The Great Escape 2013: The Hundredth Anniversary

hunnerth The Hundredth Anniversary weren’t officially on the Great Escape bill anywhere, but being a Brighton band they still found somewhere to play anyway. When I made my way out to Brighton Electric Studios – a taxi ride away from the centre – I was very much reminded of the way the Edinburgh Festival seems so very much to be a collection of imported acts put on at great expense for the benefit of an imported audience and the profit of people like Magners. At least from a musical point of view that’s seems to be the case anyway, I can’t talk for the other arts.

Seeing all these Brighton musicians playing in a small live room of a ramshackle but nevertheless excellent-looking studio, to an audience of their pals, while the UK’s music industry charged around the town centre hoping their delegate passes would get them in to see the latest buzz band from Manchester or Brooklyn reminded me of the only other Brighton musicians I interacted with over the weekend: over beers in a pub far from the festival. So whilst the Great Escape is good for the industry, and it’s definitely great for us to come down from the opposite end of the island to finally meet people we largely know only through Twitter, it seems to be of little benefit to the music scene in the host city itself.

The irony of that is that of all the bands I saw this weekend which gave me that buzz – that sense of excitement you get at seeing something genuinely good and a little bit unexpected – then it was this. Their music is gorgeously thrummy guitar indie – too ethereal to be shoegaze and too heavy to be dreampop. You might not get that from these recordings, and the others on their Soundcloud page, but live was a different prospect.

All those guitars you hear thrumming away in the background became loud and BIG, and the vocals had to be that bit more strained and edgy just to make themselves heard. It was a cacophonous racket, and way, way nastier than I was expecting. And I think you know me well enough by now to know that this was no bad thing. There were times when the melodies seemed a little overwhelmed by the sheer racket, however, and a lot of the subtleties from the recordings were lost.

That may have just been an inevitable consequence of the size of the room and the nature of the sound system of course, but Eleanor has a gorgeous voice, and there were times I would have to preferred it to be a little less overwhelmed by everything around it, but those are minor quibbles. In general they were excellent, and probably the most exciting band I saw all weekend. They have a single out on Tiny Lights Recordings, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here.

 

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