It’s the best and worst of Brighton rock (and pop and folk and in­die) at this year’s gath­er­ing

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - Jim Car­roll

The big­gest ob­sta­cle a bingegig­ger faces at the Great Es­cape? Brighton’s bloody hills. Those in­tent on get­ting to as many new bands at the fes­ti­val as pos­si­ble must nav­i­gate those steep gra­di­ents ev­ery time they cy­cle or walk to the fur­ther­most edges of the gig­ging grid.

You could, of course, sim­ply stick to a cou­ple of tried and tested venues on the same strip by the sea or in the Laines, but what would be the fun in that?

In­deed, if you had done that, you’d never have caught a smoul­der­ing, se­duc­tive set from new­bies Lon­don Gram­mar at the very im­pos­ing St Bartholomew’s Church. A three-piece from Lon­don (well, they would hardly be from Birm­ing­ham with a name like that), Lon­don Gram­mar’s set is punc­tu­ated with cas­cades of dreamy, slo-mo, spine-tin­gling moody washes of sound. The songs swoop and soar and make you re­alise you’re watch­ing some­thing rather spe­cial.

But that’s just the start of things at the Great Es­cape. There are around 300 acts in town for the week­end hop­ing that they too will re­ceive buzz, at­ten­tion and a big lump of rock be­fore they leave .

You have Yanks who have surfed a post-SXSW wave all the way to Brighton (The Or­wells, Par­quet Courts, Mer­chan­dise etc). You’ve Euro­pean acts keen to show off their mu­si­cal Esperanto like Su­sanne Sund­for, Ew­ert & The Two Dragons, Mo and Faye. You’ve Ir­ish acts of the mo­ment such as Lit­tle Green Cars, Ko­da­line and Girls Names.

You also have Aus­tralians, which is where Josef Sal­vat comes in, sport­ing a dap­per baby-blue suit (his shoes are an­other mat­ter sato­ri­ally). Now based in Lon­don, Sal­vat chan­nels Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel and Lana Del Rey for a suite of su­pe­rior, louche, dra­matic songs and shimmy-ready disco bumpers.

There are also, it must be noted, a whole bunch of karaoke acts tak­ing their mu­si­cal cues from Mar­cus Mum­ford and his bunch of posh, waist­coat-wear­ing wastrels. For a while on the first day, it felt as if we’d died and gone to hell as ev­ery band we had the mis­for­tune to see had one song which sounded just like The Cave and an­other one which im­i­tated I Will Wait right down to the so­los. We couldn’t get out of the venues fast enough.

If the gigs pro­vide the Great Es­cape with its width and depth, there was also a con­ven­tion to add dis­cus­sion and de­bate from the many in­dus­try del­e­gates in town. While the panels were well at­tended, many suf­fered from a lack of fo­cus and a sense that we’d heard those ar­gu­ments and points many times al­ready.

There was also, as has be­come the norm at mu­sic con­ven­tions of late, an un­spo­ken agree­ment to treat the tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­tal evan­gal­ists with kid gloves and not sub­ject them to a rig­or­ous in­ter­ro­ga­tion. The lack of artists on some of th­ese panels was very telling in this re­gard.

In truth, though, most of those artists were prob­a­bly best ex­pe­ri­enced in their nat­u­ral habi­tat. Out on the streets and in the venues, those acts went to work try­ing to con­vert arms-folded au­di­ences into fans and fol­low­ers.

Aside from the acts men­tioned above, those who im­pressed OTR last week­end also in­cluded Holy Es­que, MT, Echo & The Em­press, Brolin, On An On, Cousins, Young Fa­thers, Iyes, Skaters, Bipo­lar Sun­shine, Tourist, To Kill A King, Dan Croll, Rainy Milo, Blue Hawaii, Chloe Howl and Nick Mul­vey. Let’s hope all of them scored some rock be­fore they left town.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.