Lessons From The Great Escape

The Canadians win at music. We went to three things at the Canadian showcase: Hooded Fang (above), Slow Down Molasses, and Hot Panda, and all three were fucking great.  I know it’s a cliché to say that Canadians seem to be disproportionately good at music, but on this weekend’s evidence, they just are.  Born Gold to follow later tonight!

Brighton is an odd place. Seemingly designed around the car, with weird, three-lane roads running right through the middle of town and along the waterfront, and with the place centred on a series of huge roundabouts.  Inbetween all these incongruously large roads (particularly for a relatively small town), however, are rabbit warrens of tiny streets.  So you get used to ambling lazily around, and then IMMINENT DEATH, IMMINENT DEATH!

People are really, really nice.  I keep expecting to meet these music industry twats you hear so much about, and I still haven’t found them.  I know at our level of things you aren’t likely to meet a lot of industry twats, because they’re all chasing the money farther up the ladder, but this is a really big festival and everyone has been incredible.

Doing a seminar after three or four pints is a bad idea. I was on a panel about running independent labels, and I’d had a few pints.  So needless to say I talked way, way too much, swore like an angry sailor and contradicted everyone.  The one the next day about podcasts and alternative broadcasting was done stone-cold sober (well, it was at 11:30 in the morning) and was far more lucid and less annoying.

Buzz is an unpredictable beast. Fear of Men are pretty fucking buzzy band, to the best of my knowledge, but their set at the Amazing Radio thing was woefully under-attended. They were really good too, as were PINS, who played after them.  PINS are pretty damn buzzy themselves for such a new band (12,000 Soundcloud plays on one song), and while it was marginally busier for them, I was still surprised at the relatively modest turnout.  Mind you, I suppose the Amazing Radio showcase, whilst it had pretty much the best lineup of the whole festival, wasn’t listed in the official brochure, so maybe folk just didn’t know.

Jellied Eels are a fucking abomination. They just are.  Never eat them.  Ever.

I can be a right tedious cunt when drunk. I met loads of people at the end of the day yesterday, after a whole day of drinking.  Bad idea. Apologies are almost certainly due to Dani from Amazing Radio, Jake from Basement Fever, Matthew from the Pigeon Post, the drummer from PINS, most of Fear of Men, and that random guy who I thought was trying to start a fight with me, until he pointed out that it was actually me who had started it.

New music festivals are way, way better than music festivals. If The Great Escape ever gets big enough that they feel obliged to import shit headline bands to draw in the masses, then it will be a real shame.  Alright, they did have Gaz Coombes, Maximo Park, Mystery Jets and We Are Scientists on the bill, which was pretty fucking mystifying, but for the most part, these are all new and under the radar bands, and that made the whole thing far more fun.  Have you seen the lineup for Reading and Leeds this year?  Exactly.

Some of the venues are great, but some are atrocious. The Canadian stuff was help in the Blind Tiger, which was a great place.  Amazing Radio, on the other hand, had to make do with downstairs at the Queen’s Hotel, which was just weird, having all these bands play on conference centre carpet.  All we needed was a plate of little triangular sandwiches and a variety of biscuits and the oddness would have been complete.

I want to live somewhere with a beach.  And pubs. Pubs on the beach. The sun came out on Friday, and we had beer and grilled sardines on the beach. It. Was. Awesome.

People have sort of heard of Song, by Toad. Which is nice.  We met loads of ‘industry people’ who it seemed had actually heard of us, were aware of what we are doing, and seemed to like it.  This was a bit of a surprise, to be honest.

Be careful when crossing the road.  I think the people of Brighton actively try and run folk over.

Three days is about the limit. At SXSW this year, I hit it so hard during Interactive that I couldn’t really face seeing much during the music festival.  This is a colossal waste of time and money, so I am glad I managed to get out to see so much this time.  Credit must go to Ian as well, who rather bafflingly chose to get up incredibly early every day, and phoned to hassle me before noon and force me to come out to see things.

I was serious about the jellied eels.  Honestly, just don’t.  Horrendous things.

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