Monday, May 18, 2009

The Great Escape 2009

(Turbowolf in full flow)

My third TGE in a row and as ever, it threw up (oooh don’t say throw up…I’m still feeling a little delicate) a fair few treats. In no particular order here are my top 5 bands…cue that music from Top Of The Pops that they used in the 80’s with that spinning yellow 7inch single):

(1) The Miserable Rich

Baroque and roll. I’d never heard of them before but they gave me that rare Devotchka type moment when mood, music and atmosphere all gel into one glorious whole. Listen to Pisshead and Boat Song. If you don’t feel tears welling up in your eyes then you have no soul. My new favourite band? Oh yes. Enjoy.

(2) Duchess Says

Mad as a banker’s bonus, the lead Duchess out CSS’s Lovefoxx. Synthpunktastic performance featuring mucho rolling around on the floor. She manages to be sexy and terrifying at the same time. A female fronted French Canadian Gallows for the new rave generation (check out CHoB).

(3) Apples

Vampire Weekend meets Haircut 100. 80’s pop heaven…oh how happy am I that the 80’s are so so trendy amongst up and coming bands like Apples. Just listen to Reason 45, slip on your Deely Boppers and dust off those leggings...tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1982.

(4) White Denim

Let’s rock! Live, these guys reminded me of those clips you see of Led Zep back in the day with John Bonham beating the shit out his drum kit. Classic rock that somehow feels fresh as a daisy. How they do dat? By fusing that funky Foals-ish feel to heads down 70’s rock…that’s how. I’m going to try to get them to come to Brum before they go all stadium (Austin’s not that far away is it?)…which they will. You mark my words.

(5) Panama Kings

Straightoutta Belfast, Panama Kings come off like a young, punky Thin Lizzy…which is a very, very good thing indeed. We got to see them twice in the same day, by which time a number of their tracks had lodged themselves firmly into what’s left of my brain…cop a listen to ‘Children’ at full blast.

Those were the highlights. For those who really want to be bored by my full itinerary here is a potted history of what went down:

The Great Escape Day One

Kicked the whole shebang off with Panama Kings on the seafront who delivered a blistering (and blustery) set that fizzed with punky rocky loveliness. As an added bonus we got to meet their manager, Matt Priest the drummer from Dodgy, who is the nicest man in music. Fact. Then we whizzed off to see Apples at Revenge. They were another festival highlight, Vampire Weekend-y with a bit more synth. Hjaltalin and The Invisible passed by a pleasant hour or two at Komedia, then it was off to Ocean Rooms for Panama Kings (second time in one day and even stronger than the earlier set) and Cocknbullkid before sloping off to Coalition for Killa Kella and finally Fandeath who Lady B thinks includes the girl who is/was Dandi Wind.

Bands seen…8.

The Great Escape Day Two

Day two and in a haze of red wine I stumbled off to see the glorious rock beast that is Turbowolf (on the seafront…bracing at 11.30am), then crawled to The Prince Albert pub for Tom Allalone & The 78’s and The Alexandria Quartet before hobbling along to Horatio’s on the pier for Advaita and Medusa. Still with me? Good. Then off to The Arc for Rainbow Arabia and all the way to over to Ocean Rooms for Duchess Says, before heading back to The Prince Albert for The John Steel Singers and Bang Bang Eche (who had a nightmare set…everything broke and the soundman couldn’t get any vocals…) and Miserable Rich (awesome…highlight of the festival). Finally we toddled off to Coalition for 80Kidz and Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.

Bands seen…god help me… 12.

The Great Escape Day Three

Things went a bit wrong here. The New Zealand showcase gig scheduled for 12.15pm actually started at 1.30pm, throwing our foolproof schedule into complete chaos. Cue much stomping around by me ranting at the world. Hey, it helps. Anyway, bandwise we saw Bang Bang Eche (who were bang bang on today…oh what a difference a decent soundman makes) and Conan Mockasin at Horatios’s, a bit of Babyshambles (playing an impromptu outdoor gig at Above Audio, a snatch of Ben Kweller in a tent, then Banjo or Freakout, Three Trapped Tigers, School of 7 Bells and…oh lord my aching bones…White Denim at the Pavilion Theatre. We then attempted a late night sesh at Komedia but it seemed to have been cancelled or some such nonsense. Probably for the best really…

Bands seen…8…sort of.

Making a grand total of 30 bands in three days. RIP The Baron.

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