Blustery Brighton buzzed with bands both new and old at The Great Escape festival 2014 over the weekend. The Klaxons played a secret show on Thursday evening, playing classic nu-rave bangers and tracks from upcoming album ‘Love Frequency’.
Copenhagen teens Baby In Vain add their names to the list of new bands who are hell-bent on making a proper racket. They showed they’ve got more than what it takes to back up the hype around single ‘Corny #1’ – namely, hair-flipping, guitar-duelling rock brilliance.
Charli XCX has a nap on stage at the Brighton Dome on Saturday evening, tired from conquering the United States.
R&B legend Kelis’s show drew heavily from her recently released sixth album ‘Food’, with ‘Jerk Ribs’, ‘Cobbler’, ‘Hooch’, ‘Friday Fish Fry’, ‘Breakfast’, ‘Floyd’ and ‘Rumble’ all making the set, but as promised she also played a host of her classic tracks, including a medley of ‘Get Along With You’, ‘Good Stuff’ and ‘Glow’ in addition to ‘Little Star’, ‘Suspended’, ‘Acapella’ and ‘Trick Me’.
Instant indie dancefloor-fillers like ‘Monaco’ already stud Public Access TV’s set at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – just their eighth gig together as a band. The Manhattan four-piece are well worth the hype.
Kaiser Chiefs played a high-octane afternoon slot, kicking off their 50 minute long, 11-song set with ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’, which saw the crowd join in on a mass sing-along as orchestrated by a double denim sporting frontman Ricky Wilson.
The band finished with a rowdy rendition of debut single ‘Oh My God’, which was released 10 years ago. Towards the end of the song Wilson made the crowd split down the middle and crouch on the floor before climbing off the stage to sing the climax amongst the fans. “What a way to start the day!” he commented. “I’m usually waking up around now.”
Ezra Furman played the Brighthelm on Friday, getting the crowd going with tracks from 2013 album ‘Day Of The Dog, which, NME reviewer Dan Stubbs wrote at the time, show-cases “a gift for crafting freeway-cruisin’ tunes served with an extra helping of roadkill.”
Brighton’s Magic Gang played one of the best DIY gigs of the weekend, inviting a load of their mates into their front room while they and Bloody Knees played.
Radar favourites Honeyblood kicked off the festival. Stina Tweeddale and ShonaMcVicar played to a busy Bermuda Triangle, airing tracks from their forthcoming, self-titled debut album, which is out July 14.
The pair played a raucous version of single ‘Killer Bangs’ as well as ‘Chocker’ and the downbeat ‘(I’d Rather Be) Anywhere But Here’.
The Districts played the NME stage. “I’d seen them at SXSW a few times,” writes Radar editor Matt Wilkinson, “and was sure they’d kill it in the UK, now I’m totally convinced.”
Scraps, aka Laura Hill, played tracks from ‘Electric Ocean’ at The Tube.
Peace played a secret gig at the NME stage at The Haunt. Kicking off with early single ‘Follow Baby’, the band, fronted by a leather jacket-wearing Harry Koisser, then continued with ‘Money’ – the first single to be taken from their forthcoming second album.
Baby In Vain show they have more than what it takes to back up the hype around single ‘Corny #1.
Neon Waltz play a blinder at the NME Radar stage.
Now signed to Fiction/Universal, Meanwhile made a stellar appearance.
Frontman Artur of Dracula Legs looks like he was born to be onstage and at one point during their set, when he jumped in the audience and nearly took half of them out, it looked like he was going to be mobbed or start a mass brawl. Could they be the next UK DIY hope?
Courtney Barnett played an afternoon gig at Komedia. The Melbourne based singer-songwriter played a 30-minute solo set with electric guitar accompaniment on songs ‘Out Of The Woodwork’, ‘Avant Gardner’, ‘History Eraser’ and ‘For Preston’, which she introduced as being a song about “mortgages and mortality”. Barnett also played NME’s showcase at The Haunt later on in the day.
Sun Machine played Hate Hate Hate’s showcase.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi’s LCD Soundsystem-esque electronic psych oddities went down a treat.
UK band Looks might not have the cleverest name in the digital age but they killed their set at The Great Escape.
New Domino signings White Lung played their intense brand of hardcore and post punk at Coalition. Frontwoman Mish Way opened up the set by commenting: “We’re gonna play some new songs off our new album, it’s called market research, right?” The band’s third LP ‘Deep Fantasy’ is due out next month.
NME recommended Big Ups as an act to see in Brighton and they didn’t disappoint.
Kagoule, who hail from Nottingham, impressed at the Hate Hate Hate showcase.