The Great Escape: Day Three


The final countdown, do-do-do-do. Yes, seemingly so soon after it had begun, The Great Escape’13 had already reached its last day. The closing Saturday of the festival started as all the coolest events tend to, with a bunch of Australians eating meat and drinking beer. It was the renowned Aussie BBQ at The Concorde II on Brighton beachfront, where Velociraptor were proving themselves to be the loudest act of the weekend. And the most raucous. Onstage, approximately 2351 band-members blasted out their ramshackle brand of garage surf rock at top volume. And it was awesome. In the courtyard, cool kids drank and smoked. The whole thing was very Surry Hills.

A different, but no less excellent, performance could be seen further up the seafront, where youngun Chlöe Howl (pictured, top) delivered delicious slices of pop to a busy room. Opening with Rumour, the song that first caught our ears, her set was a bit Lily Allen and a bit Kate Nash without ever really sounding too much like either of them, if that makes sense. In terms of ticking boxes, the 18-year-old has radio-friendly, accessible tunes and is cute in a girl-next-door/tomboy kinda way, which suggests there is quite the market for her amongst her peers. Expect the charts to be full of her in 2013.

Following a devilishly hot turn from Swiss lady three-piece Velvet Two Stripes – all bluesy riffs and attitude – came more Aussies. Deep Sea Arcade, Deep Sea Arcade, so good we saw them twice. Following Friday’s great show we couldn’t resist catching them again and they were just as impressive the second time around. Big indie anthems with a reminiscent edge amid ethereal guitars.

P1080397Obviously, by the evening there were queues everywhere like there always are at this festival, but if you ram that many good bands into three days, people are obviously gonna want to see them. However, even by the Great Escape’s standards, the line that snaked down the street outside the Dome Studio was insane, and suggests that there is a mega-buzz surrounding The Strypes right now. Well, when Sir Dave Grohl describes a band as “unbelievable,” people tend to pay attention. And when Sir Elton John (he actually is a Sir) adds: “They’re playing music like the Rolling Stones used to, or the Yardbirds, or The Beatles,” you kinda wanna know more. When you learn that their ages are thus: singer Ross Farrell – 15, guitarist Josh McClorey – 17, bass player Pete O’Hanlon-  17 and drummer Evan Walsh – 16, you realise this is a band that you HAVE to see. And the Irish four-piece didn’t disappoint. Suited up, they belted out rock n roll, blues and RnB in the traditional sense with astonishing control and confidence. McClorey, all gum-chewing and cocky with boy-band hair, dazzled on guitar. If they make the right decisions and surround themselves with the right people, these kids (pictured, above) are gonna be MASSIVE.

Deap VallyLeaning more towards Led Zeppelin than The Stones, Deap Vally (pictured, left) were next to raise the roof with tracks from their upcoming debut album Sistrionix. Churning through bone-shaking riffs and yelled vocal hooks, duo Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums) have got the perfect mix of sass, sex appeal and congeniality when it comes to bantering with the crowd. This was their third packed-out show of the festival. They could have played at least three more gigs and still filled the room every time.

Next up, the big headliner. While the previous two nights at The Dome had felt a little flat, Bastille ramped up the energy and had the all-ages crowd practically turning cartwheels with a combination of songs from their big-selling album, Bad Blood, and some well-placed cover versions. No Scrubs merged with The xx and featured the vocal talents of Ella while, later, their Rhythm is a Dancer/Of the Night mashup sent the audience apeshit. Although the fact that these covers were so well-received might simply point to music these days not being what it used to, the disproof of this theory became apparent when the London band’s own big singles got an even bigger reception. Dan Smith bashed the hell out of drums at the front of the stage and lasers shot around the room while a string section added depth. Even though the smaller venues had been rocking solidly for three days and nights, the kind of main headline performance the festival had been lacking was finally here.

bastilleFrom the stage, Dan Smith had noted that The Great Escape two years ago was their first big show. Post-gig, their heady ascent was clearly illustrated by the fact that he was mobbed by adoring teenage girls in the street (right). While he signed autographs and posed for photos, the rest of us scurried off to discover some more acts in the smaller venues that might, two years from now, be in Bastille’s shoes.

And that was it, as gigs continued into Sunday morning, punters gradually filtered home in the knowledge that The Great Escape Festival 2013 had been one of the best ever. With new sounds still ringing in their ears from countless worldwide acts of whom they had never previously heard, there would be a whole lot of new music to investigate when back in the real world tomorrow.

bobby townsend


Words and pictures by Bobby Townsend. Check out heaps more pictures from all three days on Facebook.