The Great Escape takes place in Brighton from May 8-10. NME Radar will be reporting on the best new bands daily. Here’s Kevin EG Perry on the best of Friday:
On the Brighton-set ‘Jubilee Street’, Nick Cave sang about “a ten tonne catastrophe on a sixty pound chain” which isn’t a bad way of describing the hangover I’m dragging around the seaside streets after the excess of Thursday’s opening night start of The Great Escape 2014.
The first thing that lifts the storm clouds from my temples is, unexpectedly, one of the loudest of the early bands I see. In The Mesmerist pub, Jakwob and FTSE have temporarily left aside the production duties they’re both better known for to form a rage-fuelled hardcore duo called Get Hot whose ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’ attitude suggests a heavier Sleaford Mods. Their anger is an energy.
I’m excited to catch the debut Great Escape show by Public Access TV. Frontman John Eatherly and guitarist Xan Aird take centre stage in an impossibly hip four piece from Manhattan. Instant indie dancefloor-fillers like ‘Monaco’ already stud their set at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – just their eighth gig together as a band. Afterwards we all head down to The Grand, as famously featured in ‘Quadrophenia’, where the band tell me they’re already sick of being compared to The Strokes and reveal they bonded over Bowie’s ‘Station To Station’ because, in Xan’s words: “It’s the ultimate cocaine record. If you could make cocaine sound like a record it would be ‘Station To Station’.”
Public Access TV’s ‘Monaco’ namedrops Bermuda, so it seems only fitting to head next to tiny seafront venue the Bermuda Triangle to catch some more bands. First up is Electric Eye, Scandinavians with an impressive line in Tame Impala-style psych jams. The kind of band for whom a nine-minute track would probably be considered a potential single.
Electric Eye are followed by Pup, excitable pop-punkers from Toronto who sweetly thank the crowd: “For coming out, because you could be anywhere right now, but you’re here. That’s pretty sweet.” If we were anywhere else we’d miss a lot of bouncy NOFX-style riffs, a tonne of ‘woah-oh’ singalong choruses but also some slower, darker and heavier moments that prove these young Pups can be taught new tricks.
As afternoon turns into evening all roads lead to The Haunt, where NME is playing host to the night’s biggest party. Telegram kick things off in some style with two new songs ‘Inside Outside’ and ‘Godiva’s Here’, while Public Access TV overcome severe sleep deprivation to make their second set of the day even bigger and better than their first.
The secret is well-and-truly out now that the special guest headliners are Peace. Queues snake down the road outside the venue, perhaps because the other secret that’s now been revealed is that their second album is shaping up very nicely indeed. New tracks like ‘Money’ sound different while still fitting seamlessly alongside the old favourites in their set.
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The headliners may have been Peace but the closing band want war. It’s 1:30am by the time the Fat White Family lurch onto the stage to scream darkness at the crowd, but the good news is that I think my hangover is just about clearing up. Just in time…