Top 5 Picks of TGE
Showcase type festivals, like the Great Escape, have been on the rise over the past few years, attracting 3000 delegates from all over the world. I wandered around drinking and trying to see as many bands as possible. Here are my highlights:
My current favourite duo from Canada. Cousins are from Halifax (Nova Scotia) and started out as a 4 piece but have evolved in line up move arounds into a 2 piece of drums (Leigh Dotey) and guitar (Aaron Mangle). I first saw them in a vintage clothing shop last September in Montreal and every show has just gotten better. I showed up at the Blind Tiger to a one in one out queue and the room was boiling. Drummer Leigh’s face turned purple. I felt for her. A stage hand turned on a fan. She said that was one of the happiest moments of her life. Cousins have a unique blend of stop start garage rock that will get left in your head for days. I wake up with their songs buzzing around my brain. Live they plummet through each song not caring how sweaty or purple their faces have gotten. It’s well worth checking out.
Second duo on my list. Heard these guys were only 19? I know at least for a fact they are brothers from around the Sheffield area. Points for being young and points for being Yorkshire (my Dad was born in Sheffield, it’s just a thing for me). They played the giant room that is the Corn Exchange sandwiched between Canadian superstar Mac DeMarco and Florida heart throbs Merchandise. I love bands that are only 2 instruments but can fill the entire hall with a wall of sound. Drenge aren’t doing anything new, guitar & drums, bluesy rock with kick ass guitar riffs and bashing drums but they do it well and catchy. Every generation needs their own version of the tried and true rock heroes.
I first heard Melody’s Echo Chamber while sat eating tacos in a bar in Toronto. I was instantly drawn to the band and asked the barmaid (who’s ipod was on shuffle) what we were listening to. I had the name written down as a band to check out since then. And now I know why Parisian songstress Melody Prochet sounds so enchanting, her record was produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. No wonder the music is so brilliant. I feel like Tame Impala is one of those bands who can do no wrong. Live it would have been better suited to a smaller venue than the Corn Exchange but it was still enchanting and lovely, just needed a smaller Chamber to really draw people in.
OK – so not a new band. But watching 1100 people scream along to Golden Skans with their hands in the air was a festival highlight. The Great Escape is all about new up and coming bands but throwing in a band with some nostalgia and putting them on at 12:30AM when everyone’s been drinking for at least 6 hours is pure genius (thanks to festival programmer Adam Ryan). I had a massive grin on my face, singing along to Magick with all the other Brits. I had taken 4 Germans to the gig though who stood motionless arms folded watching the craziness unfold around them. I asked them “Are you having fun?” as I bounced around them in circles. I guess they only knew the one song (Golden Skans) in Germany. I think every festival should have at least one nostalgia band for everyone to get drunk and sing along too. This was perfect.
This show was crazy to get into. Chvrches were headlining and I had already seen them previously as one of the hyped band’s of CMW (Canadian Music Week). When we rocked up to Digital there was at least a 200 person queue outside, luckily for me I was with someone who could get us in a little faster. It was a busy room and being short and standing at the back I could make out the video visuals and that’s about it. I always find it weird watching bands as a short person where all I can really experience is the music. I stood on a step at the end of the set and saw Mø squirming and shaking about. The music is typical of the trendy female electronic singer songwriter stuff ala Grimes but I’d say a little less quirky than Grimes with a more accessible voice. If you like that stuff Mø is for you.