The Great Escape: Day Two 13th May 2011

My second day at The Great Escape saw me arrive slightly later. The first stop on the day was going to Beyond Retro. This venue was very perculiar. Now Beyond Retro looks small on the outside but it is huge on the inside. Basically it is a clothes shop and the artists that they had playing there were performing on the balcony above the counter. It was very similar to the sessions I saw with Everything Everything and The Cribs the prior year. The first artist I was to see was Kyla La Grange. Now I had always wanted to see her play live and I was even tempted to get a ticket for The Lexington show on 12th July. So just seeing her play this afternoon gig was the perfect taster for me to find out whether Kyla was to my liking. “Hello, this is strange” La Grange said to the small audience before launching into the forthcoming Chess Club release Been Better. You would think it is just Kyla but she has a backing band. Now Been Better sounded fantastic and La Grange’s vocals are stunning. I am looking forward to having the vinyl in my hands on 12th July. “We don’t have a set list so we’re just going to do whatever” Kyla told the audience before starting Heavy Stone. There was actually a folk feel to this song and it was sung at a fast pace. Next it was onto my favourite song from the set and this being Walk. This song has to be on the album when it’s released. The song itself is really catchy and extremely uptempo. Straight after it was onto the B Side to Kyla’s debut release and this song was Courage. Her vocals like I said are stunning and very distinctive as well. It was then onto another brand new song which again wetted my appetite for the full length CD. The song in question was Let Love Loose. Debut single Walk Through Walls was next and yet again this song was another slice of sheer brilliance. Why Kyla wasn’t nominated in the the BBC Sound Poll is puzzling. The song itself is belted out. “Thankyou very very much” La Grange said before launching into the lst song Lambs. Definately keep an eye on Kyla La Grange because I predict wonderful things for her.

SET LIST

Been Better
Heavy Stone
Walk
Courage
Let Love Loose
Walk Through Walls
Lambs

Once Kyla had finished her set it was then a short trek to The Latest Music Bar. The artist I wanted to see was CockNBullKid. Now I have seen Anita Blay quite a few times before and I really like the pop music she sings. So when I went downstairs to the basement I was surprised to see it was rammed to capacity. Lucy Rose was playing. I wanted to see her during my three days at The Great Escape but due to the fact I could not see anything I couldn’t enjoy the songs being sung. Still I do plan to see her in the future. Rose then finished and alot of people left this small venue. So I then went straight to the front and took a seat for the next set. The short 6 song set was just a taster of the forthcoming album Adulthood which is released 23rd May. What made this set even more special was the fact it was completely acoustic. “Good Afternoon, I’m CockNBullKid” Anita said to the audience before launching into the first single from Adulthood and this being One Eyed Closed. After having seen Anita play before I was taken aback how mellow the songs sounded. It sounded amazing Anita’s vocals were spot on and the harmonising was fantastic. After applause it was then onto the forthcoming single Yellow. The song itself is very catchy and my favourite part had to be the upbeat chorus. It was then onto the last single this being Hold On To Your Misery. The song itself had a gospel feel to it and it was played at a slow tempo as well. A new song I hadn’t heard before was up next and this being The Hoarder. Even though it was acoustic the notes played on the keyboard were heavy. Still the chorus is absolutely fantastic and I am looking forward to when Adulthood hits the shelves. Following on was my favourite song and this was I Deserve It. There is a furious pace to this song and the lyrics are brilliant. When you listen to the lyrics they are actually slightly dark. One of the lines in the chorus is “Don’t put me out, If I’m on fire”. After Blay plugs the album and then launches into the current single Asthma Attack.

SET LIST

One Eyed Closed
Yellow
Hold On To Your Misery
The Hoarder
I Deserve It
Asthma Attack

Next it was onto a punt. This was to be Ben Howard and the basement venue was rammed packed. It is strange in my terms that there was plenty of space for CockNBullKid while for Ben Howard there was no space whatsoever. Still Ben, 23 was brought up in South Devon and is a folk singer. Judging by the fact it was packed I was expecting it to be excellent. It was just that and I would compared him to Benjamin Francis Leftwich or the late Adelaide’s Cape. Now Ben’s vocals are extrodinary and the 45 minute set included songs like Old Pine and Empty Corridors. Still Ben was not alone as he had two people on cello as well. If you are a fan of Folk music then Ben Howard is someone worth checking out.

The evening schedule saw me attend Komedia. I really wanted to see the headline slot by Anna Calvi. Also the fact that I had heard 2 of the 3 support acts before was a huge plus. Kicking off the set was Delta Maid. 25 year old Delta comes from Wavertree in South Liverpool and she sings Blues/ Roots music. The first time I saw her live she last July she wasn’t really to my liking but the more times I have seen her has resulted in the music growing on me. The 8 song set showcased material from debut album Outside Looking In as well as 2 unique covers. “Hello everybody, My name’s Delta Maid” she said to the audience before getting stuck into Back The Last Horse. The song itself was infection and I like the fact it was stipped back.  After plenty of applause it was then straight onto Broken Branches. The song has a steady beat and it is very blues heavy. Actually it sounded slight Country and reminded me of Dolly Parton. Next was a blues song with a bit of a difference and this being a take on Eric Bibb’s Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down. Delta made this song completely unique and you could sense the blues vibe straight away. “This song is about a girl I used to work with in Manchester, She always made me feel bad for feeling bad” Delta told the audience before dedicating the song to the girl from Wythenshawe Hospital. Well I really liked Anyway I Want To. It sounded beautiful and there is a steady beat to this song. Delta sang it faultlessly and the lyrics were fantastic. A song I had never heard was next and this was Dance With My Broken Heart. Delta’s vocals were breathtaking.  The final cover of the night was The Way It Is. Delta put her own stamp on this Phil Collin’s classic. The next song Spend A Little Time and this song is inspired by the wags of Liverpool. This song is extremely uptempo and there is a Blues/ Country twang to it.  Delta then played the audience out with the forthcoming single Of My Own. There is a fast pace to this song and all in all it is amazing.

SET LIST

Back The Last Horse
Broken Branches
Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down
Anyway I Want To
Dance With My Broken Heart
The Way It Is
Spend A Little Time
Of My Own

After a storming set by Delta Maid it was then onto Fredrika Stahl. Now Stahl impressed me greatly on the first day which resulted me in anticipating this set. She took the stage wearing all black and headed off to her keyboard. This time there wasn’t technical difficulties. Opening up the set was title track to the current album and this being Sweep Me Away. In fact this song reminded me of Regina Spektor. “Thankyou” Stahl said to the audience before launching into another song from Sweep Me Away. The song in question being the upbeat She & I. This song is incredible other than being upbeat it is also very pacey in tempo. “We’re going to play songs from our last record Sweep Me Away” Stahl said to the audience before launching into Rocket Ship To Mars. This was the first time I had heard this song live and Fredrika has a very distinct voice which sounds incredible. Now I really like this song but it is what followed after which was rather special. “I would like to play a song to you that I haven’t written myself. In Sweeden we have our own version, it’s a famous song” Fredrika then went onto say before launching into the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This sounded ever so special. I never thought it was possible to turn a nursery rhyme into a song and make it sound so good. “Have you ever tried to get attention from someone who doesn’t pay any attention at all?” Stahl said before launching into the less cute song What If. The song sounded dark in tone and also it showed off Fredrika’s belting vocals. Immediately after it was onto the beautiful song Altered Lens. The lyrics are fantastic especially the chorus plus there is a beat to this song. After Fredrika introduced her band before launching into the last song of the night M.O.S.W.

SET LIST

Sweep Me Away
She & I
Rocket Ship To Mars
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
What If
Altered Lens
M. O. S. W

Treefight For Sunlight were the next band on the night. This four piece hail from Denmark and are currently signed to the Bella Union label. If I am honest this band did not captivate me enough to make me want to see them live again. Their music is ace but sometimes you get bands/ artists who are better on a CD than they are live. The highlight of the 8 song set was a cover of the Kate Bush classic Wuthering Heights. This version sounded strange but amazing at the same time.

SET LIST

The Universe Is A Woman
You And The New
What Became Of You And I?
Time Stretcher
Wuthering Heights
Riddles In Rhymes
Facing The Sun
They Never

It was then onto the headline artist of the evening and this being Anna Calvi. Now the set was extremely different because Calvi is an expert on the guitar but due to her sustaining a arm injury she drafted in a guest guitarist. Calvi then took the stage with two other band members. Her hair was tied back and was wearing high waist trousers with a blouse. Plus she had blood red lipstick on her lips. She kicked things off with the epic instrumental Rider To The Sea. Anna rattled through this at complete ease and she is one amazing guitar player. Suzanne & I followed straight after. Calvi gave passed her guitar over to the guest guitarist. Well the song started off with drums then the guitar kicked in.  It was completely incredible and also sounds a touch operatic. After the applause it was onto the current single and this being Blackout which sounded epic. Calvi simply belted out this song. The haunting I’ll Be Your Man followed staight after. This was a powersong which had its soft moments. Once the song is over Calvi introduced the band to the audience before launching into First We Kiss. This song showcases her stunning vocal range and Anna can hit high notes at ease. “Thankyou” Calvi said to the audience before the spine tingling Morning Light. Now this song is alot more sombre compared to the others.“We’re going to play you another song now, this is Surrender” Anna told the packed audience. Well Surrender is a take on the Elvis Presley song and Calvi put her own stamp of originallity all over it. The forthcoming single Desire was straight after. This uptempo song was delivered strongly. “Thanks so much everyone” Calvi said to the audience after the rapture of applause for Desire. The last song of the night was Love Won’t Be Leaving. Anna took to the guitar for this epic song. This was yet another haunting song which Calvi completely nailed. She is an extremely talented guitar player. Once Love Won’t Be Leaving was over the band left the stage only to return seconds later for an encore. “We’re going to leave you with a Edith Pia song” Anna said to the audience. The song in question was infact her first single and this being her unique twist on Jezebel. Now Anna hit the high notes at ease and this song was delivered powerfully. Once over the venue started emptying. Yes the fact she didn’t play the guitar that much may of disappointed some fans but for me the set was very special. Seeing Anna play a full set without the aid of a guitar is something you won’t see again.

SET LIST

Rider To The Sea
Suzanne & I
Blackout
I’ll Be Your Man
First We Kiss
Morning Light
Surrender
Desire
Love Won’t Be Leaving

ENCORE

Jezebel

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