Photo: Nick James Clark
As the trend for ‘urban’ events continues to develop, it is the city festivals which insist on holding a natural draw for those punters who, when all’s said and done, would far prefer a nice hotel room (or their mate’s floor) to a windy, rainy tent. To be honest – I’m one of them.
As I sum up the events of Friday at Brighton’s Great Escape, I’m only too glad that as I write these words, I sit within the comfortable confines of a bricks and mortar sanctuary and not the hollow gesture of a tarpaulin construction. Below you will find the results of my findings – three bands, that have started to make a bit of a name for themselves, dissected and taken apart by yours truly. I hope, for both of our sakes, that you enjoy it.
Weird Dreams: After collecting my pass – and walking past (Sir) Michael Eavis – we head to the Weird Dreams set. A deliberate mesh of California style surf with more subversive grungy undertones, they reveal their darker side in moments of clarity – solo glimpses when it seems as if they’re trying to subvert the more obvious style which they’ve developed. A monster hiding just beneath the surf, rearing its ugly head as the tide rolls back in. Imagine if Seattle didn’t make people so angry and Sub Pop had found its home further south. Weird Dreams could be part of that universe. By no means polished – and with an album out this year – they’re certainly one to keep an eye on.
Alt-J: This is the one I’ve been looking forward to. And it delivers – sort of. Having heard Alt-J’s debut album last month (one of my records of the year thus far in case you’re wondering) I was expecting big, BIG things. They are a distortion of any linear indie format that we’ve come to expect. Basically, they incorporate bone shakingly heavy drops into their tracks. If you can name one thing that isn’t – or wouldn’t be – improved by a huge bass assault then please get in touch, I couldn’t name one. However, for all the excitement surrounding them – support slots with Ghostpoet, exciting videos for the brilliant single ‘Breeze Blocks’ – something lacks. I’m putting it down to what could have been a better acoustic set up but it missed an injection of venom which courses through the veins of their debut LP like a Black Mamba. However, they are touring through the rest of the year where they will have more control over their sonic endeavours. Watch the video for ‘Breeze Blocks’ here and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Django Django: And here it is. The main event and possibly the buzz band of 2012. After releasing stand out track ‘Storm’ from their debut album late last April, Django Django have become industry darlings – a run which has included, amongst other things, a spot on the much-feted Jools Holland show. They now sit amongst the leading lights of the hype machine’s most prestigious acts. And are the band by which all other new acts are currently in battle with. They are also the reason why the queue for the Blind Tiger runs right around the block. At least, that was how far it looked to me. I wasn’t allowed to go outside for a cigarette before the show. Held hostage by hype was new but I still lapped it up. Musical Stockholm syndrome is a curious thing. I hope you’re happy Django Django. I was – they stole the show. Fully justifying the words of so many. If you haven’t already, then try and see this band as soon as possible.