVE INDIE-POP, UK)

We were most intrigued to hear what Only Real would sound like seeing as the bashful London youngster, known as Niall Galvin, has been making huge waves amongst the new music community; with comparisons to King Krule, Jamie T and his ability to Picasso-smash genres together we had to grab a look at his set at club Audio and we were mightily impressed. The irreverent cheekiness and casual loose shouldered antics made his performance relaxed and enjoyable to watch. Lacquering his grime-tinged tendencies with psychedelic surf-pop and smouldering guitar loops produced a creative mixture of aural textures that the crowd enthusiastically lapped up. Only Real's performance was a pleasant surprise and served up a fuzzy world of urban music flavoured with organic and alternative sounds. 


Only Real: Facebook


SYRON, (URBAN-POP, UK)

Since first blogging about Syron back in February (see review here) we had her down as one of our huge 'must see music acts who are playing in a small venue to which you are unlikely to ever get a chance again should she make it big', so it was actually a relief that after Only Real's set that the feisty urban marauder and much touted London kitten was slotted in for the next gig. We expected a lot from Syron and thankfully she delivered everything and a whole lot more. Her powerhouse soul vocals pierced the atmosphere of the underground club and ignited an energetic vibe that resonated throughout as tone and pitch perfect lyrics dominated the stage. Her entire persona oozed characterful charm and urban wit whilst remaining professional throughout her set list; a seductively clad Syron commanded the stage and interacted with the eager crowd in perfect unison; add in the thumping garage beats and reggae-dance bass lines of tracks like 'Breaking' and 'Here' and the urban pop package was well and truly completed. An enlivened and inspiring performance that shows what a promising young starlet the capital has to offer. 


Syron: Facebook


FEATHERS, (SYNTH-POP, USA)

The Texan-New York all-female quartet of Feathers were another group that we had recently reviewed back in February (see review here) having been immediately sucked into their magmatic parallel worlds of electronica and neon-pop, so much so that we ran across to The Haunt to capture the Americans first hand. Although the venue wasn't as packed as we were expecting there was a decent and clearly loyal crowd who follow Feathers and had this gig marked down as one to watch. Atmospheric synth excursions and galactic tech-scapes manipulated the group's performance to create this imaginative plateau of sounds and mood; flicking lights, celestial four-part harmonies and salacious eighties beats made the gig feel tactile and gave a sense that you could really align to the music. Think Eli And Fur meets New Order and Depeche Mode in a futuristic vortex of noise distortions. A performance we were glad we built up a sweat running to indeed. 


Feathers : Facebook


ON AN ON, (ELECTRO-POP, USA)

It is always the luck of the draw where bands will end up playing and when they will play at The Great Escape; Chicago and Minneapolis trio On An On bagged themselves the fortuitous Coalition night club for a late evening slot ensuring the band played to a packed out night club who were eager for live music regardless of style or genre. The three-piece collective captivated the crowd with a thoroughly polished and well orchestrated performance that spliced thunderous electro movements with stadium indie soul and vibrant pop bravado. Their refreshingly polite demeanour and sweetly humble Americanisms only enhanced the gig and indirectly reminded many that music from across the pond is just as current and on trend as our European or Australian brethren. Each track from the night's setlist was rousing and inspired, fostering a kinetic dash of zeal and evoking an electrolysed Snow Patrol style sense of euphoria.


On An On: Facebook


NO CEREMONY///, (ALTERNATIVE ELECTRO, UK)

The blurb extract from The Great Escape festival planner describes No Ceremony/// as being similar to 'The XX on ecstasy', however, add to that the musical essence of TRUST and Visions Of Trees and then you begin to build a descriptive aural picture of what this band sounds like. Performing very late at night to a packed crowd in Brighton's Coalition nightclub set the scene up for this performance to end Thursday on a high. We were not disappointed one bit. Proving to be a massive surprise despite knowing about some of their previous material, the secretive Mancunian outfit underpinned their tracks with maniacal electro reverberations and zorbing tenacity that invigorated the entire room. Fiercely auto-toned vocal harmonies barked their way through the intermittent noise frenzy and fuelled further bass line shudders and cataclysmic electro menace. Whirring audio carnage, flailing guitar riffs and generalised instrumental scuzz made the band's performance feel energetic yet strangely machinated and steadfast, providing a delightfully pumped up end to the day. 

 No Ceremony///: Facebook


Owl By Night: Facebook

Owl By Night: Twitter