It's an odd feeling to host your own stage.
Months of debating the line up, weeks of planning, days of worrying whether or not we've booked enough tickets. And then here we are at The Great Escape – the sun is shining, the doors are swinging open, and fans are piling through the entrance into the Arch.
Connie Constance gets things rolling. Despite some superb music sitting online the singer has rarely performed live, and this is a rare outing for her full live band. The initial nerves certainly don't show, however, with Connie almost immediately at ease with the crowd.
Allowing each song to breathe, to flex a little, Connie Constance is able to find new nuance in each track. It's curious, you're almost watching her bloom and blossom onstage, yet you still have a fixed idea of what those studio recordings sound like at the back of your head. The relationship between the two is fruitful, however, and suggests that some potent new material could be forthcoming.
FOXTROTT has come all the way from Montreal, and the electronic producer is certainly in the mood to get onstage. Her live set up is sparse, but she does have room for a French Horn – played through all manner of whizzers, bleepers, and other (rather more fancifully titled) effects pedals.
A unique talent, it takes FOXTROTT a while to fully win over the crowd, but when she does the dam breaks and there's much joyous hip-shaking and midriff-sashaying to those funky French horn riffs.
KLOE watches it all from the side of the room, conspicuously close to the bar. The Glasgow newcomer has something of a reputation for being a party animal, but even this is too early in the day for the singer.
Immaculate synth pop hymns followed, each delivered with no small degree of style and panache. She's funny, too, continually flicking the bird and then laughing amongst her band. It's rather early to say, but if KLOE can grow to command the stage in the force her music suggests then we could be looking at something rather special.
Clash caught Gilligan Moss at their first ever London show, an intimate launch for the AMF imprint. The New York based duo are back in town, and clearly word has already spread as a queue is snaking out the venue and out onto the cobbled stones behind.
It's clear to see why. With a Funktion 1 system the room is perfect tailored for their crisp beats, which sit neatly in the crossover between left field house and techno – think Four Tet, Caribou – and pop. Sound flows over our heads, an immersive, club-centric experience, but within the mix its possible to detect acute, sharply defined pop songs.
With sweat on our brows, it's time to welcome Rationale. The singer spoke to Clash in the build up to the show, promising that he wouldn't hold back. He wasn't lying, either – this was a performance packed with intent, his arms outreached and voice soaring as he belted out song after song.
The band are no mean shakes either, making for a live performance that is as supple as it is powerful. Humble and humane to the last, Rationale basks in the attention without explicitly demanding it. Songs defined and performance bolstered, it's almost as though success is simply something that comes towards him, like water trickling down a mountain. A real triumph.
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Photo Credit: Jennifer McCord