The Great Escape: Two

Waking up on Friday morning and not hearing rain was likely the biggest relief I’ve felt since I lost my car keys in a supermarket. On Thursday night we heard of a secret Kaiser Chiefs do on Friday; everyone I’ve spoken to about this has winced “… The KAISER CHIEFS!?” then I’ve had to tell every one of them to listen to Employment again and when they do, all their reservations dissipate into thin air. There was a slight apprehension that it would be too cool to play any of their hits from 2005 to 2009 (yes really, I Predict a Riot was release nine years ago) but much to the delight of everybody in Concorde 2 it was a wonderful performance of many of their best songs! Newly slim Ricky Wilson, has a very interesting on stage persona, which I can only describe as a little angry but infectious - all in all, properly enjoyable and good clean fun!

An afternoon of nipping around town to a few gigs and eating gelato(some of the best flavours i've had since living in Italy) set us up well for the evening, which was to culminate in seeing one of my very favourite bands Dry the River. Early in the evening we watched a Norwegian Band called ‘Team Me’ who I can only describe as tuneful and sweaty and a second band, Glass Animals, who were a little trippy; we left half way through the set because quite frankly they were awful, the heavily drunk seemed to enjoy them, but it just wasn’t to my taste I guess!

Up next at the East Wing were Bleanavon and Famy (who had a real marble bust on stage…) who were slightly throwaway, both with a breathless earnest nature that made it all slightly manic. There was one unintentionally hilarious song sung by Famy in a 90s hip-hop style, despite being from West London, which was fantastic to listen to in a comical way. However, Dry the River (@drytheriver)were totally on form. Heartfelt apologies for playing new music were accompanied by some wonderful melodies, a slightly heavier sound than their debut album ‘Shallow Bed’ but a truly brilliant change nonetheless. The set was luminous and ethereal, everything I wanted and more. Big claps for Dry the River, a band I would absolutely recommend you listen to.

Saturday was absolutely gale force; meaning, naturally we chose to start the day on Brighton Pier. My little pal was nearly blown away with the seagulls, but we won lots of tokens and lollies in the arcades. For our last day we had few plans and so decided to watch some of the acts at the Festival Hub, where the bar and a few of the stages were based. Now, this may get a little gushy but one of my favourite sets from the weekend was from the newly-discovered Josh Flowers and The Wild (@JFandTW) – sincere, earthy and true, Josh’s vocals were absolutely on point. Guys, there was a cello; little more needs to be said. A balance between rock, folk and blues makes their songs irresistible and I urge you to see them live or at the very least have a listen. That afternoon we also saw the magical Josh Record in the Jubilee Library, not a venue but an actual library! Elements of Bon Iver crept through with a hint of the ‘Jeff Buckleys’ and I was sad not to be able to see him at Brighton Unitarian Church that night, but London called.

A truly ‘great escape’ (excuse the pun); there were of course clashes and not being able to see James Bay and a few other acts was a shame, but you pick your battles! Also, a well-deserved shout out to the couple that ran our B&B ‘The Andorra Hotel’, the friendliest people in Brighton! I certainly shan’t hesitate to buy a ticket for next year’s event and neither should you!

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