The Great Escape - Hype Bands

With Mona, Gang Gang Dance, Yuck...
The Great Escape -The Jezables
Clash was at The Great Escape 2011 in Brighton taking in the sights and sounds. Below you can discover five bands who've enjoyed a helping of hype from the press that actually lived up to our expectations.

The Jezabels

New Clash favourites The Jezabels managed to pack out the three venues we caught them at. Yes, we like them that much. Their indie power pop with its thundering drumbeats ring out loud and proud, while singer Hayley Mary’s performance steals the show. She’s like Kate Bush crossed with Karen O. The band’s current single ‘Hurt Me’ is our song of the weekend.

Braids

Youngsters Braids keep us waiting with a painstaking sound check before their turn in Canadian Blast’s showcase, but it’s worth the wait for the stunning glacial soundscapes that glide gracefully by.

This is statuesque indie shoegaze - layered choral harmonies and bubbling guitar flourishes communicate this quartet’s immense talent. It is drummer Austin Tufts’ nuanced percussive turns that particularly impresses our gently caressed ears, however.

Mona

For good, solid, unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll from Nashville, look no further than Mona.
They boast a strong front man in Nick Brown, and great hair. No wonder Kings of Leon are fans. What’s not to like?

Well, if we were being picky (and we are), perhaps a slight lack of dynamic, it was very ‘on/off’, loud, loud and loud with a tiny bit of quiet and then loud again. It begs the question: where can you go after 10?

Still thoroughly enjoyable in a brainless ‘rock ‘til you drop’ kind of way.

Gang Gang Dance

Brooklyn favourites Gang Gang Dance seem to be quite a hit with the seaside masses in Brighton, with an impatient queue snaking way past the venue.

When Clash finally get inside, we see a band laden with intensity, layered ambience and skit driven rhythm, but with just enough fun in their performance to get away with it. Waving flags high and doffing silly hats to their agog audience, they effortlessly slide their way through fantastic offerings from recent long player Eye Contact, building entrancing walls of sound and subtle layers of drum pattern over synth washes that pull you in and out of their welcoming arms. Psychedelia in note form delivered at its best.

Yuck

A long walk up a long pier, to Horatios, a venue that takes you so far out to sea, you feel completely disconnected from the mainland altogether. Brighton transforms into dollhouse lights to the avid squinter.

Drink enough, and I swear one can sense a nautical sway to the structure. With that in mind, technically speaking, we were already dancing when Yuck came on. ‘The Wall’ fuelled the collective crowd sway with conviction, and then Yuck took us places. They’re so candidly, blatantly derivative, that their live performance becomes something unoriginal yet quite wholly inspiring. It becomes a nostalgic, aural tour bus, passing all that ever grunge’d and fuzz’d en route.

The Vaccines

We never truly deciphered the problems behind Brighton’s Corn Exchange. Why is it only ever half full?

As a result, not many bands every really stand a chance, sound-wise, unless they entertain the idea of losing sound like sieved water, and welcome the constant bellowing echo. That’s convenient for The Vaccines. They somehow managed to flourish. ‘Wrecking Ball’ sounded incredibly ruthless and anarchic, and ‘If You Wanna’ was taken to new heights by the church-like acoustics. ‘Post Break Up Sex’ might have become an idiot’s anthem, but with the lead singer marauding around stage like a leashed dog, and more fists being pumped than a guido orgy, you must forgive us: we got lost in the moment!

Words by Jason Bick, Laura Foster, Brian Murnin and Joe Zadeh
Photo by Mike Burnell


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Discover more coverage from The Great Escape 2011 on ClashMusic.com HERE.

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