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Festival Review: The Great Escape // Brighton, England // 18 May 2013 // Day 3: Classic Plastic, Superfood, Za!, Concrete Knives, Dan Croll, Chvrches and Tribes

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Ok, so after Day 1 and Day 2 summary of The Great Escape let me shoot out Day 3 before my memory gets fuzzy.

So today’s convention was based on DIY artists and yet again this session was eloquently kicked off by Chris Cooke of CMU who did a beginners crash course through the industry from an artist/manager’s perspective. The discussion quickly emphasized two points: firstly that DIY is wrongly named and shouldn’t be done all by yourself but by slowly acquiring the correct team to help you reach your goal and secondly DIY is serious hard work. We then heard from artist both in the start, middle and end of their career on how they did it – special highlight was hearing stories from Billy Bragg and Jake Shillingfor.

However the biggest highlight of the day was going to the A&R panel where we heard from legendary talent scouts; Jack Shankly (Domino/Weird World), Jos Watkin (Parlophone), Korda Marshall (Infectious Music), but most importantly the almighty legend that is Seymour Stein of Sire Records. I sat just in front of Seymour, and hearing him retell his stories about he signed Depeche Mode, The Smiths and Madonna.

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I then caught an impromptu gorilla gig done out of a shop/apartment onto the street by Brighton’s very own Classic Plastic. The four boys produce a beautifully patriotic indie Brit pop sound, so good that cyclists stopped in the middle of the road and blocked cars. A perfect way to enjoy the sun coming down on a perfect Brighton late afternoon.

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Then onto to the evening gigs. It all started with Superfood at Audio. They are quite a rocking band which has a ‘band crush’ from Peace so that get them plenty of attention. They are fun but not completely my cup of tea because I do really enjoy the vocalist – and for me that kills the sound. Still check them out.

Then I went upstairs to Za! – and well that was quite an experience which I hadn’t been prepared for. Za! (and they fully deserve the exclamation mark in their name) are a two piece band claiming the genre of Post World Music. To give you an idea here is the description on their site:

This multilayer supersonic-orchestra combines African beats, noise, math rock, vocal-loops, free jazz, analogue electronics, sounds from the shepherds of Tuva, Balinese polyrhythms, Mauritanian trip hop, Dadaism, distortion, dance and drones – “POST WORLDMUSIC” may be the name of this danceable hybrid. 

Well yes if you think that’s crazy you got nothing on their performance. The concert was at Above Audio – and while we all waited for them inside – all of a sudden sounds come from outside. The two Barcelona-born musicians started playing outside on the patio. PAPA DUPAU on the trumpet and SPAZZFRICA EHD with two drum sticks hitting anything he could to make a beat – floor, wall, doors, rotating door – you name it, he was banging it. This grand entrance took a few minutes as they built up the intensity as they made their way to the stage. Then came synth, shouting, drums, guitar all into this crazy mad almost tribal music. Things became more and more crazy as the songs went on. In the end I reached that strange place where I wasn’t actually sure whether I liked it or not. But it was certainly interesting and full of energy.

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Then back down just to catch a small amount of Concrete Knives. At first I thought they were from Brighton as the crowd was going crazy – turned out they are a French band. The five piece band is fantastically fun performers with matching joyful easy go lucky songs. And they had the crowd screaming and shouting for an encore (which of course they were denied under such a tight schedule). So if you looking for a fun day out – go watch them in concert and sing along to their tunes.

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Then came Dan Croll – who has been featured before on Song of the Day before. Looking as Harry Potterish as ever, his voice was fantastic, his accompanying guitarist very impressive and the songs were brought to life well. However about ¾ in I did not feel the need to stay and left before the finale to try make to Chvrches nice and early.

And thank goodness I did – the queue was kms long for the normal passes – luckily with my delegate pass I managed to get in to the jam packed Digital only having missed a few songs. Chvrches, who I have also featured on Song of the Day, were a favourite of the festival for good reason. Lauren Mayberry is so incredibly cute and tiny and looked even more harmless due to the fact that she had her arm in a cast. She looked like a porcelain doll; however even though her voice is correspondingly high in pitch it surprises in power. She sang crisp vocals to the electro pop beats beautifully produced Iain Cook and Martin Doherty who also accompanied her voice all merged together into easily digestible yet complex sounds. The venue had Sci-Fi inspired green lights that made the whole concert seem extraterrestrial. Lauren complained they freaked her out; she also complained her hair elastic was squishing her brain – we all just melted at every adorable word that came out her mouth. This band will definitely go far. We all hold our breath for a full LP.

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Then off to the last performance of the night – Tribes – who I have already written about twice since the concert. They are really the perfection of a four piece indie rock band – great energetic English sound, fantastic charm and a beat to make you jump. The room was packed, the people were jumping and the samples of the new album were phenomenal only to be released two days later.

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And that was that. Twelve o’clock struck and the carriages turned back to a pumpkin. The Great Escape was over. I dragged what remained of my limbs to my hotel to rest what was a fabulous 3 day adventure. Only 356 days to go to the next one.

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