The Great Escape: Easy Life’s speedy set marks them as leaders of the pack

Easy Life are on the clock. They’re halfway through ‘Slow Motion’, the set’s penultimate song, and they get the nod from the sound desk: they need to wrap up – the timings on the stage are all a bit off, and they’re going to have to abandon their last song, ‘Nightmares’. So a song about taking it slow gradually gets faster as the band are forced to kick it up a gear – it’s anything but the name suggests.

It’s a stark contrast to what they’re all about, to be honest. The Leicester five-piece pride themselves on taking it easy and showing a bit of patience. Go take a listen to their latest mixtape, ‘Spaceships’, which is all about keeping it low-key and simple. ‘Sunday’, a breezy pop-jazz jam is testament to that.

Fittingly, their road map to The Great Escape 2019 has been similarly poised. It was over a year ago that debut single ‘Pockets’, a silky-smooth indie banger, proved to be their breakout moment. The ensuing ‘Creature Habits’ mixtape was both explosive but measured.

The party has now taken them across the globe, and landed them a deal with the iconic Island records (Amy Winehouse, U2). Their last big festival? Just a little shindig in the Californian desert called Coachella, where they played mere hours after Kanye Wests’s now-legendary Sunday Service.

But Easy Life appear to be more comfortable on home turf. We catch them on their second show of the weekend, down at the expanded Beach Venue, where established names and new comers stake their claim to be the weekend’s big winners. The crowd they’ve pulled here are slightly different than normal. Usually, their audiences are full of energetic and achingly cool youngsters that spend as much time singing along as they do on their mates’ shoulders.

But this is not like that – it’s an industry thing, and lead singer Murray knows that, but they’re absolute flying. He tells the crowd it’s the best thing they’ve done in, er, a month or so, and you can tell. The harmonies on ‘Frank’ sound just that bit sweeter, while Sam’s saxophone parts soar higher than ever at this mid-afternoon showcase.

The key to Easy Life’s success, though, is that they know how to do the little things. They know when to pull you close with a piano-ballad or go big with bombastic horn sections. And they capture the intimate moments of nights out in the most simple ways. There’s ‘Afters’ a song built around the eternal and oft-repeated question: “Are you coming to afters?” Safe to say, we’re sticking around.

The lush tones of ‘Wet Weekend’ (which Brighton has largely avoided) and ‘OJPL’ come through next, as ‘Pockets’ and ‘Slow Motion’ look set to close out the show. There are some protests from the band: they want to finish the set, and they’re fully aware they might get turned off.

The opening toots of ‘Nightmares’ fill the tent as Murray implores the stage to “not turn me off”, before the plug finally gets pulled mid-verse. Remarkably, for a festival full of “industry shit”, they song has cut through enough for an acapella singalong from the crowd to break out. The band come to the front to orchestrate, and celebrate the chorus like they’ve scored a winner in injury time. It’s a triumph.

Put Easy Life on the clock and they’ll make it work, but they’re quite content going at their own pace. Everyone else, it seems, will be playing catch-up for the rest of the weekend.