For the third year in a row, Brighton is attempting its own little version of SXSW called The Great Escape. Over the course of three days every venue in town is packed with bands plying their trade in the hope of being spotted by a passing talent scout.
I purchased a three-day pass online. I made the mistake of selecting the “Buy using PayPal” option from Music Glue, the incompetent muppets who were briefly in charge of the ticket-purchasing process (TicketWeb appear to have taken that crown now). I received a confirmation of purchase from PayPal but nothing from The Great Escape/Music Glue. After 24 hours, I called them up. It turns out that because PayPal purchases take a while to clear, I would receive my confirmation email on May 21st …four days after the end of The Great Escape. I got my tickets sorted out in the end but not before suggesting that perhaps they shouldn’t offer the ability to pay for an event through PayPal if choosing that option means missing the event.
As it turned out, the process of purchasing event passes online mirrored the meatspace experience of trying to exchange the purchased tickets for the wristbands necessary for entry to all the concerts. That was a Kafkaesque ordeal involving no less than three different queues, two of them outside makeshift huts set up on the Brighton seafront. I now realise that queueing for wristbands was actually a clever way to prepare attendees for the inevitable hours of further queueing that would follow over the course of the mini-festival.
Once Jessica and I had been all wristbanded up, our first port of call was to see the always-excellent Okkervil River at The Pavilion Theatre. We didn’t even have to queue. The band played a great set and closed with one of my favourite songs, Westfall.
After that, the queueing began in ernest as we waited and waited to get into the Barfly to see Yeasayer and The Ting Tings. We made it in eventually and were rewarded with songs like Yeasayer’s 2080 and The Ting Tings’ Great DJ.
Friday night brought more queueing, this time to see The Young Knives. I didn’t know their music before but I’m a convert now. They’re a tight no-nonsense three-piece with great songs. They certainly don’t look like your typical indie sensation. They are in the “so uncool, it’s cool” camp of coolness. They are neither young nor indeed particularly knife-like. But when they let loose with songs like Terra Firma it’s clear that they are made of win.
The plan for tonight is to head to The Old Market which is conveniently close to home. Black Mountain will be playing there. Richard will probably be joining us. Maybe we can turn it into a geek/music crossover gathering. Anthony from Hype Machine is in town. David Emery was around. Ben is down from the big smoke to enjoy a few days of music. He’s been staying with us and joining us on our sojourns around the music venues of Brighton.
If you’re a webby muso and you’re in town for The Great Escape, come along and join us tonight.