Live. The Great Escape 2013
Alcopop Vs Big Scary Monsters
Fools Paradise Vs Bad Math
The Great Escape festival prides itself on being ‘Europe’s leading festival for new music’. While taking over Brighton city centre for two and a bit days and playing host to over 350 acts, the festival does indeed parade an impressive array of musical talent. However, the boast of being the leading festival for new music is far to general. The whole affair could be streamlined with abhorrent ease. For two glorious days, The Royal Pavillion Tavern led the way in showcasing the very best in music.
Indie labels rule supreme, Big Scary Monsters teamed up with Alcopop Records for an all-day showcase on the Friday while promoters Bad Math and Fools Paradise programmed a lengthy takeover for the Saturday. The first day displaying perfect examples of boundary pushing brilliance while the second saw boundaries forgotten, as the most ridiculous yet wonderful artists took to the stage.
The haunting lament of Katie Malco comes in dangerously provocative swathes. From the subdued point of acoustic guitar against the wavering beauty of voice, to the magnified fear of the full band numbers, Katie Malco sings songs to marvel at.
Doctrines are also a marvellous proposition. The grunge direction sits at odds with the math-excess of their arrival, yet this contrast only sweetens the reality. Surges of fury break the waves of groove-punk as the Manchester four-piece breakdown with surgical precision. The scratched vocals deliver rare insight as Doctrines find truth in all that surrounds them.
Camera Lucida is full of brave expanse. Driving keys and jaunty riffs take Gunning For Tamar into new territory, yet on stage, they seem right at home. The dynamics of their sound take on bold adventure alongside ragged emotion. It might have been the penultimate show on a ten-week tour, but the intensity of Gunning For Tamar was as tireless as it was fantastic.
It honestly seems like Gnarwolves are never, not on tour. So a return to their hometown is obviously met with a heroes welcome. Their boisterous skate-punk courts obnoxiousness but marries charm as the three local boys do good. Captivating the crowd with a relentless assault of sharpened anthems, Gnarwolves incite a real sense of danger and garner glorious results.
The jangly-indie charm of My First Tooth takes the aged spirit of folk and renovates it. Cautionary tales about love are backed with the twang of an acoustic while the combined force of the bass and drums give the poetry a very modern drive. Straddling the present, My First Tooth wrap soaring hooks in beauty and charm.
Freeze The Atlantic know a thing or two about writing hooks. Their rock might be noughties but the songwriting is already classic. Every song sounds huge as the five-piece blaze a trail of fiery anthems. The Pav Tav may only have capacity for hundreds, but that doesn’t stop Freeze The Atlantic treating it like an arena.
Stagecoach have every reason to celebrate. Ten years into the band and they’ve just released their debut album. It surpasses all expectations, as do the five-piece live. Their rock has its heart in the garage, while engaging like all good pop music should. Rattling through a weighty collection of excellence, the band nod to the past as they deal with the ambitions of the future.
Turning a solo project into a fully formed band is a challenging affair. Hot Glass rise to meet this challenge, then soar above it. The melodic sway of the distorted vocals creep under walls of scuzz. With shoe-gaze intent, the band manages to draw you in with sweeping climbs and rough tumble.
Olympians are the most ludicrously superb band. Tearing apart the everyday with a four-pronged acapella attack, the belting voices convey beauty and emotion. Twinkling loops and droning synths tie together the eclectic drive while the occasional riff or instrumental storm pull you this way or that. Despite all the wonderful madness, the core of Olympians music is threatening melody and a dangerous understanding of feelings.
Not stopping throughout their set to receive much deserved applause, Our Lost Infantry are a band completely confident in their music. The delicate whisper of keys sits below lofty vocals with fragile allure. Supported by an onslaught of guitars and the off-kilter attack of drums, Our Lost Infantry invade hearts and minds with little resistance.
Hold Your Horse Is concluded their set with half the drum kit in the crowd and the strings torn off the guitar. And this wasn’t all that surprising, which should give you an idea to the ferocity that Hold Your Horse Is play with. Dealing in big riffs, the three-piece overflow with excited fury. Ragged and brutal, their music soundtracks the chaos they instigate. And by ‘eck, is it good.
The solo project of ex-Tubelord, Joseph Prendergast, is quite a departure. Not just from his own history, but solo projects in general. There’s no acoustic guitar here as Joey Fourr, along with cassette tape samples and the jarring electro bounce of his guitar, brings his colourful dream-punk to life.
The angular rock of Wot Gorilla? is a multi-sensory wonder. The four members seem intent on playing in surging isolation, performing in a lonely bubble of their own craft. Yet with perfect symmetry and deliberate shimmer, Wot Gorilla? cast progressive magic. Jaunty and delicate before disappearing in a twisting whirlwind of surprise, the Halifax four-piece look and sound fantastic.
Pirate Video Company have been at the Pav Tav for thirteen hours. They’ve seen the constant flow of intimidating brilliance that’s passed through. Does this put them off? Does it fuck. Their snarling punk growl and screaming hardcore spirit lead the charge as an unexpected shadow of melody follows suit. You might be confused into thinking that Pirate Video Company have something to prove, but tonight is just another example of their passion, their talent and their overwhelming greatness.
From thrash-pop to nu-wave punk, The Pav Tav offered an eclectic alternative to the hype and hustle of The Great Escape. Light fittings were threatened, a zesty new form of crowd control was implemented and there were a fair few songs about Jurrasic Park.
While The Great Escape has left a legacy of promises and future-greatness, the weekend at The Pav Tav celebrated the brilliance that already exists. The labels, the promoters and the bands. They’re all doing brilliant things now and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. So don’t wait and watch, get involved and enjoy.
Below are some twitter links to make your lives easier.
Big Scary Monster.
You can also enjoy a couple of free downloads. This birthday compilation from Bad Math and this label sampler from BSM/Alcopop.
If you need anything else, just ask Justdip.