The Great Escape 2011

Braids, Hey Rosetta!, Young Empires

Sam cooked up some brie and mango quesadillas for Saturday breakfast and sooner than we knew it bands were playing again! Down the hill again, past the station, to Komedia, upstairs this time for the canadian acts. Hey Rosetta! started our last day with jumping indie rock complete with cello and violin. They played tracks from their Seeds album and we all loved these guys. Young Empires came next, an energetic threesome with electronic beats, slightly camp but extremely danceable. On Kitsune they’re an act to keep an eye on though we missed their free CDs. Finally (and I mean finally, they took forever setting up), Braids performed their experimental dreamy electronic pop-rock fusion. With the venue brimming, it wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but I loved it and I’ve had the album, “Native Speaker,” on all week. Of course, they were the reason we were there.

Braids by Mary Ann
Braids by Mary Ann

Dry the River, The Antlers, Okkervil River

We stopped at The House for dinner/lunch; yummy burgers, steak and fish pie refuelled us for our final evening of loud music and awesomeness. Down to the sea front and to Concorde 2. Guitars, violins and synths in the form of Malpas began the night, but the bass was turned up too high, it was loud enough to shake your bones and restart your heart and it completely drowned out the music. Dry the River’s americana rock didn’t take my fancy, but it filled the floors and rocked the house. The Antlers came next, playing incredible haunting rock from their new album “Burst Apart”, so good we bought it straight away. The act that brought us in were Okkervil River, playing a full set, indie folk-rock tracks were hammered out back-to-back. The ripping harmonies of “Lost Coastlines” and “Our life is not a movie or maybe” had everyone in ecstasy, singing out loud, smiling and jumping. It was glorious.

Dry the River by Jade Hopcroft
Dry the River by Jade Hopcroft

The Secret Sisters, Alela Diane

To end the festival we strolled back along the sea front, past the pier, up to the Pavilion Theatre again where we caught the end of “The Secret Sisters”. This country gospel twosome from Alabama was incredibly American and incredibly quaint, yet somehow it all just worked, even with a ghost on stage messing with the mic. Alela Diane played out our festival with her warm vocals and americana, with an encore to boot.

And that was that, our legs ached, our heads ached and we were very very tired. But wow, 30 very very good bands in 3 days (and our plans avoided all the queues!). Such high quality awesome performances and with such variety. From Chinese techno to Norwegian folk, we’ve found and experienced some truly incredible new music. When can I buy my tickets for next year?

Fittingly we devoured a full English breakfast on Sunday, and after Sarah and Mark left we wasted the day watching rubbish movies.

I’ve created a Spotify playlist of the acts we saw, in the order we saw them. Some artists aren’t on Spotify, namely REBEKA, and some have only singles not albums, but the playlist still captures the diversity of the festival. I urge you to check it out.

Spotify Playlist: Acts we saw live at Great Escape 2011