Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

By on Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As I stepped foot on the platform of Brighton station, I was met with not the 65 MPH winds that I was foretold, but instead with flecks of sunshine and a bustling throng of people ahead of me. So I trundled cautiously down the street wrapped in my cardigan and carrying my rather inconspicuous suitcase, I walked past The Hope, where my first live music experience of The Great Escape 2013 would take place.

Who would be that first experience? Well, a band that I came upon, completely by chance at The Great Escape 2011, by the name of Brother and Bones. Their signature brand of acoustic-driven stompery, which struck a real accord with me then wasn’t the centre point of their set this time around.

Instead, the focal point was that of Richard Thomas’ majestic vocal talents. The all out hoe-downery of their past shows was forgotten in favour of the more sensitive and subtle touch. Whether it was the best approach ion the tight confines of the Hope, is up for debate, but regardless of that Thomas and co.’s elegant harmonies struck an accord with the partisan audience of critics, A & R’s and the rest. Fully acoustic number ‘Gold and Silver’ was a mixture of what is brilliant about Brother and Bones though, fully showcasing the vocal prowess of Richard, whilst drawing attention to the elegance of the songwriting. (7/10)

After a brief interlude for a spot of Tiffin and a change of clothes to more sun-appropriate attire, I headed to The Warren to catch hotly tipped Tom Odell. After a reasonable amount of time queuing for an act, whom I believed was overhyped but worth a listen, I ended up in the staging area of the venue. A kind of Secret Garden Party / 2000 Trees hybrid in the middle of Brighton. Quaint? Yes. But after quarter of an hour longer waiting I lost patience and decided to head to The Prince Albert for some light folk.

Now Dancing Years (pictured at top) are an entirely different kind of prospect to what I expected. Going in relatively unprepared, I was expecting some wobbly synths, dodgy time signatures and all the other indie clichés that we love and loathe in equal measure. What I was met with was a touching mix of melancholic folk, but with the focal point of David Henshaw, in a more understated fashion than Brother and Bones earlier. In fact, the show revolved around the man, with the gentle violin being drowned out by his obvious talent.

He came across as a kind of squeaky clean Jack Steadman / Will Harvey hybrid. Resolute in stance, yet face-to-face as personable as any frontman, he makes the perfect central point for Dancing Years. The band’s gentle melodies are only going to see their stock gather strength and with shades of Dry the River interspersed amongst the soaring harmonies, they make for easy listening. Add to that equation that big hitters like Seymour Stein were in the audience and you’ve got ones to watch right here people. The only disappointment was the rather sparse crowd, probably owing to the venues distance from the main swarm of events. (8/10)

The allure of something raw like Dingus Khan was too much after the sheened sounds of Dancing Years, so off to the Hope I rattled my broken body. Only to be met by a sprawling queue, which while being entertaining in the characters I met, who included a Dingus Khan fan from Warner Music, a 19-year old PA for We Were Evergreen’s manager. and two bookers from the Netherlands’ PinkPop festival, who I’d like to note had some fantastic hairstyles.

And while the conversation was stimulating, the popularity of Dingus proved too much, as I was not allowed into the venue. However, I am reliably informed by Ollie McCormack of Top Button Digital that they were brilliant, and that the album is great to shake of the cobwebs of TGE on a Monday.

Following up from the disappointment of missing Dingus, I stumbled into the Hope for the second time that day to catch Dinosaur Pile-Up. Another Leeds-based outfit that in 2011 provided me with the scenes of the most chaotic gig in my memory, with stage invasions galore, circle pits aplenty and an appropriate amount of urine in plastic cups. It’s a festival, eh?

This set was a far more restrained affair, with the audience only really getting into it properly in the final few songs. Dinosaur Pile-Up’s hectic, strangled shredding should have been perfect for this venue, with shoulders pressed firmly against the walls by band and punters alike. ‘Mona Lisa’ kept its attraction and proved the hub of the set for me musically. Nevertheless, the moment of the short set was when a circle pit broke out at the front, and the smile of the veteran moshers face next to me as he watched with glee at the chaos unfolding, albeit momentarily in front of him. (6/10)

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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