The Great Escape 2015 – Day One
Harriet Cheney headed down to Brighton for the tenth-anniversary edition of three-day festival, The Great Escape:
It was the tenth birthday year of The Great Escape (TGE) and so Europe’s leading festival for new music was keen to make 2015 extra special, featuring artists from all over the world, but really shining a light back onto their own UK musicians. But, in saying that, I really didn’t see many UK musicians because the diversity available was so enticing. With 450 bands/artists playing in 36 official venues over 3 days there was much music to be had.
My picks from Day One are as follows:
Ninja from Die Antwoord’s little brother (not really) from South Africa sprouted solid rhymes to thumping bass beats. He has a good singing voice, so is very versatile and for a two-man show it was really interesting, diverse and a perfect way to kick off the festival.
Not dissimilar to James Blake before he added the dub factor. Beautiful falsetto and delicate songwriting. Such a pleasure to watch this English singer/songwriter’s set in a wonderfully intimate venue – the audience sat attentively on the floor of the downstairs function room of the Queens Hotel.
This Norwegian rapper and his incredible guitarist (with a deep voice and thick Finnish accent) are causing quite a bit of excitement at the moment with their on-point rhymes and interesting samples. These cheeky young guys excel at banter, but it would be great to see them in a later time slot. Under the veil of darkness they may have been more in their element and perhaps succumbed to the “remove your vest” pleas. Clearly crowd pleasers.
This dude was such a dude. The Australian equivalent would have to be Touch Sensitive, the way he grooves on stage to his funk induced songs. However, this yellow beanie-clad producer from Sweden definitely had an alternative-folk thing going on too, with many songs being sung in his native tongue, reminiscent of Sigur Ros (yes I know they’re Icelandic, but it’s all delightful fairy language).
He was late, which is majorly irritating at a festival like this because it puts out people’s schedules and makes them miss the band playing after at a different venue. So it was very lucky that Shamir (pictured, top) was just mesmerising and worth every minute of wait time. What a performer! His impossibly high voice was offset by his beautiful skin, an afro sitting on the crowd of his otherwise shaved head, black and white painted long nails and septum piercing – his star quality brightened even the darkest corners of the room. When he sang “On the Regular”, a song that was written as a joke but ended up being hugely popular, you couldn’t help but want to party with him. And let’s not forget his bangin’ band, all full of personality and brilliant musicians in their own right.
The Thurston Moore Band
These American rockers are pretty old now, but damn they’re good. With less energy put into trying to impress and more into letting go and letting their effortless rock, full of glorious jams, takeover.
Wow! Just go and listen to this gorgeous Norwegian indie pop/folk now! Part Robyn, part Lykke Li and part arse-kicking angel, a voice like that is always going to be the hero – the wonderful synthy, percussion heavy band backing just disappeared into her shadow. She played in St George’s Church which was a bit of a trek from the other sites, but a fabulous venue, particularly for the ethereal sounding artists like Sundfor.
Review by Harriet Cheney. Days Two and Three coming soon.