The Great Escape Festival 2015
The Great Escape Festival 2015 through the eyes of a musician being made to recount his adventures.
This is the first time I had ever been to The Great Escape Festival but after playing at almost every music conference festival in the northern hemisphere over the last 6 years with my old band I kind of knew what I was in for…in fact, along with my brother (and band mate) Alex we carved out somewhat of a reputation around the world as being ‘blaggers’ of music conferences.
If you haven’t been to an event like this (SXSW, CMJ, Eurosonic, Reeperbahn, TGE, Midem) It’s basically a pub crawl around a town or City but with bands all day and all night, with some conference talks by people telling you…. “don’t worry you can still make money in the music industry even though everyone downloads music for free these days” ….(yeah right! How? By setting up a music conference maybe…?) And a wrist band that’ll get you in anywhere…
Anyway, they’re actually proper good fun
This was my first time at a conference as a solo artist. So I spent about 40% of my time meeting up with industry people and old contacts and telling them that my material was super shit hot and they MUST get involved……a pretty interesting task when I didn’t actually have anything to play them…this was my pitch:
Me: Dude you’re gonna love my solo stuff, it’s a bit Hozier, a bit Tom Odell – it’s proper soulful man. It’s gonna be huge, I’ve got loads of famous people playing on it…. (strange, confident, smiling face)
Them: Great! Sounds awesome – can I hear it?… (excited face)
Me: NO!…. (the same strange, confident, smiling face)
Them: Ahhhhh…. (Sigh – confused face)
I’ll let you know how whether it’s worked or not soon…
The other 60% of my time was spent boozing, cruising and watching ace bands. And for once the British weather didn’t disappoint!
Here are some of my highlights over the 3 days:
Secret Company @ The Mash Tun
4 piece Brighton locals. Rammed gig, crowd going nuts, loads of hipsters but a good mixture of ages in the audience, everyone proper vibing off them.
Kind of like 3 Door Cinema Club and Friendly Fires – bright guitar pop with a little bit of synth, shed loads of energy live, super tight, great little band. Better/Heavier/more guitary live than on record but still good on record nonetheless
Free download here: https://soundcloud.com/secretcompany/lifeline-free-download
Waylayers @ Royal Pavilion Tavern (Pav Tav)
4 piece from UK – Played a really solid synth based pop/rock set. Their frontman has such a strong voice and the crowd continued to swell throughout their set…seriously good songs, with shit loads of hooks. Very obvious that this is a band that are going places fast. Even the fact that their laptop fell off its plinth didn’t stop them smashing the gig!
For fans of 80s synth pop but with umph!
Johnny Foreigner @ Royal Pavilion Tavern (Pav Tav)
These guys have a been around for a while, in fact I’ve played with them before about 4 years ago. So I kinda knew what to expect – Their set was loud heavy and I was at the back…but the crowd was big for them and they rocked the fuck out so no complaints.
Truth be told it was getting late by this point and I was pretty drunk but from what I remember it was a good show. If you like it heavy and loud these guys are for you
Ordinary Noise @ The Mesmerist
From the UK 4 piece band with such awesome songs I was really blown away. Their drummer also played the saxophone simultaneously which was damn impressive. I guess they sound like a cross between Coldplay, To Kill A King and The Coral.
Hein Cooper @ Speagel Pub
Hein is 1 man and his guitar from Australia. Making some pretty big waves in the music industry right now the venue’s (tent!) audience was a like a ‘who’s who’ of the music industry – not bad for 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. His music was stunning – very delicate vocals sat atop some intricate guitar work – he seems to be a master with the loop pedal (as is the fashion these days for solo artists with guitars) Kind of like James Blake if he played guitar.
Daisy Victoria @ 20th Century Gallery
Daisy is very clearly a fan of Kate Bush – which pleased me greatly. Her performance was super cool, just really fresh – in a lot of ways she was like a female version of Hein (I’m not sure if they know each other – be pretty cool if they were married or something…) If you like indie girls with acoustic guitars (which I do) here is a new star for you. My only complaint about the gig was that it was FAR too quiet – not Daisy’s fault though…
Alo Wala @ The Dome
Alo Wala is from Denmark but sings in English (good news as my Danish is not good) She is a rapper just her and a DJ on stage to a packed house…seems that everyone knows who she is but me, my wife Emily loved her…I was kind of drunk again so didn’t really pay much attention, I did however dance so she MUST have been good because I never dance. I might get hated on by her fans for this as it may be a lazy comparison but if you’re a fan of M.I.A you’re gonna love Alo Wala.
That’s it for the bands that I can remember, I had a pretty awesome time, it was a great weekend mooching around in the British sunshine – I totally recommend the festival or any music conference festival – they’re so much fun and WAY less muddy than a festival in a field.