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Festival Coverage: The Great Escape - Day 2

  • Published in Live

More rain of biblical proportion greets us on the second day. In these desperate times we head for the comfort of the familiar. The wonderfully iconic Lauren Laverne is broadcasting live from the festival and we all huddle together like wet sheep.

Everyone is talking about what acts they saw the previous day. However the main chat is all about the Slaves who hosted a takeover party at the end of Brighton pier and as you would hope it was full on carnage. The show had to close early due to huge numbers and many people rushing and jumping over the barriers. By all accounts the boys didn’t fail to deliver and many an urban myth about what went on has already started to develop. 

Along with the main Great Escape festival is a host of offshoot musical events. The Alternative Escape hosted the brilliant Resonators last night while there are also loads of pubs who run events that don’t need tickets and are all completely free. Alongside all this there are various companies hosting events and we have just registered for the Soundcloud secret show. We have no idea who but then it wouldn’t be a secret would it.

We start with Dakota a three piece jangly female-fronted band with echoes of Warpaint which wets our appetite for the day ahead. Next, a truly strange location of the iconic i360 tower on Brighton seafront to catch an intimate gig courtesy of Dr. Martens with the beautiful voice of Cosima. This lady has a huge future  ahead, her stunning vocals, along with the setting, are perfect apart from the rain and really starts our day of well.  

From the beautiful to the downright weird. Delaney Davidson from New Zealand is a one man band who’s been described as Gothic Americana. Personally we think it was blues mixed with Captain Beefheart. He did a superb cover of ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night which was simply hypnotic, wonderful and bonkers. We want more craziness, maybe the weather is sending us mad. Luckily we have two ginger haired Belgian’s who pound out intense synth rock. La Jungle are just one of those act you just don’t get and can’t describe yet you don’t have to. A huge noise is made by these two guys and we lap it up, think Royal Blood with synths and you are kind of getting there.

The sun is out, we aren’t lying. We head to an outdoor stage and catch the singing songwriting talent that is Callum Beattie. As we are serenaded by his acoustic loveliness we can plan the next few acts and dry out. We plump for Kane Strang and a swirling beautiful low-fi psychedelic sound with echoes of Pixies which confirm this guy’s huge talent. We are then excited for one of our must see acts of the weekend Jay Som. Coming out of San Francisco and fronted by the amazing talents of Melina Duterte they serve up lashing of dreamy psychedelic guitars. You feel transported to a hazy summer's day and she is simple a wonderful artist that we can’t recommend enough.  

The late show for tonight, we focus on a few more upcoming urban and grime artists and we begin in the grand setting of Queens’s Hotel to see Koojey Radical. Swigging Redstripe and sweating he leaps about firing out fast flowing lyrics. Stripping off layers after each track he performs some wonderful stuff. It sums up one of the beauties of the Great Escape, underground artists in grand venues which are not used to putting on live acts. We switch to a club on the seafront to catch Grime of the highest order from Belly Squad, all decked out in matching Adidas tracksuits they bring a light-hearted approach, mixing up afro rhythms and afro-beats with a Caribbean vibe to knock out hits such as the wonderful ‘Banana’.

They're followed by Young T & Bugsey who are destined and touted as the next big urban act. Abra Cadabra is freshly following a MOBO award and we can see why. He is dedicated to his craft yet could have been a bit more aware of the crowd. Our final act are 67, a raw uncompromising group of rappers that have a huge following. This we feel is proper grime music without the filters. They are dangerous and we feel privileged and scared all in one. The crowd are bouncing like mad things and they deliver an intense, wonderful performance, with a leading figure wearing a mask either to hide his appearance due to his gang injunction or due to his ASBO. We don’t know but it only adds to the drama of the night and rounds off an intense yet amazing day.   


Live At Leeds 2017 Preview

  • Published in Live

There’s always a sense of excitement that comes with the start of a new year; music fans across the country eagerly await the line-ups for summer festivals.  Rumours abound for weeks on who might be making an appearance at the plethora of events which will be taking place up and down the UK (and abroad, if you’re adventurous) - and as the announcements are made, the excitement is heightened by the fact that you can almost reach and and grab the summer season in front of you.

Live at Leeds, held over the first May bank holiday, is always one such event for us.  Perhaps the giddiness is aided by the fact there are not one, but two days off in May; but it’s one festival that guarantees a great day out with a really good mix of music to keep you going.  

In a similar vein to Tramlines and Dot to Dot, Live at Leeds embraces the venues across its city; from tiny underground bars to larger venues like the University of Leeds - and everything in between.  There’s something for every taste and there’s a well-curated list of artists to entertain you through the day, be it an up and coming unsigned act or your favourite Top 40 band.  You can plan your day out to suit your own schedule - hey, you can even stop for a pub lunch and/or kebab on the way round.  

This year is no exception.  Highlights for us include the return of Get Inuit, who we discovered at LAL 2015.  Their infectious guitar pop comes in quick, rather noisy, bursts - in a good way, of course.  Alongside them, Let’s Eat Grandma; we reviewed their debut album last year and would love to see them recreate their mad, whimsical music in a live environment, particularly because so many instruments are involved in each track.  Bigger acts include Jagwar Ma, Gabrielle Aplin and Temples, whilst Slaves, White Lies, Wild Beasts, Nothing But Thieves, and the rather well booked ahead-of-time Rag’n’Bone Man complete the eclectic line-up.

With the last acts on the line-up being announced this week - Frightened Rabbit and  amongst them - you’re now in prime position to make the shortlist of bands you want to see.  Venues and times are still to come, the hardest part now will be working out how many bands you can squeeze into your day.

If the prospect of the main event leaves you wanting more, the festival is sandwiched with two gigs - the Live at Leeds Welcome with Future Islands on Friday 28th April, and Maximo Park close the weekend on Sunday 30th.  You’d be hard pushed to find something you don’t like.

Live at Leeds takes place on Saturday, April 29th. Tickets cost £32.50 and are available at various outlets - check www.liveatleeds.com for more information.

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