Day three. The final day. My broken sleep-deprived body is screaming for me to stop but I force myself out of bed and head down to Green Door Store for the Canadian BBQ (this is the second year I’ve found myself here, always go check it out as there’s good music and free food). First up was 36? who “create ‘part pop, part art-rock, part psych-jazz'”. They were certainly different. I actually enjoyed the music, but was slightly put off by two things. Firstly, just before the set started the drummer took his jeans off so played the set in t-shirt and boxer shorts. Secondly, the singer makes for a wonderful front man with some epic dance moves. Sadly the dance moves turned into strange thrusting motions against his keyboard and guitar, and were accompanied by a wide eyed, verging on psychotic, stare into and around the crowd. I moved slightly to hide behind the people in front of me. After 36? I nearly left, but stuck it out for Young Benjamins. Best decision I’ve ever made. They were excellent. A four piece band from Saskatoon who combine pop, rock and folk influences to make brilliant music. Plus, they all smiled and laughed their way through the set which I love. The Great Escape tends to attract a very hipster crowd/bands who think enjoying themselves isn’t cool so stand, stony faced doing a subtle head nod, so it makes me happy to see people breaking this tradition. Sadly there are no photos of either of these bands due to my fear in the first act, and sheer enjoyment of the second.
I had 15 minutes to get from Green Door Store to Komedia to see Lawson. ‘That’s easy’ you say? Not on a Saturday in Brighton when the sun is out, it’s mid Festival, Fringe Festival and Great Escape and you’re navigating the North Laines full of tourists and antique stalls. But I made it. As I stepped in, the lights dimmed and screaming girls surrounded me. What I didn’t realise at this point is that they had sold extra tickets for this gig, so I spent the whole set wondering how a load of under age girls with no wristbands had been able to get in. They also have a bigger following than I realised. I knew one or two songs, but the audience were singing along to every word, screaming out their love for members of the band and having a proper party. They were good fun, lots of catchy pop tunes and being surrounded by a crowd that were so enthusiastic for every single word and note got me really caught up in the atmosphere. I turned a bit fan-girlish. It’s catching.
As we enter the final stretch and rock up to the Paganini Ballroom for Sonar Soul, we are excited for the evening ahead of us. Sadly, one song in, we decide we don’t like Sonar Soul so head to Patterns to be super early for Lonely the Brave. As we sit waiting on their unfinished terrace (the place is like a building site) watching the sun set on our final day of festivalling, we get a text from The Great Escape saying the downstairs room is at capacity. No problem, we go in the main room, tell the bouncer we’re going to the toilet, go downstairs and in the back door. Sneaky sneaky. Lonely the Brave were a good shout for the last night. Loud, danceable, fun. Although we spend the whole set wondering why the singer hides at the back of the stage with no light on him. Apart from singing, he doesn’t say anything. Talking is left to the guitarist who stands front and centre, in the spotlight. We leave pumped up and ready for the epic queue for the Maccabees.
We get distracted en route by the photo booth in the Spiegeltent. Anyone in Brighton should go. £2 a go. It’s a hoot.
Then we get to Corn Exchange. Even a few riotous games of Heads Up in the queue can’t distract us from the fact we stood in the cold for an hour and a half and only got let in half way through the set. But the Maccabees were worth it. We had spent the whole queue talking about Latchmere and its wave machine. Two minutes after walking in, they chat about playing new stuff, but also rediscovering old songs and they burst into LATCHMERE’S GOT A WAAAAAAAVE MACHINEEEE. It’s like they waited for us. What with it being the final night, the audience are excited and drunk, making the most of the last night. The atmosphere is electric, everyone is dancing and singing along. As they hit the last note, glitter explodes over the crowd. We leave happy, all bad memories of queuing pushed out of our minds as we walk home. Tiredness kicks in and I slept for nearly 9 hours.
Happy 10th Birthday Great Escape. We still love you. Thank you for the weekend.
Great Escape in numbers:
- Bands seen: 22
- Pints consumed: Too many to remember
- Venues visited: 9
- Average hours of sleep per night: 6