The Great Escape - Brighton - Part One

22 May 2012

"We're still putting ourselves back together after another brilliant time in Brighton at The Great Escape festival. The weekend is an opportune time to see some of the best new music out there and our writer Nikita Winayak alongside XFM DJ John Kennedy, came across some of the most promising and fresh bands out there."

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We're still putting ourselves back together after another brilliant time in Brighton at The Great Escape festival. The weekend is an opportune time to see some of the best new music out there and our writer Nikita Winayak alongside XFM DJ John Kennedy, came across some of the most promising and fresh bands out there. 

Swim Deep

Swim Deep were first on the agenda and since I’ve become a big fan, I'm extremely excited to hear what this Midlands four-piece have to offer live. As they take to the stage, it soon becomes evident that their laid-back appearance which consists of multitudes of tie-dye, denim and long hair is perfectly in keeping with the dreamy guitar riffs and relaxed vocals that shape the band. I find it difficult to avert my eyes during the whole performance, especially with the drummer Zach’s animated movements; however when I do manage to glance away the crowd looks as mesmerised as I am, swaying gently to the surf-pop sounds. Having said all this – it is sometimes clear during parts of the set that this is a fairly young band, yet time is definitely on their side with the boys having not even having released their first single yet.  Lead singer Austin’s vocals grow steadily in confidence throughout the set and by their last song, debut  single ‘King City’, are unfaltering. Admittedly, due to the sheer magnitude of the single, I was worried about whether it would disappoint live; however the boys had a damn good go at it and as a result end on a huge high, along with the rest of us. Watch this space.

King City by SWIM DEEP

Peace

Fresh off tours with the Mystery Jets and the Manic Street Preachers, Peace have been living the high life and creating quite a buzz. As lead singer Harry Koisser arrives on stage in a huge fur coat and the familiar riff of single ‘Follow Baby’ blares out across the packed room, I realise that they are not going to disappoint. The song ‘Drain’ is a particular highlight, not least because the guitar riff catapults you straight back to the 80’s facing Taylor Dane’s ‘Tell it to my heart’. Then there’s the song that started the whole Peace journey off – ‘Bblood’. As the whole room dances and chants along to the ‘Oooohs’ which pervade the ridiculously catchy demo single, it becomes clear to me that watching Peace play in such a small venue as ‘The Loft’ will soon become a privilege and a distant memory as they quickly climb up the ladder of success that awaits them. I realise they probably know this as the last song they play is ‘Follow Baby’ again in true ‘I don’t give a f’ fashion, though looking around it seems like everyone’s happy enough to hear it again anyway.

FOLLOW BABY by P E A C E

O. Children

The secret headliners of the show turned out to be O. Children, who have returned to the music scene after two years armed with one hell of a second album. Tobi O’Kandi’s towering 6”8 appearance creates an air of superiority before the first song has even begun and when the gigantic bass line of ‘PT Cruiser’ begins it’s clear that it’s going to be pretty hard to fault this performance. As guitarist Gauthier blasts out the huge QOTSA-style riff that climaxes towards the end of the song, I wonder how you follow such a huge anthem with the crowd so pumped up. Evidently, you pull out an old classic like ‘Ezekiel’s Song’ and subsequently follow it with the driving beat that pervades new song ‘The Realest’. The set continues as strong as it starts; laid-back ‘Oceanside’ is a particular highlight with the slow California-esque guitar riff and Red Hot Chilli Peppers style melodies indicating that O.Children have dissolved any ‘goth-rock’ stereotypes attached to them as a result of the previous album. Towards the end of the set it’s clear that the band have smashed it; in true rock’n’roll style O’Kandi even brings out a bottle of champagne to celebrate for the last song and new single ‘Chimera’. Yet though the audience are spared from tasting it (much to our chagrin), what we do get to share is the sweet sense of achievement O.Children have accomplished and will no doubt continue to have. Onwards and upwards! 

O. Children - Chimera by myblogcliche1 

Nikita Winayak

Seward

Music finds you. Even when you devote your life to finding it, sometimes it just finds you. That’s how I got to see Seward last Friday at The Great Escape. A chance encounter with some old Icelandic friends led me to a band who raised as many questions as they gave answers. First, there was the name – how do you say that? Then, there was the music – what is this? Then, where are these people from? What planet? Upstairs in the small space above The Prince Albert four smartly attired gentlemen in 30’s and 40’s dress were already on stage ready to play. Two were standing, two seated. A soundscape started up with a sampled speech in English talking of modern life, almost like a rally cry bringing assorted dispossessed together with beat style spieling and rising music. It cast a spell maintained by the intensity of the band, the beseated singer pouring his heart out as he attacked his guitar or banjo, sometimes singing into the pick up at the back, the bearded, behatted, guitarist shredding whilst controlling electronics and samples, the drummer sitting then standing, sitting then standing, as he conjured ever more unusual sounds from his ramshackle drum kit, the stand up bass weaving in and out of all of this.

Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band sprung to mind as did Tom Waits then the passion of American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel but there was a humour here too; the band smiling at their own strange twists and turns. Jazz, rock’n’roll, folk picking, punk gang vocals and chain gang hollers colliding with singer songwriter nakedness then floating off on Godspeed style sonic journeys. This was not your average festival band. I stumbled out into the night. What had I just seen? Some answers have arrived in the last few days. Based in Barcelona, Catalonia, but from other parts of Spain and South America. Pronounced like 'steward' but without the ‘t’, Seward is the ‘S’ in William S. Burroughs. The creator of ‘cut up’ clearly appropriate for such a random, cut up, encounter.Icelandintroducing me to Spanish wonder in Sussex,England.

John Kennedy

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