The Great Escape Review (Friday)

Blanck Mass, Pavilion Theatre
Uncut’s three-day sojourn at the Pavilion Theatre threw up plenty of surprises, with a rich seam of intense electronic artists (Solar Bears, Forest Swords) appearing. Of these, Blanck Mass – the solo project of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power – was the most pleasant discovery. I’d never been fully transported live by his other band, their occasional transcendent moments always dragged back to earth by their pummelling rhythms. In near darkness, Power let his ambient techno leanings float free, with crisp beats pulling the audience aloft. A superb set, and a welcome break from the festival’s procession of indie rock hopefuls. (SH)

Curxes, Riki Tik
Easily one of the best shows that don’t require a wristband, Curxes were well-worth the sweaty interior of Riki Tik. Combining heavy, industrial drums with attention-commanding punk vocals reminiscent of Bow Wow Wow or Siouxsie Sioux, Curxes are unlike any other bands you’ll hear today. Since their brilliant video for single Haunted Gold caught our eyes, our ears have been captivated by their dark, strong tunes. Brighton held its own against the influx of international bands this weekend with Curxes on its side. (JMM)

DA-10, Riki Tik
Considering most people at this gig have been watching live music for about fourteen hours by the time DA-10 take the stage, it’s a testament to their sound that the audience spend most the set gazing at them slack-jawed. Synth-botherer Danalogue also plays in Soccer96 with a live drummer, but in this guise, alongside MPC wizard 10-David, he’s focused on a purely electronic, synthetic, vibrant sound. 2011′s EP The Future Is Futureless, released on WotNot, was a disturbing and impressive release, and live, they’re even more astounding. (JMM)

Disclosure, Green Door Store
Two teenage brothers from a musical family, Guy and Howard Lawrence must be the youngest electro producers currently causing a fuss. Tonight Howard turned eighteen on what was their first Brighton gig, thus they were treated to an electric reception as the bass was flung all over the room. The brothers were completely unfazed as they bounced around their equipment messing about with effects, switching from bass to synth and generally enjoying themselves. With memorable tunes such as ‘Tenderly’ and’ Carnival’ already in the bag, the siblings have plenty of time to develop their bass-heavy 2-step sound. (MY)

Fiction, Green Door Store
With Disclosure and College on later that night, the Green Door Store maxed its capacity very quickly. But if people haven’t heard much Fiction before, they were in for a treat! The catchy afro-pop beats are flecked by quirky indie melodies, creating something irresistibly dancey. ‘Big Things’ got the crowd bopping around with its echoes of early Mystery Jets, while ‘Parakeets’ mixes a guitar-driven Yeasayer sound with Talking Heads vocals. Although some of their tracks are short and snappy, they’re not afraid to experiment. It will be fun to watch the band rise in the same manner that The Strokes did. (MY)

Gang Colours, Unitarian Church
With Gang Colours behind a grand piano and Mauve Ember on laptop duties, this was never going to be your average electronic producer’s boring geek-out. Gang Colours’ crashing soundscapes have seen him snapped up by Gilles Peterson’s label and if he’s not as big as James Blake by next year, we’ll eat our hats. Southampton-proud, his song ‘Botley in Bloom’ is a glitchy, hesitant crescendo of beats made all the better for being performed with live piano and vocals, and recent single ‘Fancy Restaurant’ is achingly pure. The set is finished off with a frankly outstanding live cover of fellow Southampton boy Craig David’s ‘Fill Me In,’ and by 10pm on the Friday, we’ve seen our favourite show of The Great Escape. (JMM)

Riz MC, Coalition
The Great Escape isn’t just about getting to the front of a hundred-strong queue to see the last song by your favourite band. Sometimes it’s the unplanned, outdoors, plastic-glasses-in-the-air moments that you remember, and this was one of them. Recent Tru Thoughts signing, Four Lions actor, and Oxford graduate in baggy jeans Riz MC was jumping from pub table to pub table, inciting the crowd to dance, shout, and make merry in the streets. (JMM)

Rolo Tomassi, Haunt
Having missed last month’s Concorde2 show, there was no way we were going to pass up another opportunity to see how Sheffield progcore monsters Rolo Tomassi were faring after their recent line-up shuffle (which included bringing in Chris Cayford, of Brighton’s No Coast, on guitar). Tomassi’s ferociously complex rock noise had always suggested a near-telepathic bond that growing up as friends can give a band, but Cayford and new bassist Nathan Fairweather (of Brontide) had their parts nailed. Sibling vocalists Eva and James Spence remained the focus, whipping the group through their stunning, breakneck arrangements. (SH)

Rozi Plain, Fishbowl
Rozi Plain is a member of Fife’s Fence Collective and regular collaborator with François & The Atlas Mountains, and her tucked away Alternative Escape show this afternoon brightened a quiet corner of the main schedule. Accompanied by an occasional cellist and her own misbehaving electric guitar, Plain’s set of intricate, compact songs spellbound a handful of fans and numerous curious passersby. The combination of Plain’s generous spirited music and her cheerful banter made this a low key highlight of the day. (SH)

Slow Club, Shipwright’s Yard
With a late night show at Coalition on Saturday, this was a lazy sun-soaked gig to get the folk juice flowing. Despite being set in what looked like somebody’s back garden, the venue was full but it was hardly ideal. The stage was enclosed which meant the sound bounced around and only half the crowd had a decent view. However, the absence of barriers meant you could get as close you dared. In fact, Slow Club had to carry their equipment through a small section of the crowd – which some infatuated fans took full advantage of. Indeed, the crowd was happy to indulge the duo, even joining in when Rebecca sung Happy Birthday to a friend. The set-list was short but varied, mixing tracks from both albums while throwing in an unreleased tune for good measure. (MY)

The Great Escape, Friday 11th May 2012
Read our review of Thursday here
Read our review of Saturday here

 

Words by Stuart Huggett, Matthew Yau and Jessica Marshall McHattie

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