The Great Escape Festival 2013

I have limited hearing in my right ear and my hair still smells of stale beer; I think this means I had a pretty rad time at The Great Escape Festival this weekend.

This is my third year of Great Escaping. Spread over three days in over thirty different venues, 350 different bands come to Brighton to share their sound at this fantastic Festival. Many bands and artists that play become super successful within six months of their sets by the seaside; Lucy Rose, Alt J, Grimes, The Joy Formidable, The Vaccines, The Naked and Famous, Friendly Fires and Friends are just a few that I know of who have played the festival and have gone from strength to strength since. Not to mention bands like The XX and Foals who are now selling out shows around the globe.

The only flaw to this festival is that you have to be very good at scheduling and time-management. Every year I have managed to miss at least two bands I really wanted to see because there’s either time clashes in the schedule or ridiculously long queues to get in to the smallest of venues. I’m a very time-conscious person and it bothers me that I can’t seem to nail this aspect of the festival. Having said that, this has definitely been the most successful year yet in terms of seeing the bands I wanted to.

So: The Great Escape 2013!

THURSDAY night my sisters and I walked over to The Warren to see Tom Odell: a blonde-haired, piano-bashing beauty. He’s not someone I’d usually be interested in but my sisters insisted he’d be worth a watch. They were right: his set was faultless. I held on to every word he said with a steady heart and rosy cheeks.

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 Tom Odell @ The Warren.

So, impressed by Odell  we strolled over to The Brighton Dome to see Everything, Everything. The venue was sparsely populated, which surprised me as the Dome show for The Temper Trap last year was pretty much sold out. I knew a few songs and I thought, like with Tom Odell, I should try to see bands that I wouldn’t normally see.  This optimistic reasoning might be the reason why I didn’t enjoy the set all that much. Having said that, their new single Kemosabe has been in my head most of the weekend.

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Everything, Everything @ Brighton Dome.

The last band of the night were American group On and On. I’ve been hooked on their single Ghosts for about a week and they would delivered the goods at their set at Coalition.

FRIDAY! We missed out on the afternoon show for Kodaline because of ridiculous queues, but after some fish and chips we approached the evening with optimism and made sure we were thoroughly juiced-up on vodka and ready to see Swim Deep and The Klaxons. We got to The Corn Exchange, chucked some more vodka down our necks and watched an earlier band called Bipolar Sunshine. We made our way to the front of the venue full of spirit (both alcohically and metaphorically) just in time for Swim Deep. Not only were they excellent in terms of vocals, synthesisers, bass and drums: they were sporting some of the best haircuts I’ve seen in a long time. All of them had locks to die for. They seemed genuinely made-up to be there and everyone around us was happy to be there too. She Changes The Weather was a treat for the ears.

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Swim Deep @ The Corn Exchange.

Then: it was time for Klaxons. I’ve seen them before so I knew they wouldn’t disappoint. Songs old and new kept the crowd writhing with joy for the entire set. Personal highlights include Magick and of course Atlantis to Interzone.

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Klaxons @ The Corn Exchange.

SATURDAY! High on life after the Klaxons the night before we thought we’d be cultured and go and see the polish band showcase at The Dome Theatre that afternoon. This included Pictorial Candi, Brodka and Trés.B. Trés.B were excellent; the female lead singer and bassist had a fantastically moody voice (as well as a superb butterfly-shaped bass) and the band seemed like they had been playing together for a long time, and were comfortable with their sound. Like Is was my favourite track but I enjoyed all their songs. I’d found a little gem amongst so many acts.

Saturday evening we busted out the vodka again for The 1975 and Tribes at The Old Ship Ballroom. We caught Young Kato beforehand who revved up the crowd pretty successfully. The 1975 know how to make people dance. Their music is so infectiously upbeat that it made a grown man jump around playing a tiny air-guitar before joyfully starting to kick other peoples canvas bags around the dance floor (If they’re naïve enough to think the centre of a dance floor is a good place to leave their personal belongings, then that’s the least they deserve).

The final band of the night were Tribes, a band my sisters have been praising for well over a year now. They played well and engaged with the crowd; Bad Apple and We Were Children were flawless, I’m just a bit gutted they didn’t play Alone, With Friends.

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Tribes @ The Old Ship Ballroom.

So that’s it. That’s my Great Escape experience. There were plenty of other bands we wanted to see but unfortunately weren’t able to because of schedule clashes or queues. I would’ve liked to have seen: Wolf Alice, Spectres, Temples and The Allah-las. Oh well. There’s always next year!

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