The final day of this year’s Great Escape Festival brought rain, sunshine and stellar new bands in equal measures. With hangovers as huge as the mighty guitar riffs on display from the likes of Talk Show and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, here are our stand out moments from the final day beside the seaside.
With a smudged eye look that put our morning hangover eyes to absolute shame, Aussie singer-songwriter Emerson Snowe charmed the shit out of everyone at the Australian Barbecue on the beach. Intermittent rain showers complemented the optimism of Snowe’s writing and the irresistible charm of his stage patter - “is this good?” he kept checking, to enthusiastic assent. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Snowe’s set was a wonderfully rousing; a warm and fuzzy beginning to day three of The Great Escape. All the more pleasing for its stripped back vibe, this approach revealed Snowe’s impressive songwriting skills perfectly. (JA)
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“We’re Talk Show, you won’t know us but just go with it” was frontman Harrison Swann’s introduction, but they’ve now ensured everyone in the crowd knows their name after laying waste to the Great Escape stage, which the frontman quips is “bigger than my flat”. Talk Show’s dark, paranoid new wave punk has been rightly championed by tastemaker label YALA!. Their live show is a sonic assault, frenetic drums and brooding guitar combine with ear worm choruses delivered with a booming Northern vocal to incite a heavy mosh pit. This won’t be the last you’re hearing from this lot. (EC)
A. Swayze and The Ghosts
Hailing from the southernmost point of Australia - if you walked any further you’d drop off - are the enigmatic A. Swayze and The Ghosts. Their set started out as pure Aussie punk, then wandered into something more experimental with melting guitars warping against a backdrop of propulsive percussion. They ooze with as much charisma and attitude as the tunes they create; Andrew Swayze is a brilliant frontman. He drapes the mic chord theatrically around his neck, strides around the stage and props himself up on the barrier at the front of the crowd, making it impossible not to stare at him and his kohl-smudged eyes. He points at a random audience member and motions for him to catch his tambourine (sadly, he doesn’t - but no matter, as he leaps over the barrier to retrieve it). He then proceeds to part the audience like the red sea by walking backwards into the crowd, all while staying in perfect time during 10 minute long epic, yearning track ‘Reciprocation’. After hopping back onstage, Swayze quips in an Aussie drawl “How fucking good are we, eh?” Pretty damn good is the answer. (EC)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
The hirsute, existentialist psych-rockers were as tight as usual on the beach, with their half an hour set incorporating all the fan favourites, including the addictive ‘Cornflake’ and meandering ‘Social Candy.’ Marvellously multi-layered and noodling, the massive discography of the Porn Crumpets floated up out of the tent and onto the promenade like signals received from an alien spaceship. Always the party where these Aussies are about, their set proved once again why nothing need make sense if you sound this good. (JA)
If you’re into languid, evocative hip-hop tinged with neo-soul, jazz and poetically frank lyrics… swipe right. Biig Piig’s ability to tell a story is seemingly innate, with a natural and understated stage presence. Her lyrics are relatable, a wide-eyed demeanour and pigtails making her ever more endearing and engaging. Her lines flow out of her, as smooth as honey, and wash over the enraptured audience. Lulling beats ease them into a dream state, as she sings in soft Spanish on fan favourite ‘Perdida’ to end the set triumphantly. She manages to turn the nightclub venue Shoosh into a chilled, laid back after party at your mate’s house, effortlessly creating that intimate vibe between her and the crowd. It was a very special half an hour. (EC)
Tropical Fuck Storm
Engulfing the crowd in a feedback-heavy set of ruthless bass lines and intoxicated passion, the audience is thrown straight into the deep end of the weird world of Tropical Fuck Storm. Their unhinged sound sees frontman Gareth Liddiard staggering around the stage, wielding his guitar as if he were taming a beast. His gritty Australian enunciation of every syllable scratches through the harsh hitting booms from the drummer. Stand out track ‘Rubber Bullies’ echoes through the beach stage, combined with the collective howls from all members. The feral energy that built up during the set is finally released in a triumphant frenzy of sound effects that sends Gareth to his knees - their live set has to be experienced to be understood. (LD)
Headlining the wonderful Coalition for one last big night at The Great Escape, Reading rock band The Amazons felt too big for the brick confines of the seaside club. Still-great old favourites ‘In My Mind’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ made a frenzy of the assembled crowd, while new singles pointed in a very promising direction for the Fiction signees. ‘End of Wonder’ strode with all of the weight of a huge rock song, while tantalising guitar solos further proved The Amazons’ move further and further from indie and into purer, dirtier, huger rock ’n’ roll. (JA)