The Great Escape Festival: Day 2 Round-Up Review

It was Day Two (Thursday) of The Great Escape Festival and, thankfully, the forecast rain was nowhere to be seen. There was no sign of the fun slowing down either as yet another wave of great new artists flooded Brighton.

My day began at Audio’s basement venue enjoying new Irish talent. Singer-songwriter Gavin James impressed with his heartfelt acoustic melodies. He expressed concern that the audience would be sent to sleep by his soothing lullabies, but his worries were unfounded as his banter kept the crowd alert. Besides, there was no real danger of anyone nodding off due to the palpable excitement for matinee headliners Kodaline who followed by blasting their indie-rock throughout the bunker. When the chorus of ‘High Hopes’ arrived, passers-by could probably hear cheers rising through the pavement. When their short show ended, the audience wanted more so it was no surprise that plenty tried to see them again when they played The Warren that evening.

Tired from the long walks of Day One, I decided to settle at the outdoor Festival Hub until the evening shows began. During my time there, I witnessed the ‘country punk’ of Wildflowers, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ recent support act Charlie Straight, Polish dream-folkies Enchanted Hunters and Instrumenti who lived up to their odd billing as a “mix of Muse, Sigur Rós and Michael Jackson”. As the temperatures began to drop, the music became less enjoyable; although, each act was still well attended by the revellers who were too lazy to search the city in pursuit of a gig.

When the evening arrived, I headed off to the Komedia to see Bo Bruce. Spotting the queue that trailed along the backstreet, I feared a repeat of the night before’s failed attempt to see Tom Odell (I was turned away after the venue reached its legal capacity). However, I soon realised that the surrounding punters were desperate to see Deap Vally play the downstairs venue whereas I was visiting the Studio Bar. Despite some Deap Vally fans leaving disappointed, the Studio Bar was almost empty. However, once the opening act Lawrence Arabia begun, the reason became clear. With lyrical clangers such as rhyming “my toe nails need clipping” with “my nose is dripping”, it was cringe-inducing at times. His diehard fans might have enjoyed it, but it was a difficult endurance for the casual listener.

Thankfully, however, Bo Bruce’s performance rescued the night. The room had begun to fill in anticipation of The Voice UK contestant, and when she walked on to the stage in her typical ethereal manner, there were murmurs of “She looks beautiful” heard on the front row – and she sounded beautiful too. Her mix of pop sensibilities and dark emotions with an added quirky charm made Bo Bruce one of the most exciting performers on TGE’s line-up. The elitist attendees who skipped her performance due to reality TV snobbery missed out on witnessing a true star. There was far more honesty and depth seen here than in anything showcased by those hyped by indie hipsters.

Deciding who to watch after Bo Bruce was difficult. However, I opted for trying to see Kodaline again. Unsurprisingly, the queue for The Warren was once again too long and many missed their take-over of the secret venue. However, after a long wait stood outside a car park, most of us were lucky enough to gain entrance in time for Scottish teenager Nina Nesbitt’s set. Much of her material was enjoyable with her acoustic anthems complimenting the venue’s outdoor hay-bale bar. Her musical style was oddly similar to her ex-boyfriend Ed Sheeran’s, but the positive reaction she received justified the hype she’s recently received. As she asked her audience “Who’s staying out tonight?”, the crowd roared in anticipation of Iggy Azalea while I sheepishly snuck out and headed home.

I already knew that I’d need sleep to enjoy what Day Three would bring.

(Instagram photos – @amyjosnaps)

RELATED: The Great Escape Festival: Day 1 Round-Up Review.

Were you at The Great Escape; what did you think of Day 2?