Great Escape 2013: Mary’s Day 2 Afternoon Roundup

By on Thursday, 30th May 2013 at 1:00 pm

I had arrived in Brighton the Tuesday prior to the Great Escape 2013 and was suffering from some kind of stomach bug that was not making me very happy. (It’s just not normal for me to be in Britain for so long and not have Indian at least once.) Add to that borderline exhaustion and admittedly too many things on my mind on what was coming up in a couple days, and nerves were fraying. So comparatively, my schedule for Friday was relatively tame, which I suppose shouldn’t be such a surprise, as I spent the previous night up too late at the Waggon and Horses pub across the street from the Dome with several of Everything Everything, Kodaline and PR mates and happily being on the receiving end of comments like, “the Irish will never leave you!” (Guess you had to have been there…)

New Desert Blues Great Escape live

I was really touched by the thank yous from Kodaline for coming out to their Dome show that I felt compelled to see them again the following afternoon at Audio. This was their second scheduled appearance in Brighton, with only one other at what I’d been told was a very small space at the Warren Friday night, so it was either see them at Audio or probably not see them again until they returned to Washington. After the previous rough night, I woke up later than I should have, and then decided I couldn’t leave the flat until Liverpool Sound City reports were all sorted for that week (you lucky people). John swanned off to meet our friends for breakfast while I was feverishly typing into my laptop and then I got a text to meet him at the Fish Bowl for a band called New Desert Blues. So I arrived just in time for the band’s last song, so I’ll let John fill you on their set.

From there, it was on to Above Audio to catch a taster of one of Martin’s faves from Sound City, Night Engine. Again, John stayed for the whole thing so I’ll let him talk about their set, but from the little I heard, I wasn’t really wowed or anything. However, I will say that Above Audio is a decently large space and it was packed, so obviously their reputation preceded them. I saw the band later that day, with their gear in the middle of a street, talking to each other, but was too shy to say hello.

Gavin James Great Escape live

Then it was downstairs to catch two of the three acts of the Music from Ireland showcase. I missed Kid Karate but had seen them at SXSW, but I was keen on catching singer/songwriter Gavin James. It may be a bit of a cliche to talk about cute Irishmen like they’re leprechauns, but James actually alluded to the fact that he probably looked like one that afternoon. He explained he’d purchased a green coat earlier that week but it wasn’t until he arrived at Audio that he realised out loud that it was very green and half-jokingly explained with his ginger hair and beard and this jacket, he probably looked like the largest leprechaun there ever was. Ha! This made everyone in the place laugh so hard.

I can take or leave the singer/songwriter genre, but in this particular case, there was something just so disarming about him that made to stop and take notice. James seems like the affable chap at the end of a bar, downing pints while making you laugh with his stories. I don’t know as many Irishmen personally as I’d like but even I’ve heard how legendary the gift of gab and craic is supposed to be among the Irish, and this is the kind of guy I think everyone wants on their side. With songs like ‘Carolina’ and ‘For You’ under his belt, he definitely has the chops to make it in this business.

Kodaline Brighton Audio Great Esccape live

There was a decent-sized crowd for Gavin James, but geez, when it came time for Kodaline‘s crew to set up their gear, I started to get the sardine-in-a-can vibes. I was reminded how in Brighton, in stark contrast to Liverpool, you’ll be jostled, bumped and shoved out of the way if someone else wants your spot. I’d earned my place fair and square, yet two women unrelated to each other thought it was perfectly okay to push me from either side so that there would be room for them down the front. I was none too happy, but I stood my ground. No-one was going to ruin this experience for me.

Despite the pushing and shoving and the obligatory Facebook snaps with the band playing in the background taken by some of these punters with low attention spans, this Kodaline experience was near perfect for me. I always say to people that the absolute best thing to happen to you as a music fan is to watch an up and coming band gig in a teeny, tiny place and completely nail it, and of course, this doesn’t always happen, as you can’t always predict which band is going to be the Next Big Thing or indeed present when they play that hole in the wall place in your town. Kodaline have already gotten a taste for DC’s 9:30 Club and its cupcakes earlier this month, and I missed it. But I can say I saw them in places like Brighton Audio, where in a small room they left new fans spellbound. ‘All I Want’ is getting the lion’s share of attention here in America, and I don’t understand why ‘High Hopes’ doesn’t get more credit. It’s a huge, huge song that proves this band from Dublin can write anthems with the best of them. When I say to people, “they’re going to be the Irish Coldplay‘, I mean it.

Perfect World
High Hopes
Love Like This
All Comes Down to You
All I Want

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