“This,” warns my colleague, “is a spectacularly unhealthy concept”‘
“There is not any approach you may cope.”
And with that endorsement ringing in my ears (notice to self: purchase earplugs) I set off within the hope of catching 16 gigs in simply 12 hours.
My vacation spot is Brighton’s Nice Escape Pageant, which hosts greater than 400 bands in two dozen venues over three days.
Most of them are newcomers – both freshly signed to a document label, or hoping to drum up document label curiosity. The bulk won’t ever bother a radio station, pageant invoice or Spotify playlist of their lives. However perhaps, simply perhaps, I am going to spot a diamond within the tough.
Right here goes nothing.
Gig one – James Smith
Down on the seashore entrance, former Britain’s Obtained Expertise contestant James Smith is 10 minutes late, instantly throwing my schedule into disarray.
Onerous to begrudge him, although, since he is such a charmer – bashfully introducing a music about letting his ex-girlfriend preserve his t-shirts “as a result of they appear higher on you anyway”.
“I wrote it once I was 15 and searching again on it now it’s kind of cringe,” he admits.
A younger Ed Sheeran within the making, he is all strum and sensitivity – though I might have executed with out the neutered cowl of Amy Winehouse’s Again To Black.
Gig Two – Wooden Burning Savages
“This one’s about rising up in Derry,” says Wooden Burning Savages’ frontman Paul Connolly.
“It is known as Dwelling Hell.”
The quartet’s rousing insurgent rock blows all of the early morning cobwebs away – although we’re in a resort perform room that appears extra suited to a pace consciousness course than a masterclass in riffology.
There is a political edge to their music, too – dedicating the music Lather, Rinse, Repeat to murdered Irish journalist Lyra McKee.
“She was the easiest of of Northern Eire,,” says Connolly, “it isn’t all bombs and bullets any extra.”
“If any members of the Actual IRA are right here – though I doubt it – they’ll go suck a brick.”
Gig Three – Emiko
I’ve simply realised a serious difficulty with my schedule – I forgot to permit any time for meals.
I do know music’s presupposed to be the meals of affection, however I want chilly, laborious energy. Or scorching, mushy energy. Any energy will do, as Jason Donovan did not as soon as sing.
Luckily, here is Emiko with some candy soul meals, gliding up and down the octaves like a modern-day Marvin Gaye as he delivers a set of feel-good R&B.
His unselfconscious positivity instantly wins over the viewers. A lot in order that, when the stage supervisor tries to chop his set quick, the group shout him down.
Gig 4 – Lucia
Glasgow’s Lucia stroll on stage like they’ve simply arrived from a college manufacturing of Grease, sporting pastel fits and slicked-back quiffs. However their set is much less Greased Lightning and extra Atomic Bomb – a brief, sharp barrage of punk-pop explosions.
Frontwoman Lucia Fairfull is a drive of nature, evident on the crowd with a Gallagher-esque, “Who the hell are you?” perspective.
They’re the primary band right this moment to really feel just like the venue’s too small to include them.
Gig 5 – Kitt Philippa
Poor Kitt Philippa is having sound issues. There is a bizarre hum on the audio system and the entire band is operating round, unplugging keyboards and testing microphones in entrance of a crowd of virtually 200 individuals. It is weirdly compelling, like watching a sluggish prepare crash.
“This is not very enjoyable, is it,?” Kitt acknowledges.
However the chaos is forgotten as soon as the Northern Irish singer lastly will get began – the viewers leaning in near expertise the quiet tumult of her confessional ballads.
You possibly can immediately hear why Hozier stated “spectacular is just too weak a phrase” to explain their music.
Gig Six – Realz
There’s solely a handful of individuals right here to see grime newcomer Realz, so it might be form of us to go as much as the entrance and provides him our help. Besides I’ve simply discovered a very comfortable chair, so I am taking a uncommon alternative to place my ft up. Sorry Realz.
He is received a music known as Underdog, written after a collection of profession setbacks final 12 months. “Let me in, they will not let me in, ” he sings within the refrain, “they really feel this fashion is so threatenin’.”
That is fairly the over-reach – Realz is about as threatening as a Jaffa cake – however his melodic move might see him observe within the footsteps of Not3s and Octavian.
Gig Seven – Rubio
On the 15-minute stroll to see Rubio, I uncover a chocolate cookie in my coat pocket. It has been wrapped in tin-foil and punctiliously inscribed, “To Dad.” Finally, the choice to have youngsters has paid off.
Loaded up on sugar, I discover myself dancing to the fractured digital beats of Rubio – the alter-ego of famend Chilean drummer, producer and Miss Garrison front-woman Fran Straube.
However when she begins shaking maracas and making monkey noises, I determine to chop my losses and go and discover some chips.
Gig Eight – Weakened Mates
“Hello, we’re Weakened Mates from New England, and we’re actually excited to be right here in Outdated England.”
Gig 9 – Toes
Again on the seashore to see novelty hat-wearing, Coventry-based Britpop revivalists Toes (if that is the identify they’re lumbered with, think about those they rejected).
Roughly 10 instances much less irritating than I simply made them sound, their eccentric, unpredictable songs have a definite Bonzo Canine Doo Dah Band vibe.
Nonetheless, the quantity of effort they’re placing into this efficiency is not fairly paying off. The viewers are intrigued, not beguiled.
Gig Ten – Inhaler
Inhaler are a Dublin quintet, fronted by Elijah Hewson. As in Paul Hewson. As in Bono. And as soon as you realize that, it is not possible to not hear the U2 singer’s DNA in Elijah’s doleful vocals.
A few of his dad’s songcraft’s rubbed off too. It Will not All the time Be Like This rumbles alongside impressively, and Ice Cream Sundae seems like a summer season anthem within the making.
Sure, they have an extended strategy to go earlier than they match With Or With out You or One – however that is not a good comparability, Judged on their very own deserves, Inhaler are higher than your common indie band; with a sound they’ll rightfully name their very own and extra hooks than a coat rack.
Gigs Eleven and Twelve – Pip Blom / Working Males’s Membership
Once I was planning this train, the venues all appeared deceptively shut to one another on the map. However no, they’re actually, actually not.
My telephone reckons I’ve walked eight miles since noon. I might actually crack nuts with my calves proper now.
Anyway, in a uncommon second of sanity, I’ve managed to schedule two gigs again to again in the identical venue, Hideout, beneath the arches of Brighton promenade.
I’ve simply arrived… and it is utterly full. So I am listening to Dutch rockers Pip Blom by an open door, standing subsequent to a bin, surrounded by seagulls. I have been at worse gigs, to be trustworthy.
They’re adopted by Working Males’s Membership, who hail from Todmorden, by way of Italy and Poland.
A type of post-punk new wave band with shades of Devo and Pleasure Division, they’re thrillingly intense. Singer-guitarist Sydney Minsky-Sargeant one way or the other makes the lyric, “be completely satisfied when the solar shines,” sound like a risk.
Championed by BBC Introducing in Manchester, they appeared destined to arrange everlasting base camp on the 6 Music Playlist.
Gig 13 – Keyah/Blu
I’ve popped subsequent door to Shooshh, billed as, “Brighton’s solely VIP Tremendous Membership”. Discuss in regards to the promise of low expectations.
Worse nonetheless, I misinterpret it as “Brighton’s solely VIP supper membership” and now I am dissatisfied to not be watching Michelle Pfeiffer draped over a piano, purring double entendres at The Massive Lebowski.
Keyah/Blu is a fairly good substitute, although, along with her sparse however atmospheric tackle British rap. The South-East Londoner struggles to attach at first however, after a scene-stealing duet with Denzel Himself, she lifts her shoulders and leans into final 12 months’s swoonsome single, Candy.
“My child preserve it actual, my child preserve it cool,” she croons over a minimal, jazzy beat. “Very candy, very peak.”
Jeff Bridges would not know what to do with himself.
Gig Fourteen – Fieh
Simply as my vitality was beginning to flag, right here come Norwegian eight-piece Fieh with essentially the most infectiously good-natured present I’ve seen in years.
All toothy smiles and goofy dance routines, they’re mainly a jazz-pop Banana Splits. There’s even a flugelhorn solo.
Gig Fifteen – Foals
A pageant headliner taking part in in a venue that’d wrestle to accommodate an average-sized marriage ceremony social gathering. That is the dream ticket.
A pal’s managed to get me into the present – so I all of the sudden should run a mile alongside the seafront to get there earlier than the doorways shut. On the way in which, I get twisted up in a silent disco strolling tour, with 100 individuals screaming Kylie’s Cannot Get You Out Of My Head at some bewildered seagulls.
Tempted as I’m to affix them, the pull of Foals is even stronger.
“It will be a spicy one,” says frontman Yannis Philippakis – and he isn’t flawed.
Simply again from a South American tour, the band are match-ready – a lean and exact musical machine, powering by hits like Exit, Spanish Sahara and Inhaler.
And I would forgotten how funky they’re. The basslines on Syrups and My Quantity are sticky, gloopy doses of scorching sauce.
They’ve by no means sounded higher, and Yannis is aware of it, leaping into the viewers and stomping throughout the bar like he owns the joint.
“This could be the most popular gig we have ever performed,” he says. “And I find it irresistible.”
Foals are ostensibly right here to help their document label, Transgressive, which simply turned 15, however I believe it is vital that bands of their stature flip as much as a brand new music pageant like this.
It offers youthful acts one thing to aspire to; and perhaps even a kick up the bottom, as soon as they see the laborious work and stamina that is required to drag off a present this highly effective.
Gig Sixteen – Maisie Peters
Maisie Peters ambles on stage carrying a Clueless t-shirt, championing a movie that was made six years earlier than she was born.
However her witty, intelligent lyrics share loads of Cher Horiwitz’s coming-of-age issues – silly boys, catty ladies, and clumsily understanding your house on the planet.
The late-night crowd’s a bit rowdy for her low-key acousti-pop; and her followers ultimately activate the drinkers with a collective “Shhhhh”.
“I recognize the shushing,” laughs Maisie. “It is like we’re in a enjoyable library.”
And with that, I am executed. I’ve clocked up 11 hours, 16 exhibits and 25,403 steps. My legs are pink sticks of fireplace, and my mind is the consistency of porridge.
I am unsure I’ve seen the subsequent Adele, however Lucia and Maisie Peters each stand out as artists you may be listening to extra from.
Equally, no-one was a complete catastrophe, which makes it somewhat unhappy to assume how laborious it’s for under-the-radar artists to maintain a profession within the business.
I’ve realized that guitar music is not creatively useless, that stay music definitely is not useless, and that I ought to pack sandwiches subsequent time.
Not that there will be a subsequent time. Proper now, I favor the sound of that enjoyable library.
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