Here goes, let me (attempt to) entertain you.. This is my low down of the things I saw and heard, and the fun I had beTween the 19th-21st of my most favoured month in Brighton. Within these days I chose from an abundance of amazing acts playing the Alternative Escape (which runs alongside The Great Escape for those without a wristband) and this is what I have written about it.
Please bear with because I know it seems lengthy, that’s because I love chat. There are recommendations and praise within and right to the end so it’s worth it. Promise.
So.. It began at Bleach. I went straight from work to some screaming for the Holy Roar records show. The rest of my weekend was set to be a lot less heavy so what better way to start.. Some shouty noisy bands and faces I love. Upstairs I go and I’m 1 of about 5 girls, inclusive of the bar staff. There is a lot of hair, a lot of patches and a lot of leather. I like it. The music is heavy and seriously satisfying after a day in a stuffy office. The first band on were Conjurer. Not the sort of band I listen to usually but I think I will now.. I was surprised how much I enjoyed them. I made the effort to be upstairs for the next 2 bands as wanted to start the weekend off right – focusing on bands, between brief chats with pals and pals of pals. We Never Learned to Live were next and I liked them too..knowing 14 year old me would have fucking loved them. More people I know showed up and I left. I couldn’t bring myself to stay for Rolo Tomassi who were headlining because I had places to be.
It was 9:30 and I ventured to the Globe for a Strong Island records x Dials showcase. On the way I saw an old guy, 60 + sat outside a cafe (remember its around 9:30) with massive beats by Dre headphones on seemingly having a sick time. I asked if I could take his photo cause I was already drunk.. He said no. Lesson learnt. Next time I’ll pap. This journey was risky. And that’s the trouble with Great Escape. As much as Brighton is small, and boy do I moan about it being small, verging on incestuous, while this is taking place it can feel pretty big running about venue to venue.. Esp when your legs are drunken and heavy and it’s raining.. You can feel pretty panicked on these journeys with the fear of not getting in. Living on the edge. They say do something that scares you daily. I’m doing it. But I do fucking hate those sort of sayings…
Luckily power walking is something I’m used to because of my love for sleep. I’m often making up for moments spent in bed when I shouldn’t be by seriously missioning to my destination.. So the reason I left so many I love and a continuing great line up at Bleach was for Arrows of Love. Wet name but a bit obsessed with their new release Toad. I had to see them live and decide whether I could get past the name. I am. They were sick. Noisy and messy and really into it even though it was for a small crowd (there had been no need for panic). The 2 girls are srsly sxc and make me want to be in a band a lot. This happens every time I’m at a gig then I remember by the time I’m good enough at anything to be in a band I’ll be old and haggared.. many huge steps away from sexy and probably struggling to stay on my feet for over an hour at a time. Siiigghhh.
Then on to Al Duomo! At this point I’m thinking ‘Fuck this is a great Thursday, I wish every Thursday was like this’.. Then I remember that I don’t because I’d be missing out on most Thursdays because usually on Fridays I have to be an office wanker and if I wasn’t that I’d be broke with no money to enjoy it anyways. I have tomorrow off which is why I am adament to make the most of the evening and will be heading straight to the bar, again. I’ve been really excited about this Misachi talent x FMLY party. Some guys I know from Audio/Patterns are putting it on and it’s an impressive line up. I’m mainly excited for Djrum having heard a track of his on good old BBC 6 recently. Of course he’s on last so I’ve got a few hours of drinking and dancing to do before then. That was easy because O’Flynn & Tom Blip started things off really fucking well and I’m with good company. Also.. How can you not look forward to a party in the basement of an average Italian restaraunt. Utilising this sort of space to showcase talent like this is only a good thing. We have to keep our limited amount of good venues in Brighton alive so these spaces don’t get used too often, but as these are being used for wristband only events it’s a great excuse to invade these mainly unused spaces..
We say unused however the smell of the downstairs kinda suggests it’s being used for something else that’s not making pizza or pasta… If you were there you’ll know what I mean no doubt. If you weren’t there and you’re intrigued.. ask me.
***Walking home and writing notes. This was one: There’s something that upsets me quite a lot and tonight I’ve noticed a lot, that is little chicken bones on the streets.. I feel this is good to add so you can relate to the person that was writing this on their tedious walk home along Western road. Shortly after this observation I saw a guy who had been at Al Duomo and I was offered to join for a sesh. Smugly I declined. Bed needs. I was adament I wasn’t ruining the next day.
So I awoke on Friday morn and for a couple of hours I’m thinking of staying sober as I don’t think I can handle any more drinking and I’m broke. Then I had the more realistic idea of having a Bloody Mary so I got me one. I met a friend who was happy to go from place to place checking out bands for the afternoon with me in the south lanes (please do one if you’re gonna tell me this isn’t correct and there’s no such thing – it makes sense to me). We divided our afternoon hours between The Mesmerist (Killing Moon records*), East Steet Tap (End of the Trail records*), Black Lion (Impressive PR*) and Fiddlers Elbow (Smithereen and Noisy Sounds*) and the sun was shining. It was lovely. My favourites from this gin fuelled (the no drinking thing was quickly forgotten after the Bloody Mary) afternoon were John Joseph Brill who played a very emotionally charged and passionate set at the Mesmerist, and Safe to Swim who I believe are a BIMM band. They gave us glitter and seriously catchy songs. They made me want to dance and they made others actually dance. Fiddlers Elbow was a happy and sparkly place and I’m glad we were there at that point. I’ve listened to their EP 20 Years three times since. It was a real mood lifter for me on Sunday evening when filled with the usual Monday dread.
After this I pretty much ran over to the Joker for a line up I’ve been looking forward to all week. With a brief stop off when I see the Arrows of Love frontman outside a small and packed gig in the Photomatic shop to fangirl and tell him how much I loved their set. I was on my way, as my good friend Anja put it, “to see how Teen Creeps do The Great Escape.” The Teen Creeps guys have put on some of my favourite bands in Brighton and I love them for this. Great taste guys so Thanks. Always. Frankie Cosmos are who I wanted to see most and a lot so we get there early to ensure we get in. Trudy and the Romance were first on. Also fucking great and I’ve listened to them lots since. Blush followed. Again.. great. Super cute is the best way to describe them I feel. The venue situation was a bit shit to be honest and did let the show down.. If you left you had to queue to get back in and it was a seriously popular bill. When I say if you left, this included if you wanted to pee or get some air. It was fucking hot up there and when you’ve been drinking all afternoon pees are needed more than usual. Everyone knows this. Sadly Frankie Cosmos had some sound issues but once they were resolved and stupid heckles from some impatient audience members stopped they did good. It was a bit sad to see the band getting frustrated with the situation as it’s not nice to think on a bands first time in a place they’re not happy with the show. Anyways I love them and I was satisfied. Now though we could no longer hold in the pee and we could barely breathe so we sacrificed the space we had and surrendered to the fact we weren’t going to get back in for Chastity Belt or Homeshake. Street drinks were had and we got free dinner cause Caz’s brother works at the Joker so that was pretty sweet. Every cloud and that… Next we were leaving for Brighton Electric to see Broadbay. What was quite the walk was worth it. Love these guys. I’d never been to Brighton Electric before either and it’s pretty cool. Reasons I liked it: The lovely Brewed guys Chris and Tom were there as they were bbq-ing over the three days, the outside area was pretty lovely, clean and warm with decent seating, and the bar was cheap. After praising Broadbay for just being so bloody great faceswap and some kind of accidental photographic thumb porn happened and my buddy Al and I lost our shit a little bit. Then we got it together and went back into town. Here we had a problem as we were too late to see our friend playing pop punk at Pav Tav so settled for East Street Tap. Which in Caz’s words was a fucking freakshow. He wasn’t exaggerating. It was. And the music was mainly terrible. Enough was enough with ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and we decided to call it a night.
Now it is Saturday. I’m superbly tired. As standard I got up and checked my phone. I have an e-mail asking if I’m ready for the Bleach all dayer that I had downloaded tickets for. I’m so far from ready. I felt instead better to just wait until the Acid Box and Strong Island showcase to begin at Brighton Youth Centre around 4 and not rush myself. More sleep was needed. This is the other thing I’d been excited for all week. I got there in time for Flamingods and fuck me was I glad. They were the perfect start to my Saturday. The venue was perfect too. I really felt like I was a few decades back in time. The trippy visuals and lighting for this psychfest perfectly eased me into the day. The whole thing was just a dream for my senses. Including the fact that it was BYOB so I was getting tipsy for v little spends. Along with others I spent time between bands sat on the floor and despite being hard and wooden it felt comfy, like being back at school. Anyways, Flamingods began a delightful musical feast (which included Tel Aviv’s Ouzo Bazooka and Leeds’ COWTOWN) and everything about this first set got me through to my bones and I forgot about the struggle my body had been having.
Despite having downloaded tickets for Bleach I stayed put because I was lazy and comfy. Though I didn’t know most of the other bands on the line up I trusted Ollie and Polly of Acid Box to have only chosen greatly and I was right to. I’d bumped int this one guy and his pals a couple of times already and did again here.. he had recommended staying for Melt Dunes at 9. They clashed with Dilly Dally at Bleach but because clearly he had similar taste to me (great taste) I went with his recommendation. Again, really fucking glad I did. What a show. Sadly it was cut short because they’re wreckers not only of their own healths but of equipment. The sound guy was seriously stressed and cut them off. They let them finish once they’d apologised but of course when they did, as expected, they just fucked shit up further and were cut off only minutes after. If they were musically crap it would have been embarassing however they were awesome and the sound they produced gave them every right to do what the fuck they wanted in my opinion. Apparently the singer/guitarist/keyboard player went through a bass drum when jumping on it the night before which is fucking jokes. They’ve a bill to pay to somebody else now as it wasn’t theirs but whatever; people won’t forget that.
Next came Gang who I think are even better live than on record, which I always like. When it’s the other way round it’s really sad. I left after this to go see some friends who had just played at Pav Tav, their band being the exceptional His & Hers. AND I don’t just say that because they’re my friends. It was a tough call but because I’ve seen them before and know that I will again I hadn’t left earlier to see them. I’d also had this fear of not getting in or something and being out on the street friendless. Friendless I can cope with when I’m at a show but not on day 3 of a festival on the street. I’d already had moments where my mind wandered to dead relatives. It was one of those. I needed to be distracted otherwise my little dark cloud of a brain (this is a term my friend Emily used for it once which I can’t argue with) will bring up some ridiculous shit when I’m feeling physically fragile. Anyways, what I did get there for was a Weezer covers band. I love Weezer and I love cheap drinks. Pav Tav was where these things were at so I also decided I love Pav Tav. As I did many many years ago. I can’t help it and fear I’ll be back for the night Goddamnit in the not too distant future. Come with me cause you can get so many drinks for a tenner?
Thing is, after about 3 drinks I started feeling a bit heavey. Not heavy, heavey.. As in when I drank I was a bit sick. I had to make a choice to persevere or to call it. I called it as the end. Fully satisfied with all that I’d experienced over the last few days I made a sensible adult decision to leave it as that and take myself home to bed. I definitely didn’t regret this on Sunday morning. In fact I felt a bit smug and proud of myself for being able to function. Most Sundays I’m incapable. Go me! And so since this Great Escape I have visited the singles, eps, and albums of my most favoured acts, creased a bit (chuckled to myself like a real smug one) thinking about the funny parts and fondly reminded myself of all the friends i got to spend time with along with all the new people I met..
So to end this I must say Thank You. TO ALL THE ORGANISERS WHO MADE THESE FREE OR STUPIDLY CHEAP SHOWS HAPPEN FOR US WITHOUT WRISTBANDS TO ENJOY. And of course the main bodies that make such a wonderful festival happen in the place I’m happy to call my home. Thank you thank you. I love you forever. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Oh and as Brighton Creatives love asking to peep peoples workspaces, here’s mine: