The Great Escape Festival of 2011 was indeed great with over 300 bands and 32 venues with street performing as well, Brighton was saturated with music! I was only able to make the Friday of the festival and that was hectic enough. So amongst the many bands and the array of musical styles I witnessed I will tell you about the main acts that impressed me.
Brother & Bones
These guys rocked out some gritty, down and dirty blues rock and I saw some fist pumping and headbanging along with a weird shuffle that a dude was doing but definitely a lot of movement and love for this band! I did a review of the debut album by Brother & Bones and was looking forward to seeing them live. The front man, Rich Thomas, commanded the stage and attention from the crowd. They are a very polite bunch of lads and they totally went all out at the live show!
There has been a lot of hype surrounding this Danish performer and so I thought I should check it out live. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but judging by the excitement in the crowd before the show it looked like it would be good. Performing with a drummer who plays electric drums whilst standing up, a plethora of synth like instruments and catchy vocal hooks and chants, Oh Land gave a top performance to a packed out venue. I especially liked it when she went into a rendition of White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes using a harmonising effect on her vocals. Another thing that I noticed was she was possibly the happiest performer that I saw at Great Escape!
What’s that? Live dubstep at 4pm in the afternoon? Sure, why not! Possibly not the most natural time for people to get into dubstep but Coda didn’t let that deter them from blasting the face off the crowd that was packed into the basement of The Komedia. ‘Their sets fuse together the raw energy of a traditional band performance with the flow, excitement and hype of a DJ set’ – 100% true, although technically there is a lot going on, the live performance of the band is really entertaining. Add the trombone on top and you have a pretty sweet act. I particularly enjoyed the sampling of Firestarter by The Prodigy! On top of a great live performance they were also giving away a free EP download from their website to all who watched their gig – bonus!
I enter the full venue and find a spot at the side of the stage, perfect viewpoint to watch the audience reaction to this indie rock band. I could tell they had a certain appeal to a particular demographic when I caught site of a gaggle of girls, front row centre, just begging for their hearts to be broken by this sharply dressed band. Catchy poppy melodies and harmonies mixed in with guitar riffs and pounding bass grooves were the sounds belted out by this band, but they also had a very intense performance and looked a little bit bored if I’m honest! Maybe I noticed this much more after coming from seeing a very happy Oh Land perform.
The Great Escape hosted a great festival where we got a chance to see some fresh and exciting up and coming acts that are ready to hit the mainstream… 300+ bands is a lot to ‘make’ it in the traditional sense but they all have some sort of hype around them, let’s see what happens!