Cloud Control own Thursday’s Great Escape

Brighton on a sunny Thursday played host to The Great Escape, where loads of bands descend on the city for three days of utter madness. Early on, PVT sure sounded great from where we were positioned. Sadly this was at the very back of the long line that snaked from the doors of the Prince Albert. It was an early reminder of the age-old Great Escape queuing issue. Because gigs take place in many different venues across the city, it is important to get your timing right or you might end up missing out. Still, not getting to catch the angular Aussies meant we instead got to dash to The Komedia to see the otherworldly weirdness of Cascauder and the mellow Dutch folk of I Am Oak (below), who would later reprise their tender and charming show at the rather lovely Unitarian Church.

Following an afternoon break in the schedule during which Frank Turner performed at a local record store, it was time for the Aussies to shine. Sydney’s Seekae twiddled with knobs and bashed drums to mesmerising effect, while Cloud Control brought their feel-good vibe to The Corn Exchange. Keyboardist/vocalist Heidi Lenffer (pictured, top) was especially captivating with her hip-swinging, tambourine-shaking style. Their indie-pop tunes filled the large room impessively, suggesting they are ready for the step up that seems certain to happen.

Latest NME darlings, Flats (below), proved why no-one should pay attention to anything the NME says anymore. Their lazy indie clatter was messy as hell and delivered with an entirely undeserved swagger. Their school report would read must try harder, although they are clearly too cool to, like, make an effort to actually be good.

Hooray then, for Ireland’s Villagers, who played their gentle brand of acoustic folk to a packed out yet completely silent audience in the Unitarian Church. Singer/guitarist Conor J. O’Brien occasionally sang completely unaccomanied by any instrument for long sections and their songs at times kinda landed somewhere near Damien Rice at his must humble and stripped back. Okay, so when you have listened to maybe three Villagers tunes, you’ve kinda heard all you need to, but still, it was a lovely experience and the perfect remedy for anyone who was unlucky enough to stumble upon Flats.

Next, the queues began to grow as Warpaint brought their cool, but kinda safe, all-girl indie-rock-pop to The Corn Exchange, while Gang Gang Dance had The Pavilion Theatre at bursting point.

And so the evening ended as the day had begun; with lining up fruitlessly, this time outside Jam, hoping and failing to catch a bit of Talking Pictures.

Still, it’s usually easy enough to find alternatives should your gig of choice be inaccessible, and it is credit to the festival that they can attract so many diverse acts from all over the world. Talking of which, keep your eyes peeled for our Sufjan Stevens review, appearing here soon.

Review by Bobby Townsend.