The final day of The Great Escape saw me start the day witnessing Brodka at the Dome Studio Theatre. I had originally thought that this venue would be small as it another room of the Brighton Dome which also holds the Corn Exchange. I was inside by 12.30pm for the first band Pictorial. Originally I had wanted to see Rainy Milo and A*M*E at the Corn Exchange but that was set to finish at 13.30pm. A*M*E then pulled out which then resulted in Rainy Milo playing in the slot that was meant for them.
The Dome Studio Theatre was paying host to a Polish Showcase featuring 3 wonderful acts. The one that I wanted to see was Monika Brodka (Brodka). For those that don’t know Monika was the winner of Polish Pop Idol back in 2004.
The set opened up with Kropki Kreski and the genre of the music that featured was Pop. Kropki Kreski was sang in her native language and like any foreign music I found this to be quite hypnotic. Monika actually looked like an Indian with the multi coloured top, eye shadow and head dress. Even though I could not understand a word of it Kropki Kreski had some infectious lyrics which geld to its melody perfectly. “Good morning Brighton. My name’s Brodka. Thank you for coming” Monika said to the audience. It was then onto Dancing Shoes which was sang in English. This wonderful tune was delivered at a steady pace. As you can guess from its title this number was all about dancing “So can I just once dance like you do/ Outshine the disco lights as you used to do/ And just for tonight I will turn myself loose/ Outside the disco lights with your dancing shoes”. This tune was faultlessly delivered and when it was over plenty of applause followed. Excipit then was played straight after. It’s melody was rather synthy and it was again another song that was sung in French. I was entranced with this wonderful track. Francuz was superbly sung and it was delivered with plenty of enthusiasm. “Next song is about our beautiful city” Brodka then said before launching into Varsovie. This sweet sounding song was sung in English. The beautiful city being in Poland. Varsovie was a beautiful song with lovely lyrics which were sung to perfection. It was then back to the Polish songs and the track in question being 5 Smaków. Bundles of energy flowed from it and everyone was loving this fast paced tune. Granda then was played immediately after. This featured on the LP of the same name and it sounded phenomenal live. Monika put every ounce of passion into this. “It’s supposed to be our last song, but we really want to play one more” Monika then said before the short but cute Syberia.
Blue Hawaii are an ambient pop duo from Montreal, Quebec, composed of former Braids member Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alex “Agor” Cowan. This was the first time I had seen this duo perform live. I had witnessed Braids at The Great Escape back in 2011.
“We’re Blue Hawaii. We came from Canada. We wanted to play this festival for the last 2 years. So we’re happy to finally be here. We’re going to start slowly and then we’ll get faster” Raphaelle said before they opened with Follow. This was Electronic Pop and it sounded amazing. The lights were then dimmed down and Standell- Preston then got stuck into the song. Follow featured on the début album Untogether along with the rest of the songs that were showcased during the set. Synths were used throughout this number and Raphaelle’s vocals sounded slightly haunting. The next song was infused to the ending of Follow. But 30 seconds into In Two they stopped to change the mic cable “Can we start from the beginning” Raphaella then said. The number itself was strongly delivered and there was a slight pace to it as well. In Two had been perfectly crafted and had some incredible lyrics. I was actually transfixed just witnessing it performed live and it is also one that can easily get you moving. “This is a new song we’re going to try it out” Standell- Preston mentioned before they went into The Other Day. Despite the fact Raphaelle calling this a new song it also featured on the Untogether LP along with all the other tracks that were showcased. I found this to be rather mesmerising. Sweet Tooth described the virtues of making love to someone you know truly well and it was superbly delivered. It was infectious at the same time. Things then ended with In Two II and this can easily get you moving
The Other Day
In Two II
After Blue Hawaii it was then onto the artist that I had anticipated and this being Chloe Howl. There has been some buzz about her and I was looking forward to seeing her performing live. This 18 year old songstress is signed to Columbia Records and just from the material showcased I can tell she has bundles of potential.
Rumour opened up the 8 track set and this was an incredible tune. For started it was slightly personal as you can clearly picture what is happening as there were multiple story lines in this number. Rumour which is the current single was pacey and it was faultlessly delivered. Chloe’s vocals actually reminded me of Peggy Sue. “They kept her prisoner growing up/ Told her Jesus was enough/ She’s really into dirty stuff/ Perhaps it’s just a rumour”. My favourite part of Rumour had to its chorus. Bad Dream was played immediately after. There was a bit of trouble with the microphone a few seconds at the start but Howl powered through it at ease. Bad Dream was a slick song which was contagious at the same time. This had been perfectly crafted, its verses were superb whilst the chorus was simply stunning “And then you wake up from a bad dream”. I liked the middle 8 as well. “Hi guys. I’m Chloe Howl” she then said before introducing the next number being Drop In The Ocean. This track was Synth Pop and it offered a lot of promise of what to expect from the début EP. Drop In The Ocean was a steady paced song which was strongly delivered. Following on was Girls & Boys and the prospect of hearing the studio version of this incredible tune excites me. The opening chords of this track hit you in the face. Girls & Boys was a steady paced song aided by infectious verses and a delectable chorus “The boys will be girls/ And the girls will be pretty”. I Wish I Could Tell You was a beautiful slow paced ballad which featured on the Rumour EP. Its lyrics were a tad emotional and extraordinary at the same time “If I could find the words to say, maybe this pain will go away”. Next it was Paper Heart and this was extremely upbeat and infectious at the same time. It is a song you just what to point your finger in the air to. Out of all the songs that had been showcased so far this had to be my favourite. It was then onto No Strings. This stunning tune featured on the Rumour EP and it sounded phenomenal live. No Strings was Howl’s breakout hit and has lyrics that will make you smirk “But fuck your no strings /And your ‘hey I’ll ring’”. Things then came to a close with This Song’s Not About You. This was played at a fast pace, it was upbeat and catchy at the same time.
Drop In The Ocean
Girls & Boys
I Wish I Could Tell You
This Song’s Not About You
The evening schedule for me was to take place in just the one venue. Even though I like going to venue to venue this has to be done when you really want to see the headline artist. So after Chloe Howl I wandered about the seafront then waited outside Digital for the doors to open. When they did open the first band that took to the stage were 4 piece Canadian group Diana. They consisted of Carmen Elle, Kieran Adams, Paul Mathew and Joseph Shabason. Now I really enjoyed what was showcased and they all were hugely talented. The material which was showcased was like a blur though. Two songs which I do remember being performed were Perpetual Surrender and Born Again. Even though Carmen said they were still jet lagged it was enough to grab my attention making me want to witness them again in the future.
Next it was then onto an artist who I have never witnessed live and this being Geordie Lulu James. The style of the music which was showcased was soulful. The short but sweet 6 track set consisted of tunes which were truly remarkable. In fact they make me look forward to when the album is out in shops.
The End was very sleek and Lulu’s vocals left me speechless. Be Safe was rather synthy and had plenty of electronic beats. There was actually a dub step feel to it. Vocals were sung at a steady pace and it was delivered powerfully as well. Sweetest Thing was upbeat and had lyrics which suck you in and are extremely contagious as well. Halfway To Hell was simply belted out and I was astounded by how remarkable Lulu James’s vocal range actually is. The latest single Closer was again highly infectious and it had a melody you just want to have a good dance to. The captivating set then ended with Creation Of Love.
If you ever get the chance to attend a Lulu James concert I advise you do so. Before I had seen her play at Digital I hadn’t heard any material by her. I was fully aware with who she was. After witnessing this 6 track set it literally blew me away. Her unique vocals were ever so powerful. I will most definitely be booking for the next Lulu James gig.
Halfway To Hell
Creation Of Love
Karen Marie Ørsted goes under the alias of MØ. If you are struggling to pronounce it, it’s MØ as in the start of Merger. Having missed the Cargo show earlier on in May I made it my aim to witness some Scandinavian pop played to perfection. Tracks such as Glass, Maiden, Pilgrim and the recently released Waste Of Time are simply fantastic. Having been at the Electrowerkz show earlier on in the year I know that there is plenty more cracking material which has to feature on the début album.
Karen took to the stage around 8.45 and launched into something brand new and this being The Sea. The song itself was simply amazing. There were thumping beats that easily got you moving. Ørsted delivered this with plenty of gusto. Maiden was up next and this was a number which was packed with a punch. This tune was very energetic and highly catchy as well. I also found the melody hypnotising along with the video that was playing behind her. The perfectly written Waste Of Time followed on and the very first time I heard it live I knew it had massive single potential. It came as no surprised when it was announced as single #2. Waste Of Time had thumping electronic beats when were aided by infectious verses and a killer chorus “Where is the love we had”. What I especially liked is the fact Karen put everything into her performance which then resulted in a rapture of cheers once it was over. Dust Is Gone was played straight after and this is a tune which I can’t wait to hear the studio version to. Other being utterly addictive, this tune was both mellowing and entrancing. It was then onto another song that is currently in the public domain and this being Glass. I must say this song was literally incredible. It’s melody is mellowing, you also have thumping beats aided by Karen’s flawless vocals. Every ounce of energy was put into this song. Fire Rides was next and its lyrics were completely contagious and the performance oozed bundles of energy. Out of all of the material I have heard by Karen I wont be surprised if this is the next single after Waste Of Time. The set then ended with the extraordinary Pilgrim.
Waste Of Time
Dust Is Gone
Consisting of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty are 3 piece Scottish electro pop outfit Chvrches. This group finished #5 in the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll and they were headlining this night at Digital. They were the act that were going to round of my 2 days at The Great Escape. Chvrches had been given a longer set compared to most headliners. Things kicked off at 9.50pm and ended 40 minutes later. What was showcased was exactly the same as what was performed live at Village Underground but without Tide nor encore song I Would Die For V (despite the fact both were listed the band chose not to play them. Probably because they didn’t want to over run).
What opened up the set was Lies and this ranked #28 in NME’s Top Tracks of 2012. Lies was hypnotic and was an electro pop tune aided by soft/ gentle vocals by Lauren Mayberry. This entrancing tune had wonderful lyrics which easily gets you moving. Lauren’s vocals were very reminiscent of Swedish singer Robyn. “Thank you very much for coming out to see us” Mayberry then said before they went straight into If We Sink. The verses were light and fluffy. It’s chorus was infectious and memorable “I’ll be a thorn in your till you die”. This number was sythpop and it was also rather captivating from the very beginning. I look forward to hearing the studio version and it has to feature on the début album. “I’m pretty much walking wounded but I’m going to do one handed tambourine later” Lauren said showing her bandaged up hand. It was then onto Lungs. I found this to be upbeat and Lauren’s vocals were simply spotless. Even Martin Doherty sang some lines. What I liked was the fact that the use of the synths all came together resulting in one cracking tune. After plenty of cheers it was then onto Now Is Not The Time. This song featured on the recently released Recover EP. I loved this tune it was gentle and mellowing. The lyrics were top notch and I found it to be rather dreamy at the same time. “Nothing now can ever come between us/ As we hide and watch the city burn/ There is much that I still want to tell you/ But now is not the time to speak of love”. I found this to be rather infectious especially the hypnotic chorus. Gun felt like an 80′s pop track with phenomenal lyrics which were delivered to perfection. Aside from being pacey/ infectious what stood out was the killer chorus that hits you right in the face. What followed on was Science And Vision and this was a stunning song that has the abilities to be a club classic. Mayberry’s vocals were sublime and this tune was delivered with plenty of gusto. It was then onto Night Sky. At first it started off with a drumbeat then the synths came in which backed the vocals to perfection. Mayberry may of sang the bulk of this excellent song but Doherty also had some parts which made me think of The xx. Night Sky was played at a slower tempo compared to what had already been perform. Following on was Recover. People may disagree but I see this being the highlight from all of the current songs Chvrches have. For starters it was a beautiful number and the electroness was prominent. Secondly the lyrics were contagious the verses were faultless and the enchanting chorus is one that you feel obliged to sing along to “And if I recover, will you be my comfort?/ or it can be over, or we can just leave it here”. Lauren Mayberry literally belted out this track. What ended a highly enjoyable set was the crowd pleasing The Mother We Share. This is probably the most danceable tune that they played and its synths were luscious. The Mother We Share had stellar lyrics and it was electro pop at its best.
If We Sink
Now Is Not The Time
Science And Vision
The Mother We Share
OVERALL: In summary these 2 day on The Great Escape were amazing. I had the chance to witness acts I know and love as well as seeing bands that I never witnessed before.
Two groups that greatly impressed me were Echo and the Empress on the Friday and both Brodka and Blue Hawaii on the Saturday. All of which played phenomenal sets. Actually Blue Hawaii came as bit of a surprise as I never intended on seeing them. The set that they played felt like a DJ set with lyrics which worked wonders. I had planned on staying at the Dome Studio to see Tres B but left so I would be at the front for Chloe Howl.
Finally the headline acts I saw over the past 2 days were all fantastic. Yes it was slightly upsetting that I had to miss Marika Hackman but I witnessed the incredible Deap Vally instead on the Friday. Little Green Cars are a band that I definitely would see again in the future and the set by Lauren Aquilina was flawless despite the constant chattering. The Friday ended with Nina Nesbitt who I am literally addicted to now. The new single Way In The World is highly contagious.
What makes a festival like this is going from venue to venue. The Friday was more like a Great Escape compared to Saturday when I just chose to stay in the one venue. But when you want to see the headline act and it has someone subbing who you like as well, staying in the same venue is something you would do.