Apr 9, 2007

The Great Escape

I didn't attend The Great Escape Festival last year, missing stellar live acts Mountain Goats, The Black Keys amongst others. Now this year's lineup didn't have any "must see" acts but I wanted to check out the festival and I'm glad I did. I was only able to attend Sunday's proceedings and like most festival days you sometimes see bits and pieces of different acts. It's often just as much fun to soak in the ambience and wander around looking at the market stalls, eating and drinking and just chatting to friends and acquaintances. Some acts I only caught in passing were former Lamb singer Lou Rhodes (provided a gentle vibe at Riverside), Waiting for Guinness (good vibe but lacking in song development), Flogging Molly (Los Angeles band channeling The Pogues, very entertaining-love the violin and banjo), Fat Freddy's Drop (too sedate for me, also dub probably isn't my cup of tea). Now onto 4 acts that i will review in full-

Bridezilla are young, so young. But what talent. Their performance in The Tin Shed (great venue) was exciting and makes me think they have a very big future. Josh the drummer is the oldest at 18 and provided a great back beat, along with Pia on guitar. Holiday on vocals and Millie on sax were great as well, but the element that sends this band into perhaps rising above the average is Daisy on violin. Now I love a good violin player and she is excellent, providing that extra special touch to every song. Their music has a great momentum, building epic crescendos which paid off on most songs. So refreshing to see young musicians pushing their boundaries and trying to create something a little special.

I wish I had seen all of The White Buffalo's set, what I did see was truly wonderful. A giant of a man, his voice would level small countries. Playing a blend of folk and country, he really is quite a talent. His songs were full of passion and fire as well as having the scope to be alternately gentle and touching. He closed with the Jimmie Rodgers country classic "Blue Yodel #1". I think I need to check out his show at the Hopetoun Hotel on Thursday night.

I think I have seen Gomez 5 times previously but they never, ever disappoint. Just mature, talented, dedicated professionals. They had the crowd jumping for an hour playing classics like "Fill My Cup", "Revolutionary Kind", "Hangover", "Shot Shot" and of course "Get Myself Arrested" and "Whippin' Picidilly". The highlight however was definitely a blistering version of "How We Operate" which was just great. Gomez were definitely my highlight of the day. I just wish some clowns hadn't decided to throw straw in the air, which set off a straw throwing frenzy. Hey it was funny for 5 minutes but the joke wore thin quickly.

I was quite excited to see The Roots, but I left a little disappointed. I'm not a true fan of the rap/hip-hop genre, but what I have heard of The Roots made me believe they were a cut above the average hip hop performer. Now I do like that lyrically and thematically they strive for something intelligent and they are definitely talented musicians but at the end of the day I find the rap genre narrowed in substance by its reliance on beat and not melody and song structure. So maybe rap and I aren't going to be friends. Although I was a big fan of Public Enemy and De La Soul back in the day so maybe I will have to revisit my old records.

So I had a very enjoyable day, saw I few different styles of music and thankfully the rain mostly stayed away. The venue is excellent, easy to get around, never felt crowded and I love the vibe of the old Newington Armory buildings. For me the festival had an eclectic lineup with a pretty decent slice of Australian bands. I would just have like to have seen an injection of some never seen here North American bands, like a Catfish Haven, Annuals or Dr Dog or something along those lines. But I think I would definitely return next year if the lineup gets me excited.

I have more photos of the day at my Flickr.


  • At April 09, 2007 , Anonymous jase said...

    Great write up + pic's wayne, luckily the rain stayed away.. its been so on and off lately.

    Is that a hey floor at the Terrace, looks like a very nice laid back setting for a gig.

  • At April 10, 2007 , Anonymous anne said...

    wait up. you went to THE GREAT ESCAPE and didn't see VOXTROT?!

  • At April 10, 2007 , Anonymous anne said...

    nevermind nevermind! I was being silly and confusing it with this great escape. forgive my initial reaction.


  • At April 11, 2007 , Anonymous lucky said...

    "luckily the rain stayed away"

    you must have been indoors when it pissed down numerous times jase. :)


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