Closing the first day of The Great Escape is no easy task. Brighton’s venues are stuffed with bloated industry heads desperate in a final clamour for a good find, and the locals – withstanding the arrival of lanyard-swinging ‘I-work-with-the-band’ delegates – are staking a claim to the locales that they frequent often with pride. Tension simmers away, if only subtly, but it all hinges on that final act to bring everyone together: we need a unifying sound, but one that still pushes the boundaries.
Enter BĘÃTFÓØT, a gloriously un-Googleable trio from Tel Aviv who step up to the plate at Komedia Studio in the Lanes to round out the new music extravaganza’s first day. They follow Grace Cummings, a stunning rock vocalist and performer with a set of freaky-rave: pounding techno-beats, punkish guitars and an overall air of chaos. One member has painted themselves entirely in green and sports a neon-pink wig – think Shrek on his stag – while they bash away at sample pads and guitars. Incredibly, they appear the most level-headed performer of the group.
An air of silliness and serious intensity permeates through the Komedia crowd, but they give you everything you’d want from a late-night Great Escape discovery: humour, joy, but an intense belief in what they’re doing. And what they do is whatever they feel like – it’s the sound of everything, everywhere all at once. ‘LĀŸF’ is built around a repetitive vocal hook that feels instantly familiar, and the non-stop onslaught of ‘KIŃG~TRÃSH’ verges on gabber and hardcore. At one point, band leader Udi Naor goes full Crazy Frog with some vocal manipulation tricks. It’s gleefully chaotic, and if there are mistakes in the songs as the trio pogo and shout along, the songs sound all the better for it.
The festival’s programme introduces the band as “a lovechild” of the Spice Girls, The Prodigy and, er, Power Rangers, and they do little to dispel those touch-points. The set gets weirder as it progresses, aside from the refreshingly mundane ‘Totally Sober’ (“I’m totally sober, can’t you see that I drank some water”), a much-needed PSA to a weary crowd. They perhaps have more in common with party-lovin’ electronic duo Confidence Man, or even Amyl and The Sniffers, who know how to bludgeon an audience with a quick quip, and yet still make it chantable. But in a half-hour showcase, it becomes clear that there’s little sense in trying to overthink a band like this, just to follow them down the rabbit hole and see where we all end up.