Great Escape 2013: Mary’s Day 3 Afternoon Roundup

By on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 1:00 pm

After a relatively low-key Friday night, I was raring to go on Saturday morning, feeling much better to take on day 3 of the Great Escape 2013. First things first, though. At John’s recommendation, he, myself, Braden (who if you recall used to write for us, but has now gone on to become the Live Editor of Sound Influx – this becomes important 2 days later in London), John’s PA for the weekend and sometimes TGTF contributor Hannah and Hannah’s boyfriend George found ourselves having a very nice breakfast at Giraffe, a mere 2 blocks from our flat. Definitely a good shout, John, for a fantastic breakfast burrito and a very nice fruit smoothie to start the day right in a healthy, mum-approved kind of way. (I loved this place so much, when I saw the chain restaurant in Heathrow a couple days later, somehow they got another £15 off me…)

Apparently, the good people of Brighton – and everyone English or from wherever else – recover from late nights and drinking a lot better than I do, because it was with some surprise that when I tried to get into the Dome Studio Bar (formerly known as the Pavilion Theatre), there was a queue. That’s right. At 12 noon. I was sure everyone would still be asleep and nursing sore heads. Uhh, no. Luckily, the entire Don’t Panic, We’re From Poland showcase was running late, so by the time security finally let me in, I was able to catch three songs by former pop idol but now singer/songwriter in her own right (Monika) Brodka.

Brodka Great Escape live

I got whiffs of the teenage Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow from Brodka’s look onstage: free-spirited, she had on glow in the dark face paint, unusual headgear, and very loud , red clothing. It ended up making her look more childlike than necessary and to be honest, her look I think detracted from the actual performance, which was extremely energetic with Brodka and her band, who brought synthy melodic goodness and beats that everyone in the place were dancing to, rather happily I might add. They brought the place down with the loudest cheers I think I’ve heard for such an early show during the day at the Great Escape. Good job.

At some point I thought John and I were going to have a drink in the afternoon, but he was running around doing interviews (good man!); you always think you’re going to have time to spend with your fellow writers at a festival, but it never actually happens! I think next year I want to bring a friend along with me to either Sound City or the Great Escape to have a comrade in arms, someone to bring me back down to earth and who’s not scooting around town to catch gig after gig like the crazy people we are. Going to work on that… Having scanned the afternoon schedule, I realised I had not returned to the Blind Tiger, the hot box I remembered last year who played host to alt-J and Django Django, and I wondered what the place would be like during daylight hours.

Boats Great Escape live

The Saturday afternoon there was a special Canadian showcase, and after a discussion I’d had with Martin in Gateshead a couple days previous about bands whose names were entirely unGoogleable (MONEY, College, etc.), I thought I’d see the entirely unGoogleably-named Boats, hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I had absolutely no clue what they sounded like so it was either going to be really, really good or really, really bad. I was pleasantly surprised, as well as highly entertained. Not going to lie, singer Mat Klachefsky has a very unusual voice for a man, kind of like Elton John on helium? I’m not describing this properly; wait for a while, I’ve got video somewhere on my camera.

They are also very funny; they have a song called ‘Advice on Bears’, which Mat said drolly “is a song about advice on bears”. I thought, ok, this sounds pretty appropriate for a band from *Canada*, right? Enjoyable and entirely unpretentious synth effects bleeped and blipped before rocking guitar and drums and Klachefsky’s unusual voice came in. Overall, Boats are a very fun band to watch and to listen and dance to.

There wasn’t anything particularly jumping out at me for the rest of the afternoon, and I was supposed to rendezvous and get boozed up with a whole bunch of bloggers later at the Blog Up at Mesmerist. I don’t know if it actually happened or it was just a rumour, but Friday night the word on the street was one of the ‘Special Guests’ on the schedule at the Haunt was actually Palma Violets. So after poring through the schedule one more time with a cup of gelato, I decided to take a chance with the Latest Music Bar, which also had a similar marking on the Alternative Escape schedule. I popped in just in time for the last song by piano-playing singer/songwriter Jordan Bradley. He’s a bloke of course but I got a Lady Gaga vibe off him somehow in his singing? Definitely too in the look: in a red suit and a grey quiff, it all seemed very theatrical. I’d have to listen to him more to make a more quality assessment.

Fort Hope Great Escape live

The ‘Special Guest’ downstairs at Latest turned out to be part screamo, mostly hard rock quartet Fort Hope. Their tour manager explained that they had recently been on tour with Americans We Are the In Crowd, who I gather from John is a pretty big deal in the rock/punk genre. As Fort Hope began their set, with their admirable guitar licks and well-constructed songs. This isn’t a genre I consider a favourite but there was just something in their songs, including their next single ‘Control’ out on the 24th of June, that just clicked with me. Keep an eye on these kids – I say kids because they look really young, but musically, they sound very accomplished!

Embers Great Escape live

The afternoon was rounded out at Mesmerist by Manchester’s Embers, who had come highly recommended by several bloggers, including Breaking More Waves’ Robin Seamer (who refused to see them again on Saturday, saying he didn’t want to sully his memories of seeing them at Above Audio on Friday afernoon) and the aforementioned Braden Fletcher. They were loud and good, but I think because everyone had spoken so glowingly about them, the bar in my mind was set too high. Yes, they have a rock violinist, that’s cool. But will they survive in their genre? That remains to be seen.

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One Response

[…] The band I ended up seeing at the Canada House showcase (yes, I saw bands other than British ones!) at the Blind Tiger was Winnipeg, Canada’s Boats, who turned out to be the quirkiest band at the Great Escape this year I would have never had the chance of knowing about if I hadn’t taken that risk. I suppose all bands from Canada who aren’t from the major cities of Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal have the cross to bear that they’ll always be deemed outsiders, but in this song called ‘Advice on Bears’, Boats seems to take this all in stride. You can read the full report of my day 3 afternoon here. […]

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