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Great Escape 2013: Mary’s Day 3 Evening Roundup

By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 2:00 pm

I’ve now done SXSW, Sound City and the Great Escape all in the same year, in both 2012 and 2013. Each comes with its own perks and challenges, but I think the one underlying thing that ties all three of these events together is the mental exhaustion, on top of the physical you already put your body through. Admittedly, I knew John and I had to leave the flat at 7 in the morning on Sunday to catch our trains to go back north (Sheffield for me, Lincoln for John), so that terrible thought weighed heavily on my mind while I tried to sort just how exactly I was going to work my Saturday night. Before I’d left America, I had grand plans to crisscross Brighton up and down on the final evening, but by the time I’d actually reached day 3 (and over two weeks in Britain), my mind was saying no way to that.

After getting shut out of the Zanzibar a fortnight earlier in Liverpool during Sound City, I made the conscious choice and made good on my promise to Matthew Healy of the 1975 that we would cover them at one of the two festivals in May. Directly before them on the CMJ-sponsored showcase bill at the Paganini Ballroom at the Old Ship Hotel were China Rats, who I’d seen at SXSW 2013 at the PRS for Music / Kilimanjaro showcase on Friday night with the Ruen Brothers and the Crookes, and Young Kato, who I’d written a Bands to Watch piece on last summer but had not seen live yet.

It sounds a bit textbook and far too easy to decide to stay in one place for nearly an entire evening, but it turned out to be the right decision in the long run for me, because as John described in his Saturday report, the place was later oversubscribed and full up with people that probably should not have been let in. This was pretty annoying, since I as editor was the one to make sure John was on the press guestlist for the Paginini Ballroom and I know it wasn’t the press office’s fault either. To be honest, I still feel very bad about John missing the 1975, because I’d seen them twice before and John still hadn’t. I offered to give up my spot and told John to tell the bouncer I was coming down if it meant he could come back up, but like the professional he is, John said no and decided to head up to the Dome to catch the fuss surrounding Bastille instead.

China Rats Great Escape live

I don’t know if they were feeling especially confident, or because it wasn’t so hot, or it had to do with playing in England. But China Rats looked and sounded 100x better in Brighton than they did in Austin. It wasn’t even the crowd so much that lent to this atmosphere; as you can probably guess, most people who had arrived early were primarily there to stake their places for the 1975, who were to be followed closely behind with late night programming of Tribes. No, there was just something about them that when they played, you could tell they meant business. ‘Nip It in the Bud’ was loud, raucous and just pure fun. The “ai yi yi yis” of ‘To Be Like I’ reminded of the early Beatles, and in an entirely good way.

Young Kato Great Escape live

Cheltenham sextet Young Kato look primed for Radio 1 exposure. Talking to other punters, I’m pretty sure no-one there had any idea who they were, so I knew they had their work cut out for them. To be honest, I was a little worried; they are all so young, how are they going to take it if the audience doesn’t like them? I shouldn’t have worried. Their single from last summer, ‘Drink, Dance, Play’, has a tribal beat-themed second half; it’s like they took the best bits of Bastille and put it into an indie pop song, which can only be a good thing, and the crowd just ate it up.

The anthemic ‘Lights’ is another great singalong, I’m seriously wondering why they haven’t been picked up for more airplay. I thought for such a young band, they sound remarkably polished and it was nice validation after hearing them on recording and writing a feature on them to discover that they’re excellent live. After watching them, I silently thanked myself for choosing the Paganini Ballroom for that night.

And then came the piece de resistance for the night, who everyone was waiting for, the 1975. Oh my. I already knew I was going to enjoy this, but I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy it. They only played seven songs, but they had so much energy and the crowd assembled was so ready for this, there was only one way this could go: all the way up. The crowd jumped up and down to the infectious beats and you could feel the room literally shifting from side to side from all the bodies bouncing. I didn’t expect him to but Matt Healy did see me down the front during ‘Girls’ and smiled widely at me. He knew this performance was huge and they were having the times of their lives playing this grand ballroom. I’m sure it’s a moment they will always remember, and I was glad that I’d made a special effort to be there.

The 1975 Great Escape live

The only blemish was towards the end, when I felt a sudden breeze behind me. That’s not right; the ballroom is rammed and there was a massive wall of people behind me. What’s going on? I looked back to see that a circle of people had parted and backed off while two blokes, probably heavily intoxicated, were going at it with each other. Bouncers quickly got involved and it was clear both men were hot-headed, one of them giving the bouncer that was holding him a murderous look. Whoa. My first experience with violence at the Great Escape, and luckily, it looked like no one was seriously injured. It was a good thing it was over soon after that, as the crowd dispersed quickly once their set was over and I think everyone in there needed some air.

The City
You and I

My last port of call for the Great Escape 2013 was to be all the way up the hill back towards the train station. I knew there was no way in hell I’d be able to leg it quickly enough to catch Teleman‘s set, so I flagged down a taxi driver to take me. Unfortunately I must have wasted at least 10 minutes yelling at the taxi driver because at first he refused to take me (grrrr). There was a taxi van in front of him, but it was full of a band’s gear and with my patience being tried, as nicely as I could I explained that the van was currently not in service. Finally, he let me in and drove me to the Green Door Store.

Then began the most infuriating moment for me at this year’s festival. I was desperate to see Teleman so I’d requested guestlist for the venue, figuring I’d have a better shot at this venue than some of the others. I get to security and tell the bloke there I’m on the press guestlist, and he decides to give me lip, claiming there is no guestlist. I hadn’t come all that way up to the Green Door Store to be denied entry. I insisted that I was on the guest list, I was press, and that was legitimately supposed to be there. Finally, he decides to pull out a ripped piece of paper out of his pocket, looks my name up, and what do you know, I’m on there and suddenly I’m allowed in. ::facepalm::

Not that this really did much good. Through the arguing with the taxi driver and the bouncer, I’d missed the first half of the set, and there was so much pushing and shoving inside the venue, I couldn’t get any closer to the stage than the brick archway leading into the main room. A funny moment was hearing someone say to their girlfriend, “can we get any closer?” and to turn and see it was Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo saying it; he’d played that same stage earlier in the evening We had a brief moment to say hello, so that was unexpected and nice.

I wasn’t a fan of all the pushing, especially from the very tall men with pints in their hands, obviously not caring that the group of girls I was with, all much shorter and unable to see anything, would have appreciated some graciousness. Occasionally, when punters would leave the main room and come back out through the archway, I could see the outlines of Tommy Sanders and band briefly. I could hear the notes of ‘Cristina’ but couldn’t really enjoy it. I recalled 2 years ago when I’d seen Pete and the Pirates up close in Islington’s Buffalo Bar a week before my birthday. One day, Teleman, I’ll see you up close and personal too. Just you wait.

The next morning, somehow John and I got out of our respective beds. I remember fighting my suitcase to get it shut so we could leave Brighton on time and make our connections in London. I nearly forgot my purse on the kitchen table. (Thank god we hadn’t dropped the keys through the letter slot yet.) But the Great Escape and our time in Brighton was over, and for me, it was time to switch gears…to be reunited with friends in Sheffield.


Great Escape 2013 Interview: Mikill Pane

By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 11:00 am

“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Mr. Pane, the lanky Nigger with purple frames.” His words, not mine…

Most artists will rock up to The Great Escape by train or, if they’re a little higher up the musical food chain, in their tour bus, in whatever shape or size that may be. Mikill Pane rolls up to The Fishbowl by bike after cycling from the O2 Arena, which he joshingly told GQ he could sell out ( Now, PR stunt or whatever, he’s saving the rainforest and I love a bit of green thinking, plus cycling is bloody cool. Mikill says, “it was just a stupid idea, I managed to go through with, and it was cool. It was a slog, yeah, parts of it were a real slog, but most of the time it was some really nice scenery, really good quality of tarmac compared to London!”

But what did I expect from a lad who penned a tune about being a ‘Dirty Rider’ around the streets of London. So I decided to ask the up-and-coming rapstar for his top three tips for cycling ‘in the big city’:
1. Don’t expect anyone to respect you as a cyclist, people WILL hate you. This isn’t Sweden or mainland Europe where they respect cyclists.
2. Avoid going between two busses… (Mikill has evidence on his leg).
3. Watch out for potholes, they can properly do you in.


Mikill also does a charming song about throwing a house party at University. “I studied at UCL, but I almost walked out four times while I was there, as it just wasn’t for me. But with education, my Dad put the fear of God into me, and he loves anything to do with educational institutions, and that’s why he sent me to London Oratory, even though they couldn’t afford it. Because he loved education so much, I think that is why it made me hate it.”

So to keep with the theme of top tips, we asked for his guide to throwing the best, hippening and most happening party on campus. Sadly though, we may have to take his advice with a pinch of salt, as Mr. Pane has only ever thrown one party, “we played spin the bottle and it was allright, but nothing crazy.”
1. Don’t invite Michael Barrymore.
2. If you think you have a decent concept of fun, throw a party. If not, DON’T AT ALL COSTS.
3. Be willing to let half of the people into your house be people you don’t actually know.

So there we have it, Mikill’s guide to traversing London by bike and his tips to how to throw the best party you can as a student.

But let’s talk music then, that’s why we’re here, right? Mikill has some friends in high places, very high in the music business. Movers and shakers like a certain Ed Sheeran who was the hottest thing going at The Great Escape 2011, and Rizzle Kicks who Mr. Pane toured with. Mikill insists, though, that with regards to collaborations with artists like these, it isn’t a manufactured process. Instead, it is quite the opposite, something that incidentally just happens…

“I always get to know the person with regards to collaborations, I don’t even think about music most of the time when I am getting into it. It’s normally just hanging out, like, ‘I know you do music, you’re a cool person, I wouldn’t mind spending some time in the studio together’, do you know what I mean? It becomes work if you just keep hand-picking people that you don’t know to collaborate with. Even if you do something like that you should *at least* try to hang out with the person for a week, to get what they are about.

“If you know what makes a person tick as a person rather than an artist, you get to know them and understand them a lot better.”

Have a listen to his track with Ed Sheeran and you may see what I mean, it’s not just samples, it’s a deeply touching and at the same time disturbing tune, which could only come from Mikill’s deep understanding of what makes the ginger-haired strummer tick.

Mikill though comes across as a deeply thoughtful man, and for someone who says he felt alienated from education, it’s obvious that he is a deeply intelligent and pensive thinker. His puns are sharp and his lyrics strike an accord with the demographic that his music is aimed at, so I see no reason for him not to do well? You could say I have a ‘Good Feeling’, yeah, I punned…

Many thanks to Kat for sorting this interview for us, and of course, Mikill Pane for his time chatting to John at the Great Escape; surely he must have been exhausted from all that cycling???


Video of the Moment #1223: Fort Hope

By on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 6:00 pm

Fort Hope was one of my favourite discoveries at this year’s Great Escape. (Read more here in my Day 3 afternoon roundup.) I will always remember hearing this new single live that afternoon. Singer Jon Gaskin got everyone to sing along with the chorus, which sometimes works – and sometimes doesn’t – when you’re surrounded by a group of people hearing you for the first time. That time, it worked splendidly, and I think this a great single with a rock edge but enough pop sensibility to get Radio 1 airplay. Watch the video below; the single will be released on the 24th of June.



Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 3 Roundup

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

After two days of revelry and debauchery on the streets of Brighton, TGTF heads were heavy and the party decided that a debrief in Giraffe, a chain restaurant serving quite frankly the best breakfasts on the South coast, was appropriate to clear the haze from the past 2 days, and augur the body for the day ahead.

After the demons of the past two days were expelled, not literally I may add, I dragged myself to meet the extremely personable Itch, ex-frontman of The King Blues and generally lovely chap. You can watch the interview here. After a nice chat in his tour manager’s garden, I ventured to the Blog Up, where the impressive Embers were attracting a capacity crowd in the tightly woven confines of The Mesmerist. The sound in the venue made for a deafening spectacle, which wasn’t help by us at TGTF setting up camp right next to the main monitors. With earplugs donned, it was easy to see the attraction of Embers.

They’re young, good looking and have an archetypal tall, dark and handsome lad on lead guitar and vocals in the form of George Agan. Their sound is extremely big live though, there’s a splash of prog, with comparisons to Muse overarching throughout the set, but it’s all kept grounded by the fact they have a cutesy female violin player. It all is a bit more authentic for that fact at least. (7/10)

After a few drinks in Brighton’s most reputable watering holes with some of my compadres from my former life in Guernsey, it was back off on the long journey to Concorde 2 to catch one of my favourite bands Tall Ships. They’re a group who go about progressive rock in the right way, that being their own way. They’re not smashing dubstep into the equation and shoehorning in electro wherever they can, they’re making exciting guitar music on time signatures that excites me in ways that aren’t suitable for even here.

‘Phosphorescence’ sounds pristine, as if it’s been ripped straight from ‘Everything Touching’, their fantastic debut record. Whilst ‘T=0’ is the ultimate set closer, forget ‘Knights of Cydonia’, scratch all of that, and wow, it absolutely went off. The disappointment was that it seemed to only be certain sections of the crowd enjoying the expertly crafted riffage, perhaps they were all too worn out from Hacktivist’s drivel the night before. However, at least in certain small sections of the crowd it was obvious there was a deep appreciation of the musical chemistry going on in front of them, aloft on stage. (9/10)

My trudge back towards the pier is at least cheerier for the fact that I was to be reunited with editor Mary, and that I would shortly be watching one of my guiltiest pleasures The 1975. However, whilst I was on the guestlist, and 10 minutes before the band were scheduled to venture on stage, I was rebuffed by the bouncers on the door. Instead of fleetingly and pointlessly arguing my case to the two gentlemen, who were, I quote, “taking none of my shit”, I hopped step and legged it to The Dome to sneak into the capacity Bastille show. What I was to be met with was unbeknownst to me…

Think of the audience to your classic, McFly or The Wanted show; sprinkle a sparing dressing of awkward looking v-necked boyfriends, and voilà, you have the cornucopia of underaged girls amassed to pay tribute to their new favourite band Bastille. Bastille have literally everything going for them at the moment; frontman Dan has hair that does that flicky thing, I mean, do I even need to continue? Yeah, all right then. The tunes are horrendously catchy and are accessible to all, Radio 1 friendly and firmly embedded on the A-list. The throngs of screaming girls just add to the blurred hysteria around the band, who can seemingly do no wrong in 2013.

Their debut album ‘Bad Blood’ is there with Mumford and Sons‘ ‘Sigh No More’ just for its mass appeal alone. Hence why The Dome was at capacity when I squeezed my way through. Note: I’m 6’ 5″ and look like a potato, so for any poor girl whose view I blocked with my massive form, I apologise, but it was for the good of music…

The almost fanatical following that the band have developed led me to believe that the performance was going to be one of pure showmanship, energy and enthusiasm. Instead, Bastille slogged their way through a set that looked like it was almost a trial to them. They looked like they’d just fought of millions of Persians at the Hot Gates, and Spartans they are not, with their weariness etched clearly on their visages. Every note, from the album tracks, to set closer ‘Flaws’ was sung, well, flawlessly. Dan even did a little circumnavigation of the crowd during the encore. But overall the set seemed lacklustre. Perhaps the band have been on tour for too long, or it was an off night, but either way, it was a set to forget by these up and coming less-than likely lads. (5/10)

To close the festival for me, it was a trip to the seaside. To the stage where my first romance with The Great Escape began, Coalition, to watch for the second time of the weekend, Mikill Pane. My opinion was that he would be more suited to the late night slot, in a larger venue. This wasn’t the case though, as technical problems and an overawing backing band distracted attention from the fantastic London rapper’s lyrical prowess.

Mikill wasn’t being a diva, far from it, as the microphone was cutting in and out throughout the short set. But his reaction somewhat detracted from the excitement of what was geared up to be a livewire set, but sadly ended up being quite flat and repetitive. (6/10)


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.


Audio Interview: Steve Garrigan of Kodaline at the Great Escape 2013

By on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 11:00 am

Steve Garrigan Kodaline interviewIf it’s something we learned in the last 12 months, it is always trust Gary Barlow. Last summer, he Tweeted about loving a new band from Dublin called Kodaline. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to pronounce the band name (yes, how embarrassing; I know now, it’s Koda-LINE [rhymes with SiGN]) and we really didn’t know much about the band at all.

Fast forward many months later, and after a BBC Sound of 2013 nod, their first appearance at SXSW and loads of other firsts, I caught up with singer/songwriter Steve Garrigan in Brighton for their debut appearance at the Great Escape 2013. In this interview, I learn that the band used to live in the seaside town (who knew?), they thoroughly enjoyed their time in America supporting the Airborne Toxic Event (tears were shed!) and much more. We were sat outside the Dome in brilliant sunshine and you couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop, really.

I thank Steve very much for this interview, as before we started recording, I learned that the poor guy had just flown in from the TATE tour in Toronto and of course was still on American time and very jetlagged. The fact that they went on to perform that night (at Brighton Dome no less), then do two more shows the following day, just blows my mind. Thanks for being a trooper, Steve!


About Us

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

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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