The Great Escape 2009: Clockwatch
The Great Escape has become a regular fixture on the gig-going/industry showcase/conference calendar in recent years. Taking place in (usually) sunny Brighton, this year the Motel's South Coast correspondent braved packed venues and the terribly British art of queuing to bring us her personal highlights of a very busy three days...
Thursday, May 14th
22.15: The Rumble Strips, due to release their second album (produced by Mark Ronson) later this year, fill the Komedia with their energetic, loud, exciting saxophones and crescendo drumrolls. Rolling out the hits from My Alarm Clock to Creole, we are indeed Girls and Boys In Love...with this lot!
23.00: Stumbling along Lewes Road, the fresh new sound of Hockey is unmistakable. Learn To Lose blasts out of a jam-packed, sweaty Hecktorís House. They're definitely gonna be huge.
Friday, May 15th
21.00: Brighton-based indie foursome British Sea Power strategically decorate the stage at Brighton Art College with foliage prior to actually appearing on it, but nevertheless, their set is absolutely worth the wait. My Bloody Valentine meets Joy Division with flower arrangements.
21.30: Dragging myself away from BSP, I discover the marvel that is The Mae Shi. Quirky, fun and unpredictable, they're further proof Moshi Moshi have all the best bands!
The crazy LA assemblage rock their catchiest tune yet (Run To Your Grave from last year's longplayer HLLLYH) whilst covering the audience in its entirety with a huge rent tent! Go and see The Mae Shi right now if you want a good time in the midst of their wacky noise-rock melodies and impulsive stage action.
Saturday 16th May
18.00: The best thing I've done all weekend (apart from discovering The Mae Shi) is sign up to The Great Escape texting service for a reasonable one British pound. At ten minutes to six on Saturday, I join other punters, exchanging knowing glances with them as we wait for Ben Kwellerís secret acoustic show to start.
Itís hard not to fall a little in love with Kweller (Ryan Adams meets Bruce Springsteen) when he sings about how great your legs are, and notes "# from the inside out, youíre so beautiful #" on Sundress. What a charmer - but we love him for it!
21.45: Idlewild are undeniably the highlight of my weekend. Kicking off with I Donít Have the Map, they're raw and loud with heavy guitars - as indie rock should be. Out rolled the old classics we know and love with the crowd going wild for A Modern Way of Letting Go. I leave with my ears ringing, but absolutely loving it. The only way to listen to Idlewild is at full volume.
All in all, The Great Escape is the best way to experience a multitude of awesome bands in a fantastic setting. If you missed it this time round, buy your ticket now for next year.
words: Gemma Hunter
Next year's Great Escape festival has been provisionally confirmed for May 13th-15th, 2010.