Photo Gallery and Review of The Great Escape Music Festival Day 2 at The Haunt in Brighton,UK (May 17, 2013)
I spent much of day two of The Great Escape in front of my laptop, trying to encapsulate the blazing day one, owing much to Mac DeMarco. My race to sort out photos, words, and videos of the previous day took a brief breather, courtesy of Jacco Gardner - the young Dutch musician with a unique blend of psychedelia and baroque pop. I rushed through the bustling streets of Brighton on four hour sleep during high noon, as another dry day welcomed the visitors. Gardner and his band were setting up at Komedia Bar for first of his two shows of the day, and kindly took five minutes to pose for my camera. In a curious way, Gardner personified his hometown, Hoorn - a peaceful little village that seem to have been frozen in time - or at least that's the lasting memory I have of the picturesque Holland city.
I was still working on day one coverage when I realized the sun was starting to fall asleep and rushed to upload my report, then ran to find The Haunt, where Gardner was playing at the NME Radar stage. The crowd packed the venue, and I did my best to get close to the stage as possible without offending anyone. Gardner's music became even more fantastical in a live setting with old film footage projections and whirling magical sounds enlightening the psyche to create another dimension.
Though I had Klaxons and Billy Bragg on my list, it was a losing game to try to hit up different venues. So I decided to stay at The Haunt. The acts that followed Gardner rest of the night was nothing like his gorgeous Euro-chamber panorama. The Wytches sounded like what I had expected from such name - a lot of guitar and hair action that translated into not quite heavy metal, not quite indie rock. The tress theme continued with the next band, Temples. The foursome was my idea of stereotypical British rock band that creates buzz in their homeland but fails to reach the American shores. More of a psychedelic-based brand of rock , the most indelible thing about Temples was the lead singer's slender fame that was the cause of my envy.
I never thought I'd be looking forward to catching a band from Florida - especially in England, but that was the scenario since I didn't have the chance to see Merchandise in Portland few weeks ago. But before the Tampa band's slot, the festival “gigplanner” listed "special guest", as well as after their stage time. Earlier in the day, I learned that NME's best new band of 2013, Palma Violets, were added to the program. But obviously they would be closing out the night. So who was the mystery act then before Merchandise? Three men in kitschy designer style attire blasted the speakers with rockabilly-punk. For one song, a femme fatale took center stage, adding to the puzzle of their identity. When I asked around who they were, no one knew but only that they are from Scotland. So I finally asked the gold-shirted lead singer, and he said something that sounded like "The Amazing Snakeheads".
Merchandise was pretty smiley for a "punk band". My guess is that they are happy to be touring the world than to endure the suffocating heat and humidity of Florida. Few audience members tried to join them on stage but vocalist, Carson Cox, kicked them off stage and said that you have to have a partner. The Americans were perfect warm up to the grand finale with London's Palma Violets.
For the final act, I was glad to have stationed myself in front of the stage for five hours straight to get the best view. Less than a month ago, Palma Violets ignited Portland's small venue. But being the darlings in their home turf, and with the attendees nicely intoxicated by now, the show was a non-stop explosion of fervent Brit rock, sweat, and crowd surfing/diving. Ahh yes, another fine ending to another night at The Great Escape.
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