Photo Gallery with Review of The Great Escape Music Festival Day 3 in Brighton, UK (May 18, 2013)
On the final day of The Great Escape, I encountered some predicaments caused by lineup changes and cancellations, but the night ended with another great crowd surfing show. I slept for three hours and thought I could some day time events. So I headed to Berlin Music Week showcase where couple of intriguing Nordic bands were on the bill at Komedia Studio Bar. On my way, the streets of Brighton was absolutely bustling – Saturday market, street performers in underwear, birthday party entourages… “The Hub”, where TGE’s outdoor shows are held was at its capacity.
I arrived at Komedia which was also packed like the rest of Brighton, just as Finland’s Husky Rescue were concluding their set. Unable to get a decent view, I stepped out the door until the crowd cleared out. Then Norway’s HighasaKite rushed to set up their gears. Their wardrobe, instruments, and props looked interesting so I asked if they could spare few minutes for a portrait shoot after their set. The quintet’s music stood out as one of the most unique sounds at TGE. Combining zither and trumpet with modern instruments, and vocals of what I imagine as a Scandinavian folklore dreaminess, HighasaKite soared.
After a quick photo shoot with HighasaKite, I rushed back to my hotel a mile away to finish the previous day’s report. As the evening descended, I wrestled with which shows to catch. I had missed Blue Hawaii earlier and really wanted to check out the haunting chamber pop of Halls, who was playing before one of my favorite Finnish bands, Big Wave Riders. But I also wanted to catch the chaotic punk of Eagulls and Parquet Courts, which was happening at the other end of the town. In the end, I chose to stay nearer to my lodging and headed to the beach.
I thought I was late and Eagulls were already in the midst of their set when I entered Coalition. But I later realized it was the London band, Cheatahs, who combined nineties influenced alt-rock like Dinosaur Jr with a touch of dream pop. A pool of water by the singer’s feet created a vision of some electric shock but no such disaster took place. Satiated with their set, I exited the venue thinking I had just witnessed Eagulls. Though I learned just before that Jagwar Ma, who sounded like a good segway to Parquet Courts at The Haunt had cancelled due to the band breakup, I thought I should head that way to stake my spot.
As I stepped out into a gorgeous dusk on the Brighton beach, I couldn’t help noticing four lads sitting in a semicircle, looking like the latest trendy band. Turns out, they run a music blog, but I decided that they played a part in my TGE experience and included their photos in the gallery. Just when I was about a block away from The Haunt, I realized my misreading of time and rushed back to Coalition to catch Eagulls. The vocalist’s presence reminded me a bit of Morrissey, causing me to think if The Smiths made punk music, it might sound something like Eagulls.
Back to The Haunt and the line was stretching. Likely, my guest list went through. Still, I had to force my way into the front of the stage like a rude photographer. Jagwar Ma was replaced by Deap Valley – couple of scantily-clothed females from US, playing what I lazily call heavy metal – umm something like Lita Ford? The music blog darlings, Parquet Courts, provided another crowd surfing night at The Haunt. Though the energy of Palma Violets from the previous night could not be matched, the American rockers lived up to their buzz. And once your blood gets going, you want more so I headed to the closing showcase put on by The Old Blue Last where Parquet Courts made their second appearance. But they were only allowed three songs and though the crowd kept cheering for more, and the band waited for the approval to play on, the organizers pulled the plug. Though I was tempted to party on, I still had day two coverage to finish.
Guess I should now somehow summarize my TGE experience… I felt like I missed out on many shows and events due to my coverage commitment, the distance, and difficulty of finding venues. On the positive note, Brighton is an eye candy with charm, hospitality, and quirkiness – a great place to have a music festival. And at the end of each night, I returned to my hotel buzzing with euphoria. I didn’t have time for networking, conventions, or catch the headliners that played at the big venues. But isn’t The Great Escape about discovering new music?