Thursday, May 17, 2007

day one of the great escape

Tonight is the first day of The Great Escape, a three day mini-festival distributed evenly across the venues of Brighton - and I'm just trying to work out the options for tonight. Stand-out options so far are looking like...

Peter Von Poehl upstairs at Audio: AM pop from France, it says on the Great Escape website. But the stuff on his website is weirder than that; orchestrated and romantic sounding stuff, this had me thinking of something like My Life Story on first listen.

Kubicheck at Zap: The most agreeably noisy band on the bill so far, Kubichek are great - heavy, Mogwai-influenced guitars twinned with the elegant North-Eastern pop aesthetic of Maximo Park and the Futureheads.
Fear of Flying downstairs at Audio: unsigned but heavily hyped britpop from Ealing, I like the sound of this lot; highly literate indie pop recalling Blur and The Smiths. Stephen Street is a big fan, as you might imagine.
Minotaurs playing at Hectors: this sounds like a good upbeat early gig. Their stuff on myspace is lovely, whispered vocals, ultra melodic guitars, nice folk melodies and driving rhythms. Kind of like a sunny BSP / Orange Juice combo, at a glance.

Youth Movies at Zap: Very taken with this lot; progressive Oxford types who seem equally enamoured with Field Music's wistful melodies and Fugazi's DC style stop-start fury. They sound awesome.
Magenta Sky Code at the Gloucester: Appealing because they sound very different to anything else on offer so far; imagine tying the bleak electronica of early Autechre, Underworld or Black Dog with chiming guitars and cold, epic 1980s vocals. Bizarre, interesting. The new Japan, god help them. Except from Finland.

1990s at Audio (downstairs): snappy, heavily harmonied indie rock from Glasgow, recalling Franz Ferdinand and Ziggy-era Bowie.
Victorian English Gentleman's Club at Kabuki (Sumo): very tempted by this one; an awkward, intense post-punk brew from Cardiff, recalling nothing so much as The Fall (yay!)

Hot Club De Paris at the Concorde: Occupying the very desirable CSS support slot, Hot Club De Paris should be a good bet in their own right - it's more itchy, credible post post-punk pop, basically, and from Liverpool this time.

Loney Dear at The King and Queen: Dan's tip for the festival; beautiful, heavily textured folk from Scandinavia. Also playing at the Komedia at 8.30 but that seems to clash with more stuff.

Patrick Watson at The Corn Exchange: engagingly eccentric sounding, Montreal's Patrick Watson claims Debussy, David Lynch and Nick Drake as influences. Soundwise, we're talking Jeff Buckley-esque piano led folk-pop, and quite intriguing perhaps, and a touch flamboyant. Problem is, Keane have ruined the piano for me.

CSS at the Concorde: Yeah, obviously everyone's gonna be trying to get in to this one. Hmm. It'd be amazing to see 'Off The Hook' live, but not sure I can handle the queuing. That said, the Concorde is quite big.
Shoreline at the Komedia (downstairs): This is the one Dan would envy us for, I think - eccentric folk in the way of Vashti Bunyan or Iron and Wine. The good news, Dan, is that they're from Brighton, so you'll get plenty of second chance. They do sound ace.
Land of Talk: Another band from Montreal (when I was in Montreal I didn't see a single band, hmph), Land of Talk are the louder, rock and roll option, and sound quite appealing - heavy guitars and simple structures but nice hooks and strong female vocals.
The Lionheart Brothers at the Ocean Rooms (upstairs): fey but noisy post-shoegaze psychadelic rock from Norway that occasionally sounds a bit more like the Boo Radleys than Mercury Rev - not sure if that was the aim. Effect-pedal-a-rama.

Nouvelle Vague at the Corn Exchange: The main competitor to CSS for tonight's main draw, I reckon. At first I dismissed Nouvelle Vague as a bit of a gimmick, but listen, they make beautiful songs sound beautiful in a completely unexpected way. How can you argue against that?

Archie Bronson Outfit at the Pavillion Theatre: A definite for the end of the night, The ABO are awesome - singular West Country rock which recalls Polly Harvey in both sound and intensity. They've signed to Domino and are my prediction for band of the night.

Of course, things never work out the way you plan them, and set times slip, and friends want to do other things, but if it was simple, this would be my agenda for the night I think:

6.15 Peter Van Poehl (Audio, upstairs)
7.oo Minotaurs (Hectors) or Fear of Flying (Audio, downstairs)
7.45 Youth Movies (Zap)
8.30 Victorian English Gentleman's Club (Kabuki)
9.15 Loney Dear (King and Queen)
10.oo Shoreline (Komedia, downstairs)
10.45 Archie Bronson Outfit (Pav Theatre)

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