Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Great Escape - Day Two

Friday began as every great day should - with a full cooked breakfast at Weatherspoons. This was the first TGE Friday I have managed to complete a breakfast and for that I was very grateful...

A now customary trip to Brighton's amazing Lego store followed, to get the cheapest toy I could get away with for my first born and to gawp at the Lego Death Star (seriously amazing, if you have a spare four hundred quid...) and from there we were off to The Haunt...

The Haunt was a new venue for me this year, an oddly shaped room with a stage in the back of a hotel I think, seafront anyway. We were here to see Avalanche City, a New Zealand band that I didn't know anything of except for their song "Love Love Love", which predictably, I love, lov..well you get the rest...The band, as I understand, started as the solo project of Dave Baxter, we saw them as a three piece, with one of the band playing about 42 different instruments across their set. She may well have been the hardest working band member we saw all weekend. I really enjoyed their performance and will definitely have a listen to "Our New Life Above The Ground", their debut album. Following this set we had the longest trip in the shortest time, across to The Green Door Store to see Jonquil.

I was absolutely determined to see Jonquil. They suffered the unfortunate "Thursday 22:00" clash but we knew we had this lunchtime chance to see them. That being said, I was still convinced that everyone at the festival would be watching them as not much else was on. I had been to The Green Door Store last year, it was the venue where I saw the amazing Rachel Sermanni. It is a strange place, under the train lines and has two rooms, a bar area and another room, both similar sizes. We were more than happy to find that they had Banana Bread beer in the fridges, although not at The Brudenell's friendly Northern prices...

Point of Go by Jonquil is an album I have probably listened to more than any other this year and if you haven't heard "It's My Part" you really should. An Oxford band, they are an odd looking bunch but they sound really fresh, for me a bit like Django Django, who I'll touch on later. We had double trumpets, some wicked jangly guitars and the amazing voice of Hugo Manuel. Anybody that gets the chance should go see them on the UK tour they've just started. If I had banked more credits, I would definitely be trying to see them in York on the 22nd...

Things took a turn for the weird when we did the very short stroll over the road to The Prince Albert. We didn't really have anything planned so just went to the nearest gig, which just happened to be Furguson. As it happened, I was pleased to be going as the partners of the festival were Catalan Sounds, so it felt right to be seeing at least one act from the region.
On the evidence of this set, however, the Catalan people will just be known internationally for their football for a while longer, I can't imagine the cacophony of noise they made travelling too well just now. A 5 piece band, hunched over a variety of pieces of electronic equipment, they sound like how I imagine a Dalek shagging K9 would sound. The ale was good in there though and we stayed for another after the band relieved our ears by finishing.

The sun was out by now, evidenced by Mark's trot back to the hotel to get his shades so we went to Coalition for the most expensive round of the weekend. Poor Chantal. Literally, after that. It was a quick visit however, as Nat had given us the head's up on some mates of hers that were playing just along the coast at Life Bar, Heart Ships. I had never heard of them. They were very interesting, I have nothing really to compare them too but their songs did seem to include a bit of chanting and some great guitar work. Probably worth going back to and having another listen if for no other reason that they seemed really different.

Another piece of motoring required, to get to Queen's hotel to see North Eastern heroes Mammal Club. I have been watching this lot for a while but not managed to get to a gig, so was happy to make it in in time to catch them. They are only a 3 piece but make the noise of so many more and really intricate music at that. Have a listen to "Otter", it's great.

Buffet pizza and a quick visit to our usual cup final haunt Kings and Queens, it was time to hole ourselves up in Blind Tiger, for Weird Dreams, Δ (Alt J) and Django Django. This was a hotly anticipated show and so we were always going to try to get in early. Well that was the plan but instead of watching the queue from the King and Queens sun-drenched courtyard, I got distracted by some lycra clad lovelies and by the time I looked again, there was a sizeable line. Getting quite despondent as we waited outside, listening to French Films through the door, we were delighted when they finished and loads of people came out. No problems getting in here, in fact, Nat and Chantal took up positions on the edge of the stage and were not to be seen for the rest of the night, except for Chantal's steadily more glowing face through the crowd in front of us every so often. It would have made for a cheaper night for Mark and I but the truth is, I had shoved so much pizza, pasta and yes, salad down my neck that I had no room for ale.

I would love to give a concise account of Weird Dreams set, I really like "Holding Nails" but I literally cannot remember one thing about them...

Next up Δ (Alt J) were on. I was really looking forward to seeing them but to be honest, I found them boring. Maybe I hyped them too much in my own mind, maybe I didn't research them fully but it left me wanting more. Luckily more came in the shape of Django Django. I don't know what I expected them to look like but it wasn't this. No matter, it was the music I was here for and boy did they deliver. Predictably, "Default" was the song that had the crowd going nuts but the whole set was accomplished and tight. If you haven't heard their self titled album "Django Django", firstly, where have you been and secondly, listen to it, right now. The venue was rammed, sweaty, bouncing and really fucking happy. Oh, and Tom Gray from Gomez was there too.

I really made the effort to go to the Corn Exchange to watch Dry The River but after a few songs I just wasn't feeling it. They are a great band , no doubt but it was a long day and so we pissed off to The Mash Tun, naughtily leaving Nat behind to watch DTR on her own with no battery in her phone. Luckily she found us after and she too could appreciate the fucking awful service in the Mash Tun by a load of work shy bastards that were more interested in dancing and chatting with each other than actually performing their primary function, giving beer to people. 

And that was day 2, done and dusted. Back to the hotel to recharge the batteries (literally and metaphorically) and try my hardest not to wake when Mark came through the door. Failed. 

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