15 May 2012


There is no festival in the world that can match the unique and quintessential charm of The Great Escape. With multiple and diverse venues sporadically distributed across the city centre, each day is like a military roll call to get to each venue on time to see whatever respective artist is on your agenda. The spring breeze, the smell of warm Red Stripe beer, the seismic and onerous thuds of bass creeping up through the tarmac pavement nearby. This festival is truly alive and infectious; the vast array of bands from all corners of the globe scuttling to this Victorian resort is detriment to it's importance as a new music festival where creativity and raucous juvenile behaviour oozes from every square foot of staging. Owl By Night is lucky enough to live within this humble seaside town, where every year, a festival comes to town, a great escape.

------- THURSDAY ROUND-UP -------


Packing out the upstairs room of The Hope were these relatively unknown Finnish lads. With a starstruck slice of cosmonaut dreaming twinged with effervescent electro that seeps into the very pores of the brain; with twitching nerves and shaking limbs  this collective showcase asteroid dust pop at it's best. Funnelling Baltic intellectualism and perpendicular icy lines of noise and notes that roar sunburst waves of space fuel soaked in celestial electro-pop DNA from start to end. Zebra And Snake's performance was surefooted and upfront; highlighting the duo's confident eighties patterned musical roots. Take a peak at their latest single "Money In Heaven" then show the guys some love via the links below.


Combining the melodic rhythms of simplistic French riviera beats with earthen tribal nuances, these guys show the seamless ease at which contrasting sounds can salamander together with agile proficiency to deliver a misty consortium of delicious noise and charming revelry. Bongo donks lathered over keyboard twinkles create a jet pack sound montage of charming notes topped with sugary French murmurs to sculpt the final music production; very Agent Du Monde visits Paris. Refreshing and innovative, Francois And The Atlas Mountains clutch closely the secrets to their unique sound, sharing little in the way of direct musical comparisons. The venue of The Prince Albert added to the intimacy between these four gifted Frenchman and the sardine packed crowd. Haphazard in places and profuse sweating amongst band members and people within the listening masses, it made the performance informal and open; the groups small dash of choreography exemplified their intelligence in that visual aesthetic can enhance a given performance. Such an established band deserve more recognition in the UK, perhaps their time is now.


These charming Australians deliver a type of pop vegetated with folk roots, which harness a soulful plateau of blissful guitar caresses and echoed air amongst wooden enclosure. Dusty and almost barren in places, their sound is a heatwave mirage of gentile keys and whispered vocals, attracting the listener with relative ease. Their escapist music ushers together tracks with lovable tones and thoughtful lyrics. Almost like Greg Holden meets Paul Simon, the compositions leave you in an eye squinted haze of warm breezes and sandy guitar dunes (despite the gloomy droplets of rain that dampened the scalps of those attending the open air venue at The Hub). The sheer ability of this band to invoke dreams through music that transport you away is utterly stunning. Check out Husky through the links below.



Among the plethora of diverse bands from all reaches of the globe, spewing forth their own personal sound and flying the flag for their own respective country at The Great Escape, there are a small collective of Brightonian bands punching above their weight and earning some well deserved recognition. Dear Prudence are one such band who performed with assured confidence and guile. With a pugnacious amalgamation of vaulting heyday punk that accosts more agile contemporary indie, this band diligently fuse genres with dynamic finesse. Jabbing drums rugby tackle the minuscule grouping of keys and tentative electronic bleeps; each instrumental facet striving to sword swing a lethal aural blow. With finely layered guitars, the sinewy strands of fretted handwork and metallic musical whirlpools garner a raw edge with eager enthusiasm and extrovert angst; emphasised further by a strong performance at Above Audio. Agitating the nuances of pop, this noire-tidal group besiege genre crenellations and allow a transitional movement of noisia to flow seamlessly. The Vocals of Madeleine Poncia resonant with concrete force and lasso individual sounds into a collective assemblage. The gap where Doll And The Kicks once were, has now been perfectly filled; Dear Prudence are here to stay.


Being together since 2007 has allowed The Skints to seriously fuse the lackadaisical rhythms of reggae with the skill of new wave and the flamboyant swagger of ska into a genetically maniacal mix. Their set at Coalition was extremely chilled; perfectly complimenting the tone of the music as well as the club's atmosphere. With sweetened precision each beat dripped seductively into the next to create tunes of tumbling steel and balmy relaxation. The Skints' contemporary dub edge allows them to cut urban paths towards the front escaping mediocrity; allowing them to showcase their individual and provoking sounds with gusto and professionalism.


Cecil Frena is the extrovert mind collective behind Born Gold. With a performance that showcased innovative product design in the form of a movement sensor light show all within the confines of a leather jacket along with his brand of futuristic brash-pop noise-tronica, it is easy to see why Born Gold are genre splitting extraordinaries with buckets of talent and assertive musical direction. With calamitous thrashments of sonic beam synthesising and razor splicing bass crunches you can readily envisage the future of heavy electro in the conceptualised form of Born Gold. Tracks like "Lawn Knives" scream boisterously with devilish grinds and aggressive beats which compete in an arena of terminal destruction. With such qualities, the Blind Tiger gig was one to marvel and appreciate what the future may hold for such a genre.


With a performance that was pumped full of whirring bass and gritty guitar strides bulldozed over stereotypically twinkling key taps and guttural French dialectic, it is no wonder the bar of Horatio's, set on the end of Brighton's famous pier, didn't spectacularly fall into the sea. The sound is very Bang Bang Eche meets Mika Miko, but more subtle. The strenuous array of blau-surf-rock submerged amongst experimentalist French vocal curiosities and sparkling indie veins created a dynamic mix which vibrated the very marrow within the crowd's bones. Absorbing and intriguing, the dose of mystery was just right in order to create a performance that left the crowd amazed and wanting more.


Peace were one of the surprises of the day with their cloudy display of whimsical indie-pop. With dream-gaze nonchalance they performed with a weighted vote of confidence, each note, each strum of guitar and whack of drumstick possessed a gladiatorial dose of bravado and force. The Birmingham lads have been racking up praise from industry experts for the best part of six months now and it is only a matter of time until Peace will be a recognised name amongst the majority. With reminiscent echoes to The Vaccines, Theme Park, Foals and Friendly Fires, there are clear indications this band have the musical prowess and ability to ascend the enlightening paths to success. Tracks such as "Bblood" and "Follow Baby" sew fine ethereal vocals through glittered drums and polished guitar work to entwine and caress both auditory and physical senses; A neat package which sits on the right side of mainstream whilst tentatively stepping back into the alternative realms of golden shoegaze. Epic gig, epic band.


This Brooklyn group were another relative surprise of the day in which lead singer Samantha Urbani engaged with the audience in a way that was engaging, comedic and ever so slightly flirtatious. The girl fronted troupe packed a femme-fatale slap across the chops of meagre indie fusion bands. With a polished glimmer this five piece have garnished wholesome urban pop with a dexterous splash of R'n'B. Nodding wryly to the complexities of mashing conflicting sounds together, Friends produce fantastic day-glow tracks with ease. With a sultry finesse tracks such as the hauntingly layered nineties number "My Boo" reveal the abyssal depth of percussion that envelopes the modernistic vibes generated by sublime electronica and musical wizardry. Feeling in places like a newborn dear, there were some jitters as instrumental limbs felt for sturdy ground but the dear quickly got into a confident sprint and the crowd duly lapped up each shimmering drop of fuzzy indie without hesitation. With an essence of Blondie slammed against a wall then diluted within a washing machine of viscous sounds, this band's performance left a good impression in the room to which only good things shall prevail for the American collective.


Owl By Night's "MUST SEE BAND OF THE DAY" were slotted into a late evening showing. After a tantalising wait within the confines of the wooden ornamentals and vulgar carpet patterns amongst other things within Horatios' bar on the pier, the lights eventually dimmed and on came the superb physical presence of Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf. Championed by this blog from the very beginning and receiving nothing but credible plaudits from industry experts across the globe, Niki And The Dove are hastily rounding up a fan base loyal to their musical direction. Malin and Gustaf are personable, even humble, showcasing a sheer adoration and devotion to the music they produce. The give away is in their facial expression: the wry curling of a top lip to reveal that assured smile and inner excitement at being able to play their songs for others. This duo are continually compared to Björk, Icona Pop and Kate Bush, but they are unique in their own right. With a devilishly noxious mix of cloudy computational bleeps and tweets spread evenly across icy plateaus of glacial electro rivers, the overall melange is one of celestial wonderment; cosmic star shimmers amongst onyx black keyboard chimes and onerous thuds of scuzzy bass warps. The effect is truly astounding. With astral proficiency Malin's vocals soar high into galactic realms; the absolute epitome of Swedish electro-pop. With Malin's crisp Nordic echoes and Gustaf's musical genius there is harmonious cooperation. The entire set was entrancing, yet final track of the set list, "Tomorrow" hypnotised the crowd; with reflected smiles and hands raised, the chorus was delivered to a rapturous response that the duo lapped up and savoured. I was lucky enough to meet the pair after the gig; lovely down-to-earth people who were friendly and talkative. Watch out for Niki And The Dove; the legacy has only just begun.


The established British band returned to The Great Escape with a distinctive new chapter in their history. After recording their new material in Texas, USA, the guys have absorbed that renowned Gulf heat and produced some bronzed pieces of indie-pop. With a genuine air of sophisticated charm the lads managed to attract a packed crowd into the cavernous venue that is the Corn Exchange. With a characterful medley of recognised hits it is perhaps no wonder these guys are so popular. Placid guitar twangs agitated the smooth keyboard strokes with a featherweight zest of excitement. Dripping honeyed vocals of a deeply sincere and relevant nature over mature drum thuds and crunchy bass donks helped The Mystery Jets blend each song with Tropez tinged instrumentals; a warm display of thoughtful songs and inviting placidity. The gig itself was absolutely brilliant; leaving the majority of the crowd transfixed; rooted to the spot murmuring some of the bands best tracks. It was the perfect performance to end the day on; the whimsical dreamy appeal of indie melodies chortling along in the mind as you walk away into the brisk night air, in search of the nearest pub.

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